Monday, April 7, 2014

Try not to be too quick to judge.

 

 

Last week I got caught up with the blog 'Rebel Heart' written by Charlotte Kaufman. I ran across Charlotte's blog a long time ago when I was googling boat type sewing information. Thanks to her I found a YouTube tutorial that shows how to sew a pillowcase that has no raw seams. I loved it and after a $40.00 visit to the fabric store I soon had four completed (and very pricey) pillowcases. I realize this has nothing to do with maritime sewing but it made me feel good (and it also dressed up our berth). Charlotte sewed tons of stuff for her family's boat and last night when I watched the dramatic NBC news broadcast of their rescue at sea, I was shocked, when amid all the drama, I recognized the beautiful salon cushions Charlotte sewed.

 

I can't imagine there are very many people out there who haven't heard this story and I hope those that do, don't rush to judgement too soon without knowing the specifics. But for those who haven't, here's a brief rundown. Charlotte and her husband Eric (a certified captain) have been liveaboard cruisers for several years and last month they set off on an around the world cruise. They left Mexico with their two daughters (3 years old and 1 year old) on a heavily provisioned (and I mean something like 4 months worth) blue water boat. This is nothing new in the cruising world and over the years many families have safely completed this voyage.

It can be a tedious journey and Charlotte's posts are brutally honest (which most likely explains the vicious nature of many comments on many forums). The newscast stated that the baby had suffered from salmonella poisoning that had been diagnosed before the family left port, but they also reported that doctors had cleared them for departure. This wasn't news for those who follow the blog because Charlotte wrote about delaying the trip while she and her girls had to take rounds of antibiotics after a check up revealed problems. It was after the doctor declared them okay to go they left Mexico on the first leg of their journey to Australia. Charlotte and Eric updated their blog frequently and then a couple of days after the last post and nearly two weeks into their jouney there they were on the news. Of course most of the early reports were conjecture and the first report I heard on TV was that a couple who are sailing around the world were on a disabled boat with an infant that has heart problems. I immediately knew they were talking about the Kaufmans but I also knew Lyra did not suffer from heart problems. If I hadn't known who they were referring to I, too, would have wondered who the hell goes out to sea under those circumstances. And I believe that's about all it takes to bring the haters out of the woodwork. It kind of makes me wonder how many other news stories start out wrong because the media feels the need to 'fill in' the blanks.

 

This much we know: A call for help was sent from Rebel Heart. The baby was sick and the boat disabled. Rescue crews were dispatched and upon arriving on the scene were able to stabilize the baby. Unfortunately, they could not get the boat restarted and once the family was evacuated, it was scuttled (purposely sunk). Personally I feel the situation was handled well. The Kaufmans had the proper equipment to call for help and did. I know a lot of people are upset about the cost of the operation, but that's what rescue squads are trained to do. Wouldn't it be a perfect world if they were never needed.

 

So here's a true story I read a few years ago. A cruising couple (mom was pregnant) and their two year old set out on a known to be very dangerous passage (I can't remember the exact piece of water). Among other problems, they knowingly left on a boat with bilge pump issues. For crew they brought along an exotic dancer they'd just met who had no sailing experience. The passage was every bit as bad as it had been described and in addition to a couple of knockdowns they took on an alarming amount of water. Of course the automatic bilge pumps quit working and had to be manually operated. The wife was down below in a berth with the two year old and the husband had to man the pumps with the dancer at the helm. There were a couple of times they nearly did sink when huge waves crashed over them and the husband couldn't keep up with the manual pumps (after all, he could only handle one pump at a time). But somehow they survived and later on wrote a rather light hearted article about it. Of course the world didn't weigh in on this couples questionable decision to take off on an un-seaworthy boat because, lucky for them, nothing happened.

 

The point of my story? We can prepare and take precautions and try to always do the right thing, but then life happens. Because honestly, Rebel Heart should have had a typical sailing adventure; not always pleasant and easy but certainly manageable. And that other boat? There are a lot of vessels like that sailing around and somehow they manage to stay afloat.

 

We make decisions every day to drive on highways, fly on airplanes, and sail the seas. And sometimes bad things just happen.

 

I'm relieved that Lyra appears to be doing well and I can't imagine what it was like for Charlotte and Eric when they were told their home had to be destroyed. If you read any of the links I provided you can see how hard they worked to make that boat a real home.

 

I do know they have a huge support group among the sailing community and I hope only the best for them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Trying to Maintain a Blog on Blogsy

 

I've never been a whiz on the computer but I'm amazed how over time, instead of becoming more proficient at all things electronic, I seem to be sliding downhill far too quickly.

My laptop died last year and I've been relying on my iPad 2 for everything. So, for posting on my blog I can't just jump onto Blogger because it's not supported on my iPad which means I have to use an app called Blogsy. I read the reviews and people (computer savvy people I should add) looooooove it! Oh, it's the best! I watched many youtube videos and yes it did look easy. Until I tried to use it. I'm a person who learns from repetition and it's difficult to use a program that updates itself frequently. I swear everytime I try to post, something has changed; from my choice of font, how to link, to posting pictures, and I can't believe it doesn't have spell check.

Yesterday was a fine (or rather excruciating) example of my attempt at Blogsy. I had a post all written, edited, and saved. When I posted it, half my text was gone and none of my pictures had captions. I jumped back onto Blogsy and sure enough half my post was gone. So I tried to rewrite it and post again. By the time I was done I discovered my blog now had three posts reflecting various drafts (one of them completely in italics!). I was able to delete one of them and then I gave up for fear I'd lose everything.

 

Wilbur expresses his opinion of Blogsy

So here I am giving it one more go. Oh, and a few days ago I bought the goWriter app (because the reviews said people looooove it! It's the best!). Well, you should have seen me try to use it. I'm seriously thinking I need to find a cave wall and buy a chisel.

 

 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

New Boat Stuff

This has possibly turned into the most boring blog in, well, in the whole blogosphere.

It's not such a big deal since I obviously don't get paid for this thing and I know very few people read it, and it's not like it was ever very exciting but it still bugs the hell out of me how stale it's gotten. However, one of the reasons I post here is to keep track of the stuff we've done to the boat and it's also helped us settle some minor disputes like, "That's not at all what happened, don't you remember...?" "That happened the day before Wilbur jumped overboard" or "Before you fell overboard!" or "Before the sun pad flew overboard."

Dear god, a lot of stuff has gone overboard the Knotty Cat. Maybe I better shut up before...

Well anyway, on to yet one more boring blog post.

Our inverter died right around the time we installed our wind generator. This inverter both charged our batteries and allowed us to use our outlets while motoring with our Diesel engines. Luckily, the battery charging part works but without shore power or our Honda generator we could no longer use our outlets for charging phones, computers, etc... Damn, it's always something.

A new inverter would cost us around $1,000 so we decided we really didn't need one because at anchor we could always hook up the Honda on an as needed basis. And then Hans got the bright idea of buying an RV inverter (the outside of the box states: not designed for marine use, but since when do we follow the rules?) Actually, he bought two of them. A small DC one that can charge phones, computers, etc... and a bigger AC one that can actually allow us to make coffee and still keep our refrigerator running. Along with battery cables the bill came to around $140.00. We tested this system the other morning after disconnecting from shore power. After unfurling and connecting the solar panels we then accidently touched the inverter cables together resulting in a shocking and brilliant display in the galley. The fact that Hans' scheme worked almost paled in comparison.

The inverter mounted under the companionway steps.

 
A view from afar.

I forgot to take a picture before mounting it so here's a picture of the box.

This is the smaller DC unit. It can charge our computers and even (be-still my heart) run our TV. Talk about getting away from it all.

I put a pen beside it so you can see how small it is.

 

It has a USB outlet and an AC outlet for regular plugs.

 
Here are our solar panels, at the bow, atop our tarp covered dinghy (and, no, I don't need to be reminded that the tarp is wrong side out!).

Since they're portable, we can disconnect them, roll them up...


...and store them in a locker.

Of course these little gizmos will only work if we have 8 or more MPH of wind (wind generator) or sunshine (solar panels), but at least they now keep our batteries topped off so we can run our refrigerator and anchor light all night long.

We could continue to add layers of systems to the Knotty Cat but I think (except for regular maintenance required gy those who own boats) we're pretty much done.

Unless of course I talk Hans into a 'so easy even your wife can install it' water-maker.

New Boat Stuff

This has possibly turned into the most boring blog in, well, in the whole blogosphere.

It's not such a big deal since I obviously don't get paid for this thing and I know very few people read it, and it's not like it was ever very exciting but it still bugs the hell out of me how stale it's gotten. However, one of the reasons I post here is to keep track of the stuff we've done to the boat and it's also helped us settle some minor disputes like, "That's not at all what happened, don't you remember...?" "That happened the day before Wilbur jumped overboard" or "Before you fell overboard!" or "Before the sun pad flew overboard."

Dear god, a lot of stuff has gone overboard the Knotty Cat. Maybe I better shut up before...

Well anyway, on to yet one more boring blog post.

Our inverter died right around the time we installed our wind generator. This inverter both charged our batteries and allowed us to use our outlets while motoring with our Diesel engines. Luckily, the battery charging part works but without shore power or our Honda generator we could no longer use our outlets for charging phones, computers, etc... Damn, it's always something.

A new inverter would cost us around $1,000 so we decided we really didn't need one because at anchor we could always hook up the Honda on an as needed basis. And then Hans got the bright idea of buying an RV inverter (the outside of the box states: not designed for marine use, but since when do we follow the rules?) Actually, he bought two of them. A small DC one that can charge phones, computers, etc... and a bigger AC one that can actually allow us to make coffee and still keep our refrigerator running. Along with battery cables the bill came to around $140.00. We tested this system the other morning after disconnecting from shore power. After unfurling and connecting the solar panels we then accidently touched the inverter cables together and were treated to a shocking and brilliant display in the galley. We were so relieved that the batteries and inverter weren't fried, the fact that Hans' scheme worked almost paled in comparison.

The inverter mounted under the companionway steps.

A view from afar.

I forgot to take a picture before mounting it so here's a picture of the box.

This is the smaller DC unit. It can charge our computers and even (be-still my heart) run our TV. Talk about getting away from it all.

I put a pen beside it so you can see how small it is.

It has a USB outlet and an AC outlet for regular plugs.

Here are our solar panels at the bow atop our tarp covered dinghy (and, no, I don't need to be reminded that the tarp is wrong side out!)

Since they're portable, we can disconnect them, roll them up...


...and store them in a locker.

Of course these little gizmos will only work if we have 8 or more MPH of wind (wind generator) or sunshine (solar panels), but at least they now keep our batteries topped off so we can run our refrigerator and anchor light all night long.

We could continue to add layers of systems to the Knotty Cat but I think (except for regular maintenance required by those who own boats) we're pretty much done.

Unless of course I talk Hans into a 'so easy even your wife can install it' water-maker.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

A Good Weekend or a Bad One?

Normally, winter here in Florida equates to really great sailing weather. Last year we enjoyed a great week during Thanksgiving when we sailed to Tarpon Springs and then on New Year's Eve we anchored out with friends for the holiday. Needless to say, none of that happened this year as it's been one of the worst winters on record as if anyone needs me to remind them.
But, since summer will be here before we know it, we're trying to anchor out as often as we can before we become 'marina bound' yet once again. And now that I think about it I realize I've forgotten how lucky we are that the Gulf is easily accessable and that we have many anchorages nearby. We can go out sailing for the day, come in to the bay to anchor for the night, and then spend as much time on the hook as we want the next day as we can motor home within an hour.
Lately we've been anchoring out in an attempt to test our solar panels and wind generator and a couple of weeks ago we finally had success. So this past weekend we headed back out knowing we would have a totally relaxing and peachy keen time.
 

You can't go wrong with breakfast mimosas in the cockpit.

along with sausage, eggs, toast, and french press coffee.

We spent the evening in the cockpit since it was so calm and we also had a full moon. During the night the wind kicked in and by morning Windy our wind generator was hard at work keeping our batteries charged.

Here our gauge reads 15 amps. We saw it hit 18 several times. Wow! Our batteries were charging at over 14 volts, more than we get on shore power.

So, yes, it was a beautiful evening but if you know Hans and me you know something surely had to go wrong. We towed the dinghy behind us because I wanted to use it at the anchorage so I could scrub the port side of the Knotty Cat. I can't do this in the marina since there's a boat right beside us. About the only thing I managed to accomplish with this little plan was to pull more muscles in my arms than I knew I had. Even though it was a calm day the water was very choppy due to all the weekend/St. Patty's Day traffic (I love power boats that roar through anchorages zipping past boats and totally oblivious to our pesky anchor chains) and I tried very hard to balance in the dinghy in order to scrape some old tape residue left over from last year. One moment I'd be poised above the sticky mess and the next I'd find myself far below it. I slammed up and down, up and down all the while clutching the deck in order to balance myself. I actually felt myself getting sea sick and finally gave up. We then hoisted the dinghy onto our foredeck so we wouldn't have to tow it back to the marina the next day which was probably the smartest thing we did all week end.

Why do propane tanks always seem to kick when you're especially starved and in the middle of cooking dinner (of course you don't realize this until you open the oven door an hour later and dinner is still raw)? I'm happy to report we have a spare tank and I had remembered to buy potato chips. We finally sat down to dinner at our little cockpit table and I was starting to feel really good about being at anchor when WHAM! something hit me square in the face. I was soaked and when I opened my eyes I saw the cockpit covered in purplish/red splashes and my wine glass rolling all over the floor. My hair, shirt, and only pair of good shorts (cream colored and why I wore them to anchor out I have no idea) were soaked. WTF! Hans looked stunned and then said the wrong thing, "That's not a proper holder for that wine glass." because in the process of standing up he'd swept his big German arm over the helm pod which happens to have cup holders which happened to be holding my very full plastic wine glass, and while I know nothing about physics, his hand caught my glass in such a way we had ourselves a perfect storm. It looked like a massacre had taken place. Thank God for Krud Kutter and I mean really, since every time we turned around we were finding dried red wine stains, and one squirt of that stuff took care of it. Later that night I discovered even the back of my head hadn't escaped and my hair was matted with dried wine. I said the hell with it and went to bed.

When I woke up on Sunday morning I found I ached all the way to my armpits thanks to my boat cleaning efforts, but hey, that's what mimosas are for. Shortly after breakfast when it became very apparent that the 25 knot winds ripping through the anchorage had indeed arrived about 8 hours sooner than predicted and were not going to go away, we decided we may as well head back to the marina.

We probably should've gone in as soon as we woke up but I'm the one who resisted and kinda hoped the wind would die down. All I wanted to do was sit in the cockpit, listen to 'Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me' on NPR, and read my latest library book. But there's something about relentless wind (even though the wind generator was doing its thing) that gets on my nerves and I agreed we may as well head back in.

We bounced through the bay that by now had white caps and I sincerely hoped that it wasn't blowing too badly in our marina. But it was and I was really glad the dinghy was out of the way and we wouldn't have to deal with it in the water. Normally as soon as we get to the entrance of our marina and start down the alley (as I call it) the wind seems to disappear as we're very protected here. But even though it wasn't as windy as it was out in the bay it was still blowing something like 16 knots and my heart started to race when I saw a line of boat masts tick-tocking in their slips. Hans warned me we needed to get this right the first time as once he started backing into our slip I would need to snag and hold tight to the line on our starboard side piling or we'd slam into the boat to port. I had the line in hand but I had to work my way around our dinghy's outboard which is secured at the stern of the Knotty Cat. No way could I keep enough tension with just one hand and for the moment it took me to get around the motor we were hard on the port side piling. Not such a bad thing as this kept us off the boat next to us and Hans used it to pivot on while I got both hands back on the piling line. Even with putting everything I had into it while walking the boat back into the slip, Hans had to hit our engines hard to keep her from sliding sideways in the wind. Luckily a couple from down the way showed up just then and while I was still pulling for all I was worth up front Hans was able to toss them a stern line and they helped fend us off. And just like that we were in.

And if I thought my arms hurt earlier... when we were finally all tied up I realized my fingers felt like someone had tried to pull each one out of its socket.


Wilbur loves to go sailing but it seriously wears him out. And please, no more bouncy seas!

Of course there's always the work involved getting things back in order after being out. Reconnecting to shore power, running all the hoses, cables, etc... that we use in the slip, hosing off the anchor (which had more gunk on it than I've ever seen, we were really dug in), rehanging our sun shade, and getting things back out that we store while underway. Finally, and not until all that was done, I got my shower. I walked into the salon feeling very clean and happy that my hair wasn't dyed red from the wine when I saw Wilbur crouched in that all too familiar puking pose. On our tiny piece of carpet. Of course I didn't get to him in time so instead of one huge pile of gross puke to clean up, I now had a huge pile plus the trail he left when I tried to get him off the carpet. Hans had been sitting just a foot or so away from him and never saw this coming and I was just waiting for him to say that carpet is not a proper place for a dog to puke.

But when you think about it, our solar panels soaked up the sun, our wind generator hummed in the wind, our anchor light glowed all night and didn't drain our batteries, the refrigerator never had to be turned off, we enjoyed a beautiful night complete with a full moon, we didn't drag at anchor, the cockpit didn't suffer permanent wine stains (nor my hair), we got back into the slip under pretty crappy circumstances without any damage, and Wilbur got a thorough cleansing.

At the end of the day I guess you could say we did have a peachy keen time!

 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

When Working Systems Finally Work

Hans and I spent the summer of 2010 aboard our Knotty Cat in the Chesapeake. Along with horrific humidity we endured average daily temperatures in the upper 90's with evenings cooling down somewhere in the lower 80's (if we were lucky) which resulted in many nights of our sleeping in the cockpit. We had no air conditioning, no fans, no solar panels, no generator, and apparently no common sense. We did, however, have a pit bull and a calico cat.

After two months of torturing ourselves with that good old Jimmy Buffet fantasy of paradise (why doesn't he ever mention the endless days of sweltering heat and terminal sweat? let alone the fact that I don't think I ever ate a cheeseburger) we had to call it quits and go home.

We took stock of our experience and decided that our future should include at least solar panels. This way we wouldn't have to turn off the refrigerator everytime we shut down our engines and would lessen my fear of dishing up ecoli for dinner. I remembered how during our time in the Chesapeake our three daily bags of ice melted just as quickly as I could jam them into the refrigerator/freezer.

Our new solar panels along with the little DC fans that Hans hooked up in our berth made life so much better, and in 2011 we had a great time in the Bahamas. I had been campaigning for a generator for quite awhile and try as I might Hans just wasn't buying into it. I reminded him that if we'd had one that awful night in the ICW when we discovered a huge leak after anchoring we could have stayed the night while the generator took over the task of keeping our bilge pumps operating. He eventually gave in and we bought a Honda 2000 but I have a feeling it had more to do with watching hockey at anchor on our TV than it did with keeping us afloat.

Then Hans really started thinking and sometimes that's a dangerous thing. Wouldn't it only make sense he said, to get a wind generator for the days it's overcast and rainy, yet windy?

So we did. And that's when things started going downhill. Hans and I were able to assemble the wind generator and we even mounted it to the boat but we hired an electrician to wire it so it would be done right the first time. Or so we thought. Our marina is very protected with little wind which is great for us but not great for testing a wind generator so the first chance we had we headed out into the bay. Long story short, it didn't work, so the electrician came back. In the end he was here five times, we had a new on/off switch overnighted (turns out it wasn't bad after all) and it was decided after rewiring the generator to the batteries several different ways that the unit itself was bad. A new one was delivered and installed and we headed out to test it.

Compared to some boats, the Knotty Cat's innards are pretty organized. Just don't ask me what the hell all those wires do.

We decided to anchor for the night because surely all our bases were covered what with the work we'd had done and at first things appeared to be fine. The batteries seemed to be keeping up so we left the refrigerator running when we went to bed. The next morning it looked like the solar panels were helping because the battery readout gage started inching upward. And when the wind kicked in and the generator started spinning like mad we got all worked up. Yaaaay!!! I was so excited I couldn't stop checking the battery gage and then with the noon sun beating down on the solar panels and the generator screaming with glee, I was stunned to see the battery gage go into a slow decline.

Oh, c'mon! Seriously? We have two batteries tethered together to form our 'house bank' and one designated for starting our engines. That's it, and believe me it's not rocket science so why the hell can't we get anything to work? Hans got out our amp meter and we were further stymied when our two 'tethered' house bank batteries showed completely different read outs when they should have been the same. On that sad note we closed up shop and headed back to the marina and then ended our perfect day by sucking a dock line into our starboard propellor.

Thoroughly disgusted at this point, Hans yanked the batteries out of their hidy hole by the hair and told them he'd had enough of their sh*t and demanded an answer. The answer was a lot of corrosion on one of the straps that tether our house bank together so he gave it a thorough cleaning, slammed them back in place, and had someone come check out our solar panels and confirm the wiring of our wind generator.

Aha! Turns out the connections to our solar panels had joined the same union that 'Fritz' our GPS and Otto the autopilot belonged to and thought they were going to call the shots on the Knotty Cat. We nipped that little situation in the bud and had new connections installed. It was also confirmed that the wind generator was wired properly and the house bank batteries were now working in sync and not competing with each other. We're pretty sure that because of the corrosion only one house battery was being charged and that the battery not getting any juice is the one wired to our battery gage.

With fingers crossed we anchored out this past weekend in hopes that our systems might decide to behave.

And they did!!

The solar panels kept up with no effort and even though we didn't have a lot of wind the wind generator did its part too.
 

The new connections on the solar panels. When not being used, we disconnect and roll them up and put them away.
 
But, we're not totally useless and there are some things we actually do ourselves. Hans maintains our engines and is good at waving a multi-meter around. Unfortunately, though, it seems like the only things I ever fix are in the head. I've replaced valves, smelly hoses, and even connected our new holding tank. Recently I took apart the flushing mechanism in our port head (as it was constantly leaking water) and replaced it. And let us not forget that I ventured up the mast a few weeks ago and replaced our anchor light.

Ah, my little man. Wilbur loves anchoring out. Here he enjoys some sniffies.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Up the Mast...Again

Considering the awful weather conditions that people up north have had to deal with this winter I should feel guilty complaining about what it's been like here in Florida.
But I don't. Sorry, but I did my time up there and I've shoveled my shit load share of snow. Then we moved down here and I was literally blind sided by the searing, suffocating heat of summer. And let me tell you it's more debilitating to me that any snow storm could ever be. So after slogging my sweaty way through this past summer I was looking forward to winter when I could finally feel like a human being again and get started on outside boat projects.
But October remained exceptionally hot even into the beginning of November and then all of a sudden it was cold, rainy, and crappy. Except down here in Florida cold, rainy, and crappy is oddly bone chilling, and that combination, added to living on a boat, isn't pleasant.
One of the projects we really wanted to get out of the way was replacing our anchor light with an LED bulb. We only have a two battery house bank and each non LED bulb we use draws 1 whole amp. An LED bulb barely draws a quarter of an amp.
This meant someone would need to go to the top of the mast to replace it. Hans wanted to hire an electrician but that's not cheap so I told him maybe I should give it a try. You might wonder why Hans didn't volunteer. He did, however I wouldn't let him. Back when he was sixteen years old some of his friends hoisted him up a mast and it broke thus plunging him down to the deck where he broke some ribs and ended up spending a few days in the hospital. He weighs a significant amount more these days than he did back then and I shudder to think of the damage to him or our boat if something were to go wrong.
So up the mast I went. And since I'm terrified of heights it was quite the experience. I remember the first time a couple of years ago when I volunteered to go up the mast but once I'd cleared the boom (which is just a mere few feet from the surface of the boat) I panicked and made Hans lower me back down. It was a huge letdown for me as I'd really wanted to help.
Last year I actually managed to get up as far as our spreaders in order to replace our steaming light. After that experience I told Hans I was pretty sure I wouldn't be able to go all the way to the top as I literally hug the mast and couldn't imagine pushing my self away in order to get past the spreaders.
So a couple of weeks ago Hans bought a new anchor light and with clear skies and no wind I allowed myself to be hoisted to the very top of the Knotty Cat. I was pretty much okay until I got to the spreaders and then I had to leverage my body around them in order to go higher. However, once I was clear of the spreaders and well on my way to the top my heart was pounding so hard I almost called the whole thing off. I kept telling myself not to look down and when I actually got to the top I could barely breathe and I was shaking so bad I couldn't let go to reach above me where the anchor light sits. I finally did calm down though and after unscrewing the light cover I then had to deal with swapping the bulbs. I was amazed that the only thing that holds the bulb in place is the pressure created by a thin piece of metal and I nearly dropped the old bulb when it simply fell into my hand when I touched it. Of course the new bulb had to be different and I had to place adapters on each end (not fun with sweaty shaking hands). Needless to say I was pretty disappointed when the damn thing didn't work. I finally sent it down to Hans via a bag attached to a line I took up with me and he tested it where our stern light is. It didn't work there either.
Down I came and I took the bulb straight back to West Marine where I discovered 24V and 12V are two different things!! Honest to god, I have no idea why no one checked the package for voltage. Luckily the weather the next day was also good so up I went again only this time armed with a 12V bulb and let me tell you it was no easier and my heart pounded just as bad this second time around. But it worked!! And this time I took my camera with me (I didn't even bother the first time) and got some nice pictures.
The new LED light. Nice and bright!!!
 
The entrance to our marina.
 
 
The deck of our boat. That's my leg in the lower left corner.
 
 
Our neighbor's boat. When he's not at work he's busy sanding.
Wilbur didn't understand where I was, he didn't seem to understand that I was above him.

 
Hans took this picture from shore. You can just see me at the top.
With the cover in place our anchor light is ready to stay lit all night long without using a lot of energy.


Needless to say, the rest of my projects aren't nearly as exciting as going up the mast.