I’m having trouble loading a really cool, short video of something I am determined to load. So in the meantime, I’ll share with you something that happened to us while cruising that will never happen again. Those sayers say “never say never”... but this will NEVER happen again! I’m not joking.
Long voyages or anchoring out for long periods of time mean separating your trash. It is very important to do this- not just from an environmental standpoint.
And I will tell you why.
We have two white plastic bins on board. One bin is lined with a plastic trash bag and we put only plastics and non-biodegradable stuff in it, like Styrofoam, aluminum foil, the outer plastic that protects paper towels when you buy them, plastic coke bottles, etc… . We call that can the burn bin because if you don’t get to town to dispose of it properly, the only other way to get rid of it is to burn it in a deep sandy pit on the beach and bury the ashes. You never throw it overboard. Never. You know those photos of the cute marine animals with the 6-pack plastic rings around their necks squeezing the life right out of them?
The other bin is the overboard bin. It contains things like banana peels, tin cans (which sink in deep water), biodegradable paper products, chicken bones, cucumber peelings, etc… those items we can throw overboard when far enough off land, so that the refuse doesn’t wash up on the beach. The overboard bin gets a little yucky, but it can be cleaned out easily with saltwater and a brush.
One time early on in our cruising we didn’t separate the trash because we were only going to be out for a few days. We had actually forgotten and the trash was a nice soggy mix and no one felt like separating it out at that point. I told Jim I didn’t want to hassle with it and that we could throw everything away once we arrived into town, 3 more days down the road. When our first bag of garbage became full, we tied it up tightly and secured it on the deck so that it wouldn’t blow overboard.
Two nights after securing the bag and adding another full one on deck, I had these awful dreams. Slithery snakes were squirming at my ankles then wriggling up my legs and I was screaming and trying to get away. The bad snake dream was so realistic and it replayed itself throughout the night. I jolted awake twice in the pitch black to shake off the nightmare.
The following morning we were rudely awakened and very early; Bad Kitty was rambunctiously playing in the middle of our berth. She was jumping up and down on top of us, swatting at something overhead in the open hatch above us. I looked up, but saw nothing.
“Stop it, Bad Kitty!” and I pushed her off our mattress. But she was back at it immediately, her busy paws in batting action, eyes wild round.
“What the heck is she doing?” Jim mumbled angrily. (translated from Tony Soprano verbiage to Mister Rogers)
“I have no idea,” I said in a rather groggy voice as I sat up.
Then, something small and white dropped from the hatch above me and onto the covers.
“What was that?” asked Jim.
Before I could answer my husband, I felt the same tickly wriggling under my legs that I had dreamt about. I quickly peeled back the covers and was revolted awake!
Underneath my body was a colony of maggots. Not one… not two… it was an entire fiesta of filth under the sheet… wriggling white bodies in smiley face, frowny face, smiley face, frowny face dancing motions. They were falling from the hatch above us – from underneath the trash bags we had stowed on deck. I was hysterical. I screamed, “It’s raining maggots!” Jim flew out of bed, too, but he thought it was funny. I was not amused at all. It was horrifying and spectacularly grotesque. To know that I was intimate – in bed with - …
It was a hideous moment in time.
It’s been several years since it rained maggots. But, before we set off from Huatulco to Chiapas, Jim asked where the overboard bin was so that he could separate the trash.
“You know, we’re only going to be out for a couple days, “ I replied.
“Meri, don’t you remember when it rained maggots? Do you really want that to happen again?”
I didn’t hear his last sentence because I was up on deck retrieving the overboard bin.