You can choose the place, or the time, but not both....

We have had several cruising friends tell us that this is an important rule when inviting guests to stay with you on the boat.  The problem is the weather.  If we have to be at a particular place, at a particular time, there is not a lot of room to allow for bad weather.  I'm not sure exactly how this works, but it seems to me that you will have to buy a plane ticket to get you to the general vicinity, but be willing to travel a little further or to wait a day or two for us to show up on the boat.  I know this sounds a little self-centered, but it is really a safety issue.  If we make a decision to sail someplace because we have to be there to meet people, in spite of a questionable weather situation, we are putting everyone in harms way.  So, if you want to plan a visit, be aware that you might have to make some last minute itinerary changes.  Hopefully, we will get better at making arrangements as we get more practice so it won't be as inconvenient as it sounds.  I love having guests, and the last thing I want is to be discouraging about coming to visit.

What to bring with you

Bath towels and beach towels.  Sun screen.  Books. 

Sleeping bags, depending on how many of you there are.  We can accommodate one couple in Cassie's cabin.  The kids can either bunk up with the girls, if appropriate, sleep in the salon, or sleep outside on the trampoline or bimini. 

Good, whole bean coffee (supposedly hard to find in the islands)


HOW TO...........


Actually, the proper terminology is how to pump the head on Zia.  We have two different heads.  Both are traditional boat heads with a manual pump handle.  We have holding tanks for both heads.  On the East Coast, it is illegal to discharge your sewage into the coastal waters.  You have to be at least 3 miles offshore, generally, although the rules vary according to location.  We recently installed tank monitors so we can see when the tanks get full.  If you overfill them, they overflow into the bow lockers, making for a very unpleasant clean up job.  Joe had this issue on the delivery up from Fort Lauderdale, and he has first hand experience with the task.  Luckily, most harbors in New England have a free pump out service so it is relatively easy to empty your tanks when necessary. 

It is somewhat amusing to discuss this in public, but it is quite a prominent issue on a boat.  The discharge and intake pipes for the heads run throughout the boat.  One of our first upgrades on Zia was to replace all of these pipes.  After prolonged use, they tend to absorb the odors from the product that passes through them.  On our survey in Florida, I noted a distinct "head" smell in the cabin entryway.  Indeed, one of the pipes for the port head runs up under the refrigerator, which is just to the left of the entryway.  Joe, with the help of Bruce Cunard, replaced these hoses with high tech hoses that do not absorb the odors.  Happily, our boat no longer smells throughout, although the heads themselves are somewhat stinky.  There really is not much you can do about that. 

Anyway, the procedure for pumping the heads is as follows:

  • Use minimal toilet paper.  Our standard is three squares - obviously, more as required.

  • Flip the lever behind the pump handle to the left or flush/intake - this allows sea water to flush the bowl clean.

  • Pump the handle 4 to 5 times, or more as required, just enough to remove the product from the bowl

  • Flip the lever back to the right or drain and pump the handle 4 or 5 more times, or until all the water has been removed from the bowl.


    Scrape and rinse all dishes well with the sea water sprayer on the left of the sink.  Be careful, the thing shoots water all over the place.  I can divert some of the spray by holding my hand behind the nozzle and holding it low in the sink but don't be surprised if it sprays everywhere.  Stack the dishes on the counters around the sink as they are rinsed.  When the sink is empty, lift the drain plug and allow the water to run out.  You can't set our drain plug to just allow the water out and not the food, so this is important as the food could easily cause a blockage in the discharge pipe and hence a headache for Joe.  Empty the food scraps from the drain plug.  You can leave the drain plug out at this point if you are sure you got all of the big chunks off of the dishes.

    Apply soap to sponge and wash all dishes.  Depending on the quantity of dishes, you can leave them in the sink or stack them around as needed.  Spray with seawater again, removing them from the sink once they are suds free.  Rinse the sink bowl well.

    Set the fresh water faucet to trickle out, and I mean TRICKLE.  Place all of the dishes back in the sink.  Rinse each dish with fresh water, trying to direct the fresh water running off the clean dishes to the other dishes in the sink as much as possible.  Stack in the drainer.  The drainer area is pretty small so you have to get creative and use the stove and the ledge behind the sink as well.

    This seems to be the best method in terms of water conservation, which is a huge issue on any boat.  The only problem is when you forget about the big stack of dishes that you set on the countertop behind you.  Bummer!





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