Thursday, December 8, 2016

Christmas Gift Ideas!

It's Christmas time again and if you're like me, you find all sorts of cool stuff for yourself but nothing for everyone else on your list!  Ken & I rarely shop for ourselves throughout the year, but in December we cave in .. there's so many great deals!  I've put together a list of items that we've found and are looking forward to getting from Santa.  These items aren't expensive, and would make a great gift for the outdoor lover ... or yourself!

We've been wanting a pair of binoculars for a while now, and I've been researching them a lot lately.  With a budget of $100 or less, I found these Bushnell binoculars that had great reviews (read here) and were only $60 bucks!  These binoculars are waterproof and fog-proof too!

Another item that I've been keeping an eye on for a while is the Aquabot high-pressure water bottle.  This bottle is $25 and has been recommend by Carolyn at The Boat Galley as a great way to rinse off dishes (we won't have a watermaker so water conservation will be priority on Nirvana), sandy feet, snorkel gear, etc.  This is in Santa's bag and I hope it works as good as Carolyn says it does!

Once we move onto Nirvana, we'll need all sorts of stuff to live aboard comfortably.  A good set of cooking pans that can easily fit into each other is a must for our 30 foot boat!  I'd been looking at the Magma nesting pots that start at around $100 a set, but when I found the 7 pc. Stansport nesting set for only $49.92 I had to order them! (Actually, this deal is only for "Prime" members, so I had my daughter order for me). They're stainless steel and have great reviews.  The only negative that I found was that it only came with one handle, and at least one more handle would make cooking easier so that the handle doesn't have to be removed while cooking.  After some research, I found that Stansport sells replacement handles on their site.  They're only $9.99, but the shipping was about $16 bucks .. ouch!  I called Stansport to inquire about some other handles, but they're claiming that only their handle will work on these pots.  I also searched the internet for other places to buy the handle .. no such luck!  For now, I'm holding off on buying an extra handle ... maybe a good set of pot grippers would suffice?

Even though we're still living in a condo, we've gone through several manual can openers and had problems with the moving parts rusting.  I'd been wanting to find a can opener that had no moving parts for when we live on Nirvana, and after cutting myself it was time to find one!  After some research, I bought this Japanese can opener a few months ago.  At just over $8 bucks, this can opener is worth it!  It's heavy-duty, well made and sharp.  It's the perfect size to hold in your hand, and you just cut the can with a back & forth motion .. we love it!  This would make a great stocking stuffer ...

These solar-powered Luci Lights seem to be the new rage with cruisers, so they're on my "wish list" from Santa!  There are different options, but I like these color changing ones!  These are not only solar-powered with LED lights, but they're also inflatable for easy storage.

Speaking of storage, these gear hammocks are also on our wish list.  Since Nirvana is only a 30 footer, we need creative ways to store our stuff!

When we found this inflatable 2-person kayak with paddles & pump on a one-day sale for $70 bucks, we went for it and ordered it!  It's now just over $86, but it still seems like a great deal to us.  Santa's already delivered this, and it seems like good quality.  We're anxious to inflate this and try it out, but it's winter now so we'll wait till Spring.  The kayak has great reviews and came in a duffel bag for storage too!

I've mentioned this book before, but I'll mention it again since most water lovers are secret "Parrot Heads"!  This was an interesting read about Jimmy Buffett's reflection on life as he turned fifty.

I can't review most of these items just yet, as some are on their way and some won't be used until we're living on Nirvana in the Spring.  I'll keep you updated on our thoughts, and if you purchase any of these let us know too!

As a reminder, we do have an Amazon associates account which means that if you purchase anything from these links we'll make a few bucks .. or cents!  You won't pay any more than normal, and you'll be adding to our cruising kitty .. which definitely needs some padding!  Even if you don't order these particular items, just by clicking on them and then ordering on Amazon during that visit .. we'll be rewarded!  

Happy shopping .. and hope you all have a "Merry Christmas" and amazing New Year!

Hasta luego .. until then.  Mid-Life Cruising!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

A New Bulkhead!

After all the exterior projects on Nirvana, it was finally time for a project that Ken had been dreading ... replacing our rotten salon bulkhead.  Luckily, it wasn't as difficult as Ken had feared.  In the picture above, you can see how rotten the bulkhead was (largest piece on sawhorses).  The other rotten pieces shown are a v-berth piece & a divider between the galley & salon.  Ken replaced all of these with 1/2" "hardwood" plywood from Home Depot.  Below is a picture of the old bulkhead attached to the chainplate ...

While Ken was dreading this project, I couldn't wait to see this old, ugly bulkhead gone!  This bulkhead is in our salon, which is another word for our living room.  I hated seeing the big strip of metal holding the rotten wood together, and I hated the excessive varnish & yellowish color.  This didn't seem to be the original bulkhead.

Ken was able to remove the original teak trim from the bulkhead without damaging it, and the bulkhead came out pretty easily.  The chainplate was removed and the starboard halyard was secured ... and the mast didn't fall down!  The top shelf that sat on the adjoining cabinet was also water-damaged and removed. (Note the plumbing hoses ... and you'll understand why replacing them is on our project list .. yuck)!

Here's a pic of the new cabinet shelf (with plumbing cut-outs), and a new piece for the v-berth (with cut-out for door).

Ken used the old pieces as templates, and for the bulkhead he used two 1/2" pieces glued together.  

The new shelf fits!

Here's a pic of the new divider between the galley & salon on the port side.  We removed the water-stained and overly varnished teak shelf in hopes of reviving it .. and we did!  I'll write a post soon about a product used to clean metal & plastic that worked wonders!

Ken stained the new wood with a "natural teak" color by Zar.  It was a great match to Nirvana's interior teak.  The new bulkhead was installed, the chainplate was re-attached, and the original trim pieces were added. The new bulkhead looks so much better, and it's no longer a safety issue.

Removing all of the rotten wood was such a mental boost for me!  We were finally starting to work on Nirvana's interior .. and make her look like home.  Just before this project, I had spent 3 days cleaning & sanding the worn & stained interior teak in preparation for Ken to coat with a satin finish polyurethane.

Since this bulkhead project, Ken has removed all the drawers & doors from Nirvana and brushed them with two coats of spar poly.  He also coated all of the interior teak that couldn't be removed, and Nirvana is starting to look like a new boat. She is looking so pretty inside .. no more rotten, dirty wood! I cleaned every nook & cranny inside, and I can't wait until Nirvana is put back together and we can bring the cushions home (from my Dad's) for recovering.  I'll write a post soon with pictures of the refinished teak after the doors & drawers are put back, but first we're going to clean the water tanks, replace all of the plumbing hoses, and replace the head & galley faucets.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving day, and we have a lot to be thankful for!

Hasta luego ... until then.  Mid-Life Cruising!
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