Monday, January 11, 2010

Stink Face

January 11, 2010
I got it on my face: a full blown, pressurized, sewage holding-tank explosion!
The sun is about to dip into the inky rollers for the night. We have just passed the US-Mexican border, 10 miles out to sea. IO is stretching her wings after the prolonged rest. We are under full sail in 2-meter rolling swell, 10 knots of wind. The pleasant 18-degree breeze is on the beam and our working jib and main are pulling strong but hardly straining. I go down to take a leak and am utterly affronted with a rank stench that is wholly unique in its vulgarity. When I raise the lid, fumes from the brown gritty water sloshing in the bowl waft my guts into instant turmoil. I was actually enjoying those rollers, but add a little raw sewage to the mix and well.we ain't in Kansas any more! Hell on earth! But wait it gets better.
Certainly if I add a little pressure to the system while pumping out the tank, that should pop the blockage out and I'll get back out to breathing that fresh pacific air. I pump. Nothing. Just a few more. Nope. Ok this is fowl and I am really going to get seasick if I am in here any longer. I can't just leave it now because if I stop pumping the pressure will force more shit-water back into the bowl. I really giver a few good pumps and WHUMP-PHHHHSSSSTTT-SPRAYYYY-GOD-NOOOOOO STOOOOOOP.

hmm hmm-whimper!

The most unholy, anal-ripened, chemically putrefied GNAR blasted out from the holding tank, all over the underside of the starboard bunk, bathroom sink and my face!
Even Davey Jones himself could not drag my morale to lower depths.
I go out to explain the situation to Hyo. We are 15 miles out of San Diego, its just about dark, we have about 12-20 hours of sailing to get to Ensenada Mexico and the entire inside of the boat is not compatible with life.
Hyo-jung, who fortunately had not yet descended into a pit of despair and was not currently wallowing in her own filth (as I was literally), brought reason to bare and argued as such: We had designed and prepared this boat to be unstoppable, We did have the parts aboard to fix it somehow once we got to Ensenada, it was going to be a warm night and was calm enough that the cockpit would be dry, we have sleeping bags and could make due.
We arrived in Ensenada at 8 AM. And after spraying out the head, holding tank area and bilge with the shower, combined with significant airing out, we managed to sleep our off-watch shifts below on the port bunk.

Last night sucked, and having just explained that experience, I don't even know how to explain what happed at the Mexican customs and immigration. It was utterly beyond my control.

Living the dream!

Update - we were up till 2 AM and have now pitched the entire holding tank. The fiberglass seam had actually split; leaving a 60 cm gash that was effectively a gateway leading directly into Hell. We have cleaned up and put a much simpler system into place.

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