The One About Poo

1 Jul


We’ve just left a marina. Marina stops were only meant to be for bad weather as they charge the proverbial arm and leg. As always with a boat, though, things rarely go to plan and we needed an engineer. But let’s start at the beginning.

Following a disturbed night (idiots who decided to come to the quiet bay of Port Atheni to party all night on deck because what they wanted to do on holiday was more important than  anybody else), we were having a lazy day. Our only plans were to snooze, read a bit and have a cooling dip in the sea. What could be nicer? Of course, the body has other demands apart from sleep, one of which involves the use of a holding tank.


Diagram from

Now, for those of you who might be unfamiliar with the basics of boat life, I’ll explain. To be able to achieve the said bodily function hygienically on board, a marine toilet and holding tank is required. You do the business, carefully filing the paperwork in the bin (you can only put something into a marine toilet if you’ve eaten it first). Then start pumping the handle on the side up and down, flicking a switch to add seawater as and when you need a bit of flushing and to rinse the pipes out afterwards. Rather than discarding the contents straight into the water you’re planning on swimming in, they go into a holding tank, the capacity of which isn’t huge. The idea is that you use them for a few days before emptying in deep water. Some areas insist on them being pumped out for professional disposal but Greece isn’t one of them. 

So when the holding tank doesn’t empty you’re in deep doo doo, fairly literally. We had been routinely opening the stop cock but hadn’t realised nothing was happening. With a light warning that we had very little space left, the policy of “Bucket and Chuck It” was invoked with only “solids” going into the holding tank. Never, ever, ever, think living on board a boat is somehow glamorous.

A phone call to the nearest marina had us booked in for the following day with a promise that an engineer would be available. Not knowing how dependable this promise would be and not wanting to spend any longer in a marina that absolutely necessary, Neil, being the hero he is, pumped out the majority of the contents manually, bringing a whole new meaning to Bucket and Chuck It. I cannot tell you how gross this was. I mean, I will not tell you. Use your imagination.

Now, I quite like marinas and this small one in Vathi on Meganissi was really very pleasant. Plentiful water and shore power, a few shops and tavernas and, eventually, an engineer. This man was magnificent. Unsuccessful inside the boat, we launched the dinghy so he could reach the exit under the water. Performing nothing short of acrobatics, his head almost in the water, he physically unblocked the the pipe. After some two hours of work –  success! I have never been so pleased to see poo in my life.


3 Responses to “The One About Poo”

  1. Dawn Chaloner July 1, 2016 at 5:51 pm #

    This is brilliant, made me laugh so much xxx

    • lamputts July 1, 2016 at 6:12 pm #

      Thanks, Dawn. We can laugh it now but at the time … XX


  1. Stripped Back? | Lamputts on Land - July 17, 2016

    […] water is used to flush the toilet which I won’t go into again (see The One About Poo ) other than to say the delights of a marine toilet know no […]

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