Friday, December 28, 2007

Happy Holidays 07

Just a quick note to say Happy Holidays to any who might read our blog.

We flew home to Michigan. I'm back already because of work and Jenny will be returning tomorrow. Susan, whom we purchased the Fitz from, watch our kitty cat for the week.

It was nice to be away for a bit, but it is nice to be back floating again!

Earlier today I ripped out most of the entire old head system. Despite being dirty work, it was kinda fun. Our airhead is backordered... sadly we are making many trips to the boathouse in the meantime. ah well... so it goes.


Saturday, December 15, 2007

Old Man Winter

The first real snow finally fell last week! It was just barely a dusting, but at least it was snow.

Luckily, we had put the shrinkwrap up already and, as promised, here are some shrinkwrap pics. These first two are neato and they are of me with the blowtorch trying to tighten up the wrap the first evening after we had it on the boat.

A few pics of the finished product.

This one is just the smokestack for our little fireplace.

and then the full bologna.

It is a good thing we got the wrap up and tightened well because this past Thursday it snowed like all mad. It was awesome!

It was snowing so much and so fast that the snow landing in the very still marina waters was just turning to ice/slush and it looked pretty neat.

Not just neat, but very very pretty sometimes too.

In the meantime, some big Canadian destroyer came to visit. This was me trying to claim it as my own. They frown on that.

As a side note, our composting head is backordered 10 weeks :( Much to our dismay we will be improvising (and doing lots and lots of walking to the boathouse in the meantime). Ah well.


Saturday, December 8, 2007

new stuff! compost and tender

Hooray for new stuff!

My parents (Justin) chipped in some xmas money toward purchasing us a dinghy. As some of you may know, we like to spend time near the islands in the summer, but with no dinghy we can't get ashore. We just sit there a ways out and soak in the view. That is lovely, but we'd love the ability to go ashore. Hence we have pooled in with our parents and purchased a new Watertender 9.4

We haven't taken any photos ourselves yet, so those are all stock pictures. It is sad that it isn't quite dinghy weather out here right now, so the new boat is just floating around in the snow, hehe, but oh well, it will be FUN come spring. A new motor for it is next on the list.

In the meantime, old boats (aka, the Fitzcarraldo) have old parts. Sadly, the head (toilet) is one of them. Old things like to break down. Our current head system is an old VacuFlush system that no longer holds a vacuum seal. A lot of the fittings leak (gross and illegal) and its wiring has gone bad and causes it to draw extra current all the time (dangerous and battery draining). This has been on our list of things to fix ASAP. Well, we finally can't take it anymore. We ordered the toilet we have long been excited about (yeah, you get excited about weird things living on a boat). Anyhow, it is the "airhead" composting toilet system:

Again, these are all pictures from online that I have stolen for posting. Ours is in the mail and will be here in 7-10 days.

(warning, post gets a little gross from here on out) :)

It is an interesting system. Some people seem to absolutely LOVE it and some just hate it. Most heads have a holding tank in the bilge and some form of pump system that flushes everything down and keeps it in a big sewage slop til you can get pumped out. They tend to use chemicals to keep the smell down and water to assist the flushing process.

The airhead, is altogether different. It is supposed to be the "environmentally friendly" alternative toilet. It has two tanks built right into it which separate liquids from solids and then the solids get composted with peat moss via a mixing handle. The liquids you can dump overboard out at sea where it is legal and/or just dump into the real toilet at the boathouse. The solids simply get turned into dirt via the natural composting process. A vent hose with a small fan keeps the smell blowing to the outside of the boat in the meantime.

Supposedly, it is very odorless (it can't be worse than our current system--just ask any friends who have stayed over... our boat definitely has a certain funk to it--to be polite to ourselves). It uses no water and no chemicals. It is going to be way easy to install since I don't have to do any plumbing and very little electrical work.

In the meantime, our old system was installed overtop of an even older system! Yes, we have 2 holding tanks, two vacuum pumps and twice as much hose and junk running around our bilge as we need. It will be so NICE to get rid of all that extraneous junk. The old systems de-install will take far longer than the new system install.

All told, we are incredibly happy about this week's two new acquisitions. They will make living on a boat into a much better, smoother, and less stinky experience.

...and I can't wait to go fishing with the new dinghy--I can finally fish the rocky areas!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

interim post

I'll try to have a real post up soon. Life has been BUSY. My final papers are all beginning and I'm running short of free time. So just to keep you updated, we are completely shrink wrapped (ok, well it needs to be tightened up a bit more, but we're pretty well there). We built a shrink wrap frame for our friend Susan (the woman whom we purchased the Fitz from). We've discovered "Cowboy Brand" hardwood lump charcoal as the best and longest burning fuel for our fire heater. It was 23 outside earlier today with 40 mph wind gusts and it was 72 in the boat with only the fire and some fans going. I'm sure the sun on the shrink wrap helped that, but it is still darn nice.

So really we've been busy with lots of this fun stuff.

Our engines are still not winterized, which is only slightly concerning because as long as we keep a heater in the engine compartment (which we are doing) they should be fine, but I need to get on that one soon.... just in case the power goes out.