Organizing, Cleaning, Provisioning and Stowing – February 15, 2011 – 15 days until departure

I retrieved the boat from Blue Water Yachts this past Saturday. Driving conditions were good, and with an extensive series of Pacific storms rolling in all this week, I’m grateful that Todd got his work done quickly enough to allow me to beat the weather with my road trip. The brake repair job went well. Todd found both the master cylinder and backup solenoid needing replacement. He bled the brake lines, and assures me that the brakes now are fully functional. Regarding the outboard, he had intended on replacing the high speed fuel filter. However, one of the bolts which must be removed proved stubborn, and rather than risk shearing it he opted to leave the old filter in place. He looked things over and test ran the engine. Everything checks out fine. Let’s hope the old Nissan is up to the task ahead. When I climb aboard to work on last minute projects or stow gear, I pat her on the cowling and make positive, appreciative comments.

We’ve now completed most of the items on our preliminary checklists. These are major projects, mods, and service items. The major projects are now done. It’s time to put together a more detailed preparation list. Clean boat interior, clean truck, get truck oil changed, figure out stowage plan, cancel the paper, drop insurance level on the car, drop garbage service, arrange mail forwarding, pay property taxes, find someone to water houseplants, and dozens of other tasks. We try to think of everything, but can’t help wondering what we’ll forget. On our Alaska cruise it was the charging cords for the laptop computer. Headed for the Sea of Cortez, I left the big fish landing net and gaff behind. This time I’ve already got this stuff in the gear pile. What will it be this time?

I’m working on ways to better organize gear on board. I’ve installed several long tubes in overhead locations on both sides of the king berth area. One is made of 4 inch PVC drain pipe. I used plastic rain gutter downspout pipe to make 3 others. They work out great, and will be very useful in storing things like our hatch vent wind scoop, beach umbrella, hand bilge pump, and similarly shaped gear which is usually heaped on the king berth floor. These items will be much handier to grab when stowed in their overhead tubes.

In 5 more days I’ll begin monitoring the 10 day extended weather forecasts for places along our driving route. I know that we’re likely to encounter below freezing temperatures, at least during the first half of the trip. With the Wallas stove heater doing its job we’ll be able to camp comfortably enough in the boat, but it occurs to me that if temperatures in the mid 20’s or lower are forecast, we’ll have problems with liquids freezing. I wonder if we dare stock up on provisions like beer, pop, and juice before setting out. I think I’ll test some items out here at home to see how quickly they freeze when left out in the truck overnight.

We’ve managed to establish contact with Abe McIntyre of Bahamas Methodist Habitat, and plans for our Eleuthra mission project are beginning to take shape. We are hopeful that this element of the trip works out. We look forward to meeting folks on Eleuthra and becoming involved in the housing improvement work being done there.

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