Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Carbon Neutral

I've been feeling sorry for myself lately because I'd like to buy a used vehicle but I can't find anything worth buying. I blame the economy, I suppose. People are hard up for money and craigslist is overwrought with overpriced junk. The last two cars I purchased were a 1985 Honda CRX for $800 that lasted me 3 years and a 1991 Toyota Tercel for $1100 that lasted almost two years and carried us twice back and forth across the country on one oil change (probably not joking)! But lately, most of the cars available for less than $1500 are crap. So I continue to hoof it.

I decided in order to cheer myself up, I'd write about my carbon neutrality. It's been a topic of blogversation for me before and it's in the forefront of my mind lately because I'm taking an Oceanography class in which we're learning about global warming and ocean acidification. Every article I read creates more animosity in me because I know some uninformed people continue to insist that global warming is a myth and/or continue to believe that it's not their problem. I dislike sharing my planet with these people. But since I can't move to another planet, all I can really do is set a good example and hope someone, somewhere, learns from my example.

So here is my example:
  • I live on a moderately sized sailboat with my boyfriend (it takes up less space, thus leaving more room for everyone else) 
  • I row my dinghy (zero carbon emissions)
  • I walk or ride my bicycle when I need to get someplace (zero carbon emissions)
  • I use public transportation or Ben gives me a ride on his motorcycle when I need to get to distant places (less carbon emission than driving a car solo)
  • I get my energy from solar power (zero carbon emissions - although I'll admit sometimes I am forced to use a gas generator when the weather is cloudy - probably less than 10 gallons of gas per year)
  • I cook with propane (propane has a smaller carbon footprint than other fuels)
  • Generally, people who live on boats don't shower as frequently as *normal* people, therefore saving water. Now you know.
I know some people think I'm being self-righteous when I talk about this stuff. But I'm seriously tired of doing grocery shopping and laundry on my bicycle. My body was not built to be a workhorse. So in a desperate attempt to make myself feel better, I am reminding myself why it is better to hoof it than to buy another car. Now, if you know anyone in the San Diego area with a used 5-speed they would like to get rid of for less than $1500, please contact me. ;)
Justification for our Noisy Neighbors

Monday, March 21, 2011

Winter Storm

When I was a kid, I always loved amusement parks. I loved the thrill I'd get from the rollercoasters. So it's no wonder I enjoy living on a boat. Last night we went for a wild ride. (So wild that it actually surpassed my thrill threshold.) We woke this morning to the sound of pounding precipitation on deck... we knew it couldn't be rain. And sure enough, it wasn't... As the picture shows, it hailed in San Diego today.

More for the sound than the visual, I took this recording of the NOAA weather advisory on the VHF last night... Let's hope this is the last of our winter storms!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Silence Is Golden

I've blogged before about the different sounds one hears while living on a boat. I actually keep a pair of earplugs near my pillow because sometimes sounds keep me up at night. Most of the sounds can be quieted by adjusting lines and fenders. Lately, I've been reminded of a couple sounds that cannot be hushed: those of the shrimp and the croakers. I can't describe the sounds to you but I can tell you that, from time to time, I've spent hours searching the boat high and low, trying to pinpoint the cause of the "pinging" or the "creaking". If only the shrimps and the croakers could see me searching... they'd surely get a chuckle.

Here are a couple of videos that will give you a better idea of what they sound like... in reality, the pistol shrimp sounds a little less like a pistol and the croaker sounds a little more like a... um, well, it just sounds different through water and fiberglass, but you'll get the idea.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Force 10 Cozy Cabin

Here are some close-ups of the heater install. Ben bought it used on craigslist and it had everything included except the wooden ring beneath the vent, which Ben cut out of some scrap wood we had lying around (yes, believe it or not, we have scrap wood lying around... or more correctly, tucked into random places) on our boat.

This is a view of the vent from the topsides. The vent cap is screwed on to
prevent water leakage but loose enough to maintain the proper amount of circulation to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. He sealed everything with 5200 and/or epoxy.

Here is a view of the copper tubing running from the heater up through the deck. It has one 45 degree bend in it. The bend is optional, but it allows for more heat to transfer into the cabin rather than escaping through the vent, thereby increasing efficiency. 

Here is a picture of the hole drilled through the ceiling/deck for the vent. The pipe is 1" and the hole is 2", to prevent the deck material from getting too hot. The screws need to be filed down and a little wooden ring would give it a finished look, but today we only care about function. ;)

And here we have a poorly lit side view. This is just to show that the heater is mounted about an inch away from the stainless steel sheet covering the wall.

We have the heater hooked to the same solenoid as the oven in our galley and the oven, grill and heater are all fueled by one propane tank, mounted on the aft transom. For more information on how to mount your own Force 10 Cozy Cabin heater, check out the online manual.

Hot Fun

Just like everywhere else, the weather in San Diego has been atypical this year. We've had some nights in the 30's and some days in the 70's. Recently, Ben installed a Force 10 propane heater in the cabin of Mother Culture and we've been enjoying the warmth on those cold nights. Eventually, he'll build a safety rail around it... as anyone who lives on a boat knows the chances of one of us branding ourselves are pretty good!

In other news, The Little Salty Chihuahua turns 7 years old today!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Rainy Day Excursion

We've been experiencing our share of rain here in San Diego over the last couple of weeks. A couple weeks ago, Ben's Mom, his sister Jenny and her three kids came down from the east coast to splash around with us. We didn't have too many opportunities to take them sailing, due to our busy schedules and the bad weather. But with the help of our friend Justin, we managed to get out there one Saturday, much to the chagrin of the seasoned salts on the field. A storm was making its way straight up the bay, so we had enough time to get out of the mooring field, raise the sails, dip the rail and soak ourselves before heading back. Naturally the sun came out just as we were arriving back at the dock. Ben and Adam took Jenny and the kids out again on Monday (I think his Mom had enough of an experience in the stormy weather!) and had a beautiful sail out to the ocean, complete with dolphins. I was only able to snap a few pics of our rainy day excursion (and not too many because my camera isn't waterproof and I was busy pulling in sails!). Here are the pics: