Saturday, May 28, 2011

Hygiene on the High Seas

You might be interested to know that our boat does not have a shower.

That might lead a lot of you to wonder how (and if?) we ever get clean.

Fear not, my friends!  We do!

One of the best systems we added to our boat was an 'aft deck shower' which is nothing more than a hand held shower head that is hooked up to our pressurized fresh water system on about 8 feet of hose.  Showering inside our boat would be cumbersome anyway considering our bathroom (or "head" as we refer to it out here) is just barely large enough for one person to sit on the toilet.  Showering in there - while we could undertake a project to be able to do it - would be unpleasant, very cramped and mildew producing.  No thanks!  We love showering outdoors in the fresh air anyway.

There are actually several advantages to our system over an in-boat shower:

1)  We can rinse ourselves off immediately after we get out of the water.  Meaning our towels and our boat's interior remain salt water free (once clothes, towels, cushions, etc. get salt water on them - they remain damp forever so every single precaution should be made to make sure salt water stays outside the boat).

2)  We can rinse our snorkel gear immediately - again, preventing our arch enemy - saltwater - from infiltrating the cabin.

3)  We can rinse off the boat with it.  Our boat is pretty immaculate thanks to my mild case of OCD.  I like it that way and (though he hates to admit it while I'm Simple Greening everything), so does Scott.  When we drop anchor after a particularly wet passage, I hose off the boat to rid her of all the nasty salt (it actually dries in crystals all over the boat) that covers everything.  Because the hose is about 8 feet long and in the center of the boat, I can pretty much clean her thoroughly with the shower head and a hefty sponge.

4)  We don't have to deal with a nasty bilge pump or sump pump.  One less system to worry about and clog.  We like simple!

Because we have a watermaker (another one of our best decisions) we can use water regularly and without worry.  We still use it sparingly, so as not to be wasteful, but being able to shower daily has become a priority in this very hot, humid climate where you can go from zero to stink in half a minute.  On average - we use about 3-5 gallons of water a day depending on how much we rinse/shower.

I was told by former and current cruisers that things like wearing makeup, shaving and other womanly rituals would go out the window completely once we got out here.  I definitely don't wear much (if any) makeup (didn't wear much on land though) but shaving has definitely not stopped. In my opinion,  cruising isn't reason to let all one's personal grooming habits go by the wayside.  I still pluck my eyebrows, condition my hair (this product - a gift from a very good friend of mine - is AMAZING for dry, salty hair) and I most certainly still shave my legs.  While some might consider me to have an "inner hippy"; I personally love soft, smooth legs and will continue to shave and groom as long as we have the water to do so.

So - despite what you may have imagined - we are not going sceptic, dousing ourselves in patchouli oil and walking around in a cloud of filth a la Pig Pen.  On the contrary - I am happy to report that we are squeaky clean!

...Most of the time.

Brittany & Scott


Paul Arden said...

Okay I get it and the water maker is the key but you really didn't explain the whole showering "outside" ritual. Is this done in normal shower attire or are we more modest? How does this work in port or adjacent to other boats? This is an issue that has come up with us as we plan to make the jump to cruising and the more info we can gather the more comfortable the skeptic will be, if you know what I mean. So, to put it plainly, how much exposure takes place when showering outside on the boat without giving too much information, ha! The next obvious question, what happens when you’re not in a warm weather climate? Sounds like elementary questions but there are so many opinions out there and none seem to come to the same conclusion other than just do it.
Paul from Park Forest

Windtraveler said...

Paul - if we are around other boats, we keep our suits on. If not, we don't. No big deal. We don't plan on cruising in any cold weather climates any time in the near future, so this is not an issue for us. When it *was* cold when we were bringing the boat south, we showered with a washcloth and warm water in the bathroom, washing our hair in the sink. You figure it out. But our next boat will most likely have not only an aft deck shower (we love it) - but also a stand alone shower in the head.

Philippe (VA2PHL) said...

FYI Moitessier did not wash himself for 8 month while doing his around the world trip. Just a bucket of saltwater once in a while

Linda Thomas said...

good one

abhilash said...

good one. i blog about best shower heads HQ, please take a look.

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AlexVan said...

It was such a wonderful trip. Boat travel is always my topic of interest. because I will be taking a boat tour soon. I think it is possible to apply some lipstick and apply some more sunscreen too. Anyway, the article is very good.

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