Tuesday, March 27, 2018

We are off the grid

We now make our own water! Yeah! We make our own power and water so basically self sufficient. How awesome is that?
Steve and Schooner Sailing
Friends boat SV Syrinx

My Herbs

Steve has frankensteined a RO watermaker from using one of these survivor 35 desalinator and a motor. It draws very little power and makes about 1.5 gallons an hour. So not a lot but enough. Tastes so good. There seems to be many cruisers using this same system.

At The Reserve Marina

We have enjoyed our time here in Belize.  We don't enjoy the cost but enjoyed seeing old friends and meeting new ones.  We have stuck around Placencia and Sapodilla Lagoon. There is a new marina, well one that has been in developed for years in Sapodilla Lagoon. They have finally opened the bar and store so it makes it a great protected area for cruisers. Oh they also have self serve machines to wash laundry. They have been very welcoming to all of us cruisers.

At Anchor in Placencia

We are heading to Isla Mujeres. Which is one of our favorite locations. Our daughter, Samantha, and her boyfriend are flying in for a visit mid April. We are looking forward to the visit and to finally share our world to one of our kids. Neither of them have ever experienced what our current lifestyle is like. So this will be exciting.  
St Paddy's day parade

They have visited us when living on the boat in a marina before leaving the states. But never have they experienced what life on the hook is like. I have to admit, I am also nervous.  Not sure why I am nervous they already think I am crazy.. hahah

Well I guess that is enough for now. Of course, once again I will have to push my grandson's pictures on you.  Oh and remind everyone that I am freelancing as a remote bookkeeper and virtual assistant, in case anyone is in need of some assistance. You can contact me directly or here.

Remember to be good to yourself and to OTHERS

Friday, March 16, 2018

Powering a Sailboat While Cruising

Easter is rapidly approaching. Are you a grandparent out during prime time cruising season? Are you going to miss your grandchildren giggling and laughing while scrambling to find those precious colorful eggs? How do you find the balance of family and passion?

The internet has change many things for the better.  It is helping travelers stay connected to family and friends during sentimental times by connecting them through videos and chat.  Now you can even go “Live” to share instant moments on platforms such as Facebook and Snapchat.  Traveling Grandparents can watch special moments that parents caught on their phones.

To share in those precious moments you must stay up with technology. You must power the many devices, which can be a challenge while traveling in your home on the water.  This challenge can be  sore spot in many traveling couple's relationship. The constant management of power can be exhausting.  The constant drain on stored energy these devices take can add up fast. Oh and the components needed to transfer that energy.  What the heck is an inverter and why do we need it?

Since all vessels work on DC power like a car the DC power must be converted to AC power to operate most devices.  Inverters are used to convert the power.  Generators are also used to create AC power.  You may also use solar or wind to fill battery banks up then invert the DC power to AC.  You can also simply run the engine to generate the power. Each Captain has their own preference and pocket book to which process they will use on their vessel.  All this work to operate that laptop or phone to watch those precious videos of your grandchildren's first Easter egg hunt.

I know I am one of these grandparents. I too will be missing a very special boy's first Easter egg hunt. I will make sure my devices are charged and my Wi-Fi connection is strong. So you are not alone.

I asked a few groups of travelers.  Many of them expressed their sadness of missing those special moments but felt traveling was worth it. Others felt their fellow travelers were now their family.  Yet others said they were very content with the videos because it shielded them from the drama that sometimes comes with visits with family.  I admit, I am with those people. I dont mind the videos and pictures.

Maybe I can kidnap my GMan one day. Hehe

Thursday, March 8, 2018

So Long Rio, Be Back In July

Well we managed to escape the clutches of the Rio Dulce.. heheh. It must have clutches because so many stay.. maybe stuck. Any who we are out!

After the bottom job was completely we waited for a decent weather window with a high tide for us to get over the bar in Livingston, Guatemala.  Our date for the best high tide was February 27th and 28th.  

I was ready to leave before then so I convinced Steve to move anchorages to Monkey Bay and try the new lovely restaurant, Dreamcatchers.  We met a friend there and celebrated her birthday and had a delicious homemade shrimp ravioli dish and a ginger margarita.  

The next morning we weighed anchor and headed down river to Texan Bay.  There we could be in a safe anchorage and take a launch to check out in Livingston the day prior to high tide.

It was a lovely quiet bay with a restaurant ran by a Texan.  Steve was able to eat chicken fried steak two nights in a row.  We met lots of great river rats, expats from all over the world. Unfortunately, I was in the betty ford center for internet addicts.  Reception was crap!  On a good note, my thumb got a much needed break.

So in the afternoon of the 27th we started the engine to head for the bar and found our alternator was NOT charging the batteries.  That is correct, she runs but she will drain the batteries which may prevent her from starting again when needed.  

We did not have plans of checking into Belize this year. We just needed to skirt by her on our way to Isla Mujeres.  But with alternator not working properly we decided we needed to repair it there before venturing to Mexico.  

We continued through the gorge and headed across the bar.  Unfortunately the wind was strong and chop was bad.  We had plenty of water underneath us but the chop kept slamming us on the sand bar and we got stuck.  Fortunately, we were able to get off by ourselves with no harm to Saga Sea.  We anchored in front of Livingston for the night with plans to try again during the morning high tide.

Livingston is a rolly anchorage.  This is why we stayed in Texan Bay.  So we didn't get much sleep and was concerned about getting over the bar AND the alternator issues.  Saga Sea pulled through. She started again and she floated over the bar nicely.  We then had a nice sail to Placencia Belize.

We arrived in Placencia that night so anchored in the bay and had a good night's sleep.  In the morning we set off to check into the country.  This required us to walk to almost the other side of town and take a water taxi, called the Hokey Pokey over to Independence and Mango Bay.  Then catch a land taxi to Immigration, Customs, Port Captain and BAHA offices. All of that went very smoothly.  

We were concerned about having issues with checking Schooner in because we did not have access to the online form that is used for prior authorization.  But to our surprise all went well just cost a small fine of $50 USA and a $5 charge.  Awesome!  Of course we keep her health records up to day at all times.

Now onto having the alternator repaired.  We had made inquiries from all of our friends that have spent many years cruising Belize.  They supplied us with a few names of local mechanics.  We contacted the first one and made arrangements to give him the alternator.

The day that we scheduled to meet, he ended up in the clinic.  Evidently he was struck in the head by a coconut and wanted to make sure there was no damage.  Hahah. I really don't make this stuff up.  To our delight he was able to fix it in a matter of a few days and it is running like a champ.

Now we sit here in this lovely bay, with a ton of lovely islands ahead of us with a month immigration fees paid and several old friends around.  So we will stick around for a bit and wait for another decent weather window then take our passage slowly up while exploring Belize’s lovely islands.  

Well that is it for now my friends, remember to please be good to yourself and to Others.

Oh forgot to mention that I have been working on being a remote bookkeeper and virtual assistant. I currently interning for a small jewelry company out of San Diego. I created a Facebook page, The Tropical Ledger, so if anyone is needing me Im available.