This is a blog featuring my personal stories of food, gardening, yachting, photography, travel and life.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

A Few New Items For the Boat

From time to time we make Amazon purchases. Usually I see something I want and save it to my cart waiting for enough items to be added so that I can take advantage of the free shipping. It's been suggested I should just go ahead and get Amazon Prime but I figure, how does paying a fee for Prime make the shipping free? Hmmmmm...

So, once the cart has enough items in it I go ahead and push the buy button and the purchases come to me. 

Recently, I got a small shipment of items that will all go to the boat on my next visit. All stuff  I've thought about that ought to be aboard but thatI just haven't got around to buying. 

First item is a teak through-hull plug. Huh? Yeah, its a funny looking thing that could, in certain emergencies aboard, save the boat and you. Shaped like an ice cream cone, in the event of a through-hull  or other valve or hose failure, this simple device can be shoved into the breach to 
Teak through-hull plug
staunch the flow of water into the boat. It's a good idea to know where it is and can be accessed quickly in the event of an emergency. Like any number of items aboard, an emergency is not the time to have to start thinking about where you put it. Mine will go into the cockpit cabinet adjacent to the engine hatches. There are three through-hull valves down there along with lots of hoses. So, there it will go, just in case.

wash bottle
The second item in the box delivered the other day was a small wash bottle. Another odd device but I have a great use for it. My battery bank, especially my house batteries, are in cramped space that makes checking the fluid levels difficult and adding fluids even more difficult. Distilled water needs to go into those little holes in the top of the batteries, but holding a gallon bottle of distilled waer over those holes and trying to get water into them without making a mess is hard. I saw this wash bottle and thought...problem solved! I can squeeze the bottle gently and get just the right amount of water into those tight spots. 

Having spent my life not protecting my hearing has left me somewhat deaf, especially in my right ear. Many years ago, as a teenager, my grandfather took me to the gun range as he routinely did with my dad and I whenever we came to visit. On this occasion he handed me a .45 handgun and gave me a few instructions for firing it. I held it close to my right ear intending to lower the weapon slowly towards the target before pulling off a round. Unfortunately, the hair trigger went off right next to my head.  I felt the hair on the side of my head flip up as the bullet went past it. I put that gun down and that was it for my day. In fact, I think it may have been the last time I ever fired one of my grandfather's guns. He just laughed his head off at me but I felt I came a little too close to losing
Safety Ear Muffs

All these years later I have purchased headphones to use when operating loud equipment in our yard or shop and I use them religiously. But aboard the boat with its two noisy diesel engines, I had nothing. Well, now I do. These should do the trick and though I am seldom in the engine room when they are running, they are still a good idea when anywhere near them. I'll store these in that cockpit cabinet. 

Item #4 in the shipment was a couple of Satco brand Rough Use, Shatter-proof 100 wattlight bulbs. These bulbs running 24/7 during the cold months add just a bit of heat to the engines. I have a single bulb hanging between the engines. They hold up well when the engines are running despite the heavy vibrations and each bulb lasts about 2 seasons before burning out. I finally needed some new ones and they topped off my Amazon order to get the free

They are shatter-proof as well so if they do break you don't have a mess in your bilge to try and clean up. I've found them in local hardware stores as well so they aren't a rarity. They are pretty reasonably priced too. 

The final item ordered was a Micro Dry/Wet Vacuum by Shop Vac. This little wonder came highly recommended by my mechanic. I saw it in action recently when he was aboard. He loved it. It has good suction despite its 'Micro' size. 

So I had to order one. What with very limited storage aboard the boat, something that must always be taken into consideration when bringing anything new aboard, this little device seems like a no brainer. 

It holds one gallon of liquid and is 1 hp. It comes with a couple of attachments, hanging hardware, a six foot cord and everything you need to get started. And, its by Shop Vac, a quality product. They run about $40.

So, there you have it. A few little somethings for the boat. Nothing spectacular but all with specific and necessary purposes. The Amazon cart already has some more items in it...waiting. They probably won't get ordered until next spring though as they are all items I'll need to prep the boat for cruising season. I can't wait!!!

Snow? In November?

Taken on November 3, 2017
Well, yea, it does happen on occasion. But snow in early November is pretty rare here in B'ham. So a lot of us were taken by surprise when we, first noticed a few flakes falling on our way out the door from the Bellingham Sail and Power Squadron Dinner Meeting on Thursday night at the yacht club, and then awoke to a pretty substantial amount of snow on the ground Friday morning.

Amounts varied throughout the region but up on our hilltop we gazed amazed at nearly 5 inches sitting on our deck railings.

It didn't stick around on the street very long so my wife was able to drive down the hill to work. It was just enough to look beautiful on the trees, shrubery and lawns. Perfect day to sit in the front window reading, occasionally gaze out the window and sigh.

Our Oil-filled Radiant Heater does the job!
I haven't been to the marina to check on the Key of Sea yet but friends who had been to their boats all recommended staying away until things warmed up a bit as the docks were covered with 3-4 inches of snow on top of ice. So, pretty slippery and not worth risking a fall or worse, falling in!

I'll head down tomorrow sometime during the day to check on things. I want to make sure the heat is up high enough. I already turned it on but purposely kept it low as it never gets this cold this early in the season. Fortunately, I have already turned on the 100 watt light bulb I hang between the engines and the electric oil-filled radiant heater. I still have some things needing done though before I feel really winterized.

The dinghy outboard  and the generator both need to come home and the kayaks are still outside the boat. They either need to be dragged into the salon  or deflated and hauled home to inside storage.  I need to pour a bit of anti-freeze down the drains and sump pump and open the cabinet doors to allow warmer air to flow through them. Aside from that, I think we are in pretty good shape for the winter. Not that that isn't enough to do and that needs doing pretty soon before damage sets in. Guess I ought to stop writing and get busy!