S/V Hello World's Travel Log

public service announcement

I read sailing blogs incessantly. Virtually everything I know about cruising aboard sailboats came from someone who is out there and doing it and good enough to blog about it. That's what I want our blog to be. I want people to read our blog and be inspired. I want folks to learn from what we're doing and the mistakes we make and realize that they can do it too.

Towards that end, we're going to have a new and unfortunately all too regular feature here on svhelloworld.com. It's called Things Jason Fucked Up Learn From Our Experiences! (OK, we're still working on the title.) When we screw something up, do something wrong, break something, injure someone or just generally cock something up, we'll put it up on the blog so y'all can learn from us. I just wonder if the internet infrastructure can handle the bandwidth it will take to document the sheer volume of buffoonery. So, welcome to our first installment.

(Note: it's going to get a little graphic from here on out. If you a.) get queasy easily, b.) are currently eating or c.) are my mom, it's best you stop reading)

Our story begins at the pumpout dock. For those unfamiliar with life on a sailboat, the pumpout dock is a necessary evil. Sure, we have toilets on board but where does all that "stuff" go? We are not connected to any sort of city sewer system and dumping that "stuff" directly overboard into the marina where all of our boats are parked is pretty gross. So we direct it into what are euphemistically called "holding" tanks. What do they "hold"? Stuff.

At one end of the equation, we have a 10 gallon "holding" tank on board, bursting at the seams with fetid, rotting "stuff". Now, the stuff that comes out of each and everyone of us starts out as fairly unpleasant. But when you let this stuff sit in a tank for two, three, four weeks at a time, it transforms into an unholy solution of everything wrong in the world.

At the other end of the equation is the waste pump. It's a simple nozzle connected by 20 feet of hose to a pump like no other pump. A stadium full of Turkish hookers couldn't match the sucking power of this pump. The theory is that you hold the nozzle onto the fitting on deck called "waste" that leads to the "holding" tank, turn on the suction at the nozzle and the pump will suck out the "stuff" into some mysterious tank somewhere and out of your life for good.

Here's the part that I need you to listen to very carefully. Lean forward closer to your monitor if you must. If you're listening to music, turn it off. Just turn it off. This is something you will thank me a thousand times over for telling you. When holding the nozzle onto the deck fitting:


When you apply that suction force from the pump to the "waste" outlet, the contents of the "holding" tank will come roaring up that outlet hose like the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. If you do not provide a strong enough seal between the nozzle and the deck fitting...


I've taken three showers and I still can't get the smell out of my brain.

47°40'49.04"N 122°24'30.54"W


Anonymous said...

Sweet Jesus dude!

There's a pump out boat here that will come to your boat and pump you out fairly regularly. In case you didn't know that yet and were interested.

Jason said...

We are *definitely* interested in someone else doing this for us.

However (and there's always a "however"), our vent tube is blocked so we have to clear that first. Otherwise the poop pumper boat would just collapse our holding tank and send our plumbing into chaos. We had to disconnect the vent tube to be able to pump out yesterday.

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah... next time... pics, or it didn't happen! Next time you get "stuff" all over your head I want you to take a moment, (enjoy it), think of your friends (and how much they'll enjoy it), and find someone to take your picture.

White Cloud said...

Yikes, like Ben said, pictures. Sorry to hear your holding tank woes. You don't need a pump out service you need a five gallon bucket! I'm about to dive into the nether regions of my head plumbing as well, maybe you could come by and show my how NOT to do it first.

McKenzie said...

I just remembered why I like pooping on land.

Also - that was quite an impressive hooker analogy.

Jason said...

Thanks, I was quite please with that analogy. :) I just hope my mother doesn't read it.

JT said...

Yeah you had me rolling with the Turkish hookers as well.

nicole said...

heeelarious. :D I will have to be reading this blog more often. And eventually when my life calms down, I'll return your email (from July.) I know I suck, but not anywhere near as much as a Turkish hooker! ;)

Jason said...

Hey Nicole! No worries on the email reply. I've got emails from 1998 that I still need to return.

Congrats on your new job! Give us a shout if you're in Seattle. I promise we won't make you pump out the shitter.

Sailfast said...

So, does this mean the cat gets a promotion??

Jason said...

The cat already outranks me. If we promote him, we'll have to teach him to drive the boat.

Anonymous said...

Eeew. Yuck. This is why the God invented boyfriends -- to pump out the holding tank.

Anonymous said...

Not to diminish the horror of your tale, but check out the holding tank stories at this site. I laughed so hard I cried. http://www.odorlos.com/marinehorrorstories.htm

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the "heads up"!

I also read sail/cruising blogs voraciously, and have become a fan of all you guys out there at Shilshole.


The Propane Chef said...

Congratulations on yer 1st black-water encounter & a very entertaining post about it! Ahhh, head stories. Good times -- once they're OVER.

Clogged vent line? Try removing the vent cap when you're tied to the dock, & back-flushing the vent line with a strong blast of water from a hose & into the holding tank. (We got that tip from the folks at the head shop over by Fisheries.) (And you can tell your life is over when you talk about "head shops" & mean "toilet stores.")

Pumpout service - 2 yrs. ago cost us $40/mo. for our 40-footer at Shilshole; as liveaboards we got pumped-out once a wk. & it was worth every penny. Not sure of cost effectiveness if you're not living aboard.

Excellent pics & stories in yer blog - keep it up & get your fine selves on down here!

Marianne, s/v Gallant Fox, currently in Mazatlan, Mexico

Jason said...

Hey Ravac! Next time you're down there, stop by and say hey.

Hey Marianne! Thanks for the tip. I'll give that a shot tonight. Someone else mentioned the pumpout service. I think we just became a big fan of someone else pumping out our "stuff". And thanks for the inspiration. Your posts have been *hugely* helpful for us. We're getting there.

Anonymous said...

ROFLMAO! Yeah, I agree it doesn't count unless you get a picture... or better yet a video on Youtube.