Monday, May 13, 2013

Day 7 to FP - Clean!

Time: 2300UTC, COG 230T, SOG 7.0kts, Distance Remaining: 2153nm

Yep, it did take us a week to finally clean ourselves up with a full on
shower! Right before we left, we had our last "conventional" shower and a
few days ago, there was a tiny rainstorm. Mark and I rushed on deck, shampoo
in hand (the seas were still "flat" back then), soaped up and tried to
collect drops of water coming down from the cabin top and along the sail to
barely rinse off. It kind of worked. Today was the real thing: Shower Day.
The sun came out just long enough to warm one of the sun showers up. The
seas are still very bumpy and confused, so it was a bit challenging to
balance ourselves in the cockpit, to say the least.
You don't get to read about personal hygiene in blogs very often, but since
this is a somewhat important part of the boat life, and very different from
shore life, I figured I'd share… :) Showering is not a daily occurrence on
Irie and since it involves some preparation, it becomes the event of the
day, while underway. On the trip to the Galapagos, we had one full 5 gallon
sun shower and that did the job. This time, on a voyage 3 to 4 times as
long, 5 gallons with only fresh water wouldn't suffice. At anchor, Mark and
I jump overboard, wash and rinse with sea water and then rinse off with
fresh water from the sun shower. Not an option in rough mid-ocean either.
While I had visions about filling buckets with salt water and using an old
fashioned hand cloth to wash up, getting splashed by the bucket water to
rinse and then finalize the deal with fresh water, we came up with a more
civilized solution.
Our primary sun shower was still full of fresh water from Isabela and we
filled our broken "spare" sun shower (leaking cap and crappy hose) with
seawater. I used the salt water pump from our sink for this. It took about
130 pumps to fill the thing and I only sprayed salt water all over the
kitchen once. After that, Mark insisted we fill it with a bucket of sea
water next time. Let's hope I won't lose bucket or man overboard then. There
is a lot of force and resistance from the water when you´re sliding
(bouncing) along at 6.5 knots! After warming up on deck, the crappy shower
still had enough water left for the salt water part of the process: rinsing,
washing with shampoo and rinsing again. The second part was the familiar
rinse off with fresh water out of sun shower # 2. Losing our balance humpty
times was a new experience.
Most other cruisers don't go through this hassle. They have bigger tanks
than Irie and most of them also have a water maker, which means plenty of
the fresh stuff. They more than likely take their showers indoors in the
bathroom (daily!), probably with hot water, since they have enough
electricity or run their engines more liberally than us. Mark and I only
have one fresh water tank, holding 53 gallons (200 liter) of water. We also
carry four 6 gallon jerrycans, of which two are filled (we can't make the
boat too heavy and don't have room to store four full jugs), which adds 12
gallons (45 liter) of water to our supply. These are used to refill the sun
shower, add to the tank or for an emergency. At anchor, this amount (65
gallons) lasts us about one month. We use the (filtered) tap water to wash
up, brush our teeth, rinse the dishes (washing happens with seawater), cook
and drink. We've learned to become very prudent users of fresh water,
utilizing sea water wherever possible, even more so on this passage, which
could last longer than one month.
When you take your next comfy shower at home, just imagine two naked bodies
in Irie's cockpit, rinsing off with two cups of water and holding on for
dear life… only to get clean; in the name of personal hygiene!

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