Saturday, October 15, 2016

Meeting Jack van Ommen

Had an enjoyable evening and dinner in Santa Barbara marina tonight with Jack van Ommen, author, sailor, adventurer

Friday, September 9, 2016

Essay: The Magic of The Moment

My entry for Skip Novak's Pelagic Expeditions in Tierra del Fuego for an expedition through the Beagle Channel and hopefully around Cape Horn!

The Magic of The Moment

 You may have spent time on sailboats.

You may enjoy getting out on the water.

But until you have experienced The Moment, you will not have entered into the magical realm of the trans-formative and healing power that can be found in discovering your own personal connection to the sea.

It could happen on an afternoon day sail – or an overnight passage. Length of time at sea has little to do with whether your moment will find you. It is about tuning your heart to the wind and wave – and being willing to be taught something that you know – but have forgotten.

You have to be completely alive in The Moment – every sense of your being open to hearing what the song of the sea is telling you.

For me, The Moment came in February 2004 when I was on the 2nd month of a 5 month sabbatical aboard my 1971 32 ft. Wayfarer Yachts built Islander sloop. Having left at twilight from Bahia de Muertos - on the inside of the Sea of Cortez – I was planning a leisurely overnight sail to La Paz, Baja Sur, Mexico.

The sea was calm, the moon was full. Jimmy Buffett tunes were playing on my stereo. As I entered the channel, Between the Baja and the shores of Isla Ceralvo, the sea exploded into a magical light display of bio-luminescence. Standing at the mast, I was able to see the incredible amounts of “traffic” moving just below the water. Soon, a massive shape was moving on a T-bone collision course with my boat – and from the size – it could only have been a whale. In a silent ballet beneath the gently lapping waves, the beast passed silently below my keel. Rapidly accelerating torpedoes of dolphin swarms repeatedly strafed my boat. I watched in stunned silence – with a sense of wonder and revery for nature filling my heart.

Within an hour, a deep layer of fog blanketed the sea – and the show was over.

The Moment was a defining gateway for my deep and abiding love for the sea.

There is magic in the sea. I have seen it.

Mother Ocean is there – and has much yet to teach us – if we will but put down our electronic toys, head to the beach, and listen with our hearts.

We are of the sea – and the stars. Connected in a cosmic web to the earth & sea – to each other – to all the life that lives on this fragile blue marble.

If once you have experienced The Moment – you will forever be changed – you will wear an invisible mantle – knowing your place as a steward of our oceans – and embracing the Servant Spirit.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Small Vessel Reporting System (SVRS)

Sunday, July 17, 2016

2016-07-17 Sunday - Testing Water Purity

Testing the water in the boat's water tank - checking water purity with the IntelliTEC WPT1000 Water Purity Tester - got a reading of 113 PPM - as good as some filtered / bottled water sources. Original reading when I bought the boat was ~50 PPM - but the water has been sitting for a long time - so will do a series of empty/refill cycles over the next few weekends.

Darrell Cleveland did an interesting dissection of the device for one of his university classes

Drinking Water Standards
In terms of Total Dissolved Solids (TDS), in the U.S., the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) advises against consuming water containing more than 500mg/liter, otherwise known as 500 parts per million (ppm) of TDS, although many health specialists believe that ideal drinking water should be under 50 ppm or lower. The average tap water in America contains approximately 350 ppm of TDS although it is not uncommon for municipal or local water supplies to exceed this. If TDS levels exceed 1000mg/L, however, it is generally considered harmful to human health and should not be consumed.

Some EPA Resources on Drinking Water...

Saturday, July 9, 2016

2016-07-09 Saturday - Software Defined Radios

A recent posting by Steven K. Roberts drew my interest in exploring Software Defined Radios.

Here are a few links to some resources I want to remember to come back to in the future:

The Hobbyist's Guide to the RTL-SDR: Really Cheap Software Defined Radio
by Carl Laufer

NooElec Ham It Up v1.3 - NooElec RF Upconverter For Software Defined Radio

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Building Passive Income To Support Your Cruising Goals

This post is a placeholder for interesting articles that I find that may be of interest to those that aspire to find ways to generate passive income to sustain their cruising / nomadic lifestyle

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Recommended Movie: The Admiral

If you love the sea, there's a new movie on Netflix this month, The Admiral - highly recommended.

Tom Neale - An Island To Oneself

Some years ago I read Tom Neale's book - it was so good I finished it in one sitting...

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Electronics CAD/Design Tools

I just happened to come across this free Open Source software today, and imagine it may be of interest to others...

10 Part Tutorial On Designing/Building A PCB (Using FOSS)

KiCad examples

Saturday, April 9, 2016

2016-04-09 Saturday - Graphene Solar Panels - Generate Power From Rain

"Raindrops are not pure water. They contain salts that split up into positive and negative ions. To manipulate that bit of chemistry, the Ocean University researchers turned to graphene, the one-atom-thick sheets of carbon. Graphene's electrons can attract the positively charged ions, such as sodium, calcium and ammonium. The result: separated layers of positive and negative ions that act much like a capacitor to store energy."
"...the scientists added graphene to a dye-sensitized solar cell, a kind of inexpensive thin-film solar cell, then put them on a flexible, transparent backing of indium tin oxide and plastic. The resulting flexible solar cell demonstrated a solar-to-electric conversion efficiency of up to 6.53 percent, and generated hundreds of microvolts from slightly salty water that was used to simulate rainwater"

21 March online edition of the journal Angewandte Chemie International Edition
A Solar Cell That Is Triggered by Sun and Rain;jsessionid=3872E34B74C10E6D29C1CFBC1AF92006.f03t04

Monday, March 28, 2016

16 People Living Their Dream

This article today on Business Insider profiles 16 people who are living their dream of being traveling nomads...some very interesting stories...

Monday, February 29, 2016

Mobile Devices - Solar Charging Solution

So, I have three scenarios in which I would like to be able to charge various mobile devices:

1) While voyaging under sail
2) When backpacking
3) As an emergency power solution if the grid should fail (earthquake, etc.)

Here are some new bits of gear that I ordered today (happily, I was able to cover just about the entire order cost with Citi Visa ThankYou Reward Points, that Amazon now allows you to use to complete a purchase).

Anker 21W 2-Port USB Solar Charger PowerPort Solar 
  • "charging speed up to 2.4 amps per port or 3 amps overall under direct sunlight. 21 watt SunPower solar array is 21.5-23.5% efficient, providing enough power to charge two devices simultaneously"
  • "Compact size (11.1 × 6.3in folded or 26.4× 11.1in opened)"

[Most Compact 20000mAh Portable Charger] Anker PowerCore 20100 - Ultra High Capacity Power Bank with Most Powerful 4.8A Output
  • "Weighs as little as a can of soup (12.5 oz"
  • "charge up to 2.4 amps per port or 4.8 amps overall. Recharges itself in 10 hours with a 2 amp charger, phone chargers (generally 1 amp) may take up to 20 hours"

DROK USB 2.0 Digital Multimeter, Ammeter Voltmeter Capacitance & Watt Meter, 7 Modes Multi Tester, DC 3A 12V Amp Voltage Power Meter, Charging System Tester, Fast Charging and Data Sync Dual USB Ports

2016-03-06 Sunday Update:
I was able to test the equipment today, in the brief window of sunshine that appeared in Seattle this morning.  I noted ~5.1 volts, and 0.24-0.26 amps, at about 10:30am

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Go Curry Cracker - Obamacare, Expats, and Visits Home...

I happened to read about this couple's story today...

An interesting posting - and potentially important and useful information for U.S. Citizens that voyage and travel outside of the U.S. for years at a time...

Follow them on Twitter

Winnie mentions a few articles in her twitter stream too...

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Kill A Watt, Electricity Usage Monitor

I've been wondering how my boat's battery charger was performing - in terms of amps drawn - and so today I dropped by local Frys Electronics store and picked-up a P3 International product, called a Kill A Watt, model P4400 (max current: 15 amps)

My charger (installed in 2014) is a Professional Mariner, ProSport 12 Heavy duty Marine Battery Charger, 12A, 12/24V, 2 Bank Charger...and I've left is disconnected while away from the boat - and I've been wondering what amps it would be drawing if I left it connected while away.

The batteries were showing 11.8 volts when I returned Wed. night - having last visited the boat in July of last year - that isn't too surprising.

Tonight, I have the charger connected, and the Kill A Watt monitor is showing a draw ~2.53 amps (with a little bit of fluctuating, up to 2.6 amps at times).  The battery voltage is showing 12.7, after about an hour)

I'll continue to use the monitor over the next few days - but will remove it before leaving (it isn't a marine-grade piece of harrdware - so, not willing to leave it in place)

I also looked at a few solar panels today (at West Marine and Frys Electronics) - and may install one on Saturday - as a backup battery charging device. A wind generator will be added later this year.  My biggest concern is making sure the bilge pump has power whlie I'm away for long periods of time.

On a side note, this is a decent discussion of battery charge basics

Monday, January 11, 2016

better satellite internet connectivity for the near future?

worth keeping an eye out as more information becomes available...

Redmond antenna startup Kymeta raises $62M from Bill Gates, others

"Kymeta creates a new solid-state way to find and lock onto signals from orbiting satellites, a feat in the past was accomplished only with large, physical satellite dishes. The point of the technology is to bring down the cost of satellite connectivity and make it so portable that a plane, boat or car can connect to the internet."