C'est la Vie is a 1966 Charlie Morgan 34.

Her home port is Everglades City, FL. Our typical cruising area is Southwest Florida, the Florida Keys, the Southeastern Atlantic Seaboard, and the Bahamas. We are C'est la Vie's third owners and purchased her in 2005. We continue to maintain and update this classic vessel. Please post any questions or comments about C'est la Vie or our travels via the comment links below.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Back on the water back to the galley

The galley wench is back and I am ready to share my learning's on the go. This trip is full of them so far. Number one make a pantry list and stick to it. I know this but I thought I would just wing it. Well that was like going to the grocery store hungry and no list. Crazy.
So here are some learning's...
  • Check to make sure the fresh items you have purchased will all fit in the fridge. Then stop buying items that need to be refrigerated.
  • Check to make sure all the cool new oils and vinegars that you bought at the fancy store will fit before buying a gallon of coconut oil and forgetting to buy regular olive oil or canola oil.
  • Check to make sure you have all the ingredients to that complicated recipe you just read in the latest bon appetite magazine and don't forget said magazine at your office desk.
  • Make sure you have enough lettuce even though you have learned to make more and you are fully prepared to make spouts. Then don't go out and buy even more because you can't remember if you got the lettuce on you first provisioning run.
  • Remember the yogurt starter you made but don't forget the milk to make more yogurt.
  • Remember all the steps to making that super good almond milk. Buy a new immersion blender to make the milk bring the almonds and don't forget that special strainer to actually make the milk.
  • Are you getting the picture? Lists are good. Following the list is an even better idea. My memory is really good for some things and then others? Not so much.
So we had salads for the first few days. Lunch and dinner. Super good for us. Super healthy. Not a huge bummer but by day three I was psyched not to have a salad!

Our first evening we had a big green salad and I grilled 2 salmon filets to go with it.

My learning here was I forgot my metal spatula for the grill and salmon skin really sticks to the grill. I have cedar planks for this reason but FORGOT all about them. Dinner was great and we are on the water. Can I really complain?

Lunch on day 2 - Salad Cheese & Crackers

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Departing Sunset Island

After a day of running hither and to in an attempt to shove off this evening we exhausted ourselves and opted for one more night ashore on Sunset Island.

We did complete the first ever, to my knowledge, Everglades City town run via yard cart.  Lacking a car, but needing to drop of clothes at the thrift store, ship packages to various locations, and purchase fuel... well necessity is the mother of invention

Anne takes her turn with the card.  Note C'est la Vie across the river on Sunset Island in the upper right of the photo.
We returned to the island in time to use the high tide for launching our new dinghy and pulling the final gangway from the floating docks.  After these tasks when we began to realize the futility of our plan to cast off late in the day.  We still had storm shutters to close, window ac units to remove, rooms to clean, scones to bake, and that pesky final 2% of stuff to get on the boat.

Everything was checked off the to do list by 18:30, but we were also done.  

NCOBS Basecamp prepped summer hibernation and C'est la Vie loaded.
No worries, a bit more shuffling gear and we plan to get out in the morning.  The winds are favorable for a run down to the Keys.  We hope to anchor off Cape Sable tomorrow night and join our friends at Smugglers Cove Marina, Plantation Key for a Memorial Day Celebration on Sunday.

Here is a link to our newly created, yet to be populated photo album... 2013 Spring - FL to NC.  We will continue to add photos to the album over this voyage.

Fair winds and soft bottoms!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

New LED Running Lights for the Bow

Last fall during our migration from North Carolina to Florida our port forward running light burned out.  I purchased what I thought to be the correct replacement bulb, but the new bulb was either too large, too high a wattage, or both.  The result was a melted lens and damaged socket (I do realize this could have been much worse.)

Through a bit of internet searching I found some tear drop shaped led replacements made by SeaSense and purchased them last December. 

The new LED running lights
I went back to seek a link for the lights we purchased and they have vanished from the SeaSense website, but can be found on ebay.  This is unfortunate since the fixtures were an accurate enough match to C'est la Vie's old lights that the replacement was relatively easy, but I'm skipping over the removal of the old lights.

A copious ring of ling cured 5200 surrounding the old light fixture 
The person installing the existing lights did not hold back on the 5200.  I feared the lights may be difficult to remove without marring the exterior hull paint.  For this reason, I began my extraction efforts sweating away in the anchor locker scraping, prying, grunting, and cursing at the elastic gobs of 5200.  

using Anne's paddle board as a work platform to access the running lights
  When additional efforts in the anchor locker grew futile, I launched Anne's paddle board and used it as a work platform from which to launch my external attack on the bedded lights.  After one lap around the fixtures with a razor knife the fixture parted ways with the hull.  Success.  The starboard side came free with similar effort.

Successful extraction of old fixture.  Now back to scraping 5200.
Some additional work went into removing the surface 5200. When test fitting the new lights, I was elated to discover that the port side matched down to the pilot holes.  The starboard side took a bit of sanding and drilling out the pilot holes to correct minor misalignment.

Anne crawled into the anchor locker and I remained on the board as we worked together to bolt in place the new fixtures.  Rather that replacing the 5200, we used butyl tape to bed the new lights.

Successful test of the new bow running lights.
Shortly after installing the fixtures afternoon thunderstorms stalled our efforts.  I returned this morning and wired the new lights.  C'est la Vie is now legal and two fixtures closer to 100% LED.  I think the deck spot light and the engine compartment lights are the only incandescent bulbs remaining on the boat.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Photo-voltaic System Install Complete - C'est la Vie's gone solar

Once the two #10 wires from each panel fed through the decks (see... Running Wires for Solar and Wifi Antenna), I wired the two 80W panels in series via a new wiring bus located on C'est la Vie's aft bulkhead.  Running downstream of the bus, a pair of 8 gauge wires carry the current on to the charge controller at the electrical panel. 

The new bus handles the Solar & Wifi Antenna power.  It is accessed via the starboard cockpit locker

Once in the electrical panel the wires from the solar panels are lead directly to the charge controller.

The back end of the BlueSky2000E Solar Charge Controller

Also wired into the charge controller are:
  •  #8 negative wire goes directly to the primary ground terminal in the electrical panel.  
  • #8 positive line out that leads to a 30amp breaker and then directly to the primary positive in the electrical panel. 
  • A pair of small wires that lead to a thermo-couple on a battery terminal in C'est la Vie's house bank.  This allows the charge controller to monitor the battery temp and modulate current prevent overcharging and damaging the batteries.  
This brings us up to the current state (pun intended) of C'est la Vie's electrical panel.

C'est la Vie's electrical panel after installation of PV system.  Charge controller is bottom right
I felt like DR Frankenstein standing before his monster as my fingers flipped the breaker bringing the PV system to life.  Alive, Alive, Alive. 

Electrical Panel sealed up and the red led on the charge controller stating all is well.
Much more life than I anticipated.  Under the midday sun the system churned out 10.4 amps at 14 volts.  To say I am pleased with that performance would be an understatement. 

Here is a link to our photo album documenting the entire installation... Solar Power Install - Spring 2013.