Friday, 23 August 2013

The boat ...

... has what is euphemistically called a "holding tank". It is positioned beneath one of the two cushion-covered seats in the main cabin that, along with the table between them, converts into a double bed.

The tank is full. Hence a slight "aroma" in the cabin, which is kept at bay with liberal use of air fresheners. When we bought the boat the tank must have been full, although we didn't realise it at the time - no doubt because the previous owners also used air fresheners. It's probably been full for a long time.

If we were on the Broads back in the UK (where our elderly cruiser comes from) there would be no problem.  We would draw up to any marina, link up to the grey water pumping station, the tank would be emptied and the ambience around the boat would be much sweeter. Ah, but we're on the Lot, in France.

There are pumping stations on the Lot.  In fact we are moored right next to one on our marina.  But it doesn't work.  Has never worked. We are told none of the pumping stations on the Lot work (despite having cost a lot of money to install). Tod thought he ought to check this out when he was over on the far side of Villeneuve at a ship's chandlers, merely a stone's throw from the next marina.  He found four guys playing cards in a shed and asked about their pumping station. No, it didn't work, had never worked  He asked whether any other pumping station worked.  This required a lengthy telephone conversation.  No, none of the pumping stations on the Lot worked.  Honour satisfied (the strange Englishman having been given the necessary information) they returned to their cards.

It is unlikely that the pumping stations will ever work.  This after all is a country where men prefer to pee at the side of the road and where French boats just have a hole in the side to let everything out.  So who needs a pumping station that works except a few eccentric British people on British boats who keep everything in a tank in the salon?

So, we need a pump - but what pump?  And will it be one the marina pays for and keeps, or one we have for ourselves? The marina solution looks doubtful, so what do we need? We are sent a link to a wonderful video demonstration of a Leesan manual self pump out kit.  It looks remarkably easy and simple, but Tod baulks at the idea of paying £317 (plus VAT?) for something that (hopefully) we will rarely need.

A helpful email is sent to us saying: "It would probably be much cheaper to make your own pump out kit".

Unfortunately the sender is addressing two people who are capable of making no more that a light salad for a supper with friends.


  1. I wonder just what multiple of 317 was spent on pumping out stations that don't work.....

  2. Hi Helen, rumour has it that each station (and I think there are three along our stretch) cost in the region of 10,000 euros! May just be a rumour of course. :)

  3. So do you just 'go with the flow' and do as the French do?
    Must admit the thought of swimming in French rivers has lost it's appeal.

  4. Hi Lesley, we will do once we've got the tank emptied and cleaned - we'll insert a two-way valve in the pipe-work to have the options, either into the tank, or straight out the side. I agree with your last comment! Although in fact the Lot is very wide here and there is no traffic on it, so you would be fine. :)