Wednesday, October 13, 2010

10/12/2010 - Living on a boat - Part 3

More of your questions answered...hopefully.

Do you have a TV?  Yes.  We have a 22 inch Sharp flat screen J  But it’s only used for movies when we have a lot of power.  We’ve found that most boats have some sort of tv.  As for dvd players, we just use Jake’s little travel player because it is easy to store and we can charge it up if we’re going to another boat and he needs something to keep him occupied (that won’t get scattered across the boat).  But so far, most of the movies we have bought here in Mexico on in a different “region” and we have to watch those through the computer as opposed to his dvd player.

How do you get your electricity?  From the eels!  Just kidding…we have eight solar panels and six batteries ( I was going to add something here about amps but I fell asleep while Andy was explaining it to me so if you have any specific questions, feel free to ask and we’ll respond directly).  Here in sunny Mexico, electricity is no problem.  We’re almost always at full capacity and if for some reason we have any troubles, we carry a Honda EU2000 generator.  We are also able to charge our batteries with either of our two diesel engines.  While it’s not enough to run a hair dryer, Jake gets to watch plenty of movies.

How do you get your water?  Uh, duh…the ocean.  We carry 160 gallons of fresh water on board in two built in tanks.  We also have a Spectra water maker that makes eight gallons an hour (from the ocean J ).  It pulls about 8 amps (1 gal/amp/hour).  We try to conserve water as much as we can by washing dishes with salt water and just rinsing with fresh water and showering every few days instead of every day, however, this is probably an area where we could improve.  We run the water maker every time we turn the engines on.  We can’t always run the watermaker in the harbor which is something I never really thought about before we left. The pollution and sediment can be bad and clog up the filters pretty quickly, or worse yet, damage the membrane.  So if we’re in a harbor (like now) and need more water, we go out for a few hours and sail around while we make more water.

How do you get your weather?  We can get weather any number of ways.  If we have access to the internet, we go there.  We can use our SSB radio to get weather several times a day on cruiser nets through various people who enjoy following the weather (although sometimes it’s very hard to hear).  We can get a fax on our computer through the SSB.  And finally, there are some local nets on the VHF where the cruisers exchange various types of information, weather being one of them.  Most of the guidebooks provide the various channels to monitor.

What kind of engines to you have?  We have two 37 horsepower Kubota diesel tractor engines with a marine package.  We sound like a fishing trawler every time we crank those babies up (mostly because we’re an aluminum boat and everything is louder).  Not too much to say here…they run, thank goodness.  We use about 1/2 gallon and hour and we have capacity for 180 gallons.

Someone emailed me with a question about visas and check ins to the various countries….  I can only speak of Mexico from experience, but for the others, we’ll just do our research on the internet and ask fellow cruisers before we get there.  But for Mexico, they offer various different kinds of visas.  What we have is the tourist card – good for 6 months, about $22/person.  If you want to stay longer, they have what they call an FM3 – good for a year.  I think it’s about $100/person.  It means you’re temporarily living in Mexico and gets you one step closer to being able to buy property.  The best advice about knowing what you need for the various countries is to just do your research ahead of time.  For instance, we’re looking into getting our permits for the Galapogos in the next few months.  Evidently it can take up to 60 days to get that done…  Unfortunately there’s no one stop shop, but other cruisers can make it much easier for you.  We spent an evening with a gentleman who has already gone all of the places we want to go and he gave us tons of information we couldn’t find in any book. 

What kind of anchor(s) do you have?  I almost refuse to answer this question as everyone has their opinions out here as to the best (and you can bet we've heard them all).  We carry one of each!  Not really, we have a 60lb CQR with 300 ft of chain and so far (knock on aluminum) we have not dragged/drug (what’s the proper English here?) anchor yet.  We also carry a 45 lb CQR knockoff and 2 Danforth anchors.  The key is not only the anchor, but knowing how to set it J.

What kind of big boy toys do you have on board?  4 scuba tanks, 1 scuba compressor, 2 pole spears, 1 giant speargun (I promise to send you that shipping $ soon, Cary), various scuba equipment and fishing junk.  LOTS and LOTS of cameras and lenses and housings to make them useful to the resident photog.  2 laptop computers (one dedicated to navigation)… I hope no pirates are reading this….

What kind of big girl toys do you have on board?  None, Andy made me sell them all before we left.  I have 8 bikinis and 4 pairs of flip flops…does that count?

What do you use to navigate?  Our sextant and the stars, of course.  What do you use?  Seriously, we have 4 GPS’s on board, in case 3 go down.  We have Faruno Radar to assist at night and in bad weather.  We’ve installed Coastal Navigation software on our laptop and theoretically, we have AIS – which enables you to see the name of the boat about to hit you on your radar.  I say theoretically because we have the software, but no driver to install it….yet.  And like all good sailors, we have more paper charts than you could shake a stick at.  For all you tree huggers, we promise to recycle. 

What kind of dinghy do you have?  We started out with a wooden dinghy that came with the boat, but when we accidentally poked a hole in that one on our first excursion out, we had a need to buy a new one.  We now have a 9ft AVON RIB with a  9.8 horsepower Tohatsu, two stroke engine.  We’re not the most powerful around (we can’t get on a plane with all three of us), but it gets the job done.  Out here a dinghy is like your car…without it, you’re kind of lost so you need something reliable, not necessarily pretty.  In fact, some people go to great lengths to make theirs as ugly as possible to deter theft.

Do you have a liferaft?  Yes….and no.   It hasn’t been serviced since 2005.  Andy says nobody likes a quiter….  Again, theoretically…..catamarans don’t sink, so we have our own really huge liferaft right here.  We also have our dinghy and 2 kayaks (although I don’t really see us out rowing our kayaks in winds that just tipped our 20 ton boat over).  And if all else fails, we have our EPIRB , both the one for the boat and the personal one Andy carries in his pocket ;).

And finally, aren’t you scared of the pirates?  Yes….we are.  Hopefully they’re nothing a little bit of bear spray, a crazy naked man waving a machete and a baseball bat can’t take care of (and careful navigation – we don’t plan on sailing to Yemen any time soon).

So far, I do the hair cutting.

While it's against my better judgement to put this picture out here - Andy wanted to show that we have to store things EVERYWHERE, even under the bed. This is me getting a can of mushrooms.


Brad said...

Hey, those Kubotas are Universal diesels aren't they? Good engines. I have one in my new boat. You know what they say about opinions...besides anyone that posts here with advice about what you should have or should be doing is probably not doing it and you are! I need some solar panels like those but I don't have that kind of room. I have panel envy.

The Crew of Savannah said...

Yes, they are... and these are hard workers up here with no wind.

As for panel envy... it appears we're those sailors they call power hogs :) Can never have enough.

Sue said...

What? No Bruce anchor???

I love that picture of you getting the can of mushrooms. I just laughed and laughed. So true. So true.

Papa Mac said...

Well I knew who it wasn't, too long for Jake, and not hairy enough for Andy.. {:-) AS for putting comments on here, not a easy thing, I have to go like 3 times back down to the post a comment place befor I even get to the vericqtion page, then I have to sign in, then some times I have to start over with the comment. I joined the group that is called followers on your blog just a min. ago. Maybe that well be different now. Love you guys.

Papa Mac said...

well being a follower didn't change any of that, at least for the 1st post of the day, lets see about this one, and what's with the verication deal?? You are the exspert on all of this are you not?? {:-) I really do love you..

Ivelene said...

Are those dancing legs I see there? Whoops, turned the wrong way! Do you want my picture of you at the helm? It looks real serious!
Very good for enlightening those of us that really have no idea of how things go and yet worrisome to even think of the storms!!!

Love you!

The Crew of Savannah said...

Mac, I have no idea what your problem is :) I changed the login thing the last time you complained about it months ago... I'll go look at it again. User error? Just wondering.
Sue, Glad I could give you a chuckle :) and thanks for confirming that everyone has an opinion on anchors.
Mom, My legs are long past dancing legs....they're sea legs now! Love you too.

Papa Mac said...

Not complinging, not me. Just thinking that maybe thats why there aren't more comments, maybe folks think they have it posted, but don't follow it though. Me, User error?? surely you jest.. {:-) Love you

Life On Planet Earth said...

Just came across your blog and I got such a chuckle that you actually posted that last picture, I might just have to stick around - my kind of peeps. Great informative post by the way.

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