Posted by: adventuressetravels | March 1, 2011

Shaken, Not Stirred

“Water water everywhere but not a drop to drink…” –The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner

I am officially drinking pond scum.  Well, not exactly pond scum.  It isn’t organic, but pond scum sure couldn’t taste worse.

Our first foray into the horrors of sailing with a tainted water supply happened when we filled up the tanks in Jacksonville, Florida.  After a week of the water tasting worse and worse until we basically couldn’t drink it when it wasn’t hot enough to burn the tastebuds off of our tongues, we had the brilliant idea of adding bleach to the water supply.  I’m not sure what exactly had taken up residence in our water tanks but Clorox did the trick.  After half a cup of purification, our water supply was well, good enough to drink.

A couple of days ago my cold tea started to take on a familiar taste of slightly-salty dirty bathwater that had been sitting out in the sun for a couple weeks putrefying.  The taste just worsened throughout the day until I was sure I was drinking poison.

“I’m going to go crazy from drinking salt water,” I declared.  I am not entirely sure the validity of this myth, but according to sailors drinking salt water is a ticket straight to the loony bin.

After sampling the water in question the captain assured me the foul taste was not salt.  It wasn’t the water purification system that had broken.  Perhaps we had picked up bad water when we filled up in George Town, Bahamas and contaminated our tanks.

Once again, we broke out the bleach.  A quarter cup … half a cup … a day later the water tasted a little better.  Then it was back to where it had been.   Any more bleach and we would bleach our entire digestive systems.

It might not be water contamination, after all.  We should really put water in sealable bottles and let it settle out in the refrigerator.  Apparently phosphates, mineral deposits, and basically all the crap that ends up in the bottom of a tank get churned up in turbulent seas and blend themselves into a vile salty cocktail.

Just to make sure bleach couldn’t fix it someone dumped an entire cup of bleach into the tanks.  Now rather than salty, our water smells like bleach.  It’s undrinkable.  To make things worse our water purifier broke.

If the winds keep up like they have been we’ll be in Mexico in a couple of days.  We can’t wait.  Oh Mexico, the land of milk, honey, and delicious pure water.  Well, at least they have bottled water …


  1. Thingscould be worse, as in the next couplet: “and all the boards did shrink.”

  2. crazy that one could conceivably die of thirst while maintaining a live internet connection… plus I had no idea you can drink bleach! (in any quantity)

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