The Search For Bright Waters

Monday, November 29, 2010

We Are Solar Powered

We are off the grid! The Solar Panels are complete. We have two 80 watt panels for a total of 160 watts of solar power capability! They were not as difficult as I imagined. I drilled them to two sturdy 2x4s and then mounted the whole thing onto the bimini using metal brackets.

The wire runs down the railing and into the engine compartment. Yes I had to drill into the deck but I am getting more confident about it. I used an electrical grommet to keep it water proof.

From there the wires run to a ground and along the hull to a solar controller. It currently shows .5 amp coming in!  It's a gloomy day. The wires then run down to the battery compartment. We decided to hook up the two spare batteries to make one solid 340 amp house battery bank. And then the starter battery will be used as a spare, being turned off when the engine isnt running.

The solar panels look quite nice on top of the bimini. They will get plenty of sun exposure. And they arnt in our way like if we put them on the dinghy davits. We can now go anywhere in the world and provide our own electricity!

Nalas new sleeping spot


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

50 Foot High Boat Work

37 Days to go!

We have put alot of work into this boat so we don't feel too bad about outsourcing the dinghy davit project. In fact it is the first and only project on this boat we didn't do our selves. It turned out pretty good and now we dont have to worry about where to store the dinghy or keeping the water from growing algea on the bottom of the dinghy. Our dinghy, named Sawyer, is now nicely raised off the stern of our boat and we can easily deploy it when needed.

Sawyer will be our main mode of transporation when cruising. Whenever we need to get inland or want to explore Sawyer will be ready to go for us.

About a month ago we replaced all our lights with LED bulbs to conserve electricty. The last light to replace was the masthead/anchor light at the top of our mast. We have been putting it off cuz its a real pain to get up there. We purchased a Top Climber from a friend which is much easier than climbing up with the Bosuns Chair. After spending a a good 20 min figuring out how to use it I was started climbing. The Top Climber works by running one strong line up the mast and then using a squats motion to move the two mechanical parts up one at a time. It is quite the workout and after about 30 min I was at the top.

I have been up there twice before but this time I had to remove the old light and electrically connect the new light. I worked as fast as I could trying not to drop anything. Ofcourse I did drop one tool but luckily after I was done with it. Soon the sun started to set and it got colder. Along with fatuiged muscles it became increasingly difficult to mount the new light. The electrical splicing went well but it took me 20 min to realize that the new light screw holes were about 1cm further apart than the original so I couldnt screw both sides in. I had to come down but will go back up with some 4200 and duct tape. It's pretty secure already with one side bolted down but I want to make sure it's not going anywhere. We tested the lights and they were very bright and worked perfect. The new light is brighter, taller and has clearer glass.

Atleast the view was pretty nice up there.

Currently I am working on installing the solar panels. I drilled each panel to 2x4s and will then connect the 2x4s to the bimini bars on top using U-bolts. Here are some progress pics. I hope to have this done by the end of the week.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

What Do You Mean 'Can't All Come?'

Funny thing is I named this image shoehell.jpg. Haha. Yep, mean old grinch Joey is NOT in the holiday spirit and he says all my shoes can't come cruising. But.... High heeled leather boots ARE practical onboard. Looks like Christmas will be coming early this year for my little sisters.



Thursday, November 18, 2010

Sailing for Dummie's May or May Not Have Covered This

 Time to buff up on my sailing skillz! I took an oceanography class at the community college online this semester to satisfy requirements but I chose that particular class in hopes it would help me in my sailing adventures. My awesome professor has decided that for my class paper I can choose my topic and I chose trade winds and how they apply to sailing which she has ok'ed. Everyone always talks about the trade winds, 'gotta wait for the trade winds to make the jump' or something like that. Me and Joey are like, yeah whatever. Anyways, it is crunch time to leave (44 days) and crunch time for my semester to end and me to write this paper (2 weeks) ((not a slacker or anything)) so if you know anything about trade winds or why I should care about them as a sailor, now's your chance to show your stuff!


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Winter Sets In And We Are Getting Excited

It's crunch time! Our winter gear is out, the boat is insulated up with reflective bubble wrap, and the heated blanket is on full blast. As it gets colder we are getting more excited to get the heck out of here!

We are finishing up our last few projects and planning. While Christine is figuring out the provisioning I am planning the route. We will post a preview in a few weeks when it's complete. Any advice is surely welcome. We plan to take the ICW down to West Palm Beach, Fl and then hop over to Free Port, Grand Bahamas!

I am currectly working on the dinghy davits/solar panels. We decided to hire a contractor to prevent any problems. They ended up only installing the davits and I got enough ideas and confidence to finish the project so the solar panels will be our job. At first we wanted them on the dinghy davits, but because the davits are small and angled the panels would hang off a lot and be tilted at a bad angle to the sun with the Bimini casting a shadow. So instead we will attempt to mount them on top of the bimini. I walked around the dock for ideas but it seems most the boats with solar panels have already headed south!

We never found our oil leak so it will just be. It's not large so we will just keep an eye on it. The leak is between the transmission and the engine block which is too big of a job for me right now. At first we thought it was the lube oil pipe but after I removed and replaced that it still has a leak.

We had a water cooling system problem for a little bit but after I ran some engine cleaner through the system and let it sit all the junk came out and it ran smoothly again.

Speaking of water cooling, we were reading in bed one night when Nala jumped up and ran across us all wet and then shook off like a dog. We had heard her and Nomy running around on deck and knew exactly what had happened. Christine dryed her off with a towel while I grabbed a flashlight and followed her wet tracks out the boat, down the dock and to a ladder. That is the 3rd time that silly cat has fallen over, when will she learn, shes running out of her 9 lives.

Since the weather has gotta cooler we started taking showers on the boat. We velcro up a shower curtain and our bathroom doors open up to a nice large shower. We have to be water conscious but its better than nothing.

Our Wirie is fully mounted and the internet is running smoothly so hopefully our blogs will run uninterrupted.

Home Depot has a great deal, 10 led flashlights for $10.  We bought it the last time we saw it but still seem to lose all of the flashlights or can't find one when we really need it.  We havn't seen that sale again until this weekend so this time we bought 2 packs!  Light can be scarce on the boat sometimes so flashlights are our best friend. Yes we know, it's like we are camping always!

EDIT/Update by Christine: FACT --- These flashlights look like sticks of dynamite to x-ray machines at airport security. That was a really exciting experience for both of us. 

We just got back this weekend from our house in Florida. It is all fixed up and ready to rent so let us know if anybody wants to rent a really nice 3 bedroom 2 bath single family home for $1095.

The lead pic is the Hibiscus Flower we have growing in the front yard of our house :)


Saturday, November 6, 2010

Hey we got blogged about!

No, no, we're not that famous (yet) but I emailed the Krazy Coupon Ladies for stockpiling advice and they wrote up a post about/for us. I am so thrilled!

Check it out Here


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Carbon Monoxide makes Nala go CrAzY!!

Seems Nala cat was jealous at head-spinning cat being main blog picture because look what she did:

Congrats Nala on the crazy head spin!!

So last night after cooking enclosed in a very chilly boat on our alcohol stove, then relaxing with our space heater on, we received a "WARNING EVACUATE!!! Carbon monoxide - evacuate!!!" message blaring in our ears. So we got some fresh air and I at least, felt slightly dizzy. Sooo dear readers, what do you think caused this? We guess alcohol stove because its the only thing that wasn't in the equation last winter. It's pretty scary stuff!

It also mentioned numbers and our carbon monoxide levels reached like 59 ppt. or pp something. Knowledge anyone?