"Hark, now hear the sailors cry. Smell the sea, and feel the sky. Let your soul and spirit fly, into the mystic."
- Van Morrison
- Van Morrison
I've always loved the smell of the sea. The scent of low tide is a powerful reminder of just how much life there is in the ocean. Even the air here on the Great Lakes has a distinctive and refreshing smell. Laying on our forward berth under an open hatch when a cool evening breeze is wafting aboard is one of my simple pleasures.
But as with most yins, there's an equal yang to the pleasant smells of life on the water. Yes, I'm talking about boat odors. You know, the ones that accumulate in a small damp space like a bilge or head when multiple people live, cook, eat, pee, poop and play aboard a sailboat. Luckily, it seems like companies have been getting creative with deodorizing solutions for boats in the last several years. I've tried the tea tree oil products like Kanberra Gel and Forespar's Tea Tree Power, both of which I like, but the scent can be a bit overwhelming and the price is definitely in line with the marine market (read: inflated!) at about $16-$18 for 2 oz. of either product.
This season we've been using a line of products from Fresh Wave that seem to offer the odor fighting prowess of the tea tree oil products, but without the high prices or powerful scent. We've got Fresh Wave Crystal Gel in the head and a Fresh Pod in the salon area. In over a month of use, our boat smells fresh and clean without any off-putting holding tank odors, funky bilge smells or otherwise boaty scents. What I really like is that the pleasing scents I wrote about in the opening paragraph are not masked by any fake "cinnamon/tropical flower/citrus/vanilla/crisp linen" fragrances or the strong eucalyptus/minty scent of tea tree oil.
By the way, Fresh Wave comes in a variety of forms, but as far as I can tell, they all use the same ingredients and seem to work in the same manner. I've personally used Fresh Wave Fresh Pod, Pearl Pack and Crystal Gel, all with the same results.
According to Fresh Wave, their products focus on odor elimination by breaking down the odor's molecular structure. The Fresh Wave parent company (OMI Industries) has been using the same science/process of odor elimination for industries like oil refineries, paper mills, landfills and asphalt plants for the past 20 years. I'm not sure how the odor elimination actually happens, but our experience so far seems to agree with the intended end result. The label states that the ingredients in Fresh Wave products include water and natural extracts of lime, pine needle, aniseed, clove and cedarwood. They also claim to be safe and preferable by consumers with allergies (me!), asthma (me!) and other respiratory conditions.
So there you have it - a solution to keeping boat smells at bay while still allowing the natural smells of the outside watery world to become part of your sailing experience!
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