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, 2018

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A New Invention...

Our latest entry always comes up first... 
Click this link if you want to start at the beginning:
FIRST BLOG ENTRY
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This week we spent some time finding ways to live "off the grid".  While the boat is fairly self sufficient already, we took on a couple of projects this week that we hope will make life cheaper and easier for us.  Our first acquisition was a SOLAR oven.  We found this oven on You Tube and realized that with very little effort we could cook all kinds of food using ONLY energy from the sun.  the whole story about the oven is at a place called Emergency Essentials

They also have an neat You Tube Video:


This is about a 12 minute video which shows what this unit is capable of.  We hope to use it to save as much propane as possible...

This oven lead me to invent one more item.  This will be a SOLAR HOT WATER HEATER. On the boat we have a 12 gallon hot water tank that either heats water with shore power (110 volts AC) or the engine, which has coolant line going to and from the engine.  Thus when the engine is running, the coolant travels through an element inside the hot water tank and makes hot water.  If we are at anchor for any period of time we will not be hooked up to shore power and we would prefer not to run the engine just to make hot water.  So the Solar Hot Water Heater should do the trick.


If you can see the terrible diagram I drew, you see that I will add a 3 way valve to the supply and return coolant lines which will take the engine in and out of the heating loop.  With the valves in one direction, the engine will heat the water as it always has, however, when the valves are the other way, then with the help of a small 30 gallon per hour 12 volt pump, we will circulate coolant through 2 (or maybe 4) black tube coils inside a sealed black box with a clear Lexan lid.  To power the motor I will use a small solar panel.  Lastly the whole thing can be put in and taken out with 2 quick connect couplers.  If it all works the way it should, whenever the sun is out I should be making hot water with NO draw on our existing electrical system.  And when the sun goes down the solar panel will stop supplying the motor and the system will turn itself off until it next "sees" the sun. With all the bits and pieces I hope to make this for around $100...  I have found the 2 valves for $20 each and the pump motor for $20.  I'll post an update on this when I have these 2 solar appliances working.

Cheers,
Kyle

Saturday, January 18, 2014

A Busy Week...

Our latest entry always comes up first... 
Click this link if you want to start at the beginning:
FIRST BLOG ENTRY
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This week started off with me getting some kind of 24 hour flu bug... Oh how I hate being sick!  Fortunately, All seems well now and I still managed to get a few thing accomplished this week.

The big news is our decision to replace our 2hp Honda outboard for the dinghy with a NEW Tohatsu 3.5, 4 stroke engine....  The Boat Show price was $977 which given the state of the Canadian dollar this week, is a good price.  It comes with a 5 year warranty and that engine is the SAME exact engine as the Mercury, Suzuki, Evenrude and a few others...  We will pick up the Honda next time we go to check on the boat, then try to sell it for about half of what they want for a new one ($500).  If we don't get what we want we will take it with us and use it as a spare....

I also had a few hours to go to a friends farm to build 2 of the last projects before we leave.  The first are some Stainless Steel anti-theft covers for the thumb bolts that hold the outboard on the transom of the dinghy. We saw one of these at the show and they wanted $50... Too much so I bought 2 pieces of square tube SS from my metal guy for $10 (total) then found 2 receiver hitch locks for $20.

After about an hour I built 2 of these for  at total cost of $15 ea.... Nice eh?

The last project was to almost finish a new screen hatch for the main hatchway.  This is constructed with a piece of 5/8" marine plywood between 2 pieces of .30 gauge 316 SS.  I under cut the plywood and filled all the edges with West System pre-thickened epoxy.  I think it will look great after I finish it up today and give it a coat of paint next week.  This will keep the boat VERY secure while letting air circulate while we sleep or when we go to shore.  This wont replace the regular board, but will give us a few more options.  We will install the same lock on this as we have on our regular hatch




Each week we seem to be knocking a few more jobs off the list...

Cheers,
Kyle!


Friday, January 10, 2014

WHOOO-HOOOO !

For the first time EVER, we just created and posted our very first YouTube Video!
This was something that we have been struggling with for a very long time... I know if you ask a 10 year old, it's really easy, but in our world, this is a major accomplishment...

That said, we hope you will take a minute and check out our first effort...



This week we also took delivery of a new rubber boat/date stamp and an embosser with the boat name and number.  We understand that checking in to countries sometimes goes easier when you have these things...  We think they turned out pretty good...


The place that made them is called T.S.T Rubber stamp...  Although they are an online company, they just happen to be located here in Cambridge, Ontario...  If you find yourself needing good quality, fair prices, and GREAT service, check them out. They can be reached at:
1-877-717-1716 or Email: info@tstrubberstamp.com.  Tell them Kyle sent you...



The last thing I want to say today is partly a rant and partly some kudos to a very nice person.  The rant begins with the HORRIBLE customer service offered by the folk at Hewlard Packard (HP).  A little over a year ago I bought a fairly expensive "all-in-one" printer/scanner/copier for the boat.  It needed to be able to make nice photo prints and handle all the rest of our printing/scanning needs.

After some research, we settled on the HP Photosmart 5510.  For the first few months all worked well.  Then one day it quit, so I called their warranty service who quickly replaced the unit (almost too quickly in hindsight).  All good so far.  A few months later the replacement unit quits!  Because it was  around Christmas I waited until last week to call...  After 1 1/2 HOURS on the phone the man who  barely spoke english agreed to send me a replacement....  It was to arrive by Monday.

Monday came and went with real bad weather so I didn't think too much about it, but by Thursday, with no communication from them and no printer, I called them back again, only to find our after ANOTHER HOUR the replacement was not warranted and that here would be no replacement coming!  Seriously, when were they going to tell me!

Now here is the problem.  Replacing a printer is no big deal.  You can buy a great one for around $100. However, like everything else, we have been stockpiling things we need for our trip and over the last year have acquired over $400 worth of INK.  Unfortunately, the original packaging is long gone from the ink, so returning it is out of the question.

So here I am, not wanting to do business with HP and being stuck with a ton of ink, what do I do?

I searched around online and found a whole bunch of HP printers that use the same ink so I went to the FUTURE SHOP here in town and this is where the kudos comes in.

Frustrated and grumpy, I explained my predicament to the young lady (Hailey) who went far out of her way to make me feel like there was someone who actually cared in this world!  I have VERY low expectations in retail stores in Canada, but this wonderful person just made a horrible day better, with her attentiveness, kindness, and knowledge.

In the end I did purchase a different HP model that uses the same ink,and hope this one lasts a little longer than the last ones...
Who knows??? 

I guess that's the end of my rant....
Have a great day!
Kyle

A picture of the new printer:



Saturday, January 4, 2014

Something to Think About....

After Record setting COLD temperatures someone sent this to Shelley's Facebook....  Somehow, it just says it all....

 In the same day she found this:

So, my thought today is this....

God has given each of us a finite number of days to live.  Some of us are blessed so extensively that we live in a part of the world where we have the prosperity and freedom to do almost anything we want and to never die with regrets.  PLEASE, live, love and follow your dreams.  The ONLY thing that holds us back is ourselves and our fears.   With courage and some careful planning (or not) we can do ANYTHING....

A new day and a new opportunity....  Take it, and make the most of EVERY DAY...

Cheers,
Kyle & Shelley....

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Years!

Well, this is it.  This is the year, after so many years of planning and preparing that we make the move to our adventure of a lifetime...  In 180 days (ok, 6 months) from today, Shelley and I will be leaving from Hamilton Ontario.

When we leave we will cross Lake Ontario and make our way down the St. Lawrence Seaway to Nova Scotia where we then hope to head south along the eastern seaboard of the USA the try to end up in the Florida Keys by the beginning of November...

Fortunately, being Canadian, we can sail to Cuba and travel east along the north coast until we cross to Mexico.

Over Christmas we enjoyed time with our family realizing that for many, it will be our last Christmas together for some time.  We really do hope as many of our friends and family will join us in Mexico next Christmas, but we will see who can actually make it...
Shelley and our granddaughter Mackenzie

DLink picture of main salon interior

Today, I checked the boat (via the inboard camera) and all looks great. We also packed up our Christmas decorations and stored them away for our youngest daughter to us when she gets a place of her own...  While we were packing we took a small selection of decorations and a tiny artificial tree and put them aside for next Christmas on the boat....

In a few weeks we will be going to the Toronto Boat Show where Larry & Lin Pardey and John & Amanda Neal are presenting some seminars which we hope to check out...  We hope to catch 3 or 4 on Monday the 13th. They are free with admission to the show...  Which we won last year by filling out a survey....

I'll check in again after we have been to the show....

Cheers!