Down in the dumps

We’ve had a bad week.

It started when I got up in the middle of the night to pee and sat down in water. What?! I flipped on the light and found the toilet full to the brim (with clean water, thank goodness.) A long time ago we had a small leak in the toilet pump, similar to when your house toilet runs, but marine toilets don’t work by gravity and require a pump to fill and flush. Anyway, we don’t have a pump leak now, so this bowl full thing was weird. I flushed and went to bed.

The next day, the bowl was full again, and continued to fill up to the brim — but never overflowing — for all the next day. With the troubleshooting help from our Manta owners list we learned that the anti-siphon vent was most probably plugged and that seawater was siphoning up into the bowl after every flush. You can guess what it was plugged with. Now it’s the Skipper’s job.

Jack learned from his experience fixing the macerator pumps a few years ago that you don’t wear your Sunday best when fixing the head. He opted for his birthday suit, removed the hoses and took them ashore to perform a time-honored sailor’s job, whacking the crap out of them.


Yes, he put some clothes on for this maneuver. Once the hoses were cleaned and reinstalled we were back in business.

Every Sunday here in Bahia local expats Lynn and Lou host a cruiser pot luck at their lovely waterfront home a short dinghy ride up the estuary.


Bahia del Sol is a waypoint for boats heading north to Mexico or south to Panama and it’s fun to meet people coming for a few days or weeks or months.


“North or south?” Is always the question, and so far we’re the only ones who say “west.” This is way different from Panama or the Galapagos where nearly all the boats are gearing up to make the Pacific crossing and cruiser talk centers around weather patterns, provisioning, routes, departure dates and radio nets. We’re feeling a little lonely and wish there were other boats here with the same plan.


We whiled away the day swimming and eating and watching the crazy Seattle-Green Bay football game in Lynn and Lou’s comfy living room. And every man there asked Jack if he got the hoses cleaned out ok. Yep, it was that obvious to everyone in the anchorage what he was doing on the dock. Because they’ve all done it. A lot.


I was glad to have the port head back because the next day I was hit with what they call “traveler’s complaint.” This is the first time I’ve had it since some questionable eggplant in Messina, Sicily, in 1984 caused a world of suffering all the way through Italy and Austria back to Berlin, where I finally appealed to a local pharmacy for relief.

“Food or water?” the pharmacist asked.


“Chemical or herbal?” she asked.

“Chemical. Fast. Bitte.”

I don’t know what she gave me but within a day I was back to normal after weeks of distress. This time I waited six days before I sent Jack over to Bill and Jean’s for advice on what to take and they offered a fix that rivaled the German cure in speed and effectiveness. The experience reminded me we need to beef up our medical kit, but thank goodness there’s almost always someone nearby with a quick cure for what ails you.

We’ve had a miserable week. We need to get off this boat!

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One Response to Down in the dumps

  1. I just had had a skin check and several excisions on my back — you might want to get a check on Jack’s back ? this stuff is serious –

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