Joolca tap into Abba country

We receive a lot of customer testimonials here at Joolca, but it’s not every day that we receive one from the other side of the planet, let alone one that is two pages long. This one blew us away. And we suspect that the sender had a lot of fun writing it, too:

"Hi boys and girls at Joolca, here’s a left-field testimonial that I thought you might want to add to the pile of happy stories. This one from sunny Sweden. (Not the country with holey cheeses and nifty knives – it’s that other one… next to Norway… with Norway being the country that sits above… Aaah, forget about it! Just think northern Europe somewhere.)

We’ve got a seaside cottage on an island about 250 clicks north of Stockholm (and since you Googled “Sweden”, you now know exactly where we’re at). It’s an old place, by Australian standards like national-heritage old. The cottage was built in 1864, and not a lot has changed since, really. At least not when it comes to amenities. The marvellous invention of electricity lit up the place in 1983, but to this day, we still do our business on a dunny, and there’s no running water. In fact there is not even a well. 

Over the years, we’ve made do by ferrying drinking water to the island from the mainland. That keeps our back and shoulder muscles in shape. But when it comes to staying clean, there really has been only one option. Sea-bathing. 

That probably sounds like a nice day at the beach to Australians. Not so in Sweden. Sea temperatures this close to the Arctic Circle tend to be pretty ******* unforgiving. Add the fact that it’s very shallow very far out from the beach, and you’ve got the picture. Bathing is like a Navy Seals exercise. Once you have overcome the perfectly natural reaction to run for the hills at the first dip of a toe, you have to wade out forever and ever to reach a swimming spot, the freezing water first hitting your ankles, then your knees, then your thighs, then some of your most treasured possessions…. By the time you’re deep enough to start lathering up, you have discovered about five new voice octaves and taken on the hue of a teletubby (yes, the purple one). 

Another little detail: in order to get properly clean, you should optimally be naked. And if you’re standing naked in 30cm of water 40m out from the beach, you’re baring it all for every neighbour and passing boatie to see. Not optimal even for a liberated Swede. 

But everything changed this year.

As it happens, I have a son who lives in Australia, and in return for some fermented herring that I had given him (Swedes are a funny lot), he brought me a Joolca HOTTAP, a pump and a shower tent when he came to visit this summer!

Now, I have to confess that we’ve been pulled a little rebel stunt here. We are well aware that the HOTTAP wasn’t designed to be used with seawater and that doing so voids the warranty and so on and so forth. But we’re doing it anyway. The northern Baltic has a very low degree of salinity – in a pinch you could almost drink the water – so we reckon the system will be able to take it. Anyway, it’s worked a treat so far!

Here’s what we did:

Not to have to pump water like 50m to the beach from where it’s deep enough, we decided to take the HOTTAP all the way to the end our pier. We screwed the pump onto the side of the pier; hung the HOTTAP from a couple of hooks on a vertical plank; threw the intake filter into the sea; and plugged in the gas and water hoses. Then we pitched the shower tent on a couple of pontoons we had lying around, secured it with lines here and there and everywhere, and moored the whole thing to the jetty. Hey presto – a floating bathroom with unrivalled sea views!

The HOTTAP clicks into action as soon as the pump revs up, and it only takes seconds to get a glorious flow of hot water. In one fine sweep, we’ve gone from 19th-century grime to millennial freshness. And in the complete privacy of the shower tent! I can’t tell you what a difference this makes to life on the island. Perhaps it’s best said short and sweet, in two simple words.

Thank you!

Gabrielle Roland
Second-generation owner of a Swedish island paradise
First-generation owner of HOTTAP bliss 

PS Sending some pics of our shower setup. Hope you like them (I’ll be asking for kickbacks from Tourism Sweden). DS"




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