Posted by: adventuressetravels | April 12, 2011

The Luxury of a Hot Shower

I’ve been known to say I only require a few things in an apartment to be comfortable; to stay for any extended period of time.  Internet access and a good hot shower.  There was a third too, and perhaps a few sensible ones at some point but the two that held firm when I have searched for flats in countries around the world were Internet access and hot water.  Of course security, central location and a laundry list of other “requirements” were understood, but the two I have actually had to go out of my way to specify were internet and hot water.

Certainly these things are unimaginable luxuries to many people in the world, but having become accustomed to these staples in life has made me grow soft.  It has made me dependent in the worst way.  Today, I find myself in a without access to either.

Sailing for the past four months has made me hyperaware how addicted to the Internet I truly am.  I use my computer to access the outside world.  I work through the internet, keep in contact with friends, network, as well as planning and maintaining every aspect of my life.  While at sea I have taken steps writing in advance, scheduling blog entries to post, and brainstorming ideas for future writing.  After all, the ocean and its many facets after all, is a wonderful muse and it would be a shame to waste the experience glued to a computer.   So, in a way, I am happy about my forced detox, but it was difficult at times.

The first days without internet were by far the roughest, but with time it did get better, and after a while I could go days without thinking about checking my email.

The showers were a different story entirely.  I am sure that some people do grow accustomed to cold showers.  I’m sure there are those in the world who actually prefer them.  I am not among those individuals.

A steaming shower so hot you almost can’t take it anymore, the water shooting through the shower head envelops you in its glorious rain that washes away dirt and dust from the day, melts away the stress and tension from your shoulders, and rejuvenates you with its life-giving warmth.  After a long swim, a mountain hike, a good workout, or any adventure such a glorious shower shines as a golden moment of true happiness.

Oh, I have often heard it said that cold showers are healthy.  They get the circulation going, are invigorating, keep you young, and all the other hype.  I don’t buy it I’m pretty sure it’s along the same lines of thinking when a bird poos on you that it’s lucky.  Experiences that miserable, just have to have some up-side don’t they?

Before getting on the boat I knew it wouldn’t have a great shower.  Boats never do.  Water pressure couldn’t be great, the shower stall a shoebox (if there even was one), all this was standard.  It had to be: fresh water and space are at a premium.  However, I love sailing enough to suck it up and endure the shower situation, or so I thought I was.

Now on the Leeway our shower double as bathroom sink.  The faucet pulled up and could be hooked to the ceiling and positioned as a shower head.  Quite ingenious really.  Sure the water trickled out of the faucet, sure it was slightly inconvenient, but I’d expected that.  It was no big deal.  The problem was the water temperature.  Even on the most frigid days, when the bone-chillingly damp ocean winds whipped through your very soul the hottest of water that came out of the shower was little more than lukewarm.  That I couldn’t take.

Oh not to say I didn’t try.  I did.  But when it came to washing my hair I just couldn’t take the relentless drizzle of icy water falling on my poor frozen body.  Sure, we were supposed to be in a tropical paradise in a matter of weeks, but right then the radio still crackled frost warnings and balmy Bahamas breezes seemed a world away.

For some this may have been a deal-breaker, but I was stubborn.  Day after day I suffered through the cold showers, sure the captain had offered to warm the water up by running the generator but the tepid showers were just a tease that was almost worse than the cold ones.  I was boiling water for my morning earl grey when it hit me.  The tea kettle was the perfect vessel for hot water.  It was built for that purpose!  I didn’t have to give up my hot showers up after all, just revise them!

And thus the teakettle show was born.  I would boil half a kettle full of water and take into the bathroom with me.  Filling the sink 1/3 of the way full of steaming water I would pour just enough cold water to make it a bearable temperature.  But leaning over the sink and pouring a plastic cup full of water over my head I had hot showers again.

At first my crewmates gave me a hard time about it but gradually one by one, they adopted the strategy.  For hair washing and shaving, at the very least.  Admittedly a tea kettle shower is not quite as good as a real hot shower on dry land but for those of us against cold showers in cold weather, it works in a pinch.

But even with the make-shift tea kettle showers I dreamed of long, luxurious hot showers…

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