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Keeping It Clean In The Southern Ocean


  • Keeping It Clean In The Southern Ocean

    After about 10 days in the Southern Ocean, I wake up this morning to the boat broaching. I stop her from broaching only to realize it is freezing outside! The sun is up, it comes up around 4am UTC, there are some cumulus clouds floating about but what broached the boat was a little squall bringing 26 knots after a night of 18-20knots. The boat doesn’t like the sudden change in breeze strength and direction making her wipe out slightly. It’s a gentle broach and easily fixed by easing the main. I run back down after she is settled and I crawl back under my 12V heated blanket in my fleece nest. As I snuggle back into bed I notice everything is wet. My gear is wet, the windows are wet, the whole boat feels damp. There is water sloshing in the bilge behind the companionway stairs. The last 10 days have included 3 windy and wet low pressure systems. They have come and shown 20-50 knots of breeze and then left to leave a beautiful sunny day. Today was no different. As I walked out of the low yesterday the squalls still came but instead of 40-50 knots of breeze they only blew a maximum of 35.

    After looking around I realized it was time to get to work. I needed to warm up. I went looking for my mustang survival body suit to put under my insulated Carharts. I needed to charge up my batteries-the hydro doesn’t do very well when surging down waves and there hasn’t been much sun for the solar to charge. So I turned the engine on and started the laundry. I washed a few items and hung them to dry on the engine compartment door. Then after some sponging of the bilge, adding more silicone to areas that are leaking, it was time to heat up the water to shower. My jet boil only boils two cups at a time so I boiled a few times and then poured into a bucket. I then added cold water to the bucket to cool the boiling water to a decent temperature. I then set up my towel, soap and random cup. I put my head over the bucket and took the cup and scooped up perfectly warmed water over my very dirty and salty hair. After a proper shampoo. Shampoo, rinse and repeat. I finally dumped the water and created another round of boiling water to start the process again. I then rinsed my hair one more time and then started my body. I remember being a kid-we didn’t have much money when I was younger-and my mother would sit my sister and I in the bath the same way; grab the wash cloth and shampoo. She would take that random cup and scoop the warm water over our heads and shampoo us, as she sat on the floor of the bathroom. All in the same motion she would grab the wash cloth and pull our arms up and drop them down. She was so quick but so gentle. This exact moment, in the middle of the southern ocean, reminds me of that childhood moment. Of my mother. Feeling that warm water on my face, neck. Tasting the salt as it leaves my hair.

    I realized in that moment that I also needed to boil some water for breakfast and a cup of tea. While I finish my hair I cooked my freeze dried breakfast. Then I thought, Oh! My rigger has been telling me to take warm water to the main cars to held get rid of the salt! So after breakfast was cooked, I made more boiling water to run upstairs to the mast and clean the salt from the mast cars. My hair in my pink head wrap and all. Lastly I made a little more hot water to run around the boat getting the crusty salt off of a few blocks and things that like to turn. For the rest of the day I felt clean, refreshed, but also calm. I had gotten so many things done; but it all went back to that wonderful bath. Something I desperately needed. But it brings not only cleanliness but also the necessary calmness after the storm. So I dare you dear reader, make a cup of tea or draw up a bath. Even in the Southern Ocean I try to have these little comforts. These little things that bring me joy. And make me feel at home.

    This is dedicated to my mom and her routine nightly bath. I love you. I miss you everyday.


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