Water Water Everywhere and Now ...
05 January 2016 | Drowned Cays, Belize
Beth / clean! and not as hot in the North wind
Water, Water Everywhere and Suddenly – a Lot to Drink!
People have told us again and again how wonderful it feels to have as much fresh water as we want – the freedom to shower frequently, and use as much as we want for rinsing clothes and dishes – and never run out of drinking water - and it is true!
We have always been frugal users of water, and we managed to stay clean (or clean enough – and no one ever told either of us that, really, we needed a shower.) We washed dishes once a day, used our solar shower bag to rise ourselves off after swimming, and made regular use of a basin of water and a wash cloth. I figured out that I could wash my hair using one yogurt containerful to wet it and 2 to rinse. Our bathtub/shower in the head was rarely ever used, and was mostly another place for storage.
But oh! The luxury now! We can have showers every day! I have cleaned out the bathtub enough so that I have to move only 4 things to take a shower – the dehumidifier, the bucket that holds our snorkel gear, the basket with fishing gear, and the laundry bag. The fishnet and gaff stay in there – to maintain the nautical theme. Unfortunately the shower drain pump isn’t working, so pumping the water out by hand with the dinghy pump, or scooping it with a yogurt container does tend to limit the amount I use.
Here are the details of our new equipment:
We bought a portable version (as in “not permanently installed” – it is considerably bigger than what we were expecting when we read the word, “portable”.) We opted for a Rainman Economy model based on our needs and reviews we had found, and it does exactly what it says. It delivers about 18 gallons of fresh clear water per hour, from the salt water that flows under and all around us.
After numerous emails and conversations, we ordered our watermaker from Christopher Burton at SeaTask in Oakland Park, Florida. (www.SeaTaskGroup.com) He shipped it to Bon Bini Cargo Consolidators Inc. in Miami. Bon Bini regularly ships cargo (by sea) from Miami to Puerto Santo Thomas de Castilla, near Rio Dulce, Guatemala. Trans Cargo receives the goods and transports them by truck to Rio Dulce. We have found that the advantage of shipping by vessel to Guatemala is that duties and taxes are assessed not on the contents or weight of the box, but by the cubic measurement of the box. We have used this system several times in the past, and in this instance, the two boxes containing the watermaker components weighed 44 kg, yet it cost only $85 US to ship them from Miami to Rio Dulce – including all taxes and duties. We paid a further $10 US to Trans Cargo for trucking the boxes to Rio Dulce. As Captain Madcap says, “That my friends, is a real bargain!”
The system we purchased is the 115 volt Rainman Pressure Supply Unit with the Economy Reverse osmosis membrane. Because we already have a Honda 2000 generator (common on many cruising boats), we bought the electric model. For those two components, the price was just over $4000. US.
We have used it 3 times now, and the set up gets smoother each time. The generator sits on one side deck, and the pressure supply unit sits on the opposite side deck and the white, tubular membrane lies on the cabin roof near the water valve. The clear intake tube from the pressure supply unit goes in the sea; the green brine output hose from the membrane hangs over the side to pour brine back into the sea; the white hose pours sparkling clear water into our tanks. We have to use it every 7 days or we need to “pickle” it, and since we haven’t done that yet, I’m not going to talk about it here! Most of you have already read much more than you ever wanted to know about “making water” – but I hope it is helpful for other boaters considering watermaking systems. In these warm salty waters, it delivers in excess of 15 gallons per hour, meaning that we have a fair bit of noise from generator and pressure supply unit for a few hours each time, but we are not lugging endless jerry cans of water from docks to boat, and we figure we will eventually get to the single digit dollar per gallon figure.
Here’s to ya! I’m off to have a shower!