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Photo: Emma and Elin use the opportunity to take a shower from the puddles released from the sun sail (Photo: Natacha Fabregas)

Stay safe – don’t shower! (Day 3 of quarantine) 

We’re still at the quarantine anchorage outside of Suva, and our water supply is diminishing rapidly, writes Kjersti Konstali.


Stay safe – don't shower!

This somewhat odd statement is now readable in our shared bathroom. Although odd, it nicely sums up the situation we’re in. We’re still at the quarantine anchorage just outside of Suva, with the view of the city on one side, and rusty old ships on the other. We’re making the best of the situation, so everything is still on (except the sailing). Today, we had another mass testing onboard, and corona seems to be under control. Luckily, we’ve not forgotten how to do social distancing, and we all hope we’ll be allowed to leave for Tonga in a few days. 

And that leads us to the second part of the statement: Don’t shower! As the water in the bay of Suva doesn’t exactly match my image of the lagoons of Fiji (it’s also full of sharks), we can’t produce freshwater.

We must therefore be mindful of our water consumption. We are not in an immediate danger of running dry; the day before yesterday we still had 60 tonnes of water. And 60 tonnes, after all, is 65 liters per person per day. It does, however, mean no long showers. 

And if we don’t reduce the consumption, it will be tight in the end. Despite this warning, we did not make the goal of reducing our water consumption yesterday. Yesterday alone, we spent 9 tonnes, which is more than what we can afford. In other words: Unsustainable. Therefore, they also cut our laundry privileges.  

Wet is as wet as you get

To cut down on our shower time, our captain reminds us daily that you can’t get more wet than wet, wetter doesn’t exist.

I guess he hasn’t heard about my latest research on what types of weather cause precipitation, which I like to refer to as “Wet – Wetter – Weather”. Luckily though, the weather gives us ample opportunities of alternative ways to shower. When it rains here, it doesn’t necessarily stop with a drizzle. Sometimes it pours! The atmosphere here is a lot more energetic than at home, which you can spot in some quite impressive cumulus clouds visible from the ship. 

With so much energy, the air rises quickly, expands, cools, and the water vapour turns into droplets. These droplets rise and grow; and soon enough, they can’t defy gravity anymore, so they rush back towards us creatures on the Earth’s surface. There we can make good use of them: if the rain is sufficiently intense, we shower directly. If not, the rain forms puddles on the sun sail over the main deck, which if released quickly, makes a great opportunity for a quick rinse. 

With all of this in mind, we are all excited about the captain’s daily briefing at 3:30. Let’s hope for some good news, no more covid, and let’s hope we all contributed sufficiently to bring the water consumption down to a sustainable level before all we are left with is the showers from above.