Monday November 22, 2013
Photo courtesy of Rebecca Hammond Vaughan
Remember how last month I tried to start a new segment on the blog called Stories From Other Cruisers? Well it turns out there were a few other people that had amusing tales to tell, didn’t mind sharing them with me, and even better, didn’t mind me sharing them with you! This month’s segment comes from my friend Rebecca on Summertime Rolls. One morning her and her husband Brian went about doing some pretty regular boat chores and found out that sometimes the mundane can turn downright dirty. Read on as Rebecca shares her story. (Content taken directly from Rebecca’s post on Summertime Rolls.)
We woke up a little later than usual after a great night’s sleep at Harbour Towne Marina, and were thrilled that we could just take our time that morning. As we’d be at anchor for at least two weeks, there were a few boat tasks we had to get taken care of, namely, pumping out our holding tanks.
We didn’t think they were too full, as when we’d sailed down from Palm Beach, we emptied them out once past the three nautical mile line. However, we’re a little suspicious about our port aft head and if it is properly draining out when we open the tanks, and a good freshwater rinse of all the tanks would be a good thing. Normally, I’m on Poop Patrol – I do the pump outs (we’ve found that most marinas will only give you the hose but you have to control it, not a big deal in my mind as I think I’ve got it down now), but I was down the dock getting the hose out when the dock hand gave Brian the pump out hose. As I’m walking back, I hear a yelp, followed by expletives and see Brian rushing into the cabin. As I get closer, I see lovely brown stinky splatter all over the deck. Something, clearly, went haywire.
“Well, he doesn’t normally do it, he must have done something wrong”, I think, so I pick up the hose, insert the fitting into the tank opening, and turn the valve to Open. Suddenly the hose jumps out of my hand and I, too, am completely covered in a fine misting of poopy water.
I’m guessing this probably hasn’t happened to you. If you asked me a year ago if I thought it would happen to me, I’d say, um, no. However, after living aboard for 9 months now, I figured it was only a matter of time before we’d have a pump out disaster. Therefore, although I was totally grossed out about having poop on my face and body, I was surprisingly calm about it. I stood there hollering for Brian (I couldn’t really open my eyes, you see, so I knew I’d need him to bring me a paper towel at least). Finally he emerged and saw his beautiful wife covered in poop, and, of course, started cackling…”happened to you too?”
At this point the dock hand came back and was absolutely mortified. “You closed the valve? No, you should have just left it open!” I’m sure he told Brian this, and even if I’d been receiving the instructions, since closing the valve to build up pressure then reopening is the trick to get the last dregs out of the tanks in every other pump out environment, I’d probably have forgotten what he said too. So neither of us place any of the blame on him – it resides squarely on our shoulders for not paying attention.
Want to know how little poop fazes me anymore? Once I was able to wipe off my face so I could see, I immediately took care of the other two holding tanks (following instructions this time!), and jumped into action and pulled out the deck brush, boat soap, and bucket and got started scrubbing down the deck. There was brown spray everywhere, and I knew the longer it sat, the harder it would be to wash off. After about 5 minutes, Brian basically ripped the brush out of my hands and told me to go get cleaned up. “Um, sweetie, it’s, um…like still all over your face and arms…” And once I looked in the mirror I saw he was right. Eww! Massive amounts of soap later, I felt moderately clean and came back up to see that my sweet husband had finished the job of getting the deck nice and white again.
So, we were reminded of one of life’s most important rules…always follow instructions or you’ll find yourself knee deep in sh*t.
*If you would like to submit a story to be published in Stories From Other Cruisers, please email us at email@example.com, or message us on Facebook at MJ Sailing, with the subject titles Stories From Other Cruisers. Please include your name, boat name, story, and a photo of your boat and/or the crew. Please do not send any lewd or profane stories as they will not be published.