Trash Day

Melissa on slow-boat Galapagos checking in. It is finally bathing suit weather again out here on the rolling Pacific. I was telling Michael the other day that I can see why people can be content to just sail around on the sea all the time down in these warmer waters. When it’s good it’s a little heaven on earth. Water that is an indescribable shade of blue, albatrosses, flying fish, catching Dorado, warm sun in the cockpit, brilliant sunsets against graphite clouds. If it weren’t for the fact that the Covid 19 economic crisis has hit our family pretty hard, Michael and I might be content to just sail around out here in these pleasant light winds, spinnaker flying, making our slow but steady way toward Hawaii. Unfortunately worries about family at home , whether because of social isolation, job loss, or business collapse, keeps me wanting to make progress towards home, or at least cell service. So we try to eeek as many knots out of these sails as possible without turning o n the
engine. We have done a good job of conserving fuel so far, in case we need to motor for days at the end. Winds are supposed to be very light for the next couple of days so we are enjoying the lack of engine noise while we can.

We have decided, based on the recent experience of other cruisers who just landed in Hawaii, to skip the big, more populated islands and go directly to Hanalei Bay on Kauai, a bucket list location for us. It makes our trip about two days longer but we have friends there who have blazed a trail for us to check in on line. The authorities know we are on our way, so the stars are aligning in that direction. We have found that during a world crisis, staying away from the more populated areas is better. And it’s nice to have friends who are offering a shipping address and a place to do laundry.

Anyway, today we have lovely, if slow, sailing again and the boat motion is easy so it’s trash day. On a cruising sailboat, trash management is kind of a big deal. Think about it. We have been without a trash dumpster since May 2. How much garbage does your household generate in 4 weeks? If you had to manage your own trash (which many people do, even on land), what would you do differently?

Our trash management starts at the grocery store when we are cruising. Next time you are in a port city like, say, San Diego, and you see two shabbily dressed people taking all their groceries out of boxes, decanting things into reusable containers and filling the nearest trash can with the refuse, don’t assume they are crazy. They are probably just traveling by boat. As much trash as possible gets left for the local garbage man.

Everything else has to be dealt with on board. Organics like vegetable peelings get cut small and thrown overboard. Cans, which are almost always lined with plastic now, get rinsed, flattened, and stowed in a bin. Glass jars get reused or stowed with the cans. It’s the plastics that are the real issue. Have you noticed how much plastic trash you generate daily? It seems like every single thing has plastic from the medications that come in plastic bubble packs to the plastic wrap on a granola bar. Even Q tips have plastic sticks.

So on trash day I get the trash bag and sit in the cockpit, sorting and compacting the plastics where they take up as little space as possible. It’s a soothing task, really. I can fit a week’s worth of plastic inside a plastic water bottle. A large yogurt container can hold more than that. Sometimes I will cut things into tiny pieces to make them take less space. I mean, what else am I going to do with my time out here? In the end I have a week or more of plastic trash stored in a small container in one of our lockers. When we get to Hawaii the Dept of Agriculture will tell me what to do with them.

Hey, our fishing luck has turned around. We have landed two lovely Dorado in the last two days. Loving this beautiful ocean out here as much as possible as we make our slow but steady way.

Sent from Iridium Mail & Web.

7 thoughts on “Trash Day

  1. It sounds absolutely wonderful !! Glad the weather is mild for you guys….years ago we body surfed the Bay – love it there! Continued smooth sailing wishes .

  2. So glad all is well. Good enough here. I’m still doing the ancestry thing and staying put. Aiden and Channing came over this afternoon and helped out in the yard a bit. Just be glad to have you both on land—somewhere. Love, Mom

    • Yeah, it’s amazing how much of it is in our lives, even when we try our best to reduce our own waste. I have to be pleased that we ended up with only one bag of trash for the Dept of Agriculture to collect from us here in Hawaii. At least we did not see much trash in the water on the way here. ONly one large piece of styrofoam. Otherwise, we saw nothing in the water until we got within range of Hawaii. Even then, only one bottle. So I was glad about that.

    • Hi Autumn! What we found was a buoy with a big antenna and several smaller R2D2 type buoys in the vacinity. Nice of whoever is responsible for alerting mariners to its location. It was fun to find it, and we saw some Risso’s Dolphins because of our diversion, so that paid off nicely.

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