Thursday, August 27, 2009

Provisioning for the Pacific - Phase 1

One of the things I (Sherry) have been doing while Dave is working on his projects, is getting ready for our big Pacific Crossing provisioning. We will be 9 months getting from Ecuador to Hawaii, in very remote areas. Where we will find provisions, they will be very expensive.

The first step was to inventory all the stores currently on board, and eat up, or throw out old expired stuff.

That included the Shake n Pour pancake mix that EXPIRED in 2005! (We tried one package, it turned out lead pancakes that tasted musty. We dumped them and had cold cereal instead). We checked all the cans, and took out the ones starting to rust or were well expired. These went into the 'eat or trash' stack. The rest were cleaned of roach poop and put back, with the oldest ones in front.

One can, a big can of peaches was obviously bad... exploded looking. That one definitely was trashed. Another can had too much rust on the can seam, and looked like it might be breached, so I trashed it. I carefully scruitinize ALL the cans we open... make sure they don't look 'puffy', look at the contents carefully and give it the 'nose' test. So far, we've managed to avoid any problems, even with stuff that is 'a little' expired.

Once each locker was unloaded, it was carefully cleaned, and fumigated. We bought 2 spray cans of RAID in Costa Rica that is absolutely lethal to the roaches, if you get it anywhere near them. (on the other hand, I have drowned a roach in a competing product, and it walked away).

So the locker first got RAID-ed and closed for awhile. Then when everything was dry, we sprinkled some Roach Pruf (powdered Boric Acid) in the nether reaches.

Then I loaded everything back into the locker, recording quantities and locations in my 'Where Stuff Is' spreadsheet.

I've also been combing the aisles at the local supermarket... trying new stuff, and seeing what's where. It's important to make sure we don't buy 20 cans of some Ecuadorian brand of something, and find out it tastes horrible.

I have also been reading other peoples 'Provisioning Tips for the Pacific' info on websites. One particularly good website was from s/v Ocelot

Ocelot Polynesia Provisioning Advice

This account is from 2004/2005, so the prices won't be exactly accurate, but the rest of the advice should be pretty golden.

So now I'm ready to start thinking about loading up for 9 months in the Pacific. We'll take advantage of the convenience of the local supermarket here in Salinas, before we leave in November. And do a final provisioning from Bahia de Caraquez, at the local fresh food market, and a 1 hr bus ride into the supermakets in the city of Manta) just before we leave.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Boat Work

While Soggy Paws continues to dry out, Dave has been busying working down his 'high priority before crossing the Pacific' and 'must do while hauled out' projects lists.

He spent a couple of days polishing the prop & other bronze underwater fittings, and installing a new zinc.

He has rebuilt several of our pumps... our galley macerator had gotten erratic, the forward head macerator wouldn't work, and several spare macerators needed checking. One extra macerator motor needed rewinding, so he took it into town to a motor guy, and got it fixed up for $12. Then he installed new bearings, shafts and seals in our two spare engine raw water pumps so they would be ready for quick replacement if needed.

He took our Monitor Wind Vane off, made some adjustments to the gear mesh play because when we finally got to use it on our trip from Costa Rica, we found the gears were way too loose. Then of course it had to be all shined up.

While he was at it, he also raised the swim platform about 10". It was too low and kept slamming right next to our head in the water, when we were trying to sleep in rolly Pacific anchorages.

And we've got new Boat Name and Hailing Port vinyl lettering on order back in the States with Speedy Signs.

He re-plumbed our 2 3700 GPH electric bilge pumps with new Tigerflex smooth bore hose. Now these emergency pumps discharge into the cockpit. While doing so, he found one of the discharge hoses was completely blocked with oyster-like growth. Hmmm... that's probably why it wasn't pumping water out! Then he replumbed our big manual pump with the same hose.

The details of his bilge pump arrangement are on our Soggy Paws Plumbing page, under Bilge Pump Engineering if you are interested.

The past couple of days he has been equalizing the batteries and tracing down a voltage drop on one bank. And so it goes. Next is a week of engine work.

Soggy Paws, Bare and Drying Out

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Our Boatyard Cats

We have been adopted by the local boatyard cats... I wonder why??? Since the first day when we were walking back from the bathrooms, and 2 of these kitties started trotting alongside us... "Oh boy, new people to feed us!" We have been feeding them.

These amazing cats can climb a 10' ladder, easily. And what's more amazing is, they can climb right back down again, as neat as you please.

So now, in the mornings when we go out to the bathroom, there are 3 cats sitting at the bottom of the ladder waiting for us. And we know when it's 5 o'clock in the evening... all 3 cats gather and wait for dinner.

If we're a little late for feeding time, Tripper, the boldest of the cats, will come on board to remind us. We have found morning cat prints all over the deck. If we want to keep the cats off, we have to prop the ladder out away from the hull with a broom handle.

Tripper Sneaking Aboard

We have been Skyping with friends on s/v Restless in Chile, who were here 2 years ago. They are cat people too, and are glad to get news of the cats, Tripper and Marie. They have been trying to talk us into taking them with us when we leave. I asked them why there are no cats aboard Restless...

Tripper, looking in at Restless in 2007

The cats also, in typical cat fashion, like to get in the middle of whatever project Dave is working on.

Tripper, helping Dave work

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Anti-Bird Device

When we got back on Soggy Paws from 6 weeks in Peru, the boat was fine. Except the deck was completely befowled with bird-poo.

Dave spent about 2 hours scrubbing it down. But at dusk... the pesky bird came home to roost... on the top of our mast. It was a huge Man-O-War bird. We banged the rigging and it flew away. But during dinner, we heard a 'splat' on deck. Yup, he was back, and had just splatted Dave's clean deck.

So the next day, Dave made an 'anti-bird device'. He went up the mast and took down our wind arrow... it's the first thing to go when big birds start roosting on your mast. And then he made a template of the mast top, using an old plastic placemat.

The end result was a plywood 'cap' for the top of the mast (with a hole cut out for the light and lightning dissipator), that has long screws sticking up. He also tied a piece of string from the back of the rod that the masthead fly was on, up to the top of the trilight.

Update: August 10...So far (in 10 days), no more poopy birds!