Dirty Work!

Two days ago when I did my morning routines in our small bathroom I noticed a funny thing. There were some brown liquid running down the inside of the hull. Hmm, could that be… something from the toilet perhaps? Oh yes it could! Maria came over and had a look at it and we agreed that it had to be the toilet septic tank that was overflowing. The toilet onboard Cantare has not been working fully correctly for a while now but in true “mañana-mode” we have just ignored it and thought that we could fix it later on. But maybe not. We had to take care of it straight away otherwise we couldn’t use our toilet for the rest of the trip. Yuck! This was not a funny chore that we had ahead of us.

Maria went trough some suggestions of what might cause the problem. First we tried the easy solution, sticking a wire in through the hull fitting from outside. Nothing happened. Next step was taking of the cover of the waste pump to check if there was something stuck in there. This procedure was done by me with great caution because Maria had told me that the waste might splash out of it (over my face perhaps). I covered up my hair inside a plastic bag to protect it and held my breath while screwing of the lid. To my happiness nothing did splash out of it though. Inside the pump it was almost all dried up which led us to the conclusion that there was nothing wrong with the waste pump. Okay, time for next step. Maria took down the air filter to check for blockage and found some nasty stuff, some of it spilling over her arm. Sadly that didn’t solve the problem either. So then we decided to take the whole hose system down. Sofia took the hoses apart and then we tried sticking a wire into the hoses to feel if there were anything stuck in them. In the one that was directly attached to the bottom of our septic tank it felt like there was something plugging it. But since that hose was quite long and then turned 90 degrees in the end we didn’t get enough strength to push it away with our wire. To get a better angle for the wire and to get more strength we could remove the top of it which would leave us with only the curved part at the end. The problem with this was that as soon as the plug was removed almost all the content of the septic tank (80 l) would flow out of it since this hose was placed at the bottom of the tank and only curved up about 15 centimetres after taking of the last part of it. But we had no choice, it was either this or surviving without a working toilet onboard for the rest of the trip, so we decided to do it.

We took of the last part and started pushing down the wire. Once again nothing happened. Perhaps the wire was to weak so we constructed a new instrument out of our never used fish grill. The fish grill is made out of steal wire that was bendable but still stable so after bending it to the right shape we had a perfect instrument. I tried poking at the plug for at least twenty minutes but had no success so finally I gave it up and jumped in to the water to freshen up a bit instead. While lying in the water I suddenly heard Maria saying “It’s happening….yuck, I’m getting it all over me”. Maria had just bended the wire a bit more and tried for maybe 5 minutes when this started to happen and although she was glad that the plug was gone I think she was a bit startled over the fact that the waste now was flowing out in rapid speed. We tried to capture all of it in big trash bags but of course some of it got away and Maria got some more nasty stuff all over her. After about 10 minutes we had filled two trash bags and the flow was finally stopping. Puh! Now we just had to get rid of the waste. And put all the hoses together again. And clean the boat properly. And ourselves. We emptied the trash bags directly in the ocean, which was a bit disgusting but the only solution at the time. Luckily we were anchored all alone in a bay so we didn’t poison the bathing water for anyone else but ourselves. After putting the hoses together and cleaning the worst up we had to stop working because it was getting dark outside. We had been working with this all day long!

The next day we continued the cleaning and cleaned almost everything in the boat, very carefully. So for one and a half day we took a break from our perfect vacation in paradise and actually did some really dirty work. It was tough but it feels good to have it fixed and a freshly cleaned boat now that we are leaving for Cuba.

/Deckhand Catrine

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  1. Anonymous Says:

    *I almost can smell it, I have tryed this also, and that is not funny, so girls I can feel with you.