Monday, March 30, 2015

Organized Clutter

I can't believe I'm posting this....again 
The thought had crossed our minds to head to the boat this weekend to check on her and maybe start some indoor projects. The plans were quickly thwarted by cold, windy weather. I had no intentions on repeating the freezing misery we endured installing the davits last year. No.Thanks. We can afford to wait for it to warm up a little more.

So instead of going to the boat I decided to tackle that black abyss of a spare room that I've been complaining about for a while. Not only did it need a serious re-organization, but somehow we've reached the time where we'll need to advertise the house for rent in just a few weeks and we certainly won't get many interested parties with images like this. It comes off a bit hoarder-esque.

I pulled out all the goodies I had to sort and re-organize and put them in the living room, however, in a effort to move the rest the least distance possible we simply clogged up the hallway for a few minutes. Just long enough for me to snap a few ad shots, then it all went back in. Of course, even after being re-organized, the room still looks quite disastrous so I'll just leave you with this nice shot...even though it only looked that way for about 3 minutes...and I'm totally hiding stuff by the door where I was standing.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Medical Kit(s) Onboard

While looking at what others have included in their first aid kits for cruising you find that approaches to medical strategies are as different as the people are. Some people barely managed to pack a box of Bandaids while others prepped for some sort of medical apocalypse. There is no right or wrong here, it's all about what you're comfortable with.

I based our medical kit contents on 3 key factors:

  1. Past/Current medication use and medical conditions
  2. Possible events/conditions that might arise
  3. Cruising location
For us, we have no current medical conditions requiring regular medication. Besides a little Aleve or Excedrin Migraine once in a while, we rarely take anything. Therefore our meds mostly consist of allergy, cold, stomach relief type of remedies. That said, I am going to add an epi pen to our kit solely due to family history. Let me tell you a little story....Ron's dad loved shrimp, he ate it all the time until one day he had a serious, out-of-the-blue reaction and can't eat shrimp or shellfish any more. Sad story, but with the amount of seafood we plan on eating we probably shouldn't chance in. Yup, we'll throw one of those bad boys in if only for the shear enjoyment it would give me to stab Ron in the neck leg. <--TOTALLY kidding! I'd only enjoy it once the meds kicked in.

One area that I did go a little heavy on was supplies for cuts and lacerations of various sizes. With all the hazards on land and on the boat I wanted to make sure we would be prepared should anything happen to us or someone else nearby. We have an entire sterile suture kit, various packs of sterile gloves, multiple needle/thread suture packs, isopropyl alcohol and hydrogen peroxide, gauze pads, Bandaids, butterfly bandages and skin glue. I'll also be adding lidocaine (local anesthetic) to the kit before leaving.

Our medicine cabinet
Another major consideration in deciding what to put in our medical kit were the places we plan to go. Yes, we're going to find ourselves a ways from medical care at times but we're not going to be thousands of miles away from care so I felt comfortable not getting too crazy. I think it's also valuable to think about all the other items that you're bringing for other purposes that could also help in a medical situation if needed (for example magazines and fishing poles could be used to stabilize a fracture, baking soda can be used on burns, lots of resources on board). 

I found this Medical Kit List on the Facebook Women Who Sail page (If you're female and you sail, you should be on here! If you sail but you're not female too bad). I really like this list because it's easy to see what requires a prescription so when we see the doctor we can easily discuss the need for these items and possibly others. 

Again, it's all about personalizing. Some items on the list weren't appropriate for us so we skipped them and I added other items that I felt we needed: ear plugs, eye drops (allergy and art. tears), Azo UTI relief, Icy Hot/Tiger Balm, licocaine, skin glue, gloves. 

Piece of advice - DON'T FORGET THE GLOVES! They are not on the list above but are a very important piece of any medical kit. No, they don't need to be sterile but you do need them. Protect yourself while helping others.
Our "minor injury" box
I broke up our medical kit into 2 separate boxes; 1 for minor cuts/scrapes and a larger one for more serious injuries. I like the idea of being able to easily grab a smaller kit and not having to rummage through more items in the larger kit for something minor. Some people have items split by type of injury but, again, I like having items readily available (many items have multiple uses for various situations). To each their own.
I've also added my stethoscope to this kit
Thank you to Ron's mom for all these goodies!
I really love that our big kit is still a 'grab and go' 
We still need to add a slew of antibiotics, bacitracin (for eye infections), pain meds, silvadene salve and an epi pen to our arsenal, but you have the basic idea.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Don't Be A Wuss, Use A Woss

The Woss Trainer
Image here
Let's be honest, for the most part sailing is not what I would call physically demanding or qualify as a form of exercise. Sure there are times where you're balancing, climbing and otherwise using some muscles but for the most part you set the sails, tinker a little bit and let the wind do the work. And these activities surely won't burn off the calories we plan to eat and drink. Oh, no, we're going to need something a little more intense for all those calories (hello- 80% of all rum is made in the Carib!).

We're by no means fitness addicts (at.all.) but we do like to be active and healthy. Okay fine, I only like to be active when the weather is warm. Whatever. But to me part of being healthy (when the weather is warm) means being fit. I like feeling strong and capable and having energy to enjoy and explore the places we'll visit.

The problem is space. Space on the boat for storage. Space on/off the boat to do the activity. Space.

Suspension trainers seem to be all the rage these days, and are especially popular with people living on boats. I've heard great things about the TRX system but couldn't stomach shelling out $200 for one. We found the Woss System not only comparable to the TRX but at a much more affordable price of $40. Plus it comes in lots of fun colors. Ron ordered ours so we have the boring brown, I would have preferred the pink or purple models but you can't always have everything. Boring brown it is.
There are a ton of exercise options to try
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Everything fits into this nice little mesh bag
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 The system can really be used anywhere there is something overhead to strap it to. Like a tree. Or a mast. We have a nice area on the front of the boat that I think will work nicely.

In case you're wondering....

What I think I'll look like working out on the boat:
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What I'll actually look like:
What I'll actually look like
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Don't say I didn't warn you :)

I think practicing a little at home before getting the Woss on the boat would be a good idea. I don't think people would buy my I-know-what-I'm-doing-I'm-a-fitness-model facade if they saw me throw myself overboard while working out.

Ever used a suspension system? Any other ideas to keep the booze blubber at bay?

Monday, March 16, 2015

Staying In Touch with inReach

For a while now we've been doing a little research about what type of satellite communication device we were going to take with us. It's a little overwhelming to say the least. Between looking at carrier options, coverage, plan set-ups/cost and device options I think my eyes were beginning to go crossed.

Initially we had planned to get a satellite phone that we could use to contact family and get weather reports on. Besides being extremely expensive, we weren't really even sure we needed voice capabilities. We plan to buy an unlocked phone and get local SIM cards for voice/data as we move. What we really wanted was something that would let our families and friends know where we were with an ability to send/receive text messages. 
Lightly used, in great condition
Then I read a post from Sundowner Sails Again talking about their choice of the Delorme inReach device and a light went off in my head. That's exactly what we need! And bonus: It's not out of this world expensive! 

So we bought this bad dad on Ebay (saved $100 off retail) from someone who had used it for a few Atlantic crossings on a sailboat. Hey, if it worked for them it should be more than enough for us!

From Delorme:
How It Works:
inReach SE (Screen Edition) is the satellite communicator from DeLorme that puts amazing functionality in the palm of your hand without having to pair the device:
  • Send and receive free-form, 160-character text messages outside of cell phone range.
  • Trigger an SOS and interact back and forth with GEOS, our 24/7 search and rescue monitoring center. (LOVE this feature!)
  • Turn on tracking to share and view GPS coordinates.
  • Color screen and virtual keyboard with predictive text.
  • Intuitive LED indicator for satellite availability.
  • Audible message notifications.
  • Internal, rechargeable lithium battery lasts about 100 hours at continuous operation at 10-minute tracking intervals with a clear view to the sky. Extended tracking mode can extend battery life even more for long-haul trips.
  • Designed for maximum durability in harsh environments (waterproof, dustproof, and impact-resistant).
  • Post to social media -->Aren't you relieved?!?! ;)
  • Built on award-winning technology pioneered with our first inReach device.

PLUS: We can get unlimited weather forecasts for a mere $80/year from SpotCast. $80 might sound like a lot, but trust me, it's a steal for something we need and will use regularly.

For a fraction of the cost of a satellite phone, I think our spiffy inReach will do just fine.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Busy Bees!

Finally! Something has gotten me in the mood to do all the boring, mundane stuff that needs to get done before we leave, I was wondering if/when that would happen! This little taste of Spring is just what I needed.

What we've been up to:

  • Making travel clinic appointments
  • Organizing/completing our medical kit - which will be awesome thanks to Ron's mom! Seriously, you need surgery, you know who to find ;)
  • Applying for Hullabaloo's Coast Guard documentation - the credit card is charged, still waiting for our papers. Weird, right?
  • Lexie - she has enough stuff to get her own category
    • Planning Lexie's medical kit - which is more work than it sounds like!
    • Getting rabies boosters and titres done for the International Health Certificate
    • Triple checking my double check of needed documents for the International Health Certificate
    • Figuring out just when to send the Pet Import Application to the Bahamas 
    • Calculating how much medication is needed
  • Prepping to rent out house - advertising, cleaning, insurance....this gives me a headache!
  • Ordering more gear - does this ever really end? Don't think so.
  • Losing sleep - Soooooo many things to think about. C'mon, you know this is not Ron, he's passed out cold in a king size bed surrounded by a dozen pillows somewhere in the Midwest with not a worry on his little mind!
Some days my mind feels about like this.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Serious Spring Fever

Look at that! We are thisclose to Spring! And it's a good thing, with a record cold February I'm not sure how much more of this winter I can take!

I can feel the buzz of Spring just out of my grasp and I'm anxiously awaiting that first morning when I wake up and hear birds outside my window, that 'spring' smell in the air, that feeling that says, "Yes!! I've survived another miserable winter, it's over.done.finito!". We're close my friends.

I'll tell you what's also not helping my Spring Fever:

  1. Our numerous recent boat related purchases. Oh, no, they just make me more anxious for warmer weather and access to the boat. 
  2. The fact that at any time our spare bedroom might actually barf up all the gear we've had crammed and accumulating in there all winter and really make a mess to clean up. Serious attention needed in there pronto.
  3. Our approaching departure in FOUR months!! Need I say more?
Even my choice of boat bedding screams Spring Fever.
I'm desperate I tell ya!

Listen up and listen up good Spring: Get your rear in gear!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Propane Conversion

Hullabaloo came equipped with Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), a very safe type of fuel for a boat. There's this handy little storage spot for the tank in our lazarette and refills/exchanges are pretty inexpensive. The issue with CNG is that it is not readily available everywhere, especially when traveling abroad. But propane is (at least more than CNG).

In order to be able to use our oven/stove and grill we need to convert propane, so much easier said than done! We got a good deal on a conversion kit for our stove, but the biggest issue is how and where to store the propane tanks. Let me tell you, we've spent hours and hours researching, debating and bickering over what to do. I was all, "let's just wedge 'em in somewhere so they can't roll around, it'll be fine" at first. Glad I got talked out of that!

This is a pretty serious subject to tackle as propane is probably the biggest danger we have on our boat. It's heavier than air and any leaks may result in propane gas collecting in the bottom of the boat. If enough gas is present and a spark occurs.....KA-BOOM. That might ruin our day.

We'd like to avoid this
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We had a couple options for storing the tanks on board:

1)Put the tank in an airtight locker in the lazarette with a drain going overboard to vent any leaking gas - $600 for a pre-made, airtight box? Yeah, no. So what if it comes with everything we need like a solenoid and a 10lb aluminum tank, that is still ridiculous.

2) Fiberglass in an airtight locker in the lazarette - A major undertaking we wanted to avoid at all costs. Plus we'd still need to buy all the bits and pieces.

3) Store the tanks on the rail - I initially wanted this option as it was cheap and easy. I got vetoed.

None of these options is perfect but we had to do something. So we sucked it up and went with a little Option 1, a little Option 3. We have 2 10lb tanks, one will be in the locker in the lazarette for use and the other will be stored on the rail in a homemade holder Ron constructed. The rail mounted tank (as long as it's not empty) will also be easy to hook up to our grill.

We just might start looking like the Clampetts with crap strapped all over the stern rail real soon, but we don't have a whole lot of options aside from looking trashy or blowing an insane amount of money. And looking trashy isn't really the end of the world, right?!?

Changing jets for the burner -
 propane on left, CNG on right.
Some of the old jets put up a good fight.
The $600 box.
The kit: 10lb tank, regulator, solenoid and box
And yes, we measured the space in the lazarette to make sure we have room for the box and changing tanks. I can't imagine the horror that would ensue if we found space an issue during install.
10lb tank and rail mount
We'll probably tool dip  the rail mount (or do something similar) to prevent any metal on metal wear but I think it turned out pretty well.

Now, we just wait a *little* longer to take it all to the boat!