Like many of the more luxurious ships of the world, the F/V Lila Aurora offers space below the deck. For example the engine is located beneath the floor of the main cabin in a compartment that is both the engine compartment and also a bilge. A bilge is the lowest portion of a compartment under the deck of a boat like ours, and we have a couple of bilges on the Lila Aurora. The largest is in the engine compartment. In the photo below, Captain Abe is almost hidden in the engine compartment as he works on changing the oil in our engine. He is crouched with his feet in the bilge.
When Abe stands up in the photo below, you can see that the engine compartment is barely knee deep in the center of the boat. Closer to each side of the hull the engine compartment is even more cramped, requiring Abe to lay on his side to access some of the equipment. As if the cramped quarters aren't difficult enough, the bilge typically includes a few inches of water.
In these photos we have stripped the cabin down to almost nothing but the engine and the aluminum of the hull, and we are in the process of rebuilding a cabin that will be better suited to our needs than the original cabin. The wood frame over the engine will support floor boards that will be the main open area of the cabin. On either side we have since built tables, seats, and storage compartments, which you will see in a future blog post.