I just realize that we never talked about the laundry: during a short summer cruise this is seldom a problem, in most cases you may just need to wash some bathing costumes in a bucket, or you can wait until you go back home, but in a 20-month voyage obviously you need to tackle this problem!
Every time we reached a mooring equipped with fresh water, all
the boats were soon covered by laundry drying in the breeze: some boats even
were equipped with much-envied washing machines (although they gave a lot of
problems with incompatible shore-power due to a voltage or frequency mismatch);
all the others were making do with buckets.
A couple of buckets, and an in-cockpit laundry is set-up!
Occasionally we found marinas equipped with coin-operated washing machines: a rarity in our local marinas, but very popular in the places frequented by long-distance sailors, and not surprisingly very busy for days on end when our fleet was coming-in; still, a very rare commodity once we went beyond Panama, so a bucket was often our only resource!
Availability of fresh water in large quantity was a rarity though, usually available only once every several weeks, but local laundry services would then come to the rescue. Quite often you did not even have to search for a laundry, but entrepreneuring locals were going around the boats offering their services.
Unfortunately, quality of the laundry services turned out to be very variable, both concerning price as well as timeliness, cleanliness and sometimes even the returning of all your stuff! It did not happen to us, but several boats had their laundry mixed-up with that of other boats or simply lost forever! We all experienced cases of stuff returned as dirty as before, or at the other extreme cleaned so energetically as to have lost all colours!
And of course, remember that the islanders' idea of "timeliness" is not the same as ours, and having to postpone departure because the laundry that was supposed to be returned "tomorrow" is not ready is an experience that we all had.
Itís not easy to give advice on how to choose you laundry service: we had excellent and cheap service from local women doing the washing and ironing at their own home, and mediocre (or worse...) service from expensive, professional-looking shops.
Only advice, when in port ask around among the boats that came-in before you, you may spare yourself some trouble.
Last Update: 07/09/2017
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