Thursday, April 25, 2013

Fish My Wish

"Who wants fish?"
"Yes, please!"

Fishing, like most cruising pastimes, is easier than it looks.  Every morning on passage, Stylish tours the decks and clears the scuppers of the unfortunate tiny squid and flying fish that have landed overnight.  We don't eat these morsels, but the message is clear: for the most part, the fish come to us.

Friday, April 19, 2013

A Fork In The Road

The Papillon crew is a family divided at the moment.  While the girls and I visit long-lost friends and relatives, Erik is on the boat, hard at work welding fuel tanks and replacing swage fittings.  It is a little disconcerting to be so far apart after 2.5 years of togetherness.  The girls and I miss him.  But I also worry.  Because I get emails like this:

Subject: Think I just bought a car...

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Up In The Air

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen; this is your captain speaking.  We have turned on the seat belt sign as we are experiencing light turbulence at the moment. We currently have a 101 knot tailwind up here in the jetstream...

I nearly fell out of my seat.  One hundred and one knots?  What!?  And this sleek bit of aluminum we were riding hadn't crumpled into a useless ball?  And I used to think that picking up an extra knot or two of current was a pretty big achievement.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

In-transit Interlude: Q&A

Q:  What do you do when your parents take a breather from dragging you around to tourist hotspots?

Thursday, April 4, 2013

War On Corrosion

My can opener didn't always have vice grips attached.  Once upon a time, it had a plastic handle.  And then one day last December, the handle simply fell off.  The plastic hadn't broken - the metal underneath had rusted away.  And so, in fine cruiser fashion, I improvised.

Not to be cranky, but metal on a boat is a pain in the neck.  If it is metal, it will corrode.  Unless I build everything out of Platinum, the salt water is going to get to it eventually.

Our hull is made of Aluminum.  That's great if you plan to ram into a tree trunk and not sink, but it has a downside: our hull wants to be a battery.  In the galvanic series for stagnant saltwater, Aluminum sits at position number 34 of 39.  That means that, in salt water at least, Aluminum is a giver.  Aluminum acts as a sacrificial anode for the 33 metals sitting above it on the list.  And guess what?  I don't want my hull to be so generous.  Keep your electrons, I say!  Don't accept that current!  Only Uranium, Cadmium, Beryllium, Zinc and Magnesium sit down below Aluminum.  And as I somehow don't fancy bolting a bunch of Uranium to my hull, I guess we'll just have to keep replacing our Zincs as they disappear into the salty blue.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Singing in the Rain

Rainy days are always a treat on board.  Well, okay.  Rainy days in the tropics are a treat,because it is warm outside.  Rainy days in, oh, I don't know, New Zealand, when it's Christmas and it's freezing and your in-laws are visiting and a gale is blowing and the anchorage is too bumpy to take the dinghy to land and you're all stuck below decks for five days and all you do is cook and peel excited children off the ceiling and cook and brew more tea and cook and cook... those days aren't my number one choice.  But warm + rainy = fun.

Back before we had a watermaker, we used our huge awning as a water collection device.  We clipped funnels in the lowest corners of the awning to port and starboard, and ran hoses to the deck fills.  Erik had fancy bits of mesh installed at various points along the line to keep out anything unwanted.  During the rainy season, we always had full tanks of clean rainwater.  Delicious.