Tuesday, November 4, 2014

I’ve changed!

Laundry on s/v Dee
Happiness happens when I found this! Was 1USD per load in Puerto Real, Puerto Rico
Laundry on the anchorage
Cleaning lady on s/v Dee
A recent conversation between wife and husband during a sunny and sweating afternoon;

Husband: Did you taste if the water from the water maker is too salty to drink? 
Wife: Yes, it is.
Husband: Then, throw it away.
Wife: What! Why you gonna throw the water away? Keep it at least to wash the dishes. 
Husband: Look who’s talking. If it was 1 year ago you didn’t even care about the water! And I’m sure you wouldn’t talk like this!

I sit quietly and think about what Joao said. That’s true. I never care how many water I used to take shower, brush the teeth, and wash cloths or dishes. Until now, when we are living on a sailing boat surrounding by sea water, I would say water is the most precious thing in my life! Did you know that only 3% of the water in our world is potable? Yet, 97% is sea water. I know it’s a pity that we live on and are embraced by the sea but we can not drink it! 

When I lived on land I barely paid attention on the water bills or, I can frankly say, that I never knew how much was our water bills! I wasted bottled drinking water, left the water running while brushing the teeth, and took long showers and some other behaviors that I can't list wasting the precious water. The situation on a sailing boat is completely different, we have to produce our own water and no we don't have any water company to purify it or reserve it for us, we have to do it by ourselves. We have to produce drinking water from salty water using the water maker with the limited power we have on our boat or we must pay for it. Just remember the situation in Thailand when they had floods, the drinking water in the supermarkets or convenience stores went out of stock because Thai people panic afraid of not having drinking water. Or, in Macau, if China cut the water supply Macau won't be able to produce its own water, how Macau people would live without water? It’s not easy to understand when you never lived in that situation! That’s why I have changed a lot!

We take shower, wash the dishes and do the laundry using sea water to save the precious and valuable fresh water for drinking and cooking. Joao, Maria Dee and I take first shower with sea water and then after we will wash up with fresh water. The only thing that bothers me about this is that most of the  soap bars don’t make foam! I have a cup of fresh water to dip the soap in to make foam and take shower normally or use baby shower gel! All the baby shampoo, shower gel or soap make foam with sea water. I think it should be something to do with the PH balance in baby products. I learned that washing my hair with sea water leave it as shiny as if I use fresh water. I refused to wash my hair with sea water before but I had to change in order to save water to drink. It’s just the same thing and I still have long hair. Some people say we shouldn't leave our skin dry without washing up with fresh water because our skin will develop fungus, I never leave my skin just with sea water but Joao does. He said it’s no problem. Anyway, I tried to encourage him not to do so, seems that it works!

To wash the dishes, some cruising books suggest that we shouldn't waste our time washing the dishes with sea water because it develops molds, especially in tropics. We wash the dirty dishes with sea water then we use a spray bottle with fresh water to remove the salt. The only disadvantage is that you only have one hand to wipe and rub the dishes while spraying the fresh water and sometimes we end up finding out that some dishes are not well clean. So I make sure that when I apply the dishwasher it's rubbed very well before I spray with fresh water and that problem disappeared. For cooking pans or cutlery which can become rusty, we try to avoid using much sea water, washing it with more fresh one. 

Washing the cloths, this really depends on your feeling and personal taste. Our boat friends told us that they tried to wash their cloths with seawater but it left some salt and make the fabric sticky. When we first anchored in St. Thomas we met a neighbor boat who always washed the cloths with sea water. A 6 members family without water maker. The owner of the boat told me the secret to make the fabric soft, add softener in the first water that you use for the cloths and detergent then shake well the cloths after drying. I tried and found that is the same and no one in our family had skin reactions including the sensitive baby skin. So until today we wash our cloths with sea water, wash the second time with sea water and finally rinse with fresh one. Personally I think liquid detergent is better than powder. Both of them don’t make too much foam but the powder sometimes don't dissolve very well and you will notice grains inside the sea water. We save a lot of fresh water and can wash cloths as much as we want too. 

We are lucky that most of the places we anchored are still clean but if we notice that sometimes or someplace are not clean we don’t use it. We heard that we can use the sea water to cook like boiling eggs, or 1 cup of sea water equivalent to 1 tea spoon of salt but we never cook with it and I still don’t dare to try it also.   

Now I understand when boat people said what they miss the most… most of them say taking a long hot shower, because I miss it too!

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