Vacation.... not so much!
10 January 2016 | Ft Lauderdale FL
Our layover in Ft Lauderdale since the holidays has been a mixed bag... on the one hand, we are basking in the Florida sun, on the other, we are daily plugging away at the to-do list on Whisper. We do agree, however, that boat work in Florida is way preferable to boat work in Wisconsin in May... or June. So since there isn't much travel excitement to report, this blog goes into the techy details of our upgrades to the boat. For our non-sailing friends who have trouble with the terminology I'll post pictures in the gallery.
Our first task when we got here was to arrange for a bimini to be built to shade the helm station from the sun. Everyone tells us the sun in the Islands can be brutal. The unit will also serve as the base for our solar panels. The panels should recharge our batteries on a constant basis so that we can run our refrigerator all the time. Now we can only run it when the engine is running or when we are plugged in to shore power. We also must install a controller unit to manage the power between the solar panels and the batteries. This involved (another) descent for me into the dank hole of the port lazarette (boat basement, only a lot smaller).
Improving our electrical system also includes installing an inverter so that we can charge up our computers, phones and other plug-ins. The inverter converts the 12 volt battery power into standard 'household' type power and has two standard outlets and one USB port for our use. All of this electrical stuff will allow us to anchor out for more than a few days and to conserve fuel, which is pricey in the Islands.
In addition to the electrical stuff, we wanted more water and more fuel storage so we purchased 5 gallon jugs for reserve supplies. These are mounted against a board that Bill installed on the deck between stanchions to keep them out of the way but secure. We also have a 25 gallon water bladder but haven't yet figured out what to do with it.
The easiest installation item has been the SSB (single side band) radio we purchased to get the weather broadcasts... that involved six AA batteries. The second easiest is the fiddle (divider) we glued between the sink and the bread locker to kept the dish water from dripping into the locker.
So you are probably wondering what I was doing while Bill was drilling and wiring and soldering and gluing? My list included oiling the teak handrails and floor grate, scrubbing the decks, diveying up the 20 pounds of peat moss into 18 Ziplock bags for use in the composting toilet, de-molding the walls and woodwork below decks, polishing the stainless steel deck fittings, reorganizing the provisions, and making up the to-do and shopping lists!
Whew!! we still have a few more to go but should have it all completed this week.
We did get a mini-vacation of a weekend on the west coast, where we visited with my sister, Bill's sister, and sailing friends from South Shore. It was an easy two hour drive across Alligator Alley (no we did not see any) to Naples.