Do you know how good it feels to take an unlimited shower, letting water just cascade over you for as long as you wish? Right…. so you probably do, and I can remember it, but let me tell you- it’s not a common experience for most cruisers. Our boats carry limited water and even with watermaking capabilities there is a cost to running the unit and so water is used very, very sparingly (we average 2 gallons per person, per day). We “shower” with a bucket and dipper, Indonesian mandi style. We use salt water, and just rinse off with water from our tanks- thus keeping the fresh water use to a minimum.
This is probably why one of the first things that we were told after arriving in Hiva Oa is an outdoor shower was adjacent to the anchorage, right next to the dinghy landing. Ambient temperature Water from a spigot may not sound special, but this was perfect, gentle, just warm enough, and there was a LOT of it. No lo-flo restrictions on this baby. Nobidy cared that it was in a doorless concrete structure, walls situated to provide a modicum of privacy. Privacy, schmivacy; it was heavenly, and we made great use of it! Closer to the dinghy ramp, another shower setup- with water running from an overhead pipe- did away with any attempt at privacy. We called it the family shower (see Flickr photos for an image).
More fresh water luxury awaited. Besides bathing, another great suck for water use is laundry. Anyone know how many gallons their laundry machine consumes in a typical cycle? On Totem, we typically wash salt water and reserve the precious fresh water for a final rinse. Clothes have to be very well wrung after the last saltwater rinse to minimize the use of fresh. Once again- serendipity in the anchorage. On the other side of the shower wall was a long sink with a high tap. We washed everything on board over a few days. I wish I’d gotten a photo of the boat with sheets strung on every availble lifeline used (and a few additional lines strung up)!
Who knows when we’ll have this chance again…I expect to be back to doing saltwater laundry on deck in a 5-gallon bucket soon. We’re already thinking about counting down our days in the Marquesas, and there is scarce fresh water in our next destination, the dry atolls of the Tuamotus.