Our latest entry always comes up first...

Click this link if you want to start at the beginning of our trip from
South Carolina (where we bought the boat) to Lake Ontario Click this link:

If you want to see the story of our 2 1/2 year project getting
Blowin' Bubbles ready for our life on board click here:

If you want to start at the beginning of our trip:
START OF TRIP - July 2014
2015, 2016, 2017, 2018

Thursday, February 28, 2013

More Small Jobs...

Well, winter is still banging away outside our door...  Over the last 24 hours we have received more than 8 inches of heavy, wet snow.  I just hope that this is the end of snow for this year as we look at getting the boat down to the Lake in the next two months....

We got some great news this week.  with the help of some great friends at the Royal Hamilton Yacht Club, we were given our old slip back for 2013!  This means that we will have a great spot to keep the boat and we can re-connect with all the people we got to know over the years we were members.

As for projects, I continue to inventory everything here at the house that will end up on the boat either as a consumable or a fixed asset.  We are using excel spreadsheets to accomplish this and at the moment we have a:
First Aid list
Vessel Consumable Inventory List
Vessel Inventory List
Tool Inventory List
Scuba Inventory List
Spare Parts List
Flag List
Medicine Cabinet List
Ditch Bag List

These lists will certainly take some time to compile, but in the end they should prove useful as we look for food and supplies...

Today I made a cover for our Honda Outboard Engine.  This was the first time I tried to work with elastic.  For a first effort, I think it worked quite well.

I also ordered a sail kit for our Walker Bay dinghy.  We have a hypalon tube kit for the boat already. Now when we are in an anchorage we can run around without our engine... This should be fun!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

A Great Invention... A Great Day....

On the aft deck of Blowin' Bubbles we have a large lazarette with 2 big doors.  Prior to the re-fit there were two big turn latches that kept the doors closed but they were never ablt to lock and Shelly stubbed her toe on them way too many times.  As a result, when I rebuilt the doors when I did the deck, I added two simple stainless steel turn latches that were flush with the deck.  This solved the "toe stubbing" problem but the security issue still remained unresolved.

The easiest solution wouild have been to add a latch that we then could have attached a pad lock to but that would have addressed the security issue but, you guessed it, created another toe obstruction.
After many hours of thought, I came up with what might just be the best invention of this whole re-fit.
I went to my friend at the Metal Supermarket and purchased 2 pieces of 2" x 2 1/2" x 10" of block aluminum, 2 pieces of 1 1/4" x 1 1/2" x 3 1/2" of block aluminum and 2 pieces of 1/2" diameter x 5 1/2" aluminum rod.  I also ordered 2 throttle cables from Defender and created a plunge lock mechanism that will not only secure the lazarette doors, but also make accessing them really easy.  With my good friend Clayton, we fabricated the plung locks today.

I will be installing the plungers between the doors under the deck and the receiver blocks on the underside of the doors themselves.

The last job I finished up today was completing the running lights and the bilge pump for the dinghy.  I have sewed a small bag that will hold the nav lights, the oar paddles and the hand water pump when not in use.  The battery compartment now has a connection for a small charging unit if the solar panel can't keep up.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Fish Hooks...

Who knew that something as simple as fish hooks would be such an item that people all over the world are looking for.  In the next year before we leave, Shelley and I are ammassing as many "trade goods" as possible.  Trade goods are things that cruisers carry on board to either give away of trade with indigenous people on the different islands  Today we were at Walmart and found packages of 100 fish hooks for $3.  we bough 2 of them and brought them home and re-packaged them so we can now give them away 10 at at time.  Next we will be looking for a way to package 100' lengths of fishing line....

Saturday, February 16, 2013

500 DAYS!!!!!

That's right, in just 500 days Shelley and I will be setting sail on our oddessy/adventure. We are getting pretty excited!

In the mean time there are some more projects...  This week I spent a few hours going through our First-Aid kit.  On a boat, far from a hospital we need to be fairly self sufficient, so we have collected quite a good supply of what we think we might need...

Rather than have one huge box, we have decided that a number of smaller containers will work better for us.  The boxes are broken up like this:
Box 1 - sprains, breaks & breathing
Box 2 - bleeding & burns
Box 3 - band aids
Box 4 - wound cleaning
Box 5 - topical medicine
Box 6 - oral medicine - OTC (over the counter)
Box 7 - oral medicine - prescriptions

In addition, we have oxygen on board for a scuba accident.  We also hope (if we can afford it) to purchase a portable automatic defibrillator....

This week I also began the arduous task of inventorying everything on the boat.  There is no bigger time waster in life than looking for where you put something...  It turns out that there are 120 spots on our boat where things "could" be.  Using an excel spreadsheet and a small "look-up" program, I will end up with a master list of everything on the boat and its location.  A big job, but one that will be worth it in the end...

Oh, one last thing...  if you look at the right side of this web page you will see a red bordered box where we list many of the books we think are helpful if you were to want to do something like this...  please use those links if you are interested in some of those books... It turns out that we can make a few cents every time someone follows the link and a few more cents if you buy one of those books from our link.... Happy reading!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Sewing Practice....

In an attempt to get some practice sewing with our new sewing machine BEFORE we attempt to make our dodger, I took on 4 projects over the last few days.

The first project was to make a cover for our life raft:  This will protect it from the elements but not interfere with it being deployed if necessary.

The second job was to make 2 covers for our 4 spare fuel tanks.  We have 3, 5 gallon yellow diesel Jerry cans and 1 red one for gasoline.  The covers will again protect the containers from u/v rays and other nasty's...

The third project was to make a satchel for the hoses used with the diesel polisher.

My last project was to make a holder for spare filters for the diesel polisher...

Friday, February 1, 2013

Lots of Project Ideas....

Last week, Shelley and I were in Cuba... What a great break!  The warm and sunny weather may just get us through the rest of the winter now...  While we were laying on the beach I managed to read a couple more idea books and now have 7 pages of "Boat Project Ideas" that may or may not get done over the next  few years...  Below is the list of "projects" and "tips": 

(Keep in mind none of these ideas have been run past the Admiral yet)

Not in a book:
1) ***Finish installing new steering ram
2) Make "poor mans" Bimini
3) Make cover for Dinghy
4) Make covers for 2 diesel jerry cans , one gas can, and one water can
5) when we get south buy 80-100lb test line and switch it out on our salt 
water poles
Not in a book:
***All guests must come with soft sided duffel bags ONLY
keep about 6 disposable coveralls on the boat. shrink package them.
Get 100-200 ' of 1" nylon webbing.. Makes lots of stuff....

Why Didn't I Think of That?    (John & Susan Roberts)
pg: 5-6   Companionway seat
pg: 15   Mast Climbing system - low mast steps...
pg: 16     Winch Handle holder - PVC pipe...
pg: 17:     Ring to separate the flag halyard tied to the shroud...
pg: 21:       Companionway storm door***                                 
pg: 23:   Use Thompson's weather seal on canvas....  
We have a gallon already.. put it in a spray bottle...
pg 32:   Re-use liquor dispensing rack 
attach to a bulkhead or inside a cupboard
pg 33:     put a 1/4" plywood sheet under the mattress in aft cabin 
then hook it to the ceiling - it will hold up the mattress
pg 56: anchor buoy - use the yellow ball - see picture use 3/8" line so it 
can be use to pull out the anchor if it gets fouled
pg 58: In addition to mast head anchor light use a solar light at deck level.
pg 59: put clear tubing on anchor snubber for extra chafe protection
pg 60: 15" x 4" PVC attached to stern rail with lrg. SS hose clamps 
to hold stern danforth anchor.
pg 81: Move bolt cutters to seat in cockpit.
pg 83: put barrel bolt in hatch board that goes into sliding hatch
pg 84: Put shock cord behind both heads 
pg 87: Put a collar zinc on the shaft inside the hull.
pg 90: install jackline in cockpit  and at helm. (& pg5 Offshore Sailing)
pg102: install activated carbon filter in galley sink for drinking water

100 Fast & Easy Boat Improvements  (Don Casey)
pg 11: Rim deadbolt for hatchboard
pg 22: Add warning light to bilge pumps at helm and nav station
pg 37: add compass to aft cabin
pg 48: add 2' length of 2" pvc to hold umbrella

Offshore Sailing (Bill Seifert)
pg 28: Install preventer system (need 2 turning blocks)
pg 39:   Magnaflux test kit $49 - to check standing rigging
pg 48: add SS cringle rings to reefing points on main & mizzen
pg 62-63: ***Create locking mechanism for lazarette from aft cabin

Why Didn't I Think of That?    (John & Susan Roberts)
pg 25:   find some boric acid.  it will kill cockroaches.
pg 26:  - buy a mouse trap and a rat trap and keep them on board 
(often not available in other countries)
pg29-30:  when off shore cover dinette cushions with towels...
pg 35:   put a few tablespoons of vegetable oil in 
the near empty toilet every few days once a month pour vinegar
into the toilet - let it sit in pump for about an hour - then rinse
pg 37: instructions for using the head - laminated  (for guests)
pg 43: put beach down every drain including the shower once a month...
keeps the smell down and kills germs
pg 44: bleach in bilge to get rid of bad smells - VINEGAR for diesel smells
pg 47: vacuum seal toilet paper
pg47: create inventory notebook - (see idea 238)
pg48: store towels and sheets in pillow shams and throw cushions.
pg 48: store cloths not being used in vacuum storage bags
pg 55: find a plastic recipe  card file box to keep alphabetic track of 
boats we meet.  if we get a boat card just glue it to the card.
pg 82: find a pre-departure checklist and make it work for us.
pg 82: make through haul diagram - and close as many as possible 
while underway
pg 87:   put a whistle in the cockpit.
pg 88: put 20' of line and a carabeiner on the ditch bag.
pg 96: wherever possible, use local currency.
pg 96: Lonely Planet Guide Books and Fielding's Caribbean Travel Book.
pg: 101: Liquid Joy - works for dishes in salt water
pg 105: keep micro tape recorder at nav station to record weather 
pg 106: Caribbean weather forecast 4003 khz @ 0815 AST (ECT)
  and 8104 khz @ 0830 AST
pg 108: cook double batches of potatoes, rice, meat etc. use leftovers... 
saves energy
pg 108: use "flame tamer" to make toast.
pg 108: if you soak rice for 6-8 hours cut cooking time in half.
pg 109: use dutch oven on barbecue for baking
pg 110: make "solar tea" - 4 tea bags into black 2 litre plastic water 
pg 111: reduce pressure cooking time by 20% and let the cooker cool
down slowly instead of venting- saves propane
pg 118: use a mortar and pestle to grind/crush spices. (do we have one?)
pg 119: start collecting mayo, ketchup mustard relish packets (now)
pg 163: find a dozen or so plastic syringes - for epoxy or liquid sealant

Projects & Tips:
Best of Sail Magazine's THINGS THAT WORK
pg 3: use 27% hydrogen peroxide - 1/2 oz per 10 gal h20
instead of chlorine tablets chunked off and mixed with water
in a bleach bottle
pg4: get an 18" length of 3/8" to 1/2" soft copper tubing connected 
to a valve that fits the washdown hose. to clear blockages in the 
waste lines.
pg 5: never leave salt water standing in the water or waste system for 
any length of time.  if leaving the boat for any length of time run 
fresh water through the whole system...
pg 7: to clear clogs in drains or pipes use a scuba tank to blow them out
pg 8: emergency gasket - cut out a plastic lid.
pg 10: to cut a tube in half - wrap it in paper then fold the paper in half.
pg 17: Rigging tester: wd-40 mixed with red dye powder. apply with soft
brush, let stand for 20 min. wipe with lightly dampened rag with 
alcohol. then lightly brush on talcum power - cracks will appear.
pg 19: compress a new impeller with a hose clamp - lube with veg oil.
pg 24: take oil filter off with ziplock bag.
pg 25: flush raw water side of cooling system w/ fresh water from time 
to time
pg 27: use enema bag for transmission fluid and distilled water
pg 38: check to see if this idea might work for an extra solar panel?
pg 39: wire in warning light to indicate when the water pump is activated...
pg 44: flopper stopper - settles boat in rolly anchorage (see video too)
pg 45: old fire hose for chafing gear...
pg 55: add 2 small padeyes to each mast just above the spreaders for 
bird wires
pg 87: Put water pump grease on the prop... keeps barnacles off.
pg 90: use small clevis rings instead of cotter pins
pg 95-97: Some kind of rig to secure a floppy topping lift...

Tips & Projects
From Buy Outfit and Sail By Fatty Goodlander: (Kindle Edition)
 3703.   Glue a sunbrella umbrella over the ssb radio to keep it dry.
 2728.   Attach hatch boards to the boat.  Make sure they don't fall out
if the boat flips over
2760 important storm stuff.
3738.         Buy a toilet wax ring to fix leaks while underway
3815.          Get rid of all steel wool.
3893.         Make dry boxes for electronics 💻etc. find a dehumidifier 
and hygrometer and a large Dry container see picture.
4941 exercise all the equipment on the boat at least once a month.
5076 a list of stuff to take to trade... (a really good list!)
5255 how to re-build a dinghy motor that has been submerged.
5317 inventory and record all spare parts - not only the engine!
5443 when crossing the ocean, move anchor chain to the base of the 
mast post in the bilge.
5492 there are 2 free knot books on amazon for the kindle.
5501 Coconut husks on a fire keep mosquitoes away..
5560 How to careen your boat
6290 find some Kevlar thread - it can replace a SS fitting.

Tips & Projects:
Simply Sailing by Connie McBride:  (Kindle Edition)
197 medications for seasickness. Scopolomine - brand: Tran-Scope
1771              Replace napkins with cloth - 2 for each person.
2297           Store extra clothing in throw cushions
2374           Get a few 100' spools of starter cord - works great for may projects
2391             Use dry-deck from west marine for under cushion etc. keeps moisture at bay.
2685            Put a 1" hole in the top of the rudder for am emergency steering rope
3915              Best anchor seems to be a Bruce 

Diesel Polisher.... DONE!

Whoo-Hoo.... I have finally finished building the diesel polisher I set out to find almost 2 years ago...  Today I went to the mailbox and picked up the 12 volt diesel fuel pump...  This afternoon I picked up 5 gallons of diesel fuel and 2 new fuel containers (we will need them anyway) and the last few bits and pieces needed to complete this project...  It started a few weeks ago with my friend Brian, TIG welding the 1/8" aluminum that my father in law, Ed put together.

Tonight I put the last few pieces together and now have this AWESOME fuel polishing system that is designed to either polish fuel from my own tanks (with a special valve and connector permanently installed in my fuel system) or as a siphon pump from another source (e.g. a 45 gallon drum).  Additionally, this system is portable so I can use it on ANY boat...  (Maybe another way to make a few dollars or earn some karma points).

The picture below shows the gear in action, pumping and filtering fuel from one yellow container to the other.  Everything worked perfectly except the gas nozzle that came with the pump.  It seems to be missing the o-ring that should have been with it....  hopefully I can find one...  

Lastly, for storage, the suction and fill hoses can be easily attached and detached for really compact storage.

I also picked up all the running rigging that I had to replace after the mice got to the lines that were stored in the trailer...  and expensive little mouse attack!

Here is the stand that we plan to use to hold the iPad at the nav station that acts as a repeater for the Raymarine Chartplotter/Radar unit at the aft helm..

 We also have a bit of a security issue with the lazarette hatch covers.... At the moment there is no good locking mechanism on that hatch doors. So with a variation of an idea from one of the countless sailing books I have read over the last few years I will create a remote deadbolt system from the aft cabin that is will use these throttle cables to plunge deadbolts in the lazarette....  More on that in the spring...