Up shit creek….
Where to begin... So, today I got more shit on me than when I first destroyed my nappies as a child. Yep, I got poo on me.
We have had an ongoing, steadily increasing to bad, situation on board Nandji. A little while back our toilet system seemed to do not quite exactly what it was designed to do. Nothing overly major, like waste leaking out a pipe, or the toilet not flushing your business. But a little problem we could see growing. Literally growing, as our waste tank is a bag instead of a solid tank.
I am not sure what most toilet systems on-board other vessels are like, but I’ll attempt to describe Nandji’s ways of parting with our waste. The toilet flushes with salt water. Therefore there is an inlet/seacock for the ocean to enter the system. Once you have completed your business, you flush and the salt water comes rushing in to the rescue and makes last nights dinner disappear. From here, the tidal flow has two options. It passes through, what you a call a “Y” valve. This delivering the option to either disperse your dinner directly to the fishes, or the choice of holding onto the waste in a tank for a rainy day.
If you choose to hold onto the waste for the rainy day, the tank is only going to get fuller until you cannot carry any more poo. This is when the time arises where you have to find a marina that facilitates for your tank being pumped out. As this is not a feature of any marina we have come across yet, nor have we been looking, but the rainy day had come along.
Usually we have the “Y” valve set so the fishes have something to feed on as soon as we release our food. But over the course of our journey, this valve has decided to let the waste go where it chooses. Some to the fishes and some to the rainy day.
We decided to install a pump with the name of the “Macerator.” Pretty hectic sounding pump, but if it chops the dinner thinner than when it went in. It is the pump we want. Rather then trying to find a facility that caters for waste removal, it was time to install our own removal system from our ‘rainy day’ holding tank.
The tank was not overly full, in fact it was less than a fifth or sixth full, but still had waste stored inside. Over the last couple of weeks, we had noticed the bag slowly expanding and our nostrils felt the toilet, starting to smell like a toilet. No matter how much we cleaned, it was obvious that the contents in the bag, had to go.
Today was that day. I planned my attack thoroughly and had devised a seemingly brilliant plan. But like all plans, they were destined to fail. The plan did not fail horrendously. However, it did fail bad enough, that there remained waste in the line when I cut the pipe… Yep, this is when I got a little spray of brown water. Luckily I had prepared for a possible mishap and had a bucket in the impact zone, ready to catch any stray stragglers. A very good decision in the end, as my afternoon might have been spent cleaning and disinfecting Nandji, instead of feeding the fishes.
After a bit of sweat, tears, thinking and poo particles, we now have a macerator pump installed inline. Allowing us to empty our holding tank out at sea at the flick of a switch. Hopefully this has resolved our issue with the odour. Next job is to flush the system so only water remains and tackle the task of replacing the “Y” valve. Then having total control on where we choose to put last nights dinner.
The joys of living on a yacht. Slowly getting closer to becoming the ‘Jack of all trades’. To all the plumbers out there, today I felt your pain.