“What’s that smell?”
Never what you want to hear your spouse ask at 9 o’clock in the evening when you live on a boat.
Smells on a boat are never a good thing. There’s the diesel fuel smell, that moldy smell under the cushions, the smell of food forgotten at the bottom of the fridge and the smell of a wet dog who’s made his way below when he should know better. But perhaps highest, and worst, on this list are the smells emanating from the head.
So we found ourselves last Friday evening troubleshooting just why the head aboard Wanderer was smelling so bad. You see, we are at a marina in Monroe County FL, which encompasses the whole of the Florida Keys, and as a free service to keep our waters clean the county employs a contractor who runs a pump out service for any boat who requests it. It’s a great idea and we are on a weekly schedule with the pump out boat to stop by and keep us empty. The trouble is they missed us one week.
I’ll keep the gory details brief, suffice to say that we were filled to capacity and then some. When I undid the cap to the deck pump out, our “black water” in R/V terms was right there. And as it was a Friday night there was nothing we could do but shut the head and v-berth (where the holding tank is located) off from the rest of the boat and sleep in the salon with incense burning. The following morning, with the help of Jerry, the marina owner, who has a shore based pump we got the tank pumped out, and flushed with bleach and water a few times too for good measure. It was a messy, stinky, and well shitty process.
Over sharing? Maybe. But, lest you all think this life aboard a sailboat in the Florida Keys is all sun, fun, beers and bar-b-ques, it’s not. Sure there are large doses of good times but there are things involved with living on a boat that just don’t happen when you’re in a normal residence.
Have a good weekend!