Ahh, winter in the PNW. When we first moved here several people told us the key to making it through winter was to get somewhere sunny and warm for a while. For years we have been going to Mexico, for up to a month.
But we are kinda over that. This year we planned an 8 day trip to Maui. Just before leaving the first week of February, we got some snow in the backyard.
My last trip to the boat I found a fair amount of snow. I had been advised to leave the diesel furnace running. It's a home unit, so in a sense there's no difference than setting the thermostats at home while you are away on a trip. Or is it?
After we arrived on Maui and settled in we began to get reports of heavy snow around Seattle (well, for Seattle that is, heavy can mean a couple of inches!) Our island facebook page began filling with posts about icy driving, the grocery stores being raided, etc.
Using a product called TeamViewer (highly recommended by the way), I can connect to the boat's PC and see our cameras, and other information. I looked the boat over and the first big snow day it was fine.
Using our power utility's phone app, I checked for outages. Just a couple. All of Bainbridge's power comes over a bridge on the north end of the island. Between that point, and where Mahalo is berthed, are a few million trees and miles of above ground power lines. We suffer power losses regularly.
The Maretron monitoring system on the boat notifies me via text when certain conditions occur. You can set up "Alerts" on literally any condition and take whatever kind of action you like, including texts, emails, audible alarms, and so on.
I thought I was all set with the diesel furnace. But then I realized without shore power the blowers won't be running. Also, our expensive AGM batteries can really only keep the boat going for about 8-10 hours before they reach the 50% mark. Draining past this point shortens their lives, eventually ruining them.
Luckily a few weeks prior I was at the boat show, and met Chris from Pacific Yacht Management. He and Jeff Sanson are the owners of Pacific Yacht Management. (http://www.pacificyachtmanagement.com/) They live on Bainbridge, and commute to work right from my dock in a C-Dory.
I had met Jeff on the boat and showed him around, thinking that in the future I'll probably be using them for various kinds of service.
Getting a low battery alarm while 3,000 miles away was a bummer. Now the Seattle news outlets were calling this weather event Snowmageddon!
I called Jeff and he was happy to help out all he could. With the snow and weather, he couldn't get over to Seattle anyway. Power was out I asked him to get to the boat and start the generator. I decided to watch the progress with the cameras. It was kind of eerie. When I saw his boots I thought "help has arrived!"
Using the cameras I could see a fair amount of snow buildup on the tender cover, so I asked him to brush it off. Good man! At this point I'm also getting emails from the system at our house, about the power being off and our home generator starting and stopping. Geez!
Taking a break for nourishment. "Here's to Snowmageddon!"
This is one of many Maretron screens. We have power! Jeff would end up going to the boat several times to start/stop the generator. The last time he went he said "I hope this let's up, the road down the marina is so icy I'm not sure I can make it again."
The batteries and the vacation were definitely saved by technology. Being able to access the boat's cameras and Maretron system, with my phone and computer was great. Note how it takes Wifi to make that happen. Monitoring the power outages with the utility's app was helpful.
10 years ago I couldn't have imagined our boat "texting me," that's for sure.
And of course we still rely on the human element, i.e. Jeff to save the day.
Or do we? I have a little "auto start" project for the generator in the works! Stay tuned.
One of my dock neighbors asked if I was going to get fender covers. I replied that I didn't think so, yet another maintenance item. He said that over time he noticed gel coat rubbing off his boat onto the fenders, so he went ahead with the covers.
Well, that was enough for me! Bought the covers on Amazon. Had a little washing project before putting them on. I'm SO GLAD I had an air compressor in the build! And I really like this small line, but it's leaking so that's another thing to look into.
Gotta say they do look way better. Now to keep them out of the water, right? And I'll wash them three times a year like the directions say, right?
After taking my first boater safety course I knew I would be taking more, and outfitting Mahalo with a substantial first aid kit.
We first determined that this storage area under the salon settee would be perfect. It only takes about 5 seconds to open it up. Although I put the defibrillator there just for this picture, it is in an even more accessible spot in the salon.
Conversing with our son who is an EMT we began with a purchased kit from Amazon. It came in a big bag with a million pockets. In a real emergency with all the stress, it would be difficult to figure out where something is that we need.
After we got the kit, we took his recommendations of items to add, which we did.
Then last year my brother, the surgeon, came on board for a week. One morning we pulled everything out. His suggestion was to separate them by the kind of treatment required. I.e. burns, bleeding, fractures/sprains, general sea sickness, this kind of thing. So we have the bins and boxes organized that way now.
And he suggested about 25 additional items. We acquired those. My brother suggested various meds we ought to have, but he can't prescribe them because he's not a WA resident. I went to my own GP with the list and was ready for the discussion that these aren't for personal use (!), unless medically necessary. He was understanding and helpful.
I know I should have a complete list of everything in there, hopefully I'll get to that.
Debbie and I took a CPR/AED class, along with several first aid classes, that were boating oriented. We have also been briefed on how to work with the CG and other first responders in a medical emergency. Did you know the CG has a flight surgeon at the ready 24/7? If you can get VHF to your local CG, they will set up a relay with the flight surgeon.
Of course I hope we don't have to use any of these items, but hopefully we are ready if that time comes.
Just got back from a wonderful trip to Maui. This is right above Ulua beach in Wailea. Why is this "the very spot" you ask? We were right here in February of 2017. Had just done a canoe ride in one of these outrigger canoes. When I went to tip our guide, it was the way he said "Mahalo" that I knew we had our boat name.