Well, as we expected, things did not go as expected. We were supposed to have been put in the water on April 1st, but as we ran around the decks, preparing the boat, we listened with falling hearts to the engine of the travel lift not turning over… It turns out, the starter motor died while it straddled the boat to go in the water just before us. It took 5 days before we heard that motor rev up again. Unfortunately, It was not an April fool’s joke.
We moved aboard Banyan the night before we were meant to go in the water. Cameron even schlepped water, 5 gallons at a time up our rickety ladder so we had water in our tanks and we moved all our food aboard. Man, we put more food on that RV than I head realised! It took nearly 1/2 a day to move it all in and stow it away. So, we are now happily living aboard Banyan. Even when we were on the hard it was good to be aboard. One couple we met commented that our boat must be pretty comfortable if we were not living in that huge RV out in the parking lot. Yup, we love our Banyan.
Living aboard again is like learning to fit in that snug but comfy shoe you wore a few years ago. It seems tight at first but softens as you warm it up. We are reacquainting ourselves with all those little things. Sometimes it is painful, I had a nice bump on my head to prove it. There have been lots of “where did I put that” and “how did we cram all this in there” and “why did we keep this”? We have been getting lots done though. We had contemplated going for a little excursion, but the jobs that needed doing and the “getting ready” filled up our days.
I have also been channelling my inner minimalist guru. It seems amazing that we could get rid of any more stuff, but when we went aboard, I found lots of things that we didn’t need. I was amazed since I had a major purge when we put the boat on the hard, wanting only to keep things that we really needed and used. Turns out, I have learned to be even more brutal about minimalism after living in a 3,000 square foot house for the last year!
The list of things that needed to get done before we set off was not short. Since we have to rely totally on ourselves, everything needs to function smoothly. When we first arrived, we thought we were going to need to replace our whole battery bank. We have AGM (Absorbed Glass Matt) batteries which fuel the “house” we also have a starter battery for the engine. How you leave your batteries when you leave your boat on the hard is a complex topic, it depends on your batteries, your boat and what conditions your boat will see. There is no perfect solution. Since we were going to be gone for a year we left one jauntily angled solar panel hooked up with the hope of providing a “trickle” of energy to the batteries. The AGMs are supposed to only lose about 1% per month, but because ours are not spring chickens, we decided to support them. When we arrived they were dead. We hooked up more solar panels and put our 110V charger on and they were still dead and were not accepting a charge. Then 48 hours later, just before Cameron was threatening to equalise them (the last ditch effort as it isn’t really supposed to help our brand of AGM’s (and they could explode)) they began holding a charge. Woo Hoo! High Five and “thank goodness we don’t have to spend $2,000 today”!
Most other things have started up without a hitch, the oven switched on easily, the engine started up as well as the outboard for the dinghy. The dodger and bimini went back on easily and the dinghy is holding air. The water system is operational and there were no unpleasant surprises (aside from that stuff that was in the toilet – but Cameron dealt with that bless his heart).
The only damage we sustained in the hurricane was a few places where the Sunbrella fabric of the winch covers and the binnacle cover rubbed through due to the sun shade we had made for the boat sitting too close. That was fixed when a neighbour said she loved fixing sails and canvas so for a few pillows (that I was unloading anyway) and a few cases of beer, we had that all fixed up lickety-split!
Due to the extreme heat in Guaymas in the summer time and dryness in the winter, we have had some interior wood split. It’s cosmetic and just gets added to the list of detail work that could use a talented woodworking hand. Luckily we found just the person and he’ll dig into it when we return.
All in all, Banyan weathered the year sitting out of the water (a wholly unnatural place for a boat), rather well. It was a relief as six boats sunk at the dock during the hurricane last summer.
The RV will rest at the boatyard in Guaymas until we return. We’ve had some RFI’s (request for information) as to the RV itself. It’s a 1999 Jayco Designer 3250 Class C RV. It’s 32.5’ long with the Ford V10 Triton engine. It has one slide which expands the interior living space when we’re parked. We are fortunate to have a separate double bed in the rear and one above the cab. The girls share the area above the cab. The only unpleasant surprise was that we have additional guests travelling with us. A colony of ants is living somewhere, perhaps in the air conditioner? We are hoping that the heat of Guaymas will drive them to a cooler home. We don’t think they’re contributing to our abysmal 7mpg but that’s another story….