Bilgeing (if that's the correct term), is a lot like playing Bejeweled. In fact, it's so much like Bejeweled that I kept trying to play it like Bejeweled, and flailed around for a bit before I realized the main differences. 1) There is no vertical swap; it's all horizontal. 2) You want to clear top-to-bottom, rather than the reverse. In Bejeweled, clearing from the bottom cascades the jewels above you, typically resulting in jewel eliminations that you might not even have seen. Until I realized this in the Bilge minigame, I was missing a lot of elimination opportunities.
More after the jump!
Another thing is that there doesn't appear to be any time stress. The water rising from the bottom of the screen doesn't seem to get any higher, no matter how long you wait, which means you can take your sweet time in clearing the 'jewels'. Which is strange, because trying to clear jewels below the waterline is noticeably slower. Also, because it's all horizontal, you can easily put any jewels together that you want.
So, what's the point, exactly? Other than advancing in rank, and ostensibly helping to keep the ship afloat, it's not clear to me why I should keep Bligeing. I seem to have grown in rank a little, but I've also noticed that as I sat there, waiting for the water to rise, my status went from Excellent to Good to Learning. Does this matter? Whatever, I'm an old hand at this now. On to the next minigame: Carpenting.