From mid-November till a few weeks ago I’ve mostly been living an easy boater’s life being tied to a dock, or on land in a boat yard, and therefore connected to AC power and having little worry about conserving electric power.
As I finally back to a nomadic lifestyle I must regulate how much electricity I use. If I could have tracked my power use by the item using the most power these past five months the hands down winner would be running a electrical space heater. This has kept SWALLOW’S cabin comfortably warm. Now, until warmer weather arrives, I’ll need to rely on long underwear, the woodstove and snuggling with Momma Kitty. I’ve gotten thin blooded!
With the Honda outboard issues my boat ‘slush fund’ was tapped and my wish to install some solar panels has been quashed. I did improve SWALLOW’s electrical capacity by replacing the older Group 24 batteries with two new Group 27s. This increased theoretical usable power by 1/3rd.
Being in marinas and boat yards has meant good cell coverage so I’ve been using my data plan heavily. When at Paulsbo I had great ‘free’ Internet. At Port Townsend a coffee shop near the boat yard provided WiFi access (cost was a cup or two or three of coffee). Floating around the Salish Sea cell coverage is hit and miss so burning time on the world-wide-web will be limited. I’ll go back to reading more: books from SWALLOW’s library and those I have downloaded to the Kindle.
I also need to monitor water use as I’m now using about 1.5-2 gallons a day – depends on if I make pasta for dinner and how many cups of coffee I make. With the fixed galley tank full and a portable jug SWALLOW has 15 gallons aboard.
The correlative to water use is how fast the head’s (aka toilet) holding tank fills. SWALLOW has a porta potty giving a limited black water holding capacity. With careful management, meaning limiting coffee consumption, the capacity is 7-9 days.
Being afloat means the ‘fridge’ is again surrounded by 45-50 degree Salish Sea water. By ‘fridge’ I mean SWALLOW’S keel as I use the bilge to keep perishable items cool. I now carry more fresh items as I have a reliability cool storage location.
This past weekend was spent at Gig Harbor. With the 80+ degrees and sunny skies it was a busy place. I ride the bus to go grocery shopping and stopped at a Starbucks for some high speed Internet. Laundry needed to be done but no public laundromat. I snuck into one of the local marina’s laundry facilities – it was actually nice and quiet! The final land based task were topping off the water, dropping off recycling and trash and dumping the porta potty.
I’m feeling comfortable that SWALLOW’S systems are operating well so now heading north towards the San Juan Islands. For the next few days stopping at Blake Island State Park to again enjoy the location, take a shower and wait out the rain (though the wind forecast is favorable so staying dry outweighed sailing).