Written by Ben Ellison on Dec 3, 2013 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub
While it looks and works very much like the Matrix AIS GX2100 that caused quite a splash here in 2009, Standard Horizon’s just announced Matrix AIS/GPS GX2200 very usefully includes a built-in 66 channel GPS. And it still has the same $400 MAP (minimum advertised price) as the evolved Matrix AIS+ GX2150, which will now get a $350 MAP. Two years ago Standard introduced the Explorer GX1700 — the first fixed VHF with GPS built in, and still the only one (I think) – and while I haven’t tried one myself, I think that front panel satellite antenna bump works pretty well even when installed under a fiberglass deck or top…
I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard search and rescue professionals lament about how well DSC VHF distress alerts can work but how few boats are set up to send a proper one.…
Living with a lighter footprint is one of our motivating factors to choose the cruising life. Helping our children learn about risks and realities of the global effects of climate change and is connected to this environmental sensibility. A great way to bring these together is to participate in citizen scientist programs, where our nomadic lifestyle can offer unique opportunities to collect data and contribute to active research. Anyone can do this: anyone can share from their experiences to help inform and direct decisions to improve life for all of us on planet earth.
The individual burden of effort is generally very small, but cumulative impact can be tremendous as more citizen scientists on the oceans of the world and in our Salish Sea waterways at home take the time to contribute.…
Written by Ben Ellison on Nov 30, 2013 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub
This is different! While the new Argonaut A615 Smart Monitor has several of the marine display features the company is known for, it can also serve as a large Android tablet. So with its 360° waterproof enclosure, bonded Tflex transflective LED-backlit LCD, and Quad Core ARM processor you can have fast standalone chart plotting on a 15-inch screen in your cockpit or on your flying bridge using only 20 Watts of 12 or 24 volt DC power. And of course that’s not all…
If the A615 Smart Monitor can reach the Internet with its own WiFi, or via your boat’s WiFi router, you can get real time weather, check e-mail, download more apps, watch Netflix, etc.…
What kind of field guides should you bring cruising? The question of on board references came from a reader recently. It’s a good one, and it made me think about how we flubbed it and didn’t have enough on board when we cut the docklines. Of course, everyone has different needs: some may not want any at all, and we probably skew above average. Here are the field guides that have earned their shelf space on Totem.
The National Audubon Society’s Guide to Marine Mammals of the World
has helped us ID animals from Puget Sound to Malaysia. From understanding the differences between oceanic dolphins and whales, to cataloging our identifications (we add a date and a note on the species information page) with successive sightings, this is one of the most frequently used guides on board.…
This one was written by hand on November 18. This was my first chance to get it published on the blog…
Mia and my dad are sleeping. A rain squall just blew in from over the hills. I was sitting at the nav. table reading TIME magazine and sipping on my second glass of savignon blanc. I felt something itching on my calf. It took me two moments to realize it was drizzle. Rain!
It came down just enough to cause me to close the hatches and bring in the cushion cover we’d been drying on the lifelines. And my t-shirt.…
Celebrating Thanksgiving on Totem this week, we sat around the table to talk about all the things we’re grateful for. Earlier in the day, the children had each made a list to share- going around the table, there were many overlaps.
We’re all so thankful for our floating home. Totem might be cozy living, but it’s more than enough. It keeps the water out, and the love in.
I’m thankful that we’ve kept the spirit of our holidays. The cruising life lends itself to a more distilled, less commercial celebration.
That also makes me thankful I have yet to hear a Christmas carol this year.…
“So, what did you do at school today?”
I know better than to ask this question. There isn’t a child alive who has ever replied with actual facts when their mother asks about school. But it was Indy’s first day at her new école in Noumea, and I was hoping that she would throw me a crumb. After all, she is a boat kid; she might not realize that it is her duty as a child is to withhold school-related news at all costs.
“Nothing,” she said.
Darn. Someone must have tipped her off.
“Le poisson, le poisson, le poisson,” sang Indy as she skipped along the path.…
I’m not sure what to make of this, but it sure is fun to look at. Click through to this Ocean Surface Currents Map website, and you’ll see this image is actually animated. It just covers areas around the United States, but still gives you a very good idea of just how dynamic the ocean really is.
Off the East and Gulf Coasts anyway. What most surprised me is how little current action there is off the West Coast.
The big question, of course, is whether it’s useful or not, and I’m not sure it is. The map on its face purports to be a real-time forecast of what’s actually going on out there, but when I compare it to official forecasts there seems to be little correlation.…
Our watermaker is broken, so there are routine shore runs to fill up a jerry can and keep our tanks from running dry. We have a single five-gallon capacity jerry: wwhen it’s full, it’s too heavy for me, so Jamie bears the brunt of the burden. At least potable water that’s readily available from the dinghy dock for the Telaga Harbour Marina, and only a couple of minutes to jet in from the anchorage for another load.
The daily squalls are mostly over, but rainy weather still comes. The seasons here are not so much “rainy” and “dry” as “rainy” and “slightly less rainy.” It’s rarely similar to the spitty Pacific Northwest misty sprinkle.…
|Bob Steneck and George Stoyle doing coral and fish surveys in Antigua
We’ve been in the Caribbean nearly a month now and for the past ten days we’ve been in full research mode, diving and snorkeling each day, usually at two separate sites. This is my cruising ideal- poring over charts to select potential reef sites, poking our way into remote anchorages with a spotter balanced on the bow pulpit as we pick our way through patch reefs and narrow cuts. Then, dinghying out to the fore-reef to snorkel and dive.
|Alaria at anchor near Greens Island, Antigua
That’s the great part.…