Charlie has been living, eating and sleeping boats for decades and sometimes it's difficult for him to remember that charter guests from places like Missouri, Oklahoma and North Dakota have a hard time comprehending the dynamics pertaining to boats.
On one occasion he was explaining the plumbing in the shower and one lady was being particularly difficult. "Why doesn't the shower just drain out like at home?" she asked, irritably. Charlie explained patiently that water would come into the boat if there was a drain hole.
The head operation was another point of contention, "Well," she said with a huff, "I'm not putting waste toilet paper in a bin. It'll stink."
"It shouldn't be a problem," explained Charlie. "To prevent blockages you're only allowed one square of paper. And don't forget to put the little lever over to the right when you've finished using the toilet, otherwise the bowl will fill with water and flood the boat when we heel over."
Next, Charlie demonstrated pumping the head and as usual an obnoxious odor filled the cubicle.
"How disgusting," ranted the woman. "It smells like a sewage works."
"It is a sewage works," said Charlie with a smile. "Well done."
A couple of days into the cruise, Charlie heard an exclamation from the guest cabin and it was discovered that some green phosphorescence had found its way into the toilet bowl.
"This is outrageous," exclaimed the woman. "You mean the toilet is flushed with sea water?! That is certainly not hygienic. I shall be complaining to the health authorities when we return."
Charlie shook his head in disbelief. Then a smile slowly spread across his face.
Next morning he went snorkeling and as luck would have it he found what he was looking for: a small octopus. He managed to coax it into a plastic baggie and swam with it back to the boat. Later in the day an opportune moment presented itself and he popped the octopus into the guest cabin toilet and closed the lid.
Charlie's plan worked: he knew from the resulting screams that the lady in question had discovered the mini-monster.
Next time Charlie vowed he'd find a moray eel and hope that it found a new home!
Julian Putley is the author of 'The Drinking Man's Guide to the BVI', 'Sunfun Calypso', and 'Sunfun Gospel'.