Pacific Crossing Series: Showering at Sea

Showering is a luxury when sailing across an ocean…as well as a challenge. This special event takes patience, balance, and a change in your definition of clean.

On our crossing, we had specified shower days- not so few that you couldn’t stand the smell of your crew mate, but few enough you couldn’t get away from yourself!  Our water conservation system was to use a solar shower filled with ~3 gallons of our precious fresh water, it was then attached to the deck to warm in the sun; the shower nozzle ran through the hatch into the shower- these 3 gallons had to last for all 4 of us.

The first shower day was interesting…and I was the first to see if the system worked. First, I retrieved a bucket of sea water and placed it in the head (bathroom) which is roughly the size of a shoebox. As we were under sail and heeled over, my shoebox was on its side. Balance- remember balance…I began by dunking my head upside down in the bucket while the boat rocked and was heeled managing by some miracle not to be hurled into the wall. After blindly searching for a towel to get the salt water out of my eyes, I proceeded to shampoo my hair. After sufficient scrubbing, I dunked my hair in the same salty bucket while (once again) attempting not to fall over. This fabulous salt water scrubbing continued head to toe. After hair and body were clean, I then successfully managed to shave my legs without cutting a major artery. After completing this amazing feat, I rinsed with the salty sea water. 

Now, whoever designed the boat neglected to consider that water needs to drain in the shower regardless of the tack you are on…on this day (and most of our voyage), the drain was higher and I stood in 4 inches of water which covered the floor.  I spent an equal amount of time bailing the water back into the bucket as I did bathing. Finally, after ALL this, I was then allotted my minute amount of fresh water to rinse off the sea water. After the final bailing event, I squished the water about myself in an attempt to dry with a towel similar to a car shammy.

I learned my lesson…

My second shower day was much easier…I waited on deck for a squall to hit with shampoo in hand. When it began to rain, I soaped up head to toe- a natural rinse and called it good.

Life is always an adventure!