Posted by: Helena Smalman-Smith | January 17, 2012

Day 44: I’m just going to have a quick shower…

Did you say that this morning? Did you dive into the shower, jump into it even? Or are you planning on having a nice soak in the bath this evening perhaps? Bully for you.

Out here on the ocean, morning and evening is not the time for body washing – the middle of the day is, and this is because you will quickly dry off by standing around. Don’t we have towels, I hear you ask? Oh yes, we do, 1 each – that clever kind that is a sort of Pure Irish Linen Black Hole because it absorbs several billion times its own weight in water. but even so, they have both got to a stage that can only be described in the immortal words of a Dilbert cartoon “Should towels bend?” So you really don’t want to apply them to a clean body.

But back to the point – whilst you spin the taps, grabbed the soap, and closed your eyes under a stream of clean water, here’s how it is out on the ocean.

First you grab the BLACK bucket. The BLACK one, I say, NOT the yellow one, which is for entirely different purposes (ask Anna Hodgson if you’re not sure). Then you lift the chunk of cabin mattress just inside the door, open the hatch, and extract the 4l water canister that we divert the first litre the watermaker makes each time into (which would be safe to drink but tastes a bit funny), and pour about half a litre into the black bucket. Next, retrieve your sponge. We have a blue one and a pink one. Colour coding is very powerful, you know. The pink one lives in a poly bag of its own. The blue one lives in someone’s washbag unprotected and yet he is STILL using the toothbrush which lives in the same washbag. Yeurk.

Now put a dab of concentrated clothes washing liquid into the bucket and remove your shorts. This can involve standing on one leg as you are tied on with an ankle leash. Now wash your shorts in the bucket, squeeze them out and use the mixture of soapy water to sponge down your body, all the time being eyed by the one rowing. It’s worse than having the cat sitting in the bathroom door saying “And when do I get breakfast?”. Then throw the water over the solar panels, pour out some more, sponge yourself with clean, and then rinse your shorts. Hang these up to dry. Take them down a few hours later and sniff – mmm the nice aroma of washing liquid… but they also still smell. Life on the ocean wave, eh?!

Thanks to all who sent messages today, esp Horse in SA on laptop with worse batter than this one and dodgy internet! Long training camps, eh, I do sympathise. Hope the food on yours is better than on this one.

Liz – first of all, I should have said weeks ago that you don’t need to include your email at the start of your texts – this will free up lots of characters! I understand that we are relatively at Hammersmith Br, but I didn’t get the bit about what’s outside houses in Barbados? Nice idea, Lisa, re the relative places on race courses – where are we on the Boston Marathon? Stixwold Bridge? And where round Lac Leman? Have we got to the island at Villeneuve yet?

Lisa many thanks for sending msgs to other crews FB pages – Glad Barney “likes” us!

Rachel MT – wow, you’re going to be rich beyond your wildest dreams, to quote Robbie Williams… How about 2215 and 2390? You’re going to have to do something about the cancellations process… Or maybe you already have.

Mel – good decision. Lydia – I am so jealous of your alpine weather!

Baz (missed you) – is that too easy – “silence”? Cath, indeed, workstations are so often where the work stops… 🙂

CM – thanks for positive comments about progressing mileage – sadly, it will have gone down for today as there has, as usual, been more southerly content than your forecast suggests, and it felt almost like a headwind for much of the afternoon. Flattened out a bit about an hour ago, just HEAVY! Graham is a legend.

KGS staff – R says that he’d be very happy if Nick Bond wanted to do a bit for the local press about “KGS teacher has rowed over half way across the Atlantic with his wife raising money for St Mungo’s and the Huntington’s Disease Association” sort of thing. Pics poss available from Talisker site (need to ask them)? (Photos of H&R & DIDI in La Gomera also available  from Land team – Charlie Bradford knows contact e-mail – Land Ed)

Coming soon… “Claws 4” and storm petrel suspicions.

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