The Ick Factor

I'm not usually too squeamish about things. We've been in lots of third world countries and seen lots of icky fresh meat markets where the flies outnumber the cuts of meat. There are several “ick” jobs on the boat like cleaning out bilges and sump pumps or scraping off the reef-like growth on the bottom of the dinghy when it's been in the water too long. I've changed my share of baby diapers and cleaned up enough bathrooms after teenagers, you'd think I would have pretty much gotten over the “ick factor”. My current ick factor though has nothing to do with the boat. It's the showers here at the marina. Some newer boats have wonderful showers aboard that are all fiberglass and easily washed and kept clean. Cups is a 1986 vintage and evidently folks back then either didn't care about showering or didn't care about ease of cleaning up after showers or the designer had other priorities in mind. Our shower area on the boat includes the toilet and the sink which means every shower drenches everything and it's not easy to clean up after. Hence, we don't tend to use it.

There's also the issue of using lots of water. If we're in a marina, we have to fill the water tanks regularly with a hose. If we're at anchor and are close to a public water source, we haul water in jerry jugs in the dinghy and manually fill the tanks. If we're at sea, we have a watermaker which requires power that is sometimes at a premium. Instead, we tend to take kettle showers while on passage; swim a lot when we're in warmer waters and/or use public showers when we can. Public showers in Australia are fairly plentiful and usually kept pretty clean.

The marina is in an expansion phase and replacement of the shower block is in the plan, but it won't happen in my lifetime here. The shower block is old and worn. There's a green wrought iron entrance gate to the toilets which definitely deters people from getting in when it's locked. It does, however, allow things to blow in under it dust and leaves and it does not deter things that crawl large snakes and small rodents. The lighting is very dim and I'm always on the look-out as I enter. This could be the time that a snake or a mouse or a huntsman (gigantic, ugly spider...think tarantula) has decided to use the head at the same time I do. In all fairness, I haven't seen any of these yet, but I'm always on my guard.

Actually, I think the potential for snakes is low at this time of the year since the building is unheated. The ick factor at present is … little black worms that crawl on the shower walls. I're cringing (or laughing) as you read this. They're about ½ -1” long, black, skinny and slimy looking. The chances of my touching one to see if it's really slimy is nil, so you'll have to take my word for it. They've got these little antennae that constantly twitch. Yup, they're large enough to see antenna-twitching without getting too close. They seem to favor the grouting between tiles at about elbow height. Yesterday, there were four of them. Ever try to take a shower and keep your eyes open on watch for potential critter attacks? I'm always wondering if the shower spray might provoke them or maybe they'll get washed onto the floor and attach themselves to my feet. I do a count before and after to make sure all worms are accounted for. Just writing this gives me goose bumps.

I tried rather half-heartedly knocking them off before my shower the other day, but they're rather like adhesive and hunker down when you try to remove them. Plus unless there's a confirmed kill, you never know where they are. Ick!