Friday, November 7, 2014

Slowly making our way South...

It is hard to grasp how long we have been working our way South. We left Newport on September 28th! We've been at this for 6 weeks already! I guess on my more tired days I will grumble that it's taking too long to move south, but I know it isn't really taking too long. Its just taking as long as we need. We have been lucky to find shelter when we needed it, a means to visit family when we've needed it (Bob's Mom had a bad fall and was in the hospital with a broken rib and we went to see Brad and Donna and baby, who is due to make her appearance any day !) a nearby church to visit on Sunday, an opportunity to provision and replace resources and do laundry, an opportunity to get off the boat for a couple of days and sleep in a lovely hotel (thank you to Steve) and most importantly the boat is performing beautifully (knock wood). So no whinging allowed. We will stay flexible and optimistic :)
We are in Solomon's Island MD with plans to move out tomorrow. The forecast (as of this morning) says we should have 5 days to sail south without interruption. We really need that window to get to the ICW before ice starts forming around here. Just kidding, its actually pretty mild, we just turn the heat on for a little in the morning to take the chill out. Hopefully, once we get into the ICW, our travel won't be quite as affected by the weather, except for the big sounds like Albemarle and Pamlico which offer little shelter from the elements. We have started seeing pelicans so we know we are headed in the right direction! I will be very excited when we start seeing dolphins and palm trees !   still loving' the slow life

Monday, November 3, 2014

The boat...Sirène

I promised a post about the boat and how we live on her for those of you who have not had the pleasure of spending much time afloat, so here it is. I'm sorry it took so long.
Sirène, our home for the next 8 months, is a 2004 Beneteau 37 foot long fiberglass sailboat. In order to live on the boat we have had to simplify our day-to-day life to fit into a very small space,  220 square feet belowdecks to be precise.  Included in this volume of space are two berths (bedrooms), a main cabin, a galley (kitchen) and a head (bathroom).
The  main cabin is the living room/dining room/office/entertaining and library space on Sirène.
The galley has a two-burner propane stove/oven, a microwave which is only used to store tea and coffee, a double sink, a fridge, and a separate freezer. When we get underway all the "stuff" you see on the counter goes into the sink so that when the boat heels (leans over under pressure from the wind) they don't go flying across the cabin spilling their contents.
Looking forward to the vee-berth. A favorite nesting place of grandchildren and nieces and nephews.
The head is roomy with a large size shower space which I use as a closet. We rarely use the shower on board for a number of reasons; the water is rarely warm enough, we carefully ration the limited amount of water in the storage tanks, and its a pain to clean the bathroom after a shower because, even with the curtain, water goes everywhere. Fortunately most marinas have nice, hot, and clean indoor showers for cruisers to use. Many include the use of the facilities in the cost of the dock or mooring.
The navigation desk is the nerve center of the boat from where we direct electricity to various functions on the boat. Sirène has three large batteries, one is a dedicated engine starting battery, the other two are house batteries. The batteries are kept charged either by running the engine and using the alternator to feed them or by the two large flexible solar panels we have mounted on the bimini (canvas cover over the cockpit). When the sun is out the solar panels do a very good job keeping the batteries charged. Navigation instruments like the GPS chart plotter, the radar, the VHF radio and the autopilot, use power as do the depth finder and the anemometer. Other powered functions on the boat include the refrigeration, the cabin lights, the water pressure pumps, the stereo and the propane gas solenoid. I should point out that this is a 12 volt system similar to our car's electrical system, not the 110 volt that we use in our house. As is evident in the picture the nav station is also where we drop a lot of stuff when we come down the ladder in the companionway. I did not tidy up before I took the picture. (In case you are wondering about the diaper... it's held over the vent to the fuel tank so that it can catch any drip while we fill the tank with diesel.)

The 27 horsepower diesel engine that lives under the ladder (stairs) to the cockpit.

So that is our space belowdecks, it may seem small but it is perfect for the two of us...well unless we are not getting along, but then as they boat is big enough if you aren't getting along. Fortunately we get on pretty well most days ;)

What do you think? Could you live in this space for a few months?