Monday, February 23, 2015

Now That's Service!

Remember waaaaaayyyyy back in December when Ron got this great Stand Up Paddleboard for Christmas instead of the toolkit he was wanting/expecting/needing? Well, naturally we had to inflate it in the house and really check it out, but when we did we noticed that some of the white 'Tower" letters were no longer fully glued to the board, they were hanging on for dear life, but they weren't going to last once we actually started using the board instead of just staring at it.
About a week later I emailed Tower asking what they suggest we do about this and in less than 12hrs I had a response apologizing for the inconvenience, direction to just use the glue in the repair kit to fix the letters AND a $50 credit on its way to our credit card! If that isn't customer service, I don't know what is.

So even though we have yet to try out our board on the water, I can still confidently recommend Tower as a company that will stand behind it's products with great customer/product support. And should we find ourselves with a few extra dollars to spend, I'd happily get another board from them.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Boat Cards!

Wouldn't it be great if, instead of repeatedly scribbling down names, blogs and email addresses for people you meet out cruising (or people back home), there was something already made up with all the needed details that you could just give them? 

In case you didn't make the connection there is such a thing...boat cards. Whoever started this particular trend is nothing short of a genius and now boat cards are as common on cruising boats as dinghies and chartplotters, which just makes socializing and keeping in touch that much easier. 

You might think that ordering boat cards four months early is a bit premature, but they can actually be very practical during the final phases of cruising prep as well. The closer we get to leaving the more people ask us how they can stay in touch and/or follow along on our trip. Now all we need to do is hand out a card and they have everything they need to stay in touch!

Not bad for the first go around
You simply can't turn down a good Vista Print sale and 250 cards for $18 is a pretty great deal!! Especially considering we 'splurged' for a glossy finish on the front and a picture on the back. 

There you have it; if you meet us along the way, and find us tolerable, you just might find yourself in possession of one of these bad boys!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Magma Nesting Cookware

Magma 7 Piece Stainless Nesting Cookware
In case you're counting, the bungee is indeed 1 of the 7 pieces
We like food and, let's be honest, eating on a boat always makes food taste even better. But on the boat we don't have an entire cupboard or pantry to keep all the galley gadgets like we do at our house. Instead we have one little corner of an already small cubby so we had to come up with something that could still deliver tasty goodness without hogging the (very) limited space.

After hearing positive reviews about the Magma line of nesting cookware, we took the opportunity to use some Amazon gift cards to purchase a set. We opted for the 7 piece thinking that it would be just right for what we need, plus we have a large nonstick frying pan also on the boat.

We went back and forth whether to get the non-stick or stainless but ultimately went with the stainless for its durability and lower price tag (of course the non-stick was only available in a 10 piece set).

I wanted to get used to cooking with the pans before making a mess on the boat so I seasoned them according to recommendations from the The Boat Galley and have been using them semi-regularly. Note to anyone else seasoning their pans, don't let the pan sit too long after removing the gets a little sticky and messy.
Seasoning with a little oil
We've never really had that great of luck with stainless pans and I think I figured out why - we never seasoned them! Apparently we totally missed a pretty important part. That, and the fact that we used SOS pads and soap on them (another no-no), totally set us up for failure in the stainless department. Well, that and the fact that Ron likes to cook everything on the highest setting, we had a lot of scrubbing to do.

I'm slowly getting the hang of it - I'm glad we still have a non-stick pan on the boat - but I think this stainless set will come in handy too, after learning how to properly use and take care of them of course.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Internet Access: Not Going Cold Turkey


Over here at Skelton Crew, we're really not internet-aholics. Sure, we fiddle around on our phones a little but most of the time I'm so sick of being on a computer all day at work that the last thing I want to do is fire mine up at home...unless I'm chatting with long lost (ie. cruising) friends...or playing spider....but that's another addiction for another intervention story.

We plan to spend a lot of time out exploring and enjoying the new scenery and experiences that make the cruising lifestyle so appealing, part of the adventure after all is about getting away, disconnecting and getting a new perspective, which we absolutely plan to do. But we also want to stay in touch with family and friends- and keep the blog active of course. So we're not going internet-less in a cold turkey fashion.  
Don't get me started, pretty sad, really.
To avoid the cold turkey withdrawals we plan to bring our wifi hotspot with us, at least for the first few months while we're still in the US*. We've had this handy dandy little hot spot through AT&T for a few years and overall it's pretty slick, a little finicky at times, but still slick.

We pack it up and take it with us on the boat so we have internet when 'needed', even if we travel somewhere fairly remote. If there's an AT&T signal, we've got internet!
Our particular model

There will, no doubt, be areas that we won't have any signal, but we also won't have to worry about finding an open signal or hoofing it to a restaurant every time we want some virtual socialization early on in our travels.

And hey, if it doesn't work we cancel the plan and actually go cold turkey. If we can't survive that, we have a lot bigger issues to deal with.

What's everyone else doing/done/planning to do? Is our current plan a complete harebrain idea?

*Once outside the US we plan to use a cell phone, loaded with a local data plan, as our hotspot - where signal is available anyway.

Monday, February 2, 2015

No-see-ums? No Thank You!

While our dreams of floating lazily around at anchor in a pleasant Caribbean breeze are getting closer and closer to reality, we know that it won't always, in fact, be a reality. We may be in marina for a variety of reasons, in a harbor well protected from the wind, or maybe, just maybe there isn't any wind. Crazy thought I know, but when there is a lack of wind, there's generally a plethera of bugs, the unpleasant kind of course.

I'm specifically referencing these tiny, silent, vicious little bugs called no-see-ums, a type of gnat, that leave nasty, itchy welts as the only evidence of their presence. Bonus; by the time you've been bitten, most likely a bunch of times, it's too late and you'll be doing your best to mitigate the side effects while trying not to scratch yourself raw. Sounds pleasant, right? I'm gonna go with no on that one.

These little no-see-um miscreants are able to come right through normal  screens and feast away so in order to give ourselves a space to escape to should we come under attack we're switching out our old hatch screens and making a companionway screen with no-see-um screens.

Fortunately our existing hatch screens we in good shape, all we had to do was remove the old screen and glue/sew the new screens in place.
Cutting the seams got a little annoying with the seam tape.

Kind of hard to tell but the holes are MUCH smaller in the new screens
Now we just need to create a companionway cover from scratch, as soon as we find where we left one of the four the papers with the measurements - yes, we had to take measurements four times because we kept loosing them. That's embarrassing.