Ventilation Holes

I like the hot chocolate made by Wilderness Family Naturals. I like it plain. When on land, I like it spiced up with a tot of something interesting. I even like eating it in its powder form. I am considerably less enthusiastic about it when it is liberally coated all over the inside of one of my lockers, and all the contents therein.

This was today’s rather discombobulating discovery. A locker on the port side of the deck, which like all the other deck lockers leaks like a sieve, was found to be full of unpleasant brown liquid. Swishing my fingers through the opaque waters, I found amongst the swimming contents an empty hot chocolate bag.

One of the really good things about WFN hot chocolate is that it contains none of those evil, unhealthy trans fats that are in most hot chocolates (look on the label for “partially hydrogenated” oils). It consists of cacao, coconut sugar, dehydrated coconut milk, and Himalayan salt.

One of the really bad things about WFN hot chocolate is that coconut milk, when at Indian Ocean temperature, is a solid fat, so the powder has formed a gunky, slimy, congealed, lumpy coating all over everything – one of those coatings that is impressively good at transferring itself to anything it touches. Also, it is dark brown, which is not a good colour to have smeared all over one’s decks, clothes, skin etc.

For now I have let it be, to be dealt with when conditions calm down. This gives me time to consider how I am going to clean up the contents, pump out the brown water, and clean up the locker, preferably without my boat looking like the scene of a dirty protest.

I told myself it could be worse. In her book, Jessica Watson (the 16-year-old Aussie who sailed solo around the world) describes the aftermath of a knockdown and having to clean up the “dunny”. The brown stuff she had to deal with wasn’t hot chocolate.

Ah, the romance of life on the ocean wave!

Other Stuff:

Conditions today were the calmest they have been so far this month. The wind has been good for progress, but it would be nice to have a few “drying days” so I can air the cabin. The Purple Palace is getting rather fusty and damp, both from wet clothes coming in (although I minimize this as much as I can) and because I have this unfortunate habit of breathing in my sleep. It has been too rough even to have the ventilation holes open (see photo).

Sierra Sage – you’re very welcome. Of course, you realize you HAVE to be careful and stay safe now, because if anything bad happens I will feel awful for having encouraged you to get back on your horse. Good luck and ride safe!

Rico – yes, I do have arnica. But I’m over my nerves now. As Sierra will find out, the hardest part is the first minute. After that it gets easier all the time.

John Kay – thanks for the comment re Tiger Balm (not containing tiger) and Baby Cream (??!). Made me laugh! As did the comment from Marks the Spot. LOL!

Quote: I dread success. To have succeeded is to have finished one’s business on earth, like the male spider, who is killed by the female the moment he has succeeded in his courtship. I like a state of continual becoming, with a goal in front and not behind.
(George Bernard Shaw) – plenty of “becoming” still ahead of me before I’m in any danger of success!

Photo: the ventilation holes are those two smaller holes below the hatch to my sleeping cabin. They have screw-in covers to keep water out, and a protective scoop-shaped partial cover on the outside.

Sponsored Miles: Grateful thanks to: Zan Janiszewski, John Miller, Ian Jefferson, David Tangye, Steve Maskell, Courtney Elwood, Tamara Fogg, Karen Morss, Jennifer Bester and Kamas Industries.


  • I just listened to the latest podcast where you alluded to your state of dress. Since, for you, clothes are an option for months, do you fear stepping out not fully clothed after your back on land? I picture a scene like Life of Brian when he opens the curtains.

  • Just a thought. If we raise the all people of Earth out of poverty as we should, there will have to be a paradigm shift in consumerism or we will deplete the planet in no time.

    • Mark, you make an often overlooked point. Raising everyone in the world out of poverty requires first a definition of what poverty is. In many western industrialized countries it amounts to adequately fast internet access; in North Vietnam, urban China, large parts of Africa and elsewhere it’s more a matter of life or death.
      Secondly it requires a process for achieving the chosen standard. Thirdly it demands the selection of administrators to ensure equitable redistribution of assets.
      Only then does the definition and procurement of resources become relevant. Current suggestions have included heavy taxation of some for the others and forcible reductions in birth rates.
      Recently, Roz mentioned Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs; there’s also Hertzberg’s Hygiene Theory and my own Helical Explanation (of Maslow) which points out that an adequate lifestyle eventually leads to the desire for improvement; that achieved becomes a new norm until the desire for further improvement and so on. Thus the definition of poverty will change constantly, as it has always done.
      A while ago I pointed out that the tips of ancient volcanoes that are now islands in the Pacific have been sinking since they were created and thereby becoming less habitable. At one time this would have led to solutions such as an exodus of surplus population is search of other land; now, instead, we prefer to support that population in place by depriving ourselves of assets. However trivial those costs may be, if multiplied million- or trillion-fold the effect could lead to the kind of response we see in the US when a few people are required to make trivial contributions to their pension funds.
      Drawing attention to problems and demanding that others take action always leads to worse problems. It has caused bloody revolutions throughout history.
      The solutions should be clear by now. But I’ve taken up enough of Roz’s blog-space. Sorry, Roz.

      • Agree the poverty can have different levels of meaning. Not having a lot of money could be poverty, but if one has means to feed and clothe themselves and their family adequately, it might not be critical to survival. Perhaps a fundamental definition of poverty should include access to food, water, shelter, clothing and work suitable to a minimal but healthy, meaningful and reasonably comfortable existence. Those of us who “have” should at least have compassion for those who lack those essential “resources” and bring them up to a minimal survival level — at least.

        If increased droughts, famine, disease, malnutrition, premature death, increased flooding, increased storm severity, increased storm frequency, and other physical threats that are associated with increased moisture content of the atmosphere as a result of our burning coal, oil, gasoline, kerosene, diesel, natural gases and producing methane by virtue of feeding beef and dairy cows in order to maintain our extraordinary life style, should we not — each of us — take pause to reassess our consumption?

        As an illustration, the orders of magnitude that our impact is accelerating sea level rise, albeit, perhaps a meter this century, it took hundreds of millions of years for atmospheric CO2 to become sequestered and turn to coal, oil and gas, which cooled the planet and allowed ice to form as CO2 concentration came down through 425ppm (+/-75ppm) and the oceans dropped on the order of 78 meters … and now we are reversing that in the span of 200 years.  Imagine an ice-free planet, and the water ending up in the ocean back at the 78 meters higher than present.

        The small island populations and the hundreds of millions who live in the coastal plains will be impacted in the foreseeable future. Not in my lifetime, but in my grandkids’ lifetime. And how will that impact on my grandkids?

        Imagine the revolutions.  The social and economic chaos that we are on the brink of unleashing with climate chaos.  We will not have to demand others to take action.  They will do it on their own.  Unfortunately, their action, I fear, will be against the  minority of us who enjoy our inflated consumption.  Peak oil, peak coal, peak uranium, peak everything may follow peak population if we don’t start working on the root causes of “poverty.”

        The devil is in the details, and that is the here-and-now crux.

        • Briefly – this is Roz’s blog – Abstract ideas such as “each of us should…” doesn’t help. What someone thinks “we” should do doesn’t achieve anything. Actions by a few make no difference. Lacking some sort of world government – which God forbid – only a catastrophe of some kind will suffice. It may impact “us” or “them”, but that’s what it will take.

          • I read urgency in personal action, collective community action and cooperation at the national and international level. I sense a definite upsurge in the first two. Just in the past few months, I have felt immense hope observing what the actions of a relative few — villages, towns and cities, businesses and industry, average volunteers and billionaire philanthropists — are having.  A catastrophe might be what it would take to wake up those who don’t know what to think, but we have the will and ingenuity to change course locally, and even some visionary governments understand what needs to be done. We just have to demonstrate our will to those few who drag their feet. Listen to what Klaus Scharioth, Ambassador of Germany to the United States has to say … … I have a feeling Roz would approve this conversation on her blog.

  • Roz, sorry to hear about the housekeeping necessities … but we must keep our house in order, as they say … hope the weather is such that you have opportunity for a clean catch on every stroke.

    BTW, speaking of housekeeping, I am in Yosemite today and tomorrow, staying at the housekeeping units at Curry Village. Rising early Sunday morning to get a very early start on the 14-hour round to the top of Half Dome. Back before sundown.

    I know you love the mountains, and will be thinking of your message “one stroke at a time” as I struggle with one step at a time.

    Rowing cleanly, Roz!

  • Years ago in one of Rosemary Pilcher’s books she used the Britishism: “having a little toes up time…” I loved the term and use it regularly. Looks to me like you are taking a ‘toes up time’ in this picture 😉 I pray everyday that this roiling Indian Ocean calms down a bit to give you a few days of fresh air and a chance to dry out. I envision your “laundry” draped all over Sedna and everything smelling ‘ocean fresh.’ (We pay extra for that scent in our detergent!) Hugs to you – keep breathing  – and BTW – how’s your noggin?

  • Re: Chocolate.

    Roz: Since no-one else seems to have bothered, I have taken the trouble to do some empirical research on your chololate problem. It has been hard and tiresome and I wouldn’t have bothered if it had been anyone else.

    Having (of necessity) consumed a good deal of chocolate in the interests of my research I can now report that you have two possible solutions: Steam and a four-year-old niece (or nephew, as available). Steam will flush out pretty well anything and a four-year-old will consume pretty well anything, irrespective of condition. Sorry; that’s the best I can do on my own.

    Anything else you need help with?

  • Much as we are working to reduce plastic, I think individually vacuum sealing some of your back up electronics may be in order for future adventures. Save from little surprises caused by putting backup eggs in one basket. 😉 

    Rrrrr Roz (Watch out for the big sneaky ones.)

    Jim Bell (Back in Australia)

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