Saturday, August 23, 2014

Charts and guidebooks

We are very fortunate to be able to use the charts and waterway guides collected by friends Marc and Michele on their Loop a couple years ago and also Bob and Kathy. These contain a wealth of information on each segment of the trip- maps, guides to marinas, anchorages, amenities, etc. The charts are a backup to the electronic versions on our chart plotter and iPads. And I love seeing the big picture on paper maps. 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Battery Monitoring

One of these days (soon) I will be writing about the places we visit and the experiences we have as we resume our travels. In the meantime, we work to prepare the Mara Beel.

We are alone today in Port Charles Harbor.  Our friends Joe and Punk and Fred and Linda left yesterday morning on their trip up the Mississippi. Both couples are on 37' Great Harbours. We definitely miss the great conversations and the wealth of knowledge they generously shared.

Today it is raining so we are working inside. A battery monitoring device will give us information on the charge in our batteries when we are anchored out, so we are installing one. The first step was to cut a hole in the dashboard to hold the gauge. This was accomplished fairly easily. But the worst was still ahead. Mark used the shop vac to clean up the saw dust. A little while later I noticed that he had missed a few spots. In fact, there was sawdust EVERYWHERE in the salon. And I do mean everywhere. I was just a LITTLE upset because I just cleaned the interior of the boat yesterday. So I grabbed the shop vac to pick up what he had missed. Every time I turned around it seemed there was more dust than before.  In fact, there was an ever-increasing amount of sawdust everywhere. The windows and doors were closed, so the breeze was not blowing it around. Oh but wait- isn't there supposed to be a BAG inside the shop vac?? No wonder the dust was increasing-  it was blowing out the back of the shop vac.  I think I might have thrown something at this point. Maybe. I tried to implement our 5 second rule (we try hard to get over anger in 5 seconds). It didn't work. Not at all.

After I cooled down we tackled step 2- running wires from the batteries to the back of the gauge. 

The new gauge.

Mark running wires.

I can hardly wait till tomorrow when we install a new water filter!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Our Last Prep Visit

We are once again on board in Port Charles Harbor. It's so good to be on the boat! We are feeling that Mara Beel is our home, and our houses are where we visit- a significant shift in perspective. 

We met up with Joe and Punk on "Carolyn Ann" and Linda and Fred on "Young America." Both couples are experienced Loopers and are heading up the Mississippi on their 37' Great Harbors. They are a treasure trove of knowledgeable and fun to be with!

We have a list of tasks to complete over the next several days. We hauled a lot of provisions and other "stuff" we will need on our journey.  Tomorrow a carpenter is coming to build some shelves in the lazarette (comparable to a basement) and also under the galley floor. These shelves will give us more convenient storage space. I'm excited! I've been organizing like crazy!

We also had the top surface of the lazarette hatch replaced as a result of rot.  It is true that everything on a boat is broken, but we just don't know it yet.

Today Mark and I replaced our interior lights with LED lights. The LEDs are more efficient, emitting more light while using less energy. The LEDs are supposed to last 10,000 hours, so we won't be replacing them any time soon, if at all.

The round light on the left is the LED. The old light is on the left.  The wine cork gives you an idea of size.

The new light, installed on the ceiling.

Our new anchor is here, a Rocna, so we have some work to do on that. We also need to wash and wax the boat (ugh) and install a battery monitoring system, among other things. We plan to leave here during the first week of September to resume our loop. Can't wait to get moving!