June 4, 2017
The title of this post comes from an episode of Hidden Brain that we recently listened to (a great NPR podcast you should check out). The premise was that people tend to only post the good or exciting things in their lives on social media, so readers get a false sense of what others’ lives are really like. It’s definitely easier and more fun to write about the fun times we are having on our adventure, but I want to make sure that I adequately capture what life is really like for us on this blog. So, given all that, I thought I would give you a post about some, well, interesting things that we’ve had to deal with recently.
(1) Fixing the toilet
When we first arrived in Costa Rica, we were elated at the beautiful scenery, friendly people and possibilities for exploration. After our friends on Anjuli left us to head south, we started looking into the snorkeling, diving and fishing opportunities around the bay. But, before we even began to have some fun, we had a bit of an issue come up. We only have one head (bathroom/toilet) on board, and one morning it just stopped working.
Adagio has a Lavac manual vacuum pump toilet. The way it works is that when you are done using it, you close the lid which has a rubber seal around it and hand pump it. The seal on the lid creates a vacuum which flushes the toilet clean and then pumps new water in it. The pump is basically a bilge pump with various rubber gaskets in it that can go bad over time. After a couple of years of use, you may have to rebuild the pump and replace the gaskets.
So, that it where we were one morning without a working toilet. We carry spare parts of just about everything, so we had an extra pump that Mike had previously rebuilt as well as a new set of gaskets in case we had to do another rebuild. Mike began to undertake the not-so-fun process of removing the pump and gaskets. If you can imagine that everything has to pass through the pump upon flushing, you can probably get an idea of what builds up and hardens inside the pump over time that has to be scraped out and cleaned. Just one word – gross!
As with just about all boat projects, a project we thought would take about an hour ended up taking about five. And, poor Mike had to redo it three times before the pump finally worked – again, typical of boat projects. Let’s just say that Mike & I each scrubbed our hands multiple times after handling that pump.
This reminded me of the time that I had to call a plumber out to my house to deal with some sort of clog in the pipes where he had to remove the toilet to snake the drain. I could not imagine that job, but the plumber had a really good sense of humor about it. He kept telling me stories about things that people had flushed down the toilet, including a pair of women’s panties. When he removed them and showed them to the homeowners, the wife went off on her husband because they weren’t hers! Too funny.
(2) Finding the smell
So, the next thing that happened was that we pulled into a new anchorage and our friends on Kini Popo rowed over for a cocktail. But, we noticed that right after we dropped anchor we started to get a ton of flies in the cockpit. These were just your basic, annoying house flies. They seemed to be concentrated around one of our fishing rods and rod holders on the stern of the boat. I had noticed a while ago that this particular fishing rod smelled pretty bad. I thought it was just from the fish, salt water, etc. and had been bugging Mike to get some soap and wash it off.
Once Dan and Susan left, I grabbed the soap to try and clean off the fishing rod to get rid of the flies and Mike got some bleach and water to pour into the rod holder. However, when Mike poured the water in the rod holder, he noticed it wasn’t draining properly and something was clogging the bottom of the rod holder.
Mike unscrewed the rod holder from the rail and stepped down our ladder into the water to try and wash out whatever was stuck down there. What was it? A dead bird! Again, gross! We have no idea how it got in there or how long it had been there, but it was pretty disgusting.
(3) Work, work, work
For those of you who just think we play all of the time, we do actually have to do a lot of work to keep the boat maintained and running. I have really laughed at comments I’ve gotten from some friends who say what we do looks “relaxing.” Hmph! Mike’s favorite saying is, “we still work, we just don’t get paid anymore.”
We really had quite a bit of maintenance to do, so we pulled into Marina Papagallo for a few days where it would be easier to work at the dock and with shore-side water available. I also had about four loads of laundry to do. The marina had coin laundry which was much easier and cheaper than taking it into town. Our friends spent over $60 having a couple of bags of laundry done in town.
So, about five days of work included: washing the boat, cleaning and treating all of the exterior teak, waxing the hull, cleaning the bottom, polishing the stainless and changing the oil. All of this was done in about 95 degree heat and working around the daily rainstorms that blow through almost every afternoon.
I love our life here on the boat, but in between the fun adventures we’ve got some hard work and sometimes crazy stuff we have to deal with. I’m definitely not complaining, but “relaxing” isn’t really part of the daily routine. But, today is Dan’s birthday, so we’re going to head into Tamarindo tonight to celebrate with some margaritas!
p.s. Remember that post from about a year ago when Mike got a crab in his ear cleaning the bottom of the boat? Well, it’s happened two more times here in Costa Rica! I’m not sure why he doesn’t just wear ear plugs