Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Tiny Home Tuesday ~ Houseboat Update

For some reason, the phrase 'Occam's razor' has been coming into my reading life on a weirdly regular basis in the last few weeks. I knew the basics, but it was becoming so prevalent I needed to look it up and find out more. There is way the hell too much for barely a sentence a lot written about Occam's razor, the original statement being "Entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily." Isaac Newton rephrased it "We are to admit no more causes of natural things than such as are both true and sufficient to explain their appearances."

No one seems to agree on exactly
what was said by William of Ockham
My favorite (if you exclude the KISS option) is a quote sometimes thought to have come from Einstein, but no one knows for sure - "Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." 

And away we stray from Occam's razor! But I've thought a lot about it in terms of tiny homes, mainly about making them work. In this case, about making the renovation and repairs on the houseboat. Constrained by time and finances, simple, well done, just works. But not simpler, meaning, not sacrificing integrity for either time or money. It doesn't bode well for much of anything, but particularly if you plan on living in a home on the water, rather than a home in water. It has taken longer, way longer, but in exactly the right time. Funny how that works.

I hope that makes some sense, because being simple without being too simple was and is a constant in this rebuilding of what is basically an unarchitecturally-graced-with-flourishes box into a home. 

Let the update begin!

After a priming, the entire boat is painted in elastomeric.
It will get another coat when this one totally dries.
Pan came up with the window surrounds, that serve a few purposes. They keep out the weather, which is the biggest purpose. Window, set in holes in whatever the structure , any windows but especially on boats, draw rot like, well, I was going to use a pretty gross analogy, never mind that. Point being, this boat is made of wood with fiberglass over it on the outside. Wood + water = bad wood. The rebuild, both inside and out, was mainly because of water damage, a long boring story that I will spare you.

Hence, anything that keeps water out is good. And if it can soften up the boxiness of the shape, which the surrounds do, even better. I'm not sure if you can tell, but Pan added some cool little overlaps at the top. The theory (which he says he saw work in the rain) is that the windows can still be partially open while it is raining. Which will keep me from being shriveled in a steam bath. Good thinking, Pan!

Oh, by the way, the surrounds are made of a PVC type of material. Now painted with the elastomeric (and continually maintained for as long as I live aboard), they won't rot or crack in our very hot sun.

Oh, it is calling for color!
Blue doors? Red doors? Murals on the doors? Trim color? Oh my!
There will still be a lot of white for the cooling factor. 
The gap between the two doors is now covered in a metal sheathing. A little crude but it will do the job for now. Metal doesn't rot either. Well, it does, but not for awhile. Especially when coated. 

I could go into a long explanation about elastomeric because truthfully, it's a learning curve as far as what kind to use and where to use it. After a lot of research, I picked the one that seemed the best and said, Screw it, let's cover the whole thing with the stuff. Sort of like shrink wrapping it. This one says it has a primer in it, but Pan insisted on using a primer first anyway. I like that, even if it does defy Occam's razor.

The elastomeric went on just like paint, I was happy to observe (hey, I don't do big painting anymore, if I did, I'd still be sailing). I've seen some brands that are much thicker and more difficult in application, and this type was exactly what I was hoping for, so hooray for research that sometimes works out right.

Back on the inside, I'm finally getting some order happening. 

Looking to the bow.
No, the floors aren't painted yet, the first step before some sort of wood flooring. Sure, I should have done that already. It will happen. I have the paint; that's half the battle around here.

Looking aft. What happened to the sweet little fridge? It's gone.
When the solar is hooked up, I'll need a different one anyway.
Some sanding, ospho and stove paint and it too will be new again.

I already know this is going to be a place I spend a good amount of time.
I could have had the option for this to turn into a bed, but chose not to. For now.

So happy with the galley split!
It is off center on purpose, to keep wind away from the flames, as well as leaving a space for a trash can, broom and mop between it and the hanging locker.

Hello world! Eventually there will be a futon there, but it's a wonderful perch for now
with plenty of storage while I sort out things into their new homes.

While this may not look pretty to some, any boater knows it is beautiful. A dry bilge. This one hasn't been dry in a long time, so I am thrilled. Pan drilled holes between the ribs to let any water that might accumulate (WHAT????) go to the lowest point, making pumping easier. The hatch cover is on now, but I forgot to take that photo. It has been reinforced, but still needs some attention. It's a heavy, strong piece though and does its job well. This is where the water tanks and eventually, the batteries for the solar panels (along with other stuff) will live.

And this is what its all about. Home. On the water. Yes, there are plans for a
sleeping area and small 'porch' on the roof. All in good time.
Leaving my oh so comfortable, full of mod cons, large caretaking digs, where I could almost fit the houseboat in the bedroom alone, as well the bedroom being bigger than my entire home when home was the shack, for this tiny space might seem like it would be confining, but after I got things put away (no sorting or decorating until I get back in the fall from Turtle time), it felt good. The spareness feels right and comfortable. Small inside spaces suit me when the outside is water.

(There aren't as many around who remember Nancy, who owned this houseboat before me - and Harold of course, but it was, as we know, Nancy's. I think of her often when I'm aboard and I know she is approving, feeling her over my shoulder on occasion, sometimes bitching, sometimes grinning, and best, sometimes a pat on the back when I least expect it. Thanks, Nancy and Harold, for helping this dream come to be my reality.)

2008, brand new to me
Next update on the as yet unnamed houseboat (shall we have a contest?) will be when I'm living aboard, which is an amazing sentence to write. I've been blessed in so many ways on this journey of life, it's almost time for this new adventure to begin. I'm ready. 

Well, after the Turtle road trip adventure. Then I'll be ready. 

Have a tried and true Tuesday. Do something tremulously tremendous.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Simple Sunday ~ Culebra June 26, 2015!

We are not blinded
To the work that lies ahead.
For now, celebrate!

Arkadios and Isabella!! 

Two new bright lights in our world
Our new little brother, our new little sister
Welcome! Welcome!

Congratulations, Anita and Harold

Congratulations, Shay and Jean-Francois

What a day!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Looking Around ~ Culebra

The fastest object we used to see in the bay was kite boarders, fast and quiet!, and yesterday, there was one to see. I don't know if having John L. back is the reason, my lens isn't that good. But it was fun to see whoever it was fly up and down Ensenada Honda, with boat escorts at times; I'm sure making good wake jumps.

At the library, I was inside doing some computer work, listening to the boisterous pounding feet, laughter and yells of children, the last day of two weeks of activity winding up to wind down. Lisa had warned me I might want to be inside and when I got outside, I could see why. It sounded like a very good time was had by all. Thanks to the people who put this together, giving the kids some summer fun. 

Computers and water don't mix, but kids and water? Oh yes!

The tomatoes they planted are in with some other garden goodies behind the library. 

Heading home, a boat I see every day (but keep forgetting to stop in time to take a photo) was so perfect in the water, with its flags flying, I had to turn around and come back. I did it with an up the hill turn, the one where you can see the whole bay and over to Vieques. There are so many excellent views on Culebra! But I was on a yola mission and just enjoyed it with my eyes.

The other day I was reading an article about a town in India, with brightly colored buildings - how much they stood out, in a cheery way. How glad I am for our bright colored homes and other buildings, that they are the norm. 

I was thinking about that when I saw the new paint job on the Tourism and little shops building. Grey? Deep red? What is it, a bank? Bring back the bright!!!!

Photo credit: Vincent Leroux
Photo credit: Vincent Leroux
On a more natural note...

There is a reason I take and retake, post and repost some of the things you find here. The reason is because things change. As much as trash and illegal clearing bother me, the 'this is our island living room, it may be a little messy but we're home here' feeling of seeing boats, chairs gathered by the water, little vignettes of local living like this has always been one of the things I love about Culebra. When it is kept tidy, without destroying precious protected (and protective!) resources, there is a comfort there that touches me and makes me want to be a welcome guest, where I can pull up a chair and check out the fridge. 

I hope we always have that. I hope the lands and waters that aren't cared for with respect will come to be respected. You may say I'm a dreamer~~

The moon was up. The sky was filled with wavy, swirly moving into dots clouds. Day was done. 

I was cleaning the bathroom shower stall yesterday, the one with the windows that, when the wind blows the wrong way, brings in dust. My bare feet were making Sahara dust muddy outlines. In the shower I use every day. Sometimes I wonder why I bother; here it comes again!

Have a sensitizing Saturday. Do something seasonal.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Free Range Friday ~ Mangoes

There are mangoes everywhere. And that means that those of us who aren't blessed with a mango tree in our yard get to be the recipients of mango gifts from those with trees spilling over abundantly. That ranks on the food chain as being given a work of art that is a dessert that is good for you, making it a 10.

Thank you, Clive and Margaret. I'll be back!
The bag of mangoes I got the other day are so beautiful that every step of eating them is worth a moment of appreciation. I'm always reminded of a time, when living on another island, being introduced to mangoes by a man who said that the best way to eat them was standing in the ocean. Preferably naked. We were at a house by the beach. We had mangoes. We did not stand in the water naked to eat them.  We stood in the kitchen, with clothes on  (this memory is growing foggy, I do know we weren't naked when we ate them). They were still delicious, I was hooked and have come around to his idea easily. The ideal way to eat a mango, a good, mango, is anywhere, naked, so that you can throw care to the wind and let 'er drip.

(Unless you are Foxy, of Jost Van Dyke, who eats his mangoes by gently squeezing them in their skins until they are pulperized, biting a small hole in the skin and drinking the pulpy juice without spilling a drop. I tried it a couple of times but don't really have the patience to wait. He's taught me a lot about island patience; I just am a slow learner) 

But I've told these stories before. It was time to up my mango game.

The other night, on my birthday (did I mention I had a birthday?), I was at home. Asleep. I found out the next day that I'd been serenaded at the front door by a group of women. Women with cake. Birthday cake. I missed the whole thing but Molly, the cake maker, was kind enough to save me some. I got it the same day I got the mangoes. 

Two very delicious things that somehow called out to be together. Chocolate and mango? Oh yeah. Try it, it works. It works well.

I was so enamored with the idea of mixing mango with something else I really like, that when I realized I had no jelly for my peanut butter sandwich, it only took a second for the synapses to snap. 'Hey, I love mango jelly! Why not just use the mango itself?' Mangoes. Peanut butter. Some oatmeal bread. Alrighty!!

By the way, when you cut mangoes, they are slippery. Expect to have at least one of the slices jump out of your fingers onto the floor. 

So far, so good

Maybe it was the bread (bread I bought because that day, there was not any really good bread available for purchase - this is called small island living). Maybe it was just a bad idea. But mangoes and peanut butter do not enhance each other, they detract from both themselves and the other. Two delicious substances turned to blech. They didn't even look good. It was a fail.

I'll keep looking for mango pairings. Like mango and a very chilled cabernet. I know that would work.

Have a fabricate your food fantasy Friday. Do something (un)fettered.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Tiny Home Tuesday and Other (fair warning: birthday beaches etc. photo heavy)

I had a project in mind for yesterday afternoon to go around and take as many photos of containers used as homes here as I could find, but then the rain came. And then I lost my momentum, so here's a teaser start. 

There have been people using these as homes for a long time around here, either stand alone or part of a build. This is one I've posted before but it's just gotten a nice paint job and is looking pretty spiffy. I'd love to see the inside, but it's a weekend/party home and when someone is there there is usually way too much activity for me to just go introduce myself and ask for a look see. One of these days!

There is a locked fence so this was the best I could do without trespassing.

The deep porch makes it great for outdoor living. 
It's not hard to imagine that the container came first and maybe then the porch, with the back part put on last. There is a path in there somewhere leading to a good dock, from the other side you can't see the house at all so it's set back pretty far. A build like this would be illegal now, most likely. Supposedly. According to law anyway...

The 'other stuff' are some photos I took yesterday at three of our beaches and from Dinghy Dock. Sun and badly needed rain that came in a dramatic fashion complete with lightning and thunder, it was an altogether gorgeous day!

This was the first thing that caught my eye on the way to the beach. Fun coolness!
 I love Melones, both sides but especially the beach to the side. It was full of dead sargassum so walking was mainly in the water and not very far with a high tide.  

I was just about to leave when pelicans having breakfast caught my eye. After a few shots, I just sat at the table, a front row seat to a pretty funny show. I never knew gulls were such t'eefs!

At first I thought the gull was just hitching a ride.

But he was actively trying to get the fish the pelican caught.

Hop skip and a jump

This gull was so brazen! Incredible!

Peli wins!

The dynamics of a pelican...how do they do it??

Two pelicans. So awkward and so agile and precise at the same time. 

A picture of hope.
Ok, that was way too many pelican photos, I know. I'm addicted; I could have stayed there mesmerized all day, but breakfast was over. and they were gone It was time for me to move along to the next beach. You're welcome.

Every time I see this I'm reminded of the first time;
there is never not an echo of that 'ooooh!' factor.

Median decor
 And yet another beautiful beach!

Magic mirror wavelet

Flasher Gull
Beach number three (after a gull flashes you, it's time to head onward). It was early and there weren't very people around. Down at the Shark Pens there was NO one around. The water was flat, the water was a perfect temperature. Birthday sea bath indeed. 

The tank from the other side

I wonder if the rain will green up this hillside

For those who don't know this spot, the water, all the way out to the pilings,
is probably only four feet deep with a clear sandy bottom. Perfect for lolling.

Every time the sun and clouds moved, the colors would change. 

I was ready to go and just in time, as a couple were heading my way and I knew they would be just as delighted as I was to have it all to themselves.

On the way home, because there was no traffic, I could finally take a photo of what is the first sight for every person who lands at our little airport (unless the wind is funky and you come in up the bay, but this is the usual view). Not a bad welcome to Culebra, if you didn't mind the rather interesting descent over the beach, through the hills and down with a twist.

The original plan was to check out the Krusty Krab for lunch, but when we saw the storm coming in, we quickly agreed that a dockside seat at Dinghy Dock would be well worth the delayed gratification of a meal in a new spot. We don't get wild rain storms very often and this one promised to be spectacular. It was! 

What a fantastic storm! Much welcome sheets of rain fell.

Thanks, Universe, for a spectacular day, for family and friends, for life and for Culebra, not necessarily in that order.

Have a terrific in tiny Tuesday. Do something textured.