Adding security measures…..cameras ?

Since we have been using marinas during hurricane season it occurred to us that we might want to consider some additional security measures since most marinas are easily accessed by the general public and with that comes the risk of theft or other crime. We already have sturdy locks, cables and other security items on board.  I did some research and since we needed a system we could transport from location to location we decided to go with the Blink cameras.

The battery life was impressive (up to 2 years), they are wireless, easy to remove and install,  WiFi compatible, have an app that goes on your phone, tablet or both…they have in app adjustable motion sensors,  sensitivity, clip length adjustment ability and night vision.

These cameras can also operate off the hotspot on our phones while at anchor….although if we wanted to monitor them remotely we would have to leave one phone on board while we were gone. But they can add an extra sense of security at night if someone were to approach the boat as they camera will alert your phone almost immediately once the motion sensor is activated.

here’s a link if you’d like some for your boat or home !!!

 

Dyneema 12 strand line splicing

 

 

How to turn this…..

 

Into this……

and then this …..

 

 

 

The tools of the trade…..

The tools of the trade ….a paracord splicer….three fids of varying sizes and two D-splicers….you’ll also need a tape measurer….and some sharp scissors….and a pen or marker…..

Order yours here…..

There will come a time in every boaters life when the need to splice lines together or into a loop will come along. On our boat the lifelines are made of Dyneema which is a brand name for a synthetic, 12 strand, high strength line.  Unfortunately, one of ours fell victim to some unexpected chafing and it broke while we were in the Bahamas. We managed to replace it with some spare Dyneema we had temporarily using two trucker’s hitch style knots. Once we returned we had to make a final repair. So I had to learn how……

I highly recommend buying some line with which to practice, preferably something with a slightly larger diameter to make the first attempts easier. At the end of making your loop you will need to bury the tail inside the line.  You’ll find varying mathematical opinions on how long this tail should be.  I usually use a length around 21 times the diameter of the line, which for a 3/8” line equals a tail of about 8”.

This method works well because you only need access to one end of the line since quite often the other end already has a loop in it and is attached to the boat.

Measure out your tail and make your loop…..

Next you’ll need to mark two spots on the line where the loop will come together….don’t make it too close to the loop because you’ll want to fit that metal thimble inside the loop when you’re done.

Marks 1 and 2

 

Using the fid feed the end of the line through mark 1

It helps to imagine 12 strand line like a Chinese finger puzzle.  When you push the line together on either side of the mark it will bulge and open slightly. Slide the end of your line through mark 1. You can also work a smaller fid into the same hole and work the fids back and forth in a crossing fashion, to widen the hole.

 

Once you feed mark 2 through mark 1 You then open mark 2 and push the loop through mark 2

 

Loop passing through mark 2

Slide the marks together to form the loop and then work the thimble into the loop…..Dyneema will lengthen if you put some tension on it as the strands become compressed together…..be patient.

 

Next….at a point just beyond the length of the tail insert your D-splicer which you will use to pull the tail inside the line and “bury” it….pay close attention to the instructions for the D-splicer and only use the very end of the line in the splicer.

D-splicer inserted then pull and twist to pull the tail inside of and down the line and back out…

 

Separate the strands at the end and trim them into a taper to prevent any loss of strength in the outer line and work the end back inside the line to “bury” it…unfortunately the coloring on Dyneema isn’t a dye, just a surface color, so it will rub off…..

And you’re done ….

 

Here’s the line I replaced …….but since this was my first time I failed to account for the loss in line length due to the 12 strand being expanded by the tail being buried inside the line.  I also never found any warning about this in the tutorials or videos I watched online.  The rough math in that is you’ll need about 20% more length based on the length of the tail you bury, so make your loop about 2” longer if you’re using 3/8” line.

But at this point in my project, I had a thimble that wouldn’t reach the lifeline turnbuckle hardware……

 

Since I had read a few articles about life line stretch due to the compression of the line under tension (the opposite effect of the line being thickened when the tail  is inside or the line is bunched up). I attached a ratchet strap and put the line under tension for a few hours.

 

Once the line was compressed it lengthened and the hardware was able to be attached…….don’t judge my hardware too harshly ….stainless polishing is next….

Watermaker Repairs….more of them

Purely for clarification purposes …..here’s a diagram of what our watermaker system is like….our current issue is the high pressure pump.

 

 

Watermaker diagram

 

 As you may, or may not recall, last year we had to replace our watermaker membranes.  Prior to that, I had to rebuild our low pressure pump and design a new cooling system.

 

A lot of people ask “How do you make drinking water from seawater?”

The answer is astonishingly simple, even though the design of the system is somewhat complicated. Here’s the secret…..

If you remember the membrane post, those membranes are some nifty little 40” long cylinders made by Dow Chemical, and when you place seawater under about 800psi, inside a housing, the water molecules are forced through the membranes and the salt molecules stay on the other side and can be discarded/flushed overboard.  Many islands in the Caribbean, and elsewhere, use industrial scale water makers, the membranes come in a large variety of sizes, for domestic fresh water production. Some of these units make thousands or tens of thousands of gallons per day. Our watermaker is capable of making 50 gallons per hour. Dow also makes versions for brackish water and other types of contaminated water.

Here’s what the membranes look like in the wild……(outside the housing)….

Photos courtesy of Dow Chemical


Our current issue was that our high pressure pump (circled in the above diagram in red) was leaking, despite a recent rebuild.  As it turns out, this pump ….(you can see the salt residue where it was leaking….)

 


is NOT designed for use with salt water…..which is kind of an important feature for a seawater to drinking water conversion system. This pump is designed for use in industrial fresh water pressure washing …..like in a car wash.

So, I had to research a new pump…..this one…..

The General Pump model WM4215

 

A little pro tip…..if you need a pump for any application always check with the online company Kleen-Rite….. (https://www.kleen-ritecorp.com) even people who work in the pump repair and supply industry have trouble figuring out how they get their prices so low…..but it’s an advantage for the DIY’ers……

I saved about $1,000 by ordering it through them. It required a little more phone time, talking to them and General Pump, the manufacturer, to get the configuration correct but it was totally worth it. General Pump even installed the electric clutch and pulley at no charge. https://www.generalpump.com

Now the issue is getting a different pump to mount in the same place as the old pump.  I’ve been working on fabricating a bracket that will adapt the old mount to the new pump…….but that’s for next time…..

 

Some shots of the mostly finished floor

Attaching the veneer to the hatch plywood took a little time, some quality wood glue, and a few clamps……

 

The glue of champions…..

Titebond III Ultimate exterior waterproof wood glue with an applicator brush. All you have to do to clean the brush is let the glue dry and scrape it clean with your fingernail.

After it was secured …..

Let the staining begin……it ultimately took about 8 coats for the Light parts (the holly strips) of pecan colored stain and four coats on the teak parts of Gunstock to match the existing floor.

 

first coats…..

Then it was on to stain the section of floor that had already been replaced.

As you can see, there is a decent amount of difference in the old vs new colors……

This is as close as I felt I could get them to match…..

All we need now is some trim pieces to finish it off….. But that’s next time…..

Bike security while cruising….. or anywhere

Unfortunately, bike theft is a reality of life. While cruising we have used a steel cable security lock but recently I have seen how easily these are cut using pocket sized ratcheting cable cutters.

We decided to upgrade our bike security to the Kryptonite model 785.  They are relatively inexpensive at $30….and come with a theft protection plan that will replace your bike or motorcycle if the lock is defeated or cut.

here’s a link where you can get yours…..

 

 

 

 

If it wasn’t this ……it would be something else…..it’s like “This Old Boat”

So, after forty years or so, even the most sturdy among us often needs a little TLC and refurbishing.  I had noticed some softness in the aft cabin sole under the stairs and finally decided this was the season to see what was going on down there.
As you can see, at some point there was water penetration and some WDO’s  (some wood destroying organisms i.e. fungus, termites and other various destructive elements at work here at some point over the last four decades).  I went to work with an oscillating tool equipped with a cutting blade and a pry bar.

The port side bulkhead next to the stairs had some interior damage, so I stripped all of that out and treated it with Coppercoat to prevent any future growth or infestations. I was fortunate to be able to find the extent of the damage and replace it all.

The starboard bulkhead, that makes up part of the nav station, was lightly damaged along the bottom edge so, I removed that section, treated The remaining wood and replaced the damaged section.

New pressure treated wood was installed to support the subfloor…….no more WDO’s here !!!

I had to drive theses stainless steel lag bolts by hand…..quite a forearm workout

 

Then,  I ”double treated” the pressure treated wood with Coppercoat…..

 

I discovered that shiplap fit perfectly into the gap created where I had removed the damaged bulkhead section.

I had to hand trim and fit the new subfloor sections to fit the curve of the hull on the starboard side under the nav station.


Unfortunately, I couldn’t use pressure treated plywood because the epoxy used to attach the final teak and holly veneer wouldn’t adhere to that.  I was able to use exterior grade plywood. I liberally soaked the edges and undersides with Coopercoat however.

Cutting the same style hatch board to match the original wasn’t too difficult…..

A local friend made the matching width teak and holly veneer for me…..Now to experiment with some stain colors to match…..

Next time I’ll post some finished shots after the trim, stain, and urethane are applied….

Twilight Zone Part 2

This past season we had hoped the big news for the blog was going to be a trip to the Ragged Islands.  Since the lockdowns and protocols in the Bahamas were ever changing and at times contradictory we stayed put in Long Island for about eight weeks and then made the run back to Florida. It wasn’t a great season for photos as we were restricted to the boat for about 1/3 of the cruising season, but here’s what’s left of what we got …..

Kim’s bird friend

Gun Cay  lighthouse at the south end of Gun Cay 

Hungry Rays

that cloud looks like a giant cruise ship Barry the barracuda 

Lighthouse at the south end of Gun Cay
Inside the Gun Cay lighthouse

A bit of a waterspout

Hoping we all have better luck ……And a better year next year ….

A Season From The Twilight Zone Part 1

So…..we left Florida just before New Years Eve, sacrificing our partying opportunities for a weather window to get down the coast and make a run for Bimini.  Our weather forecasting service wasn’t all that optimistic about the chances but we decided to go for it and see what happened.

We left Merritt Island and made it to Ft. Pierce that afternoon and anchored near a nice trawler named Diesel Duck (who we saw in the Bahamas much later in the season as they were anchored in George Town).

The next morning we departed Ft. Pierce and headed down the coast, trying to time our arrival for either an entry to Biscayne Bay if the weather was bad, or a turn toward Bimini the following morning.  As luck would have it, we were able to make the turn to Bimini just south of Miami and arrived there before 4pm for the outgoing tide so we could dock with some current against us and make it easier.

The below image is a screenshot of our track as we entered Bimini…..it was humorous that the dock hands didn’t mention that the channel had shifted about 100 yards to the south after hurricane Dorian.  If you take a close look at the green line, which was made as I was following our old track from the last few years you’ll notice we had to turn around and try again after we hit bottom!!!! The response on the radio was “oh ya mon we forgot to mention that”

 


We spent about two weeks in Bimini and I was able to enjoy my first ever bout if vertigo …..woof……don’t try that at home……I spent about four hours on a beach chair unable to even stand much less walk…..and then had two lighter bouts of it before it subsided and I haven’t had any issues since.

We helped out our friend Aaron at his bar The Hy Star Lounge for a few days and somewhat of a celebrity stopped by, if you are familiar with the Bravo TV show “Miami Million Dollar Listing”


That guy is apparently a multi millionaire and made it all on real estate in Miami after moving there from Ohio…….

After a couple of weeks in Bimini, as the weather cleared, we decided to make a run for the Exumas…….We made a jump for New Providence where we spent a night in West Bay and then made the ten hour jump to Norman’s Cay.  That was an adventure once we got there …..but more about that next time…..


I must have been hungry I already have my fork……

Havana….the last of the Mojitos (aka the walking tour….)

 

When we last saw our intrepid explorers they were making their way through old and New Havana……it was a long day.

We stopped at a few random spots to snap some pics before we stopped for a cold Cubata…..be the first to name the ingredients of that drink in the blog comments (not on Facebook) for a chance at a prize !!!!)

here we are at the Police Station…..voluntarily….

Bad boys ….bad boys….whatcha gonna do?

 

Our new “friend” …who was a bit of a stiff…..Antonia Gades….a famous Spanish Flamenco dancer

 

A message in a bottle ……from the maritime museum inside the fort…

 

on to the rooftop bar for a break…

It’s time for a ”Cubata” which is a dark rum and coke as opposed to a Cuba Libre which is white rum and Coke…

 

Jose’ Marti…..one impressive fellow….

Jose’ Marti, “The Apostle of Cuban Independence” who has statues everywhere, seems to be the true hero of Cuba.

Marti, (January 28, 1853 to May 19, 1895) was a poet, essayist and political activist.  He was considered an important revolutionary philosopher. Through his writings and political activity he became a symbol in Cuba’s bid for independence from Spain in the 19th century.  He was killed in combat at the battle of Dos Rios.

Below is a bronze statue of a woman who is surveying the horizon to her north and is located on top of the Castillo de la Real Fuerza in old Havana, Cuba. (If you’ve been paying attention, you already know what that is !!!)  The local Cuban people claim that this bronze statue is a depiction of Dona Isabel de Bobadilla and it is suggested that it was placed there to honor Inès de Bobadilla, who is said to have watched every day the return of her husband. She is also graces the label of Havana Club Rum !!

The fort….at the top of the dome you can see the statue “La Giraldilla”

 

 

Mike runs off with a new tour group ….

 

So you weren’t allowed to take photos inside the fort museum….oops…

A forbidden photo op from inside the fort museum….
An up close shot of La Giraldilla …..



Our Walking Tour of Havana

Spreading outward over time, Havana has become a sprawling city, but the scope of this growth can be hard to understand for those who don’t live in, or study, the area. As an effort to display this growth, a scale model of the city was created and offers an interesting and insightful view of the city and if you can get there it is something that you will not want to miss.

In 1978, the historical center of Havana and its system of military fortifications dating back from colonial days, were declared a National Monument and in 1982 were included in the UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

Old Havana, covers an area of 2.14 square kilometers.  This primarily consists of two distinct areas: the old walled city and the surrounding strip that was developed following demolition of the walls from the mid-nineteenth century and the early decades of the twentieth.

The Scale Model of Havana was designed to provide a clear look at how the city was originally laid out and how it expanded over time. The model is color coded according to the age of the buildings and landmarks, making it easy to understand how and when growth occurred.

Cuban artist, Orlando Martorell, his wife and a team of modelers were the creators of the Old Havana Scale Model, a work that took them 3 years to complete and it was built to at a scale of 1:1500.

Among Martorell’s work is also the scale model of the historic center of Alcalá in Spain.

 

The Scale Model of Old Havana also features a beautiful lighting system that simulates day and night, sunrise and sunset, the lights and shadows of the city. This system also integrates sounds like the singing of birds, the authentic sounds of the city, the murmur of the waves of the sea, the bells of the nearby colonial churches, and even the noisy genuine sound of the firing of the canon at 9pm. The canon was originally used to signal the closing of the city gates, which stayed closed until dawn, it is the only way to experience what the city looked like over the centuries.

 

The harbor….

In 1890 there was a serious explosion which destroyed a hardware store in Havana….this is the text from the newspaper article from the Los Angeles Herald ……

THIRTY-FOUR PEOPLE KILLED AND ONE HUNDRED INJURED

“A Barrel of Powder in a Burning Hardware Store Was the Agency of Death.

Terrible Effects of the Explosion.

Havana, May 18. —During a fire in a hardware store last night a barrel of powder exploded. The whole structure was blown to pieces, and twenty-two persons killed. Among the dead are four tire chiefs and the Venezuelan consul, Seiior Franciso j Silva, who happened to be in front of the building at the time of the explosion. In addition to the killed, over one hundred persons are injured. The explosion caused the wildest excitement throughout the city, and thousands flocked to the scene of the disaster. The municipal authorities were promptly on the ground, and did everything in their power to aid the injured.” Several houses adjacent were damaged by the explosion. Later—The number of dead up to this morning was thirty-four. A gang of men is at work on the debris. Many human limbs have been taken out. The relatives of missing persons are gathered on the spot, and as the bodies are brought out the scenes are distressing. The proprietor of the hardware store has been arrested. It is feared that several more victims are in the ruins.”

The powder had been stored there illegally and the owner, despite being at the scene, did not warn the volunteer firemen who rushed in just before the explosion.

 

The monument to the volunteer Firemen…..

 

On a lighter note, there is a mysterious brass statue in what is called Plaza Vieja (Old Plaza).  A woman sits atop her big, feathery rooster mount, completely naked except for the stilettos on her feet. A massive forks rests on her right shoulder. The rooster, stoically gazes ahead.

No one seems to know what the meaning is behind this statue. Some tour guides say it is a tribute to the history of prostitution in Havana. The sculptor, Roberto Fabelo, installed the piece at Plaza Vieja in 2012 without explanation or context. The artist, who won the country’s 2004 National Arts Award, frequently features nude women with birdlike features in his work.

 

Downtown is filled with amazing architecture…..

 

A statue of a protective monk and an indigenous Indian boy at the Church of St. Francis Assisi and Convent…..and a random woman in the bottom left corner….

 

 

 

The church….

 

 

Below is a statue of Carlos Manuel de Céspedes del Castillo, who was a Cuban revolutionary hero. Cespedes, who was a plantation owner in Cuba, freed his slaves and made the declaration of Cuban independence in 1868 which started the Ten Years’ War, which ultimately led to Cuban independence.