Climbing out of the bunk at 0800h I feel the tingling of the ice as I lightly brush my toes against the hull on my way to the galley to make my morning brew. The chill chases away the sweet memory of our beloved electric blanket as the steam huffs from my lungs slowly dissipating through the main cabin of our boat. I kick on the propane cabin heater, start up the morning chemistry and wait patiently for Mr. Coffee to deliver his magic concoction. After the brew is brewed and the first sips of warmth ooze through my body I notice that the winds are howling so I look out the port hole to discover the snow has piled up in five foot drifts from our moorage out at the very end of the dock to the gate. As the first cup takes hold of my mind it also settles into the rest of my body, once again, inspiring a familiar need…
You see, we came to Baltimore under sail in the dead of winter for employment purposes (only) and with that decision came, as usual, an entirely new way of dealing with, well, our shit.
Along with the seemingly endless paradise of our on going voyage of discovery around the planet comes an issue that, while under “normal” circumstances, would be a non-issue for “normal” people is indeed a VERY big inconvenience when the snow is descending from the sky in sheets like a biblical plague.
Simply put, we are human and human beings have certain biological functions that just can’t be avoided; in other words, even global circumnavigators have to shit like everyone else, only we can’t just nip off into the lavatory in the next room, we have to (ummm, GET TO) walk more than a 1/4 mile to the closest restroom facility… That’s right, at this marina they don’t have restrooms at the top of the docks like almost every other marina we’ve live at over the last ten years they have only one central facility and when that inspiring familial need arises it’s a very long ways away.
…I don my foul weather gear with meticulous precision, knowing that my journey will be a long and somewhat treacherous one.
Now, over the last week we have been pounded by the most amazing weather in the history of Baltimore weather recording, or rather, every single previous snow fall record in the history of Baltimore, Maryland was shattered in the last five days and we STILL had to be human through those record breaking storms.
… When I try to push open the companion-way hatch it is jammed by a thick pile of heavy frozen precipitation and a distant panic wells from within.
In the past we have had many variations on the distances between our boat and the restroom facilities “at the top of the dock” and although it is a bit of a hassle to use the dock restrooms it is much better then the alternatives which are; either shit on the boat and live with a slight smell of human stuff until we can pump it out of the holding tank or pump the un-treated human matter directly in to the environment around our home. Neither one of those possibilities are real alternatives to people like ourselves, meaning, caring environmentally conscious and responsible boaters so the only real solution to dealing with this issue is to use the Head graciously provided by the marina that we are calling home at that time.
…The wind was blowing the snow in thick horizontal lines that covered my back within seconds of digging my way out of the companion-way and by the time I made it to the ice covered gang-plank at the head of the dock my vision was distorted with biological need! At that point I only had a quarter of a mile to go before my relief.
At the beginning, when we were still new to all this environmental boating stuff it was an order of pride to get up and “walk the walk”, as we used to say to the top of the dock. It was our responsibility to show, by example, how people should treat this wonderful way of life with great care so we walked our walk EVERY SINGLE TIME without exception with our environmental pride clearly displayed upon our grimacing faces and to this day the only thing that has changed is the newness has quite thoroughly warn off leaving only the self righteous expression of grim determination in it’s wake.
…By the time I reached my halfway point I was so stealthily covered by my frozen environs that you couldn’t actually see me slogging through the massive drifts that lead to my seated sighs.
And yet it is still, to this day, somehow worth it.
I have heard that active environmentalism (such as NOT shitting in the water around your boat) is in fact an act of selfishness nothing more, that the Earth will survive no matter what we do and if you are not protecting our world for future generations of humans (like I am not) then environmental living is nothing more then an extra expense or rather, a big hassle. And really, in theory, that makes a lot sense to me, but for some reason, call it aesthetics, I still experience a great deal of pride when I walk my walk.
…When finally I reached the marina restroom facilities on that particular “walk” I found that my key card for the lock was still sitting in the galley table back on our boat a little over a 1/4 of a mile away and the look on my face had indeed changed.
…Living the dream baby, LIVING THE DREAM!