On the deck this morning looking out to sea, I contemplate that 70% of the earth’s surface is covered by ocean and yet we have only explored about 5% of it. It’s easy, out here, in this vastness to see how that is possible. I think about trying to describe our water situation to you and the famous lines from the Rime of the Ancient Mariner come into my head…”Water, water everywhere nor any a drop to drink.”
Since the beginning of the trip we have been aware that we have to preserve water. Playing Around has two 150 litre tanks and we have 50 x 2 litres bottles on board. Unlike lots of boats we do not have a water maker on board or any other luxuries for that matter but more about that later. There is no water to waste and there is definitely no water for washing or cleaning, that is all done in salt water. We are rationed to 2 litres a day for personal use. It’s getting hot so I drink all of this and keep a splash for brushing my teeth. We wash and rinse our dishes in salt water.
We wash ourselves with sea water by sitting on the back platform, clipping on to the transome and pouring sea water over ourselves with a collapsible bucket. The water is relatively cool and the first bucket makes me feel more alive than ever. The transom is not wide and occasionally a wave rushes over the back. I ask my watch partner to keep an eye out for any fins that appear off the back of the boat. I have a momentary panic when my mind flashes to a Jaws like vision of an open mouth full of razor sharp teeth finding me as an easy catch of the day. The Jaws soundtrack is now in my head as I quickly wash. This is one of the reasons that we would not swim off the back… there are sharks out here!
Close to half way we do an inventory of the remaining water on board and the amount left tells us we still have to conserve and the daily ration will continue. There will be no fresh water showers on this trip. I think about the crews on the big cats, having daily fresh water showers and perhaps even washing their clothes in an on board washing machine and I tell myself, that is not really sailing. I quite enjoy sitting on the transom to splash down as we fly along at 8 knots.
By now everything is slightly salt encrusted and it is hard to get rid of the sticky feeling that salt leaves. My hair is a thick mat woven together by salt crystals, a hairbrush would be futile. I realize that I may have dreadlocks by the time we get to St Lucia and imagine I will be in good company there
We talk about what we each want to do when we first arrive back on land and the top of everyone’s list is a fresh shower.