Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Tuesday Tips #6: Printing

Here's the Readers Digest version of the story behind our printer and why everyone needs one. We decided that we would do all of our own customs, immigration, and canal paperwork in Panama. After running around we finally found the location to do the first part of our checking in. The second part was a few doors down. When we got there they told us that we needed to have copies of the stuff from the first place but wouldn't make them for us on the copy machine they had. Where were we supposed to get copies in Colon, Panama (super dangerous place I might add). Long story short we ended up paying the marina to finish our customs and immigration paperwork but decided we needed to have a scanner and printer that we could take with us if we ever needed to again.

We did do all our own canal paperwork. That may be the one well run thing in Panama, which makes sense since it brings in so much money. We had no problem getting it set up on our own. We didn't use an agent and are happy we didn't. We've heard of a number of boats that didn't get their canal deposits back. We had to wait for ours and it was mailed to the states but at least we got it. Other boats have told us that their agents ran off with the money.

We've never actually carried our printer with us but we recommend that everyone get this printer. It is bluetooth and rechargeable. And unlike other rechargeable items it keeps a charge for a long time. We love that we can pull it out to print without needing to get out tons of cords. Absolutely great on a boat. We love it so much that when the Christchurch Earthquake hit it was one of the items we thought we lost in our appartement so we ordered another one right away for my mom to bring with her. Of course we didn't know we would actually be getting the stuff in the apartment back (or the condition of anything since the sprinklers had gone off in the building) so my mom brought it to us and now we have two of them on the boat.

Unfortunately as I'm writing this and looking up the info it appears as if the price has gone up considerably. It was only $220 when we got bought the replacement last year and it no longer comes with the bluetooth adapter or cover like ours did which is an additional cost. I would probably still recommend it for a boat, small apartment, or anyone who needs to be able to easily store their printer or have one on the go but the new price is really to high. Maybe there is another good option out there?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Tuesday Tips #5: Locks and Key Rings

While we are on the topic of locks. Buy a large pack of locks that all have the same key (marine grade if you can find them). There are so many things to lock up on the boat it is nice to have one key that fits them all. Make sure you regularly corrosion block them because they do seize up if to much salt water gets in them.

One last thing on locks (and would be good for those of you that live on land too) are these key rings which don't rust and are easy to open and close but very secure. Whenever a marina gives us a key fob or bathroom key we need to carry with us it's super easy to slip it on and off my key ring.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Tuesday Tips #4: Locking your Dinghy to the Dock

Continuing on last weeks tip of locking your dinghy to your boat or tender sometimes you need to lock it to a dinghy dock as well.

We also carry a really long thick double loop security cable (something like this but I think ours is thicker - we got it at home depot) as well for places we are worried their really is a threat of the dinghy going missing. It fits through most chalks and/or through small spaces on the dock making it easy to find a place to lock the dinghy too. We can slip it around something and lock it right bake to the engine. This has worked well for us. Many people carry chain but that gets heavy and there is always a rust factor. We've had very little rust on the cable lock so we don't mind using it for locking the dinghy to the boat as well (unfortunately yes, they do go missing off the back of boats all the time.)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Raft-UP Sailor vs. Traveler

This has been a great month of articles. This question definitely sparked some debate on the various boats that have participated this month. It’s nice to hear about how and why people choose this lifestyle because we all do and approach it so differently.

I am definitely not a sailor. Let’s just get that out of the way. Yes, I live on a sailboat and; yes, we move that boat on a regular basis. But, I don’t really enjoy sailing. On occasion there is a nice day where the wind is just right, we move along at a nice eight knots and I only feel mildly queasy. On those days I enjoy it a little but most of the time the wind isn’t in our favor. It seems to always be too much or too little and I’m almost always seasick.

This of course begs the question “why do it?” Why live on a sailboat. The quick and easy answer would be that Mark told me on our first date that this is what he wanted to do and I told him I would. The truth is I love to travel and yet I’m a homebody. I love that I can be out exploring new territory during the day and come home to my craft projects and then crawl into my own bed for a movie. There are a lot of sailors who were happy to get rid of stuff and move to a simpler existence. I am not one of them. I brought a lot with me. This boat is full.

I love that I don’t have to worry about whether I’ll be able to eat wherever we visit and have to pack a suitcase full of granola bars and water to live on just in case. I’m not an experimental eater. I like what I like and that’s about it. On occasion I’ll try something new (butter chicken by the way is not chicken with buttered herbs on it. I learned that in Tonga and now I eat it all the time) but mostly I stick to what I know. If you got dysentery and almost died when you were nine you might feel the same.

I also love that we aren’t on a timeline. Well actually that isn’t entirely true. The weather dictates a lot of where we go and when; plus Mark and I aren’t the best at planning so we often find ourselves in a hurry to get somewhere. In the big picture though we can take as much or little time as we want. This allows us to not just see the tourist things but also find the local hangouts and see what a place is really about.

Has my view on sailing and travel changed since we started? Probably not. I still love to travel and see new things. I love hiking up new mountains, finding neat little caf├ęs, taking in the sites of a new city, enjoying their museums and culture. As far as sailing is concerned, we didn’t own a sailboat before this one and I don’t image we’ll have one when this little adventure is done. They are simply too much work and I don’t get enough enjoyment from the actual act of sailing to justify it.

I’m mixed on whether the boat really helps or hinders our ability to travel. There are a lot of places we simply would not be able to go to if we weren’t on the boat. The cost would just be prohibitive. Getting all the way out to the Marquesas is not an easy thing to do and if you made it there you’d probably only get to see one island. Travel by sea gives you a whole new perspective on history and geography, when you start to really understand and pay attention to the wind and current you understand a lot more about travel and exploration by ship and really come to appreciate the big deep harbors that quickly became major ports. It also gives you a whole new view on fortification which lets face it is what a lot of history is about, taking what you want and protecting what you have.

On the other hand, the boat takes a lot of time and energy and there have been a number of places we haven’t seen very much because our concentration had to be on the boat. There are also a lot of places that are just easier to see by land. We spent three weeks traveling by car around Australia and we really did get to see more than two months on the boat. We move much slower on the boat and since we’ve had a number of things that have needed to be repaired we’ve spent most of our time doing that. There is also regular maintenance that constantly needs to be done. When your home is with you everywhere you go you never get a break. We saw and did so much in New Zealand because we put the boat on the hard, closed her up, and went on our way. I appreciate the boat for the places she takes us that we otherwise wouldn’t go but I do think it sometimes can be hard to enjoy a place when things are broken and your thoughts are simply on the boat.
I always considered Mark more of a traveler than a sailor but after reading Jane’s post on the 1st I now wonder because he, like her, is always trying to move us onto the next location. Maybe he if more of a sailor than I thought. As for MM, I think he may be a natural born sailor...

How about you? Where do you think you fall on the spectrum of sailor vs. traveler? We’d love to read your posts too. Link them up below so we know where to find what you’ve written. If you'd like to participate you too can write for Raft-UP just fill out the interest form on the Raft-UP page.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Tuesday Tips #3: Locking your Outboard

When we moved on the boat we had one of those bar type dinghy locks (here is an article I found on various dinghy locks so you can see what I'm talking about). After the first one rusted we bought another but decided it was more of a pain than it was worth so we went to the bike lock technique where we used a double loop security cable and locked it to the boat or dinghy. Not the best solution. Somewhere along the line someone introduced us to the simple just pad-lock it technique.

The two screw handles usually come close enough that you can put a lock right through them. Once the dinghy is screwed on tight just lock it up. Someone could get in there and cut the lock but most of the time it's more trouble than it is worth and they'll move onto the dinghy with no lock.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Happy 4th of July!

Happy 4th of July! Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while probably know that the 4th of July is my FAVORITE holiday. I love everything about it. It’s a no stress holiday (no gifts, no travel), lots of yummy foods (can you say BBQ and watermelon), and who doesn’t love a good fireworks show. Plus, I love celebrating the USA! I am so glad that I was born and raised in such a wonderful country and am thankful for all the opportunities it has given me; including the ability to be sailing and seeing the rest of the world.

One of the challenges that I’ll have raising MM on the boat is to instill in him my American values and help him be proud of his home country even though he isn’t being raised there. I plan to have putting-out and taking-in the flag each day his job when he is old enough and we already pledge allegiance to the flag. I also make sure we listen to patriotic songs at least a couple of times a week. I’ll be looking for other ways to help him feel connected to the US as he grows up, possibly summer camp in the states with his cousins. I couldn’t think this to be more important. I’m proud of where I come from and I hope my son will be too.

As for celebrating the fourth, last year I was able to have a big celebration on Northfork with a couple other American boats. I wasn’t so lucky this year as there wasn’t anyone around and we are doing some major planning and prep work right now but don’t worry MM got a little fireworks show. Like last year I purchased some party-poppers and set them off in the cockpit. He wasn’t really interested though; hopefully next year he will be and I can do up the 4th as it should be.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Tuesday Tips #2: Storing Liquids

There are certain supplies that I provision big and shampoo is one of those things. I'll admit it, I can be a brand snob about certain things and my shampoo is one of those things. I'm always on the lookout for the kind I like and at a decent price. When I find it I like to stock-up. When we left Puerto Rico heading for the Panama Canal I hit up the Sams Club big time unfortunately for me I stored the shampoo and conditioner bottles in one of my floor compartments and the tops came open on some of them. Have you ever had to clean soap? It sucks. Just keeps multiplying and there was a lot of it. After this little experience I decided I needed a better solution.

Last year I figured out the solution to the problem and now it is my standard for all most liquids. I purchased 2L white emergency water jugs from one of the organizing stores in New Zealand. Now when I purchase items I condense them into a single container. These containers fit nice and snug in one of my compartments. They take up less space and I don't have to worry about them rolling around or coming open.

I have containers for shampoo, mouthwash, windex, laundry soap... Okay I know what you are thinking isn't it a little dangerous to have everything in the same type of container. Probably but I have them labeled and if for any reason I wasn't sure what was in a container I would get rid of it before rinsing my mouth out with it. I can now store a lot more because I don't have a bunch of odd shaped containers.

I have smaller containers for the amounts I need on a daily/weekly bases and just fill those up when I need them.

I think someday when we move back to land I'll probably do this too. I love the idea of my storage cabinets all organized with matching containers.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Raft-UP: Sailor or Traveler

Welcome to our second month of the Raft-UP blog hop. I've been so excited to have heard from so many people about how much they are enjoying all the posts.

Our topic this month is Sailor or Traveler? Since this can be a very difficult and different lifestyle we hope to give you some insight into why and how we all have chosen to do this and how we approach it.

Once again we have some great writers lined up. Some have been at sea for years and others just starting out. We have professional writers and those who have barely written a blog post. Should be a good mix of opinions. You can now read the bios, and find links to, on our past topics and writers on the Raft-UP Past Topics page. With out further ado, this months schedule and a short intro of our new writers.

July 2nd: Jane morejoyeverywhere.blogspot.com (returning blog, new writer)
Last month we had the pleasure of reading Ean's post and this month you'll get a little something different from his partner in crime Jane.

July 3rd: Stephanie @ sailblogs.com/member/nornabiron (returning writer)
July 4th: Behan @ sv-totem.com (returning writer)

July 5th: Jessica @ mvfelicity.blogspot.com (new writer)
Boat: 50' Hatteras Motor Yacht
Crew: Jessica, husband GR, and nine year old Gia have switched from sailing to power boating. The three have been at sea for good while and absolutely love it. It'll definitely be nice to hear the views of someone who has lived on both a sailboat and power boat as this doesn't happen very often.

July 6th: Tammy@ ploddinginparadise.blogspot.com (returning writer)
July 7th: Jaye @ lifeafloatarchives.blogspot.com/ (returning writer)

July 8th: Diane @ maiaaboard.blogspot.com.au/ (new writer)
Boat: Ceilydh a heavily modified Wood's Meander 40' Catamaran
Crew: Diane, husband Evan and and 10-year-old daughter Maia are a family of three from Vancouver, BC living on a catamaran with their Cat Charlie. Three years ago they set sail to explore Mexico before heading across the Pacific in 2011. They previously spent 3.5 years sailing a 28' monohull from Alaska, down through the Panama canal and Western Caribbean before heading up the east coast to Annapolis, MD where Maia was born. They are currently spending time in Brisbane allowing Diane the time to work as a freelance writer for a variety of magazines and newspapers. She also has a number of book credits to her name including the up coming "Complete Idiots Guild to Sailing" due to release in March of 2013. If you'd like to see what else Diane has written you can check out her writing website dianeselkirk.com

July 9th: Lynn sailcelebration.blogspot.com (returning writer)

July 10th: Stacey sv-bellavita.blogspot.com (new writer)
Boat: Bella Vita a Hylas 45.5
Crew: Stacey and Brett are just gearing up to set out cruising. They plan to set sail from Seattle in early September, make their way down the California coast and leave for Mexico in November. They would like to explore from the Sea or Cortez down to Zihuatanejo and back-up to Puerto Vallarta before heading across the Pacific in March of next year. Here is your chance to follow someone from the start. Read about the preparations and challenges of moving on board from the beginning.

July 11th: Head back here to svnorthfork for my post, wrap-up, and your chance to link up your blog posts on whether you consider yourself more of a sailor or a traveler.

I hope you enjoy what everyone has to say this month. Each writer chooses what they want to write about within the given topic. I have no idea what is coming and am just as excited as you to read it. I try to give them one or two questions each month to ponder and include in their post. This month I asked if their views on traveling and sailing have changed at all since starting and whether they think the boat helps or hinders their ability to travel. It'll be interesting to hear what they have to say.

If you would like to be a part of the Raft-UP blog hop you can link your articles on the last day of the hop each month or fill out the interest form if you would like to become a featured writer. 

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