The last thing on my mind when we bought our boat was the intimate relationship we’d develop with poop. For those of you who are not familiar with boats (or RVs), every vessel has a holding tank that serves as the endpoint of the septic system. This means that your excrement goes everywhere with you, and if your boat is used regularly, it has be dealt with fairly often. One of the items on our to-do list is to install a gauge to notify us on the level of our holding tanks. However, among the smorgasbord of other tasks to be done, this one has been relegated to the “wouldn’t it be nice” column. Since this is a luxury we lack, we have the distinct pleasure of either guessing when it is time to pump out or of not guessing, the latter being synonymous with, “Ugh, shit! The shitter’s backing up!”
Well, yesterday was one those days where there was no guessing involved! We disconnected from shore power, started the engine, and made our way to the pump-out station. While there, one of our favorite fuel dock staff generously offered to buy us each a beer (has anyone else noticed that people who work at fuel docks are some of the nicest around?). As we began to head back to our slip, we gazed out on the Puget Sound, abuzz with ferries, sailboats, the cry of seabirds, and a bit of sunshine. The temptation of a gorgeous afternoon and a cold beer in hand was not to be resisted – we veered out of the marina and headed west.
As I pulled up our fenders, I noticed they had barnacles on their bottoms! A pang of guilt hit me. Barnacles are a sign of time too much time in the water. The last few months have been busy. Work has been consuming, we’ve had a few trips that have taken us away from Seattle, and there have been repairs that needed tending. That sounds like a string of excuses, I know. We haven’t left the marina in over three months [guilt]…thoughts of how soon we are to depart on our voyage [nerves]…the feeling of cutting through the water [peace].
Watching Seattle shift from a striking urban scene to a panoramic cityscape is one of my favorite things about cruising away. Seattle is incredible up close and she is all the more terrific when viewed from the water. We made our way to Eagle Harbor and dropped anchor for the night. Over glassy water and the mist of our cold breath, we watched the sun fade away. How quickly I forget how rejuvenating it is for me when we sneak away, even if just for a night. Perhaps finding barnacles on our fenders was a sharp reminder that in only three more three-month periods we will be departing for the big blue; perhaps it was also a reminder of the importance of taking time for self-care…