Directions

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:
FIRST "REFIT" BLOG ENTRY - March 2011

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

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The DODGER Has ARRIVED!

After many months of planning and many weeks of waiting our new aluminum dodger arrived today!
Thanks to our good friend, Mike D. we are the proud owners of an awesome looking new dodger that will keep the sun, rain and waves at bay as we begin our journey in just 250 days!






This was the last major project to be completed before we are ready to go.  Over the next few weeks we will complete the last few jobs to finish it in our heated garage.

We need to:
 - epoxy a few inside joints (to make it look good)
 - cut out the window openings
 - clean all the bare metal with solvent
 - prime & paint it
 - install the two 60 watt solar panels and wire them
 - install the solar controller
 - install a wire for a white and red led light that will live under the dodger
 - install a passive motion sensor (a part of the alarm system that will detect movement in the cockpit)
 - install two handholds on the sides of the dodger.



When that is all done we will store it until the spring when we will either take it to Rochester and install it before we sail back to Hamilton, or sail home with no dodger and install it before we leave on July 1st...

As we wait out the last few months we are VERY busy doing something with everything we own.  

Everything we own will either be:
 - sold on Kijiji, EBay, or Craigslist
 - sold in a giant garage sale we are planning for the early spring
 - be given to one of our children or friends
 - put in storage (We have decided on a MAXIMUM of 10 boxes of important keepsakes and papers).
 - or brought with us on the boat....


Above, is a picture of some of the "stuff" we have set aside for the garage sale...


That last option is the one we are most worried about!  As you can see in the picture above we already have a ton of stuff earmarked for the boat... Some of the stuff was already on the boat and was removed for winter storage...  We are being careful not to leave with the waterline just below the gunnels...

We have decided that with all the work we have done to make this boat our home, we need to do everything we can to protect it.  And while we are not naive enough to imagine that we can protect ourselves from all eventualities, we believe that there are ways to deter some of the theft that is out there...  Our research tells us the many of the crimes in the islands are petty and crimes mostly of opportunity.  That said, we have already installed a better than average lock on our hatch door, and installed bars in the main salon ceiling hatch...  To further our "deterrent crime prevention system" we have purchased a 12 volt "home" alarm system from a company called "Skylink".


This "Skylink" system includes magnetic switch sensors that will be installed on every hatch in two positions so that they can be left open slightly for air circulation when we are aboard.  2 motion sensors that will cover the main salon and the cockpit, and 2 wireless panic buttons that will set off 3 110 decibel alarms at the push of a button...  We think that when we are away, the noise created when the system goes off will be enough to attract the attention of a neighboring boat, and that when home, if we hear someone on our deck at night they can be sent packing either with the noise set off with our panic buttons or their movement picked up while they are still outside the boat by the infrared motion sensor located under our new dodger.


In addition to the new "Skylink System", we already have 2 cameras installed on our solar arch on the transom.  They can be set to start recording on a laptop by a motion sensor inside either of them and we can turn on the TV in our cabin at night an see who is out there in infrared mode...

Is all of this going to keep us from getting robbed? Who knows, but after years of living in the city, we know for sure that if a thief can find an easier target, he will likely move to that before tackling something more difficult...  As always though, the best way to protect ourselves is to make sure we don't make stealing something easy....

More later,
cheers,
Kyle

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Blowin' Bubbles Is Tucked Away For Winter....

After a long 17 1/2 hour sail / motor from Hamilton to Rochester I arrived around midnight Saturday night / Sunday morning....





I got the boat tied up (without a scratch) and plugged in and went to bed....  At 9:30 Sunday morning I finally woke up and got myself and the boat cleaned up and ready for a busy day.  The first order of business was to assemble one of our folding bikes and get to the grocery store to pick up a few supplies...  I really have to learn NOT to shop when I am hungry!

I bought $50 worth of food without many redeeming qualities and returned to the boat to get my work started.

I spent the day getting the sails down and folded which is much harder than I imagined! I have always had help, so doing all that work on my own was quite a challenge... Fortunately a very nice couple arrived home to their slip (beside the one I was docked at) and they helped me get the mizzen sail folded....





In the end the sails got put away, the Mack Packs and lazy jacks got taken down and the running rigging was neatly coiled and stowed below...



About 7pm I barbecued a steak I had purchased earlier only to discover that Shelley had already removed ALL the spices and condiments from the boat!  I wonder now if I have ever had steak, corn on the cob and a baked potato with NOTHING on it... Oh well, I'm sure it was good for me...

My last job on Sunday was to get the new dLink camera working.  this camera is live and will send us an image on the interior of the boat ANYTIME we want it either on a laptop or our IPhone or IPad....  You just have to love the technology that we could only dream about a few years ago... Shumway has a fairly dependable WiFi in place that is left on all winter and the camera and router on the boat is connected to the house battery system and the solar panels are still charging so I suspect we wont have any issues keeping an eye on the interior of the boat...

An image From the DLink Camera

Another Image Taken  On My IPhone After I Got Home...

Early Monday morning I got up and showered and by 8 am I was ready to be hauled out...  I have to say that I have NEVER seen a more professional and capable crew handle our boat before... within an hour Blowin' Bubbles was hauled and on its way to its storage location with no fuss or drama, all for a price almost half of what I would have been charged at the west end of the lake! Just to give you an idea of the pricing, it was only after some serious negotiation that we paid the people at Ship Shape Marina over $1500 (they wanted almost $3000) just to keep us for a weekend in the spring, launch us and provide a crane operator for an hour...  Shumway wanted $1700 for a haulout, bottomwash, winter storage and launch in the spring!  I'd say this easily makes the 17 hour trip each way worth it!



The end of Monday saw the boat and engine winterized and the cover about 3/4's installed.  Shelley and Kelly arrived about 6pm in a rented car so we could stay in a motel and finish up the boat closing in the morning...





You may wonder why we rented a car when we have two cars of our own... The answer is simple, both our cars are over 10 years old and we now have a policy that we wont take them farther away from home than the 100 kilometers that the CAA (AAA) auto club is willing to tow to our mechanic... The cost to rent a brand new Dodge Charger for 2 days with unlimited mileage was $68!  that way cheaper than a 300 kilometer tow would have been any day...  Because we are leaving in a few months it make no sense to replace either car and so for now we just pray that they will hold together until we leave in 271 Days!

After a good nights sleep Shelley, Kelly and I returned to the boat and finished up the cover and then headed toward home.  On the way we had an appointment for Kelly so it all worked out to be a very productive few days....  Our last stop on the way home was to drop off a piece of the stainless steel pole that held up the wind generator.  Unfortunately, it had to be cut to get the travel lift off the boat after it was cribbed for the winter.  The pole was make by Klacco Marine in Grimsby and Doug was happy for us to drop it off to be fixed on our way home.




As you can see the cover is well secured and is held in place with 4 rolls of Tuck Tape" and 100 yards of synthetic twine...  The yard guys seem to think that the cover won't last till Thanksgiving, but I have greater faith than that....  At the end of the day, it is all closed up and it wouldn't be the end of the world if it got rained and snowed on for the next few months...



We expect to launch early in the spring and are on track for our July 1st 2014 departure!  The excitement and trepidation is rising daily....

When we got home we had two great emails.  the first was from Shelley's brother Bob who, if you remember, designed our logos for the boat.  He has now designed a logo for our "Right to Write" mission ministry...  the other note was from Mike D. who now has our new aluminum dodger welded and ready to be finished.  We will install the windows, solar panels and paint it over the winter and install it in the spring.... I just hope Shelley doesn't mind it in the living room all winter.... lol...


More news later....
Cheers,
Kyle