Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Sandy Hook, NJ

Wind: S 5-10 knots

We're stuck here again. On the plus side, we've been stuck long enough for the library to open, so here I am, as pleased as punch, posting pictures and reading books. I've found a book that I've been looking for a very long time, called Julie and Julia, about a girl who cooks all of the recipes in Julia Child's cookbook in a year. It sounds exactly like something I'd do, and I'm supposed to be answering my zillions of emails, and instead I'm sitting here devouring it. Maybe I should make all of Julia Child's recipes while sailing south to the Caribbean and writing a novel? No, maybe that would be too much, even for me.

On the minus side, we may be stuck here for longer, at least through Thursday. We thought we were going to get a good weather window to leave tomorrow, but it turns out there's another low pressure front moving in on Thursday, with gusts of up to 35 knots. Knot fun. (Hardeehar.)

So instead, we're trapped in the boat, stewing in our own crap. I kid you not. Karl spent all last night and this morning tearing open our head, trying to repair the macerator pump, the thing that pumps all of our waste out of the holding tank, which is broken. Actually, we know it's not broken, because when he tore it out again this morning it worked fine in plain water. He's blaming it on all the toilet paper I've stuffed down the toilet, and I have maybe been less careful than I should have been, but I know the real reason it's having issues is that our salt-water pump is broken. We ordered a $50 rebuild kit for it before we left, and that was one of the things on Karl's list that didn't get done. So all that's in our holding tank is a mound of human excrement and wads of paper, rapidly solidifying. Our pump is not strong enough to get this out of our boat. And we just found out, from our French friends, that the pumpout station here is closed for the season. Is this possible? Today, while doing repairs, Karl managed to not only spray human waste all over the cockpit, but also all over our pots and pans, that were sitting out, allegedly to catch water. So now I have to go back to a boat covered in my own excrement. Thrilling.

I can't blame this on Karl. Both of us want to blame it on each other, just so we have someone to blame it on, but mainly it just sucks. Our boat stinks, we have no way to get rid of the smell or the waste, and now we may have nowhere to use the bathroom, either. And we're stuck here for another week. I feel vast amounts of money may be spent, mainly on food, to assuage our unhappiness.

We had a budget of $1000 to get out of the United States, which I personally felt was a little ambitious. So far we've already spent a third of that, a lot of it on diesel, since we've been motoring so much, an expense I didn't budget for at all. And if we have to buy a new macerator pump, that'll eat up another $150 buckaroos. I really don't feel like any of this is the end of the world. We'll figure it out, like we figure everything out, but I'm really not thrilled about the vast quantity of bleach scrubbing I'm going to have to do tomorrow. That's my solution: bleach. On absolutely everything. The boat will be bathed in bleach.

The great thing about today, other than the clean, fragrant library, the second hot showers that we snuck in, the internet access, and the lovely book, is that we ran into our French friends from the Statue of Liberty again. They're paying $86 for dock space--quelle horreur!--that doesn't even include running water, since it's shut off for the season! Still, I'm impressed that they crossed over from NYC with relatively little problem, and they're ready to press on down the coast. Maybe we can split another bottle of wine with them tonight--our treat this time. I'd love to offer them hospitality, but I can barely bring myself to go back to my boat myself, let alone invite anyone else in. If only the CSI people could come in with their black lights. What a show they'd have.


Mike Finn said...

Hi Melissa, first off let me say congratulations on embarking on your adventure. Secondly you can get through this. One thing as a new sailor you overlooked is the number one rule of marine heads: Nothing goes in it that hasn't passed through your body. You need to save all your plastic grocery bags and always have one hanging in the head. Even guests will oblige after you tell them your horror story.
I had to replace my holding tank on our R33 and it was a nasty job and the boat smelled terrible until my carpet cleaner friend gave me some sort of enzyme that you spread around your completely wet boat. The little critters eat all the smelly stuff and your boat will smell wonderful again. Well maybe not quite wonderful :)
get on the internet and call a carpet cleaner to find out what the product is. If you don't have any luck email me and I'll get the info from my friend. Just pull everything off the boat hose down the inside and sprinkle the enzyme all around. Overnight the odors will disappear. Good luck!
Mike Finn mwfinn@sbcglobal.net

Ellen, John & Sophia said...

Aww man!!! I just checked on you guys- welcome to the world of living with a head. I can't tell you the dozens of times we've clogged a hose and had to get our arms elbow-deep in shit. It's awful- and the enzyme suggestion is a great one. Try some pet deodorizer for the pee stench. Really though, air is the only cure- put a fan down there and circulate as much as you can. Drying it kills the bacteria and then, the smell. Double check your vent too-

I feel you on the toilet paper. Either bag it, or once you get the salt water pump up and working, buy ONLY one-ply Scott paper. Any 2-ply clogged our hoses.

A five-gallon bucket became one of our best friends in life, for times like these. Diesel's gonna be a huge expense, as motoring this time of year may be your best bet (esp. as you get farther south). I had to just let go of the expense and remind myself that it does get better, esp. when you leave the States and can sail.

Good luck and we can't wait to see you down here- Happy Thanksgiving,
ellen and john and sophie