Wednesday, August 24, 2011

LOST: Rowing Skiff

Our little 6' rowing skiff has gone missing along with our only working outboard. Now I am fully convinced that I need to 'fix' my karma.  It was tied to our boat and disappeared over night. We tie it up bow and stern and it was dead calm last night. Not sure how it could have drifted away since it was tied on with 2 lines but who knows... Cross your fingers we find it. It's a small white rowing skiff with a Johnson on the back. The throttle handle is rigged with a blue spectra line to adjust speed. It is unmistakeable.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Living Aboard: Coffee or Tea?

I am not a coffee drinker. I have never understood the need for coffee as if it is a heroin addiction. Every once in a while I will have a coffee in the afternoon but that is more of a reason to sit in a coffee shop and use their free internet while slowly drinking one 8oz coffee for 4 hours. (Life hack. You're welcome.) If I am offered coffee or tea I will almost always choose tea. I like tea better. I like the idea of afternoon tea. Tea is just more civilized. To be honest though I don't drink either regularly. In the morning I prefer orange juice and bacon to coffee. Anyway,  M LOVES coffee. He literally cannot function with out coffee in the morning.

On our boat coffee can be tricky. We live simply and it is more involved than just plugging in the 'Mr. Coffee' and waiting 5 minutes. We have three ways to make coffee without the use of electricity. All of them are stovetop. The first is a traditional french press. This is probably the most common and easiest option. M uses this the most often and it works great. The second is a percolator. It creates a good outcome but has more parts that need to be cleaned. If you need to make 3 or more cups at once then this is  a good option. The third is my favorite; the moka pot. The moka pot has a lot of different names but it is essentially a stove top espresso maker. With this pot you can make a very close equivalent to traditional espresso for around $5. These pots are everywhere in Europe but you don't see them too often in the US. I am sure you can find them around. I bought one at a yard sale on the side of the road for $1.50.

As for tea, just add hot water! Easy and civilized.

Moka Pot
French Press
Tea Ball Strainer, my personal favorite.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Living Aboard: Heater

I know many of you will find it odd that I am even mentioning the need for heat but it does get cold in San Diego... just not as cold as where some of you are. It may not be life or death but it is nice to curl up and be cosy on a cold, wet, winter night (it does rain here once or twice a year). On Ellen Louise we use propane for cooking so it is only natural that we would use it for heat also. We have a Force 10 propane heater mounted on the bulkhead. It is plumbed with a permanent propane in line and exhaust out vent. It also has a very convenient spot on the top to warm hot buttered rum drinks with mini sea rails and all. This little heater will heat our entire cabin and completely dry all of the condensation off the insides of the windows. It makes cold nights much more comfortable aboard.

Little rails on the top hold drinks in place.

A word of caution: Propane heaters consume oxygen and the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning is very serious. We always leave the companionway cracked while the heater is on to supply fresh air. Yes, this makes the heater less efficient but it is a serious issue. We never sleep with the heater going and rarely let it run for longer than an hour. Our space is so small it heats up quickly and do not need to run it for long.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Living Aboard: Waterproof Cases

3 computers, 2 ipods, and literally hundreds* of mobile phones later we have finally committed to keeping our expensive electronics in shockproof/ waterproof cases. I use Pelican Cases to store my ipod and camera and I never have to worry about them. Sometimes when I am riding in the skiff on the way out to the boat I think to my self, 'What if Steve-Dave** rams us and pops our inflatable and we have to swim back!?' Then I calmly reassure myself that my camera in my bag is safely inside it's case and I have nothing to worry about. As I am writing this I realize that my camera is the least of my worries if I am attacked by what might as well be a dinosaur and maybe I should reconsider what is important. Either way, these little bad boys are totally worth investing in. When I moved aboard I didn't realize just how harsh the marine environment is on conventional electronics. Even if you don't directly drop something in the water the salt air will wreak havoc on anything and everything that wasn't specifically designed to be used on a boat.

I would recommend these durable cases to anyone who ever gets wet. No I was not paid to say that, they just work great.

Note the white case is for an ipod and has an exterior headphone jack.
No need to open the case to play music.

*ok, maybe not hundreds, more like 8.

**Steve-Dave is the gigantic scary one eyed sea lion that has been known to eat babies and pop inflatables for sport. (ok, the eating babies part might be a lie)

Monday, August 1, 2011

Living Aboard: Showering

There hasn't been a lot going on lately so I thought I would share a feature/ item that makes living aboard our boat a little easier. Moving aboard is a huge lifestyle change for almost everyone. Even the most frugal person will find that a 35' boat just doesn't have much storage. M put it best the other day, he compared our storage space to that of a bum with a shopping cart. It takes a bit of getting used to. Anyway, so I will try to share a feature of the boat every once in a while to give you an idea of what living aboard is really like.

One feature that I absolutely could not live with out is our shower. We have an Eccotemp L5 instant hot shower and it is AMAZING. You can buy it on Amazon for $115 and it is totally worth every cent. This thing it super simple and easy to use. It runs off propane and hooks into your boat's pressurized fresh water system. It uses very little water and is always hot immediately. And by hot, I mean, it is very hot. You can read more about the tankless water heater on their website: I would and have recommend this product to anyone and everyone I know who owns a boat (or an apartment or house).

Instant hot water heater mounted in our head.
Thanks to my brothers girlfriend for the magnet.

For the record, Eccotemp did not pay me for this endorsement and I am getting nothing from them. We paid full retail for it. I just love this product and want you to know.