If time is money and you have more time, Do you need more money?

Saturday, August 31, 2013

13 of 13

He is so happy to have a friend

 A walk in the park

Here fishy, fishy, fishy

They are all around us

A walk on the dock
Man it is hot out here

Cat overboard, self rescue training

Making up after the "rescue"

What a day!

walking the sailboat cat 

Monday, August 5, 2013

A Head For 13 For 6 - A Kitty's Got To Do What A Kitty's Got To Do

The first item on 13's list was a new litter box.  After a few emails to other sailors with onboard cats and especially one from our past... s/v Wee Happy.  Kristopher sent back an email with his execution of the litter issue.  Coupled with our inginuity and the information from the emails we set out to get our little boat set up.  We decided we wanted a top entry litter box and set out to make it happen.

Clevercat top entry litterbox

We looked at the current offerings online from the box stores.  Our first look was at Petsmart.  We found the Whisker City box for $35.00 but the top was a full 1/2 of the height.  Making it difficult to remove in the lazerette.  Then we found one that fits perfectly with the Vega.  The Clever Cat Top Entry Litterbox available at Petco (15x15x20).  The issue we ended up having with the box was the price at $41.  Thirty six ninty nine on sale!   For a slightly smaller version than the standard 18 gallon tote you can get at Wal-mart for $4.95.  Of course it has the ribbed top?

We chose to make one out of a translucent $5.99 18 gallon tote from Wal-mart.  They are only 3/4 of an inch taller than the Clevercat but have a foot print that is 4 inches longer and 2 inches wider.  

The location we are placing the litter box.
There is enough room for two of the 27 pound litter tubs

Translucent tub to allow use of all available light in the dark lazerette but adding the liner bag (Large Gladd bags, black with red handles) will curcumvent the lighting ability and create more plastic trash.

Even the translucent tubs have the gray lids.
The smooth surface should make returning litter to the box easy.

Using a styrofoam plate as a measure for the entry hole.

Starting the cut with a box cutter

Using the heavy duty scissors

 And around we go

The completed entry way.  We offset it to the rear for two reasons
First was for more space to allow for tracking of the litter and
Second was the coaming opens up giving 13 more head room for entry and exit.

 Wow that was hard work.  I need a drink!
And it is time for a nap!

With this project we saved 1.55 Cheeseburgers in Paradise ($31.00) for the boat kitty.  Not including the shipping or bus ride to pick up the Clevercat box (Wal-mart is on our normal path)

Through referals we have chosen to start with Tidy Cat for its clumping, dustlessness, and those reusable totes it comes in.

We have found that we want to put a liner around the area to keep any lost litter from making it to the bilge.  We also want to put up a divider between the litter area and the stores.  Not just for the obvious reason but to keep 13 from disapearing into the depths of the lazarette areas.  If he makes it into the deep darkness on a rough passage he could become trapped or worse.


tags: cat aboard a small sailboat albin vega bahamas cruising seasickness sea sick homemade home made litter box

Apples, Trees and 13

After almost 3 years of NO pets on board, I CAVED!  Relentless little man I have on board.  If it is his thought and idea he is non stop.  Ever persistent, ever relentless, ever steadfast, ever lasting conviction to his cause.  He is head strong and does not give up on what he believes a necessary battle.  His ability to read his opponent at his youthful age is uncanny.  Apples falling from trees fall not far.

After a few days of Craigslist and other Internet stops along the animal shelter home pages I could see a pattern starting to appear.  (We had one rule, maybe two, or is it three.  The cat had to have short hair.  And not too young or too old.  Oh and he was paying!  (or at least paying what he could))  In our search for a short haired cat the word Siamese kept coming up.  We barely missed out on a blue eyed Siamese by a day or two that would have fit our requirements purrrrfectly (yes I just did that).  His cell mate was Joey an all black cat with green eyes and built like a Siamese.  We then looked for Burmese too. All of Tampa had very few, more like none, that fit our requirements.  Then after about a week of looking for a Siamese I realized the Aristocratic nature was more me and not Ayrton.  He wanted a friend.  So I pulled out the phone and called Cathy back to see if Joey was still there.  He was.

Welcome aboard 13

On the trip to get Joey riding in the back seat with both my wonderful children Amy and Ayrton thought about calling him "13".  I had to laugh out loud.  Apples and Trees.  This was so me too. Naming a black cat 13 just too funny to me.  But I do tend to be antagonistic.  Maybe we could train 13 to walk across the side walk in front of people so they must choose between crossing his path or walking under a ladder.

We will continue to post on changes adding a cat to our crew has made in our lives.


Thursday, August 1, 2013

Of Spears, Spikes and Confusion - part 2

In part one of this series we covered some of the things you need to know before you go spearfishing with or without a trigger.  Today we will cover the hardware WE use when we take a cruise.

Don't get lured into chasing these guys or...
  • Dive flag and float with line for your safety.  But remember it doesn't have flashing blue lights so there are a lot of boaters that just speed on by. 
  • Good quality snorkeling gear should be  high on the list.  US Divers have sold their sole to the big box stores but this is in your benifit.  Items that were $100 several years ago are now in the $45 range. 

  1. Low volume masks are much better.  Of course they are a little more geeky like horned rim glasses but black silicone offers less glare.  Don't forget the anti fog or plan on working up some spit.  Also make sure you have at least two extra mask straps.
  2. Self draining snorkels are much better. Dolphins eat fish do you want to sound like a dolphin?  Don't forget to have a spare snorkel keeper.
  3. Snorkeling fins and SCUBA fins are different but both can be used.  You want something Quiet on the surface (Jet fins are notoriously loud).  I prefer booties as I can walk on rocks on the way in or out if needed.  If you loose a fin on an island that looks like moon rock it is a long walk back with bare feet.  You also want to have a spare strap or two for the fins.
or you will end up in the middle of a water filled desert.

  • We also suggest a wet suit (although the first mate likes it without one) to protect you from rocks, coral, airplanes and ship wrecks.  They even keep you warm and help you float.  Which brings us to buoyancy.  If you float so well in that suit when you dive to 20 feet there will be nothing stealth about you trying to stay in front of the hole the grouper just went into.  Buy a belt and 14 pounds of weights in (2)2# and (2)5# increments.  Experiment the first few dives and find your balance between sinking at the surface and rising at the bottom.  If you can hover at the bottom and deal with the weight at the top your hunting will be much better.  To camo or not to camo is the question I ask of thee... SCUBA YES, free dive who cares.  Most of your free dive shots will be with you above or beside the fish with a bright blue back ground.
  • With the Bahamas being our main destination we are limited to NO TRIGGER spears.  This will include two basic types of spears.  
  1. The Hawaiian sling which is basically a hand grip with a rubber band attached which PROPELS a free shaft.  Think underwater bow and arrow crossed with a sling shot shooting arrows.
  2. The Pole spear which is a long thick shaft that has a rubber band attached to it.  
If you plan on fishing very little with this type of equipment then there is only one logical choice for $35.00.

The 6 foot yellow fiberglass triple paralyzer pole is all the occasional hunter needs.
You can buy a 3 piece travel version for 2-3 times the money but they do not last!

 One Grouper

 Two Grouper

Three Grouper.  Almost every little corral reef has a resident Nassau Grouper.

If you plan on supplementing your stores with fresh fish and lobster on a regular basis this is our suggestion.  We will be returning to cruising with two pole spears and a Hawaiian sling with two shafts each.  

  1. What we have found is the 6 foot yellow fiberglass triple paralyzer is the best lobster spear.  When we first arrived in the Bahamas I dove down with my Manny Puig freight train of a pole spear.   The whole whopping 8 and a half feet of this thing would hit so hard that it would go into the hull of wrecks.  Our first real lobsters were around rubber tubes about a foot in diameter.  When I hit one it took two consecutive dives to pull it free.  Just too much impact and it was too slow for the smaller reef fish.  If I was on SCUBA in a camo wet suit lurking around the depths for a hour or two it would be a great spear but for a quick down and pop the bug it was just too much.  Extended use of the fiberglass poles may cause splintering and a hand full of glass fibers.  The yellows run $35 with a triple paralyzer tip.
  2. This year instead of the Manny Puig monster we are taking aluminum JBL's.  This will prevent any fiberglass splinters from extended use but there are issues with possible bending.  Life is such a trade off!  These are our hoping for grouper poles that will get a lobster if we find it.  Tips will be a single rock point flopper.  These run $35 without a tip making the pole about $50 complete.  If you really want a freight train pole spear check out Ray Odor pole spears here in the Tampa area and save $120 compared to the Manny Puig.
  3. We will also have a pair of classic Hawaiian slings onboard with both a 1/4 inch and 5/16 shafts.  Last cruise I used a Hawaiiansling.net pistol grip and found it torqued the shaft more than I liked and the 5/16 shaft was too slow also for the snapper at Morgans Bluff.  Even if we bend one of the lighter shafts at least we will know .  A Hawaiian sling runs about $35 (Hmmm is there a conspiracy on the $35 mark?)  The shafts run about $35 each also.  
  4. Sometimes our snorkeling float/flag is the dinghy but often we anchor it and take a smaller float or stay in the vicinity.  We would love to have a hard float designed for spearfishing but with prices from $125 to $300 I think the Taylor Fender that floated against s/v Gemini Dreams during a hard blow will suffice. 
  5. A diving stringer tied about 10 feet below the dinghy or the float is also a must.  DO NOT TIE IT TO YOU, SHARK BAIT!  
  6. Am I forgetting anything?  Of but of course!  GLOVES!  You will remember when you grab your first lobster!  Speaking from experience on this one.
Free hand a couple of these guys and you will not forget the gloves again.


A Manny Puig Freight Train meets a guppy

If you just want to spend some big $$ on some serious bling then check out companies like CristHenley, Riffe, Omar, and Gat-Ku or others.   

Bling Bling Ca-ching $$$ Full outfit with spear is pushing a grand.

These guys are taking over the reefs!

Make sure you read up on the handling porceedures so you don't meet the bad end of the spike!

Stay tunned for some upcoming recipes we have added for our next adventure.

keywords: Spearfishing spear fishing fish free dive snorkel pole spear hawaiian sling bahamas florida keys marathon key west bahia honda bimini exumas morgans morgan's bluff allens cay normans norman's staniel blue hole thunderball cave grotto grouper snapper s/v gemini dreams.