Tag Archives: Sustainability

Cleaning Medina without hurting my friends

One of the challenges of moving on to the boat from a house was the change in cleaning products. I can still use many of the household cleaning products but it is not possible to use others because they are not applicable to some of the equipment or the marine environment.

Kin Kin eco dishwashing liquid

Kin Kin eco dishwashing liquid

Since living on the boat, I have become more aware of the environmental impact of cleaning products. This is because everything that comes on to the boat must come off the boat, at some time. Cleaning products come onto Medina in neat colourful bottles or boxes, the contents end up being pumped out one of her ‘through hull’ openings as grey water and the bottle or box goes in the rubbish bin then up to the marina industrial bin or recycling bin.

I am aware of the age old mixture of vinegar and water as a disinfectant and I do use this in certain situations as it has a low toxicity and is biodegradable. However, I was after some cleaning products that I could buy off the shelf and know that they weren’t going to contribute to killing the bream, mullet, dolphins, toad fish, turtles, cuttlefish, crabs and other marine life we have living in the water around our boat or the birds that eat them.

It has amazed me how much marine life there is living in our marina, sometimes I see more in a day in the marina then a week at an anchorage. One of our favourite outings in the marina is watching the sea life at night when one of the large and fancy powerboats leave their underwater lights on. Its like having your own person aquarium and is better than watching tv.

So given my growing friendship with our marine friends, I have changed my thinking on the cleaning products I use on the boat. I know I don’t use a lot, however Manly Boat Harbour, with four marinas is the largest boat harbour facility in the Southern Hemisphere, with over 3,000 dry standings and wet berths, plus two public boat ramps, plus being the end of the storm water drainage system for a large urban area, the cumulative effect is pretty big. By getting used to using these products in the marina, I am hoping they do not contribute the cumulative impact from other boats and landlubbers and we won’t negatively impact the marine life when we are cruising, in a marina or at anchor.

Resparkle organic cleaning products

Resparkle organic cleaning products

I have started to use organic cleaning products on the belief that they won’t hurt the marine life as much as artificial or chemical based products. I have also tried to source locally made products where possible.

My favourite products to date include the Resparkle range and Kin Kin Naturals.

The Resparkle range of products is organic, plant based, anti-bacterial and the packaging is reusable. The refill pods are much smaller and cheaper than the store bought alternatives – so fantastic for stocking up when we are not going to be seeing the shops for a while.

I have tried the kitchen and multi surface cleaner, nursery and toy everyday cleaner and bathroom and glass cleaner. Each has done exactly what is promised on the label and I am about to order some refill pods.

Another not so joyful part of cleaning Medina’s interior was getting the smell of cleaning products out of the boat. I used to wait until Orbit went to swimming lessons so he wasn’t affected. But I endured a headache after cleaning.  So far I haven’t had a headache using the Resparkle products.

Kin Kin eco laundry liquid

Kin Kin eco laundry liquid

The Kin Kin Natural products I use are the eco laundry and eco dishwashing liquid. Given the eco laundry and dish wash liquids are both grey water safe and septic safe I feel comfortable that it isn’t going to hurt my friends when I empty the dirty laundry or washing up water. Both are ultra concentrated, which took me a while to get used to as our washing machine is so small and only needs about one third of the recommended dose. This is great from a storage perspective because it means its less to store when on an extended cruise.

I buy these and other organic products from www.theorganicstore.com.au The online store is based on Queensland’s sunshine coast and they ship all around Australia. I have their service is fantastic, the website contains helpful informative information, the shipping time is quick and would recommend them to everyone.

Morning tea with a lower carbon footprint

When cooking on the boat, I try not to use any electrical appliances. That means anything that plugs into an electrical outlet. Which most of you know, is most cooking appliances these days.

The reason why I am trying not to use electric appliances is because electricity will be limited (and need to be topped up) when we are sailing (i.e. not in a marina). Electricity, like water and food is a limited resource on a sailing boat. In order to generate our electricity we’ll need to either:

Our solar panels

Our solar panels

a. rely on our solar panels, an idea which I love, but they are reliant on the sun (which doesn’t always shine); and/or

b. rely on our engine, an idea which I don’t necessary love (in this context), because it uses diesel (not good for the environment or our hip pocket), can be smelly and noisy.


Once we have generated the electricity (either by solar or the engine), it then needs to be converted from 12 volts to 240 volts.  We have an inverter on the boat which converts the electricity, but it also needs electricity to work, so the whole process can be a bit draining on our electrical supplies.

To be honest, I don’t want to run the engine or drain the batteries each time I want to cook up a batch of chocolate chip biscuits or pop the electric kettle on to have a cup of tea with them.

My new best friend - a hand beater

My new best friend – a hand beater

The alternative is to use a hand beater to make the biscuits and ‘old whistler’ (kettle) on the gas stove.

So my new best friend, who I am on a mission to get to know is my newly gifted hand beater. A big thanks to my ever supportive mother-in-law, who I affectionately call MILly. After hearing of my cooking situation, Milly very kindly offered me her hand beater, which she’s had since she married my FIL (yep, father-in-law). So its a family heirloom that will need to be passed on, hopefully with many swashbuckling stories.

I’ve kept the first attempt using the hand beater a simple one – chocolate chip biscuits. I have made these biscuits before with an electric beater and know they worked out well, so the only difference will be the beater.

The only downside to using the hand beater compared to the electric beater when making the biscuits was I couldn’t give Orbit a beater to lick at the end (which he loves). As an alternative I gave him the spatula with a good dollop of biscuit batter on it and he seemed quite content with that.

I am pretty confident I’ll be able to make the biscuits while we are sailing, I can pop the mixing bowl in the sink and our oven is gimballed. The challenge is going to be the cooling the biscuits when they come out of the oven – but I don’t need to solve all the challenges just yet – that’s part of the adventure!

Morning tea on the 'back deck'

Morning tea on the ‘back deck’