Wednesday, April 29, 2015


As our departure nears, people are asking more questions, rightly so. Most of them are asked with a bit of astonishment, disbelief and genuine curiosity. Some are accompanied by looks of disdain or disapproval, and that's okay too, it's just another chance to educate people and let them see where we're coming from and why we're doing this crazy adventure to begin with. Here's what we've been getting asked lately:

1. How do you shower on board?

We have a shower on the boat in the head. However, the area in which showering would take place is in front of the toilet itself and would require a Cirque du Soleil balancing acting to reach your toes and don't even think about having elbow room to scrub your hair. And even if you manage to use the shower it can end up putting a lot of moisture in the boat which can then lead to mold issues. No thanks. We'll be showing in the cockpit/on the deck and depending on where we're at we'll either use our Solar Shower exclusively or jump in the water, scrub, rinse and use the Solar Shower for a fresh water rinse. Marina facilities (as rare as we hope them to be) or a bucket for a quick dunk and scrub isn't out of the question either. As you can see we have options!

How do we shower? Like this.
2. What about water?

We hold 80 gallons of water in the tank and may carry 5-10 extra gallons in jerry jugs as well. We have pressurized water which means that it comes from the tap just like at home, except that you'll hear the water pump kick on if the water runs more than a 10 or 15 seconds. We also have a water heater that we can turn on when motoring or using our generator so we can have hot, and I mean hot, water if/when we need it. If Ron expects me to shower regularly when we're in the North Channel, this little gem might get some significant use!

3. How will you get food?

From stores and markets of course! We'll stock up on foods where it's convenient and get more when we're in places with stores. Although we might find some slim pickings we won't go hungry. People living there have to eat don't they? And I for one am really excited about exploring fresh foods at local markets and trying new fresh, healthy food options. We're also hoping to use all of the great fishing gear we had given to us (thanks again Mike and Linda!!) to catch some delicious, fresh seafood. And I'm looking forward to trying out a Hawaiian Sling to spear some fish (especially those pesky but tasty lion fish), catching lobster and collecting conch. Yeah, it's going to be rough ;)

As fresh as it gets
Image here

4. How will Lexie go to the bathroom?

Yup, still getting this one...a lot. But it's a very reasonable question and people want to know! You can find those details out in our 'Poopdeck' post.

5. What about health insurance? 

Trust me, I got this Come-To-Jesus talk from my dad when I told him we're not going to have health insurance while on our trip. For most people here that seems insane, I know. But we're doing so knowing that we are both very healthy individuals who do not have any kind of chronic or ongoing medical issues that need regular attention. And for those that aren't really familiar with other countries' health care; it's not only pretty decent (which I could strongly argue the opposite for the U.S.) but it's affordable....without insurance. That being said, I am still planning on looking into some catastrophic insurance plans to see if they would be worth the cost/coverage. Boat insurance- YES! Health insurance- NO. Priorities my friends, priorities. 
We don't need no stinking health insurance!
Hopefully this answered some of your questions, if not, let me know and I'll be sure to answer it soon! If you've been asked some crazy questions I want to hear about those too, they're always entertaining!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Hijacked Medical Kit Supplies

So glad we put Halls and Alka-Seltzer Cold/Sinus in there 
Spring allergies are in full swing for me. Well, it could be spring allergies and a lack of sleep from a full weekend of bachelorette-partying it up. Whatever it is, I'm glad that we still have our stocked up medical kit at home so I can raid our stash now and get feeling better asap. We have lots of things coming up that I really don't want to deal with while under the weather. The med kit may need replenishing before it even gets on the boat!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

How Many Times Can I Say 'Lines' in a Single Post???

Lines, lines, lines. You need a lot of them on a boat. Docking, raising and lowering sails, anchoring, holding stuff in down, holding stuff apart, holding stuff together, you need a lot of line. The challenge is how to keep all these lines organized and accessible so you don't find yourself fighting a rat's nest at a very inopportune time.
We currently have our dock lines stowed in a small cubby under the back cockpit bench. With all the other lines and fenders we have in there, getting just one thing out can be a little tricky. As much as we hate clutter and crap stacked up, we know that some of that is inevitable, but for our sanity we need to avoid it where at all possible. Luckily, we have a pretty easy fix for a few lines.

We've been eyeing line organizers for a while and trying to figure out what we wanted to do. Then we saw these nifty things that you can stick just about anywhere. How nice to just lift the lid and grab a neatly coiled line right? That reminds me, I need to work on my coiling skills, I think I do so well until I go to grab it next time and it's just a blob of rope.
We opted to put ours on the inside of the lazarette lid for easy access that's still out of the way. And for about $5 we can get more if we like them.

And speaking of lines, we also needed line organization for the cockpit, which can quickly get swallowed up by the main sheet alone when sailing. Slipping, tripping, rolling ankles on line is not good. And.Drives.Me.Nuts. The Command Strip cord organizers were recommended by....someone I can't remember, so for a couple of bucks we'll give it a shot. They have a lower profile than many other options which is nice since repeatedly hitting our heads on a hard plastic knob would get old pretty fast (they're going on a surface we often lean back on when relaxing in the cockpit). We'll get these up soon and let you know how they do.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Into the Blue...Water Tank

After cutting the inspection ports and installing the covers Ron got busy washing down the tank in vinegar to 1) break down the chalky chunks where the aluminum had started corroding and 2) prep the tank for painting. We gave it a final acetone wipe down and got busy.  
NSP 120 Epoxy
NSP 120 is a 2-part epoxy, and very thick as we found out when we opened the base. We mixed up a small quantity every few minutes as we didn't want to get stuck with it curing while we were still trying to put it on. It was already enough of an awkward, painful, exhausting arm wrestling match trying to mash the epoxy in all the corner welds around the entire tank. And all from 4 little ports that aren't big enough to fit your arm, head and a flashlight, all of which were necessary to see what the heck you were doing. Oh, yeah, and I was the lucky one who got to contort herself way up in the very V of the v-berth. I'm still feeling it with sore knees, elbows and muscles.
Thick stuff...but a nice pretty color ;)
Once we moved from brushing to rolling on the epoxy things went much smoother. Application should be anywhere from 5mm-25mm per the manufacturer and we figured we had a whole quart, why not use it all? So we did. That tank is now sealed up better than Fort Knox. No more corrosion in there!
 We did have some crystallization in the base, probably from sitting in our cold spare bedroom all winter, but found that the more we stirred it up (and the warmer it got) the better it was, not perfect, but better.
We got a little messy
In our hour of desperation trying to get the job done a flashlight, a cushion, our arms and my hair were all compromised. Fortunately acetone makes for a  pretty easy clean-up. And now it's done, let's hope it works!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

High and Dry: Testing Out Some Boat Gear in Utah

I recently made the trip out to Utah to see my brother and, since we usually end up doing quite a bit of hiking in sunny weather, I thought this would be an opportune time to try out a few things I'd bought for cruising.  Why let these fun things sit unused any longer, right? They have the same uses....they just got used in a little different type of environment this time around ;)

1. Outdoor Research Oasis Sombrero Hat - Okay, so I can't really pull off the look with this hat but I.LOVE.IT. The wide brim of the hat keeps the sun off your face and neck and, for me, that helps me not only stay cooler but avoid headaches from squinting. And boy does it help you stay cooler! I've never been a big hat wearer, but I noticed quite a difference in temperature when I let my mom try it out...I wanted it back ;) Plus, it has a nice elastic band that allows you to adjust the size of the hat to fit your head. It also stayed very clean, even with all the dust it was subjected to. This thing is a winner!

2. Guide Series Women's Quick Dry Trophy Fishing Shirt - I love being in the sunshine...without always being in the sunshine. I wore this shirt while doing some moderately intense hiking (meaning: sweating a lot) without ever feeling like it was clingy or sticky or wanting to take it off. They aren't kidding when they say quick-dry! I barely had time to sweat before the shirt wicked it away and not for a second did the shirt ever feel wet. I'm so glad I have a couple of these for the boat...but now that I know how nice they are (and how affordable --> ~$20) I may need to get another fun color. Ron also has a couple that I'm sure he'll be using too. A sure staple in our closet cubby that we'll shove clothes into!

They call me....Panama Jackie
No, really, that name stuck for the whole trip
 3. High Sierra Propel Hydration Pack - We plan to do a lot of hiking on our trip and wanted to get some sort of hydration pack to take with us - without paying the price that comes with brands like Camelbak. These High Sierra bags are small enough to not weigh you down but also come with space for storing items you want with you either in a zippered or mesh pocket (it even has a built-in helmet strap - not that we need it). The mouth piece is ready to go (unlike others that require you to cut your own) and easy to use although I wish it had some sort of cap/cover over it when it's not in use. The waist clip is comfortable and I never had an issue with the  shoulder straps slipping or moving even when climbing. I was initially concerned about it not having a strap across the chest but it was never an issue. For less than 1 Camelbak we got 2 great bags ($25 each) that we can't wait to use.

4. Keen Owyhee Water Sandal - I also got these water sandals for the boat thinking they'd be great for hiking and going in and out of water. I didn't wear them hiking this time around as I was concerned about the sand getting in them (which really annoys me) with no water to rinse them out. However, I did have a moment of pure gracefulness and managed to step in the water while playing on rocks in one of the rivers and can say that the sandals dried pretty quickly and were still comfortable to wear walking while wet. Clumsiness aside, I'll save a real review for them for later.
So excited to start using all our stuff!

Monday, April 13, 2015

A Little More Counter Space

As you've probably hear a bajillion gazillion times, space on boat is limited, and that applies to horizontal space too. With the layout of your typical sailboat, galley space can be a little tight. We currently have one area of counter space that can be easily used for food prep but it happens to be directly above the fridge. And if you're anything like me, you constantly annoy yourself with not remembering every item you need from the fridge at one time. So that means I usually have to shove food over, wedge it in the corner or balance dishes on/in the sink multiple times....annoying. We just needed (and need is a strong word in the big picture) something that would give us a little more space, at least when we aren't using the stove.

Some boats come equipped with a stove cover that can provide a little extra 'counter' space but ours didn't. Luckily, there's a very simple, easy and cheap way to make your own.
Step 1: Have a stove
Step 2: Have a cutting board, cut to fit desired location on stove
Step 3: Install cutting board
We could have cut the board to fit within the metal frame but liked the option of having a little larger surface to work with.

Cheap, easy, fast. Now that's my favorite kind of boat project.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Water Tank: Ports and Pitting

80 gal water tank under the v-berth
We stole away for a few hours on Easter to get to the boat for the first semi-pleasant day that we've had in a while. I mainly puttered around organizing and trying to de-clutter (a never ending battle) as it was still too cold to start any wood finishing projects that have been deemed mine.

Ron got to work cutting wholes in the water tank to put in inspection ports. Up until this point there was no way to be able to a) know how much water was in the tank or b) see/inspect the interior of this 32 year old water tank. We had mostly been using bottled water for drinking but at times did use the tank water, which I totally admit had 'some floaties', when cooking/boiling it so I was a little afraid of what we might see in there.

Inside there are baffles to keep the water from sloshing around too much while on the move (hello, over 650lbs of water when full), so we needed 4 ports to be able to inspect each section. Or so we thought, mid project Ron found out he could have done it with 3, but having 4 will make painting the tank easier anyway.
Once we looked inside we found a little mold and what looked like calcium deposits on the tank. The white crusty material could be scraped off fairly easily but left small, shallow indentations in the tank. Ron was in denial but I immediately thought it looked like pitting, not totally unusual for an aluminum tank of this age. Actually, it could have been a lot worse, both with the pitting and the mold.

Now that we can get to the inside we can clean it up, repair spots if necessary and slather on some (potable water) epoxy that will help protect the tank and give us clean(er) drinking water.

The good news is that pitting doesn't usually impact that strength of the aluminum...80 gallons of leaking water might make me cranky, let's not have that. However, in doing some research (Googling), it sounds like maybe we should be more concerned about corrosion under the tank that we can't see. Might be something we'll have to check out, if we can even get to it.  
The white spots on the left are some areas of light pitting,
the white spots on the weld seem are mold
I'm just happy we didn't find a disaster. Last we heard, other people with the same boat spent about $10k on getting theirs removed and replaced, a process involving cranes and a massive amount of work. No thanks.

We'll do a follow-up post on how the epoxy prep/painting goes...stay tuned.