To anyone reading this before, during or after food, I apologise for what follows.
After 29 years of uncomplaining service, the outlet pipe for the sea toilet has suffered a fatal embolism.
A post-mortem of the pipe shows that it looks like an artery of a 60-unfiltered-fags-a-day glutton. Except in this case it isn’t cigarette smoking that’s to blame. It’s urine. The build up of calcium deposits has reduced the bore of the pipe from 3 inches down to practically nothing.
As a consequence we have removed the metaphorical cellophane wrapper from the composting toilet a little earlier than anticipated. And actually we are quite pleased. There is no need to pump effluent overboard, so it is both effortless and environmentally sound. And one can feel a little virtuous. The reason for installing this toilet – a Natures Head for the intrigued – is that you cannot discharge waste into US coastal waters. The practical implication of this law is that you install a holding tank to store the waste until you get [I think] at least 10 miles offshore. Or you do as we have done and install a composting loo.
The first option would have meant losing a lot of storage space. And a holding tank can leak – seeping its unhealthy contents into inaccessible nooks and crannies of the bilge. On the other hand, the composting toilet is no more offensive than freshly mown grass on a spring morning. The contents don’t need to be disposed of for months. And this can be done anywhere sensible. It is compost after all.
Suffice to say, this hasn’t been the best of days aboard Lady Jane. Attempting to unclog that pipe took five hours.
The good news is that progress is good. We are now 1404 miles from Barbados. And the wind remains steady.