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Solar Energy
Not a cloud in the sky!
01/11/2009, GTC, Bahamas

Another great day!

After a wonderful breakfast of eggs poached in grits (a recent habit), we spent a couple of hours beachcombing for glass and shells, and visiting a local cottage which has been rented by some folks from Vancouver whom we met on the ferry ride over from Treasure Cay. The are LOTS of rental cottages available here and the occupancy is very low, so there is lots to chose from.

This afternoon was spent installing the new watermaker, with great results! I'll pick up a couple of additional fittings tomorrow when the shops open, and we'll be ready for an initial trial. I had to remove the floorboards to run all of the electrical wiring and plumbing, but everything is back together again, and the entire system almost disappears.

The solar panels ( 4 x 130 = 520watts) work until about 4:30pm and due to the flat installation ( they are not tilted towards the sun) they generate about 18amps (200 watts) maximum at high noon. The result is that by 3:30pm all of the batteries are fully charged, and the system indicates that everything that went out has been restored.

We also changed ALL of the lights on the boat to LEDs this year, but with over 30 lights (inside and out) they still use a fair bit of power.

The Xantrex solar charger/controller seems to work extremely well preventing the batteries from being over-charged.

Louise is so excited about the solar energy, she used her 110V toaster at lunch (via the inverter) to toast our sandwiches!

Tonight is another lobster feast with cold white wine and a fresh salad thanks to the Nassau shopping expedition.

If the weather holds, we'll finalize the watermaker installation tomorrow and head out on Tuesday morning to explore some deserted islands.

Bye for now!

glen

01/13/2009 | Derek
I didn't relize that the pannels were that large(in watts). Ths for the picture, You have a beautiful s/v and an envious Canadian reader.
Working Again!
lots of sun and 78F
01/11/2009, Green Turtle Cay

An interesting day.
We are moored in a wonderful safe harbour, protected from winds in every direction. The only problem is that this harbour is only accessible at high tide due to a sand bar at the entrance. High tide is currently at 7am so the only time to enter or leave is 7am. One needs to plan ahead when scheduling travelling.

Today is a lovely sunday with all the local shops closed, so I have a perfect excuse to relax and do nothing.

Yesterday I reconfigured the wiring on the solar panels so that I can now see exactly how effective they are. Absolutely fascinating!

On the boat, the world revolves around 12V batteries which power everything from this computer, to refrigerator, freezer, water pumps, lighting, etc. Over the day the solar panels not only provide energy for current use, but also recharge the batteries for the times when the sun is down. The biggest energy pig is the freezer/refrigerator and lights.

At the current time (8:20am) the sun is low on the horizon, and the refrigerator is running (as is the computer) and I am watching the instruments tell me that the panels are almost keeping up with the current demand for energy. By 9am we'll be self-sufficient and by noon we'll be storing 10-15amps back into the batteries. By dusk, the batteries will be fully recharged and the cycle will begin again.

It's a pity we don't use this same technology in our homes. Burning fossil fuels seems almost criminal when we have an infinite amount of free clean solar energy available.

Gaston, my friend, we should talk about your cottage on the island. This is definitely the solution!

I'm going to enjoy playing with these solar panels for the next three months and discover ways to improve efficiencies.

The fresh red snapper available from the local boats is almost impossible to beat!

Until the next time!

glen

01/11/2009 | Derek Dunstan
what size in watts are your panles and how many of them. Can you post a pic of them or have you already? I just changed our boat over to LED lights(every light including nav and mast) With every light on I use a total of 14 watts. I hope your enjoying the warmth, It's -14C or 6F here.
All the best Derek
Nassau Parliament Buildings
Still ble skies!
01/09/2009, Back in GTC

After three busy days in Nassau it's nice to back onboard Graynorth in a quiet harbour, far from hustle and bustle of busy Nassau.

Upon reflection I realize that much of my disappointment with Nassau has to do with the changes that have occurred in the central city architecture.
The advent of large commercial shopping malls on the outskirts of the city has resulted in the terrible demise of the urban core. What used to be a beautiful vibrant community of small shops and pretty Victorian houses impeccably maintanined has become a boarded-up eyesore, with ugly metal roofing nailed up across the windows, garbage in the entranceways and paint peeling off the walls.
Grafitti and illegal haitian refugees, drugs and guns, and bingo.... a whole new reality start to unfold.

We flew back to GTC and I had the opportunity to sit beside the Minister of Agriculture (and local Abacos MP) who shared many of his hopes and aspirations for the Bahamas. He was on his way home to Marsh Harbour, so we'll get in touch again. Tourism is down 30-40% and when your economy is 80% tourism, it's a BIG problem. Unemployment is rising rapidly as hotels/marinas/restaurants/bars reduce staff. He's hoping to diversify the economy and restart many of the historical agricultural activities that have been abandoned over the years when the easy tourist dollar became available.

Louise is happy to be "home" and celebrated with 5 loads of laundry, and packed the 100kg of food stuffs we brought back from Nassau into her various cupboards/hiding spots which are all over the boat. Literally every nook and cranny has something in it.... it makes finding things interesting as we need to tear apart half the salon to locate the brown rice.

I spent the morning removing our 120V ac icemaker from the boat so as to create more space for our soon to be installed watermaker.
We've never used the icemaker, and don't expect to be tied to a dock plugged into shorepower, so I'll try to barter it away for something we might be able to use.

It's sad to see our son leaving us, but I know he had a great time!

glen


01/09/2009 | pats
Due to Georges' departure to Cuba, there was noone home to welcome the furnace guy at your house for the checkup. However, next week I will 1. talk to Ian and 2. rebook. Sorry about that. HAving left snow in Vancouver and finding snow here after a 21 hour journey, I do envy you your sunshine and HEAT. See you in 5 weeks. Thanks for the tips about Nassau.
01/09/2009 | Judy and Jim
Hi guys! All is well here, and I am sure you have heard we are knee deep in snow.... We've survived the holiday season, and families and are gearing up for busy season at work. Enjoy some of that warmth for us! J & J

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