The other day I drove (with the dogs in tow) three hours south to a lake where my husband is currently working on an engineering project.
The plan was for Alan and I to have a nice picnic dinner on his brother’s sailboat and camp out on the boat that night. We were both looking forward to doing something a bit out of routine while we enjoyed some good rest and relaxation at the same time. And since Alan was working on a project at the lake anyway, he could just get up and go right into work the next morning from the boat.
The weather was beautiful when we arrived, with warm sunshine and a soft breeze just enough to put a light ripple on the water. We were the only people anywhere around at the marina and really even on the whole lake. The only sound we could hear was the soft tapping of lines against aluminum sailboat masts as the boats in the marina gently rocked about.
(Below) Our dogs are great swimmers, but since there is no way for a dog to get out of the water if they fall in here, we had them wear their little life jackets, at least until we were sure they “knew the ropes” of life on a sailboat.
Pawsome is a wonderful dock-diving dog so keeping him from launching himself into the water was a bit difficult at first. He did catch on quickly that we were not here for that and the life jackets soon came off.
The sunset slowly gave way to a starry night. We sat and gazed upwards, picking out and admiring the different star formations. Indeed, this is what we came here for…
Finally we retired within the cabin of the boat, leaving the side and top hatches wide open so a nice breeze could cool and freshen the interior. I fell asleep looking straight up at the stars, listening to the distant, disorganized song of a pack of coyotes.
At some point after we retired, I was awakened by the tapping of the lines on the mast and noticed that it had drastically quickened in frequency. Our gentle, soft breeze was fast turning into a stiff wind. Where I was gazing at stars only an hour ago, I now saw thick clouds interrupting the blackness of the galaxy. A few rain drops followed. Within a minute the sky opened up and rain came down in a deluge.
Fortunately we were able to baton down the hatches, close up the cabin and stay dry inside.
We retired again, this time listening to rain pounding on the fiberglass shell of the boat…a nice sound.
After a short time with the cabin all closed up, I noticed a rather nasty smell coming from the cabins bathroom. Since neither of us were in there at the time, I became a bit concerned. We couldn’t open up the cabin for fresh air due to the rain, and it became most “uncomfortable” in there.
The moment I figured out that the “black water” in the toilet tank was backing up everything changed. How does one fix a thing like this in the middle of the night? If I didn’t constantly use the pump on the side, it was going to come over the top of the toilet rim. Can a person stand there and crank on a toilet pump all night long? And if so, then what??? Daylight in and of itself doesn’t fix toilets. And there was absolutely NO ONE around. This is what nightmares are made of!!!
It is nearing the end of the sailing season and apparently the bathroom has been a busy place this summer. It was at capacity! A full sailboat toilet system is NOT a happy sailboat toilet system. GET ME OUTTA HERE!
The only fix was to start bailing! My dear husband took command (at my urging) and did the dirty deed. I SO wanted to open that cabin hatch door!!! Suddenly the pouring rain wasn’t looking so bad. There is nothing quite like bailing “black water” out of a sailboat toilet in the wee hours of the morning!…So much for R & R!
In the torrential rain and complete darkness of 5:00 a.m. I started unloading the boat, taking all of our stuff waaaaay up to the car one load at a time. I don’t think the interior of my Subaru will ever be the same!
Alan ended up going to work that morning soaked to the skin from rain and I still had a three hour drive to make to get back home. I set off in complete darkness with blinding rain, thunder and lightening accompanying me most of the way.
About half way home I made the unwise decision to fill my car up with gas. The temperature had dropped at least 20 degrees and I was still soaking wet in my summer clothes. That wind was coooold! Suddenly the valve on the gas hose malfunctioned and kept pumping even though my car tank was full. I ran over to yank it out of the gas tank. Gasoline was still spewing out and with nowhere to go shot straight back at me, completely soaking my right side from head to toe. The gas wouldn’t shut off and continued to spray all over me until the nozzle was bumped hard several times on the ground. I arrived home several hours later, still wet from rain and reeking of gasoline. What in the holy heck happened to our peaceful trip?
I guess I’ll make the executive decision to “mostly” remember this beautiful sunset we witnessed on the marina and those amazing stars of the evening that we enjoyed, before the tide turned and everything went astray. And of course adventures like this one make for great stories later….much, MUCH later!