Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Power to the People

This is Vicki’s primer of power management for the uninitiated…

The boat can be powered (i.e. electricity provided) in four ways:

Shore power – When in a marina at a dock, the boat is plugged into electricity similar to what you have in a house. But, just as you can overload the electrical circuits in a house, that also happens on the boat. We have to stay within the constraints of 50 amps.

Large generator – When at anchor or on a mooring ball, the large generator will power the major heat-making appliances (stovetop, convection oven, dryer), more than one at a time but not all at the same time and will recharge the batteries.

Small generator – When at anchor or on a mooring ball, the small generator (Little Genny) will power everything except major heat-making appliances, usually one at a time, and will recharge the batteries.

Batteries –When underway or at anchor or mooring, we use the power stored in the batteries. The device that converts battery power to electricity we can use is called the Inverter. The inverter is our friend – it lets us use the microwave at any time to heat coffee or the all-important quiche for lunch.

All this means that we can’t just flip the switch like in a house! We very consciously practice power management. For example, if it’s been a while since we ran the engines (since the engines heat our hot water tank) and when using the small generator in the evening, our typical pattern is to turn on the hot water heater for showers before dinner, then turn it off before using the microwave for dinner, then after dinner run the dishwasher and the coffee maker. If the stovetop or oven is needed for dinner, then we use the large generator. It took us a while to figure out what we could use when – the learning curve was frustrating (it’s easy to feel defeated when all the power goes down), but we’re now pretty savvy power managers.

Lynnie made Clams with Linguine and got acquainted with the necessity of sequential cooking when the boat is being powered by generator. If we draw too much electricity, everything shuts down. So, when using the cooktop which draws big-time amps, we can’t use anything else that creates heat like the toaster, crock pot, or microwave/oven.
Making the linguine meal required heating the garlic bread in the oven first, turning off the oven, and then turning on the stovetop to cook the linguini first, and then the clam sauce.

Another power management accommodation…We carry two types of rice aboard – (1) the type you cook on the stovetop and (2) the pre-cooked shelf-stable version that you reheat in the microwave. The stovetop version is used when we’re plugged into shore power at dock or when the large generator is being used. The microwavable, more expensive type is used at other times – the microwave can be used on the small generator and on the inverter.
Poor Lynnie – twice she’s asked if she could use her blow dryer for a few seconds and Norm told her that we’d have to shut everything else down, so she’s given up! We seem to like her hair curly more than she does.

Attack of the Killer Mosquitos (and Flies)

Two great anchorages Sunday and Monday: Carver Cove on the Fox Island Thoroughfare and Merchant Island near Deer Island Thoroughfare, both in Penobscot Bay.

While at Carver Cove, we met up with Jeff and Karen Siegel on their DeFever and Smokey and Jo (friends of Jeff and Karen) on their Lord Nelson Victor Tug. We all dinghied over to North Haven for dinner. After walking the town, which took 15 minutes going from one side to the other, then back again, we dined. It was great to see Jeff and Karen again and to meet Smokey and Jo. Hopefully we will see them all again on the water.

When we woke up on Monday morning at Carver Cove and started getting ready to go, we were beset by giant black flies. They’re big and they have a big buzz. We’d heard about them in Maine, but hadn’t seen them until now. It was a very still morning and we were anchored fairly close to a wooded shore, so the conditions were favorable for them. One took a chunk out of Rick’s leg that required Vicki to dip into the wound box to get antibiotic cream and a bandaid. (The wound box has been dormant, thankfully, but it was pretty exciting for medical officer Vicki to give it a workout.) And, of course, after Rick got bit, we all started feeling phantom flies on us and jumping when nothing was there. Lynnie was posted on the bridge on swatter duty to protect us while we got underway. We haven’t seen them since – Lynnie must have scared them.

Yesterday’s anchorage at Merchant Island was selected specifically because there were good hiking islands around. We’re getting porkier with each great meal (not to mention chips and wine on the back porch while watching the full moon) and wanted to get some exercise. We dinghied over to Harbor Island which was just 20 feet from the boat. A trail wanders up a meadow into spruce trees and bisects the island. We got as far as the spruce trees and then were attacked by (literally) clouds of mosquitos – and they were hungry. It was a race back to the dinghy and some of them stuck with us back to the boat. Again, we’d heard about mosquitos in Maine, but not experience them until now. We were fortunate that our three weeks of hiking in Acadia National Park was essentially bug-less.

The odd thing was that later in the day other people in the anchorage went ashore on the island, went into the woods and didn’t come flying out, and explored the rocky shore without swatting frantically. Perhaps the mosquitos gorged on us and were napping. Or perhaps those people were savvy Maine hikers and used bug spray in advance.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Cruising with the Tierney's

This blog is a joint effort by Vicki, Norm, Lynnie and Rick:

Friends Rick and Lynnie joined us in Portland on Tuesday. They’ll be with us for about two weeks. It’s already Sunday and time is flying.

We provisioned on Tuesday afternoon using their car which is now parked at the marina. Discovered that it’s easier to navigate Portland with a map than without. Kudos to Lynnie for spotting the Enterprise car rental and grabbing a map from them.

Wednesday got off to a rocky start when the water went out on Vicki in mid-shower. Norm had changed from dock water to tank water and forgotten to throw one switch, then left to take a walk. Lynnie saved the day by filling water bottles from the dock for Vicki to rinse with. The day improved with a beautiful cruise to Five Islands Maine on the Sheepscot River.

Thursday we ran in heavy fog and decided to bail out early at Boothbay Harbor. Took the dinghy into town for a lobster dinner which was delicious. On the way to Boothbay Harbor the lobster trap buoys were everywhere, and Capt. Norm did an excellent job of picking a path through the “Crayola” field with aplomb.

Friday we ran in fog again for the 4-hour run to Tenants Harbor. Jamie Wyeth (famous painter) owns the estate on the point. His studio is in the pyramidal building which was a bell tower. As the launch was taking us to town, the launch driver pointed out Jamie’s boat moored in the harbor, and we saw Jamie and two dogs in his dinghy.

Saturday was on to Rockland—yes in dense fog all the way—1/8 mile visibility. Fortunately, the route was in deep water and there were not many other boats out. Lots of cool galleries in town. Also the Farnsworth Museum which has a lot of paintings from the Wyeth family, but we didn’t visit – our art appreciation sensibilities are not that well developed. Instead of the Farnsworth, we chose to appreciate the largest iron lobster sculpture in the universe.

Today there is no fog and we’ll be cruising the Fox Islands Thoroughfare in Penobscot Bay and anchoring in Carver’s Cove with Jeff and Karen Siegel and friends of theirs. We plan to spend the next week in Penobscot Bay and then back to Portland to drop off Lynnie and Rick. We’ll leisurely head south from there, arriving in Delaware sometime in October or November.