What kind of person would complain about temporary bowel problems when they are sitting in paradise? Crystal clear waters, swimming pool blue, navy patches in the distance, fluffy clouds in the robin’s egg blue sky beyond. Turtles bob up and down past the boat, along with elegant sting rays, smoothly cutting through the water with their black slick cape wings.
Well yesterday was a write off. There I lay, in a wooden cabin, turquoise bedsheets no substitute for what beckoned through the cabin window. Watching old episodes of House at noon as the sun swapped with tiny rain squalls through the hatch above my head.
I couldn’t move more than a few feet from the head (toilet).
Last night, as JW and I both leapt up and headed to a head each, we figured we better deduce the cause of our suffering.
Boat life involves a lot of conservation and compromise. One of the taken for granted amenities is water. Not the endless ocean around us, but the safe potable kind.
A few bays ago, (well bays and days ago) in a place aptly called Saline Bay, we found a cheap source of water to fill our jugs. Precisely it was free. An abandoned dock had a hose and water pressure. We couldn’t believe our luck. We hauled all our 20 and 25 litre jugs back and forth a few times and replenished our onboard tank.
But then we realised that it was somewhat contaminated. It tasted a bit salty. We decided to use it only for washing bodies, clothes, dishes.
And then days went by, and in the Tobago Cays, an uninhabited paradise that is also a nature reserve, where you must store your rubbish bags onboard and really dig into your stored foods (had you provisioned properly), we forgot the golden water rule.
I was making tea, coffee, boiling noodles and potatoes all in the contaminated water.
And then it all caught up to me. And then JW.
So a day of cream crackers, flat coke, gingerale, teaspoons of honey, plain yogurt (all suggestions courtesy of Google results), and we’re both up and ready once more.
Ready to acknowledge both how fragile we are as humans, and how lucky we are as individuals. Lucky to be experiencing a little patch of this earth that has kept it’s beauty intact. Where flounder fish with both eyes on one side of their bodies, line the white sand, a testament to evolution, and iguanas prowl the little islands, their armour reminiscent of prehistoric ages.
Where the children today have decided to make floating rafts on the beach with only natural materials, and there is not a television or video game in sight or mind.
I am off to witness turtles with their kaleidoscope shells, snacking on bits of seagrass on the shallow seabed and then gliding swiftly up for air, unbothered by the clunky goggled swimmers around them.
I will handwash the laundry and dump our disturbingly accumulating garbage bags another day, in another place.
And I will respect the water in all it’s forms and acknowledge what it does for us every day.