Rain! At Last!

Note: The following is taken in part from my memoir, Sailing with Impunity: Adventure in the South Pacific.

We were hungry for rain. There’s something a little sticky and abrasive about dried salt water. The backs of my legs became tender from the crustiness of it, so when in the cockpit I sat on a towel.

We bathed in salt water, but rinsed in fresh water, but we never felt completely clean. Salt water doesn’t suds with regular soap, but we had learned that Prell Shampoo worked for both hair and body in salt water. The same with laundry—we used Joy detergent for laundry and dishes. Although when doing laundry I used fresh water for the final rinse, our clothes felt a little stiff and didn’t smell as fresh as we’d like. But fresh water is at a premium at sea, too precious to squander on bathing and laundry.

One day, approaching the equator, we had a heavy rain squall. At first we rushed around to take advantage of the abundance of fresh water. After the scuppers and deck were cleaned with the hard-driving rain, Bruce opened the deck plate to fill the water tank. We took showers, letting the rain run off Impunity’s mainsail so we could get a good stream. We washed our hair, and I washed clothes. The deck got a good scrubbing. We exposed the boat’s salt-encrusted bench cushions to the fresh water.

When the rain passed, six hours later, we marveled at our soft skin and hair, at how clean everything felt. Coming from the Northwest, I was used to rain, but I’d never realized how important it would be at sea, and how much comfort rain would bring.

4 thoughts on “Rain! At Last!

  1. It sounds like the rain was like manna from Heaven. I guess I’d never thought before about how one would miss fresh water while sailing the seas. So like this bit from the Rime of the Ancient Mariner : “Water–water everywhere and not a drop to drink.” or wash with or…

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