Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Shitter's Full!

Last weekend Scott and I took the holding tank out of our boat.  It is important to know that the "holding tank" is what holds all the contents of our marine toilet.  It was huge, cumbersome, took up a significant amount of precious lazarette locker space and it needed to go.  Once we're in the ocean we won't need it anyway, as ships are allowed to pump the contents of their toilets overboard.  This is probably news to you non-boaters, and I'm sorry to be the one to give it to you, but yes, poop (even from cruise ships) is pumped into the ocean.  Something about parts per million...

Anyway, in order for us to remove the tank I had to get into said locker with said holding tank in such a way that would have made a Cirque du Soleil performer blush.  Seriously, any one that has ANY issue with claustrophobia has no business working on a boat.  This is not the first time I have had to crawl into a compartment the size of a car trunk to do "work".  This was, however, the first time I had to crawl into a space that held, for lack of a better word, our "shitter".  Toxic level? We'll give it a "3".  Disgust level?  Off the charts.

Don't let my smile fool you folks.  This is not fun.

Luckily, we'd had the tank pumped out before winter, so *most* of the contents had been removed.  In order to get the tank out, I had to unhook two hoses (poop in, poop out).  Remember, I am in a teeny tiny locker, it's about 105 degrees in there, and it smells.  Bad.  I unhook hose #1, and it comes off clean.  Phew.  I adjust myself ever so slightly, wipe the sweat out of my eyes with my arm (not using my ecoli infested hands!), and go for #2.  It comes off.  Not clean. Out pours a couple cups of the most disgusting yellowy-brown lumpy liquid EVER.  I scream.  I bang around in the locker.  Pound the tank with my screw driver.  Scream more expletives.  Basically, I throw a temper tantrum as best I can while contorted into a pretzel.  This is NOT fun.  In fact, it is downright disgusting. 

Look at all the room we created!  Note the taped off hoses.  Yep.  Those held poop.

Eventually, I lost my marbles and had to get out.  This was after about 40 minutes of being in there, sawing, cutting, sweating, unscrewing and maneuvering.  Scott relieved me (he is really good at stepping in and calming me down in my moments of "frustration") and after much manipulation, we got the holding tank out.  For good.  We're going to put a much smaller holding tank in it's place.  We'll use it in lieu of pumping overboard when we're in a harbor, anchorage or near a beach - we don't want to pull an "Uncle Eddie" when we're among neighbors.

You're welcome.

Love,
Brittany & Scott

11 comments:

Captain Verena said...

Yuck! Have you guys ever considered getting a composting head? We love ours and it does not stink at all if everything is working correctly.
Check out this post for more info: http://www.pacificsailors.com/2010/04/more-about-our-head.html

By the way, love the new look of your blog!

Philippe said...

Sounded like a great Tuesday! Just curious, how big was the old tank of the Rasmus, and what's the tank size you guys are planning to put?

Mid-Life Cruising! said...

What a nasty job! Pat on the back for staying in there 40 minutes. We have a friend that uses a bag for the "non-liquid stuff". Hmmm. I've actually been thinking about that alternative when at a marina.

Windtraveler said...

Phillipe - the old tank was 32 gallons - it was a huge aluminum cylinder...took up SO much room. I think we're putting in an 8- 10 gallon...square in shape.

Lisa Hanneman said...

Where the poop goes is just one of those things that I would rather not have to think about. I have a feeling that was some old poop draining out of that pipe. OK, now I have to go puke into our "head," which is luckily connected to the sewer (again, don't really care how, just know it is).

Lara Kercinik said...

One of my favorite posts to date. I can literally hear your voice as you're describing this revolting task. I'm impressed.

Laura and Hans said...

I've crawled into our refrigerator (in order to clean it) but I will never set foot into the holding tank!! OMG!

Maisis said...

I laughed so hard at this that my sides hurt and my face turned red. My wife walked in and asked what was the matter. I showed her your post and she nearly wet herself with laughter. Thank you for sharing your story of adventure time in the potty locker. :)

My wife says in her best pirate voice "Not me matie, that there be man's work." :)

Paulina said...

This post is absolutely hilarious! And, I have to say - you ARE a tough cookie - for doing these dirty jobs and for sharing them with us! Respect. :)
Paula

PaleMoonDove said...

OMG...I may be smaller than Capt'n...I may deal with hospital setting human "stuff"...but to do what you did...you get a major gold star!!!
Happy Sailing...enjoy your blog.
Doll (& Capt'n too)

horizonstar said...

I'm of the opinion that we Westerners are what Freud termed anal compulsive. We react with absolute horror at the thought of letting even one ounce of our biological bi-product enter the ocean. Yet we pump the animals we eat full of toxins and hormones that alter the genetic and molecular character of our bodies and send signals that confuse them into cancerous behavior. And that same genetically active pollution eventually becomes part of our drinking water supply.

I lived aboard for five years in a marina with 1500 boats in it, at least 100 of them livaboards. Fortunately it was subject to a substantial tidal range which helped keep it clean. Assuming that every liveaboard pumped directly overboard, what do you think was the major cause of bio-active pollution? 1500 boat bottoms coated with toxic leaching paint designed to poison marine life? The 1000 car parking lot with leaked oil, asphalt, and asbestos brake dust flushed into the marina with every rain? Or the turds from 100 humans that were avidly consumed by fish and crabs?

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