The Pit of Despair

We were having a pleasant stay in a little anchorage off the northeast coast of Sardinia with our new American friends on their catamaran, Sophie. Our kids had traveled back and forth between the boats over the course of a few days and were generally having a great time. We were enjoying ourselves as well. It was nice for everyone to have a break from our usual routine. It didn’t hurt that there were crystal clear waters, good weather, and a nice sandy beach within reach.


So it was a bit of a setback when I heard a sudden loud crack from the head after Marin flushed. After a good-bye party with 6-year-old girls that may not have paid strict attention to our toilet briefing (don’t put ANYTHING in the toilet except what comes out of your body), we noticed that one of the heads was no longer such a great flusher so we declared the other the “pooping” toilet. That was where the crack came from.

Now we had one toilet completely out of commission and the other operating at sub-par flushing ability. I knew I was in for a disgusting day. I am guessing this is not a new thing for some of you but it is (or was) a new one for me. I have unplugged my share of heads in my day but this is the first time both our electric heads were clogged.

Unclogging a marine toilet requires disassembling the entire toilet, then detaching the macerator (that grinds up whatever goes in the toilet) from the “exhaust” pipe. It’s a filthy job. I was standing on the back of the boat, picking through the macerator blades when Jamie (of s/v Sophie) cruised by in his dinghy. I explained what I was doing. Lara added, “It was clogged by baby wipes.” Jamie said, “Oh good – I was hoping it wasn’t the cherry pits. Marin ate about 15 of them on our boat the other day. I’ve had to unclog our head a few times because of those.”

Sure enough, about 5 minutes later, I discovered the first of the pits.My daughter loves cherries but who knew she ate the pits too? Luckily, if you can really say that, it helped me find another problem with both the heads . There were quite afew baby wipes wrapped around the macerators, the result of the party we had on the boat for Marin’s friends from her school in Valencia.

Now both heads are cleared of the baby wipes but the port head still has occasional bouts of cherry pit fever – my daughter just used it about 5 minutes ago. I spent the morning covered in crap working on the starboard head so I think I will wait until tomorrow to tackle the rest of the port head.

Besides I am hungry…. Maybe some paté or some bean dip with chips. Why do frijoles keep coming to mind?

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