by Kelli Martinelli

Anchors, aweigh.

cloth diapers air dry
Jess and James have been rolling along happily, riding the gentle waves in a Mexican marina with their baby girl, Rocket. In our last post, Jess walked us through her innovative wash routine involving buckets and elbow grease, because even though space and fresh water is limited when you live on a boat, Jess and James see no reason that they can’t parent – and diaper – in the way that best suits their lifestyle.

Life on a boat means time at port and time on the water. And this sea-faring family has now weighed-anchor, leaving the safety of the marina and embracing the adventure of the waves.

“Life seems to be much more about the elements again now that we’re out of the marina. It’s quite humbling actually as you have to re-think even simple things. Yesterday, for example, there was a huge rainstorm all night and most of the day. There was no wind so the water wasn’t rough but it meant that with such gloomy skies we ran our fridge a lot less as we weren’t getting much solar power in from our panels.”


A wash.

Jess has been so kind as to detail how she’s been cloth diapering onboard. She even took to an experiment with a Wonderwash, a small and portable washing machine. But as it turned out, her bucket method proved to be a simpler and more efficient process and she’s abandoned the little machine! “We’re hoping to give it to a fellow cruiser at the next swap meet!” she says.

How does life change when the weather forces you below decks?

“It’s cooler here now, especially at night, so Rocket has been wearing some awesome sleepsuits that we’ve been given by family.  Also, it means that the nappies won’t dry! It sounds trivial and it sort of intentionally is as it’s the only real issue that seems to have come up with cloth diapering on board so far. I’ve learned to double up the inserts at night as she’s sleeping for longer stretches. Now that we’re back out on the hook I’ve been doing an initial rinse off of any poop in salt water as we have a salt-water foot pump tap. Then the inserts go in my hot water and detergent bucket soak. So I’ve got into a nice rhythm of one insert wash per day, which uses 3 litres of water to wash and 1 and a half litres to rinse. I then re-use the rinse water as half of the detergent wash the next day to help conserve water. The gPants and pouches, along with any clothes of hers, get washed once or twice a week. Plus even though rainy days may mean that not everything fully dries the flip side is that we get to collect all the rainwater to stock up our water tanks! Yes, little Rocket gets her diapers washed in rainwater.”

Skuttle me Skippers.

In our last post we talked about how Jess was soaking the pouches in Vanish to help preserve their whiteness. Vanish, bleach and even oxygen bleach are caustic and can lead to de-lamination of the breathable nylon pouches, which then leads to the elastic being vulnerable to stretching out. If the elastic loses its stretch, it can lead to leaks. In working with Jess and James on this series we promised them complete honesty, and they in return promised the same. We gave very little guidance on the ins and outs of using gDiapers, and as a result, this issue of caring for the pouches only came up after Rocket’s had indeed begun to stretch out and lead to leaks. Lesson learned on both fronts. No more Vanish (stick to sunshine for natural whitening). And we’ll work on making those care instructions more prominent.

Land Ahoy!

Jess, James and Rocket are headed home to the UK for the holidays. “It’s the first time we’ve been home in over 2 years so it’s quite nice that we have a Rocket baby to show for it – almost feels as though we’ve achieved something!” ;)

Weigh anchor and hoist the mizzen! This merry yarn will continue in the new year!

asleep at sea

Peaceful holidays to all and to all a good night.


about the author Kelli Martinelli - Kelli has been with gDiapers since its infancy in 2006. She writes the gDiapers blog, email campaigns, web content, manages social media and customer service and supports PR. She occasionally takes a stab at her own blog It’s Me, Kelli, where she chronicles her waste reduction efforts and her stories as a single mama to two kiddos. Stay in touch on the gDiapers bloggoogle + and twitter.