Day 15. Showers on Aldebaran

Steeper swell coming from behind us today, but the boat is happily surfing down the waves with a 10-15kt NE wind. Fine conditions prevail.

Rainshowers pass by once or twice a day, but when they hit us it’s usually for only a few minutes and quite light. They can be fun though, as the wind accelerates and Aldebaran starts galloping downswell.

When the bright rays of sunset mix with dark rain showers in the horizon, as they regularly do, the result is exquisite. The puffy clouds of the trades have a distinct quality of “fluffiness”, and the entire panorama becomes a cartoon of playful beauty.

We just passed our two week mark into the voyage, without any real rain collection — “so how’s our water level?” I wondered.

Aldebaran’s 140 gallon water tank level was down to 60 gallons left on day 15 — which means we’ve been using about 6 gallons of fresh water per day on the boat (1.5 gal per crew member) for cleaning, cooking, boiling water, and showering. This doesn’t include our drinking water, which we produce with our small capacity Katadyn Power Survivor E40 watermaker.

At this rate, we have another 10 days of fresh water, which will get us to Pitcairn but not all the way to Gambier. We are anticipating rain in the first week of May, so that should help.

We are already rationing showers to every second or third day. Further, showers are mostly salt water; we just rinse off with fresh water at the end. In cold climates we’ll heat all the water on the stovetop, but during this passage cold water had been refreshing.

At anchor, we’ll often shower off the back of the boat, soaping up and jumping in the ocean. But mid-passage jumping in for a dip is not feasible! So we setup a shower in the head (bathroom) which is tight but delightful. We use a fantastic “camping” shower by NEMO that pressurizes the water using a soft air filled foot pedal at the baw, and has a shower hose off the top.

Big thanks to Brian Rossini for bringing us this gift during his visit in Galapagos last July! It is much more water efficient that scooping water with a mug from a bowl – which is what we use for the salt water. Plus, it sits on the floor, preventing it from swinging dangerously like our previous solar shower bags that hung.

Incidentally, cleaning dishes is the same: they are mostly washed in salt water, with a final fresh water rinse, and during a passage we even limit that fresh water rinse to just the essentials: cups and silverware.

So we’re going to keep our normal water rationing techniques, and if we need to supplement a little with our watermaker to tidy us over, we can do that.

NOTE. Our Katadyn watermaker only makes 1.5gallons of water per hour – which is way less than most boat’s watermakers – but it has the distinct advantages of being able to produce water manually by pumping, which is important for emergencies; and it runs electrically on relatively low power at just 4 amps. It just takes a long time, and limits us to just making drinking water.

0900hrs. April 24, 2017
S 20 55.985 W 116 31.724
Distance traveled last 24hrs: 125nm
Distance to Ducie: 507nm
Wind ENE 8-15kts gusts to 20kt
Course: SW 245
Boat speed: 5.1kts average

4 thoughts on “Day 15. Showers on Aldebaran

  1. Very interesting to learn about your creativity and technology using and saving water on Aldebaran.
    Questions that keep popping up and are then answered here… Great to hear about the constant improvements. shower head instead of scooping water from a bowl !!! I still remember our dips in the ocean when sailing “Cariad”, built in 1896, to the Caribbean in the early 70’s- washing my hair with shampoo without fresh water rinsing, just toweling dry…

  2. Thank you another great post. Wonderful insight into the water use. You always answer so many questions that pop into my mind. Essential to have water for Michael’s tea. He always has three cookies with tea. Do I presume this is not case on this voyage? I look forward to each day of your wonderful adventure. And I am so glad I am reading it and not living it. Please hug Michael for me.

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