Bathroom Sailor’s Exchange

Wednesday December 12, 2012

One of the things stationed here in St. Augustine, and the reason Matt agreed to come here in the first place, is a little shop called the Sailor’s Exchange, kind of a consignment shop for everything boats.  Someone brings in an item they’d like to sell and it can be anything from winches to shackles to anchors  to books and magazines.  (By the way, we keep stopping in to see if anyone has brought in our anchor at which point we can buy it back, but no luck so far)  Once the item is brought in the shop decides if they want to buy it, settle on a price to give the seller, and then stock it on their shelf with a mark-up, but usually still cheaper than you could find the item elsewhere.  Plus it’s one stop shopping because you can find basically anything you’re looking for, but just like any consignment shop, you have to do a lot of looking first.  It’s a great place and we’ve already spent a decent amount of our time there.

Over the past few days I’ve been noticing something similar going on here at the boat yard that I like to call the ‘Bathroom Sailor’s Exchange’.  As far as restrooms tend to go anywhere you are, the women’s bathroom here at the yard is far superior to the men’s.  While their’s only has one urinal and one stall, we have one stall and a shower, plus a little table with a bowl of potpourri that’s littered with books and magazines for the taking.  If it wasn’t placed right next to a toilet without a lid, I think I’d have a few of those books on the boat right now.  But recently in addition to the bathroom reading available there have been…other things.  Things that people don’t want on their boat anymore and figured the women’s room was the best place to deposit them.

It’s a good idea in theory, kind of like a Goodwill with no money involved, but in the bathroom?  Right next to the toilet?  Those Correll dishes would be looking a lot better if I didn’t have to think of where I found them each time I was eating off them, no matter how many times they’ve been washed.  Some people were wiser and put things inside of bags which helped to protect them a little bit more, I guess, but made me curious enough to have a look through to see if there was anything I wanted bad enough that I would bleach it enough times to bring it back to the boat and store it there.  Let’s see some of the treasures available.

Plates, glasses, and athletic wear.  Thankfully we’re pretty stocked in the galley and the clothes were a little too big for me so those weren’t even a question.  Is it bad that I hesitated on the plates for a minute though?  I mean, they may be sitting right next to the toilet, but the design looks a little nautical, kind of like flags.  ‘I have a full galley……I have a full galley’.

A very essential pirate hat.  Just after we watched ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ no less, but let’s face it, it can’t compete with Captain Jack Sparrow’s hat.  I tried to think of any good reason to need this, and if we still had the opportunity to meet up with our friends Jackie and Ron in the Bahamas next month it would have been grabbed up in a second for all the fun we’d be able to have with it, but as it is, I had to leave it.

Hair clippers, Mardi Gras beads, and Preparation H wipes.  I don’t even know what to say about this bag.  I don’t know if I should avoid the owner at all costs or hunt them down for some crazy nights of partying that could leave me with some of the most interesting stories I’ll ever tell.

I just have one question on this.  What happened to the dog??!!


I’d like to say that I left the restroom that night with nothing in my hands but that would be a big fat lie. There may have been a few athletic shirts stuffed at the bottom of one bag that may be a little too big for me but the quality was so high that I couldn’t resist at least trying them out.  And if they don’t fit I’m sure I could always pawn them off onto someone else, like Stephanie.  No one walking down the street has to know she didn’t actually run the Boston Marathon.  There may have also been a few magazines in my possession when I left, but they had popped up within an hour of the last time I had gone in so I’m fairly certain they didn’t have a chance for nasty particles to float on top of them.

The Bathroom Sailor’s Exchange only lasted for a day before everything was cleaned out.  Either someone really cleaned up, or management wasn’t fond of this program and disposed of everything.  I hope not though because it’s things like treasure hunting in the bathroom that make our endless days in the yard a little more interesting.  Just think of the things we could collect while we’re here.

Anyone else have similar stories to share?  What’s the strangest thing you’ve found at an exchange or the strangest place the exchange was happening?  Leave a comment with your story.  I’d like to know more than just Jackie and Ron are reading.

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5 thoughts on “Bathroom Sailor’s Exchange

  1. I know it seems like trash digging or something when we pick these things up… but I’ve seen things left near the trash receptacles in every marina we’ve been to at times. I think that is just an unwritten code of cruisers. Anything you no longer need will find a new home quickly if left in a pile near the trash. Bruce and I picked out a like-new Stanley insulated container from a pile just the other day! We left the cups and small crock pot there for the next guys…

    Oh and BTW, I think I must have seen that same article you did about the floating cooties in bathrooms. But if it makes you feel any better, I also caught wind of another, maybe Myth Busters or something that said it was bunk. Still makes me nervous though…

  2. The bag with the mardia gas beads…, etc. perhaps the “51st Shade of Grey”? There is a lot you can lean about people by what they throw out. I worked with investigators who sometimes spent late nights dumpster divng to collect evidence on active cases. Lot’s of stories there!

  3. Robb, I can only imagine the stories the guy you used to work with would have, going through people’s trash. I think ours is 90% food related, so I think the worst someone could gather on us us that we like to eat a lot. 🙂 Or that we need to train our cat to use the toilet. Tammy, we’re a little familiar with boaters leaving things next to the trash as well. It happened sometimes at our marina in Michigan and that’s what we did with a lot of the things we were getting rid of, mostly boat parts. Good find for you on the Stanley container! I have no problem with digging through other people’s give-aways either, although we rarely find anything good. It’s just something about being right next to the toilet that kept making me squeemish. Oh well, enough washes and it will be sanitary, right?
    *And I did end up giving away both shirts I had brought back, one to Stephanie on Rode Trip and one to Kim on Anthyllide. I’m trying to convince Matt that after a few more washes the winter cap I found will be perfectly fine to wear.

  4. I’m following your story, none of my own to tell, most bags I find have chunks of stinky green things in them……

  5. Pingback: Spoiled Rotten | Matt & Jessica's Sailing Page

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