We will be donating all proceeds from this video to PERC to support the Abaco islands.
If you’d like to donate to the Bahamas rescue & disaster recovery efforts, we recommend the organizations below. We’re not affiliated with either group, but have researched and confirmed their authenticity.
- Hope Town Volunteer Fire & Rescue – http://htvfr.org/index.html These donations will go directly to those on the ground in Hope Town.
- PERC – https://www.percabaco.org/ This is a 503c organization which supports a number of Abaco based charities and is tax-deductible for U.S. residents.
While cruising down the west coast of Florida, we run into a few obstacles: Our power runs out without all of our solar panels up; a navigation mistake results in us finding the bottom(!); and working while traveling is just plain complicated. But hey, it’s all good fun!
During a few days anchored at Longboat Key, we spy some dolphins frolicking in the shallows, and meet a charter boat captain who ends up coming to our rescue. With our alternator on the fritz and the majority of our solar panels still in their boxes, we push our batteries to the limit, forcing us to check into a marina yet again. We talk energy independence and discuss the difficulties of working quasi land-based jobs while cruising.
Hope you enjoy!
Lauren & Kirk
P.S. If you’d like more Sailing Soulianis content or would like to support our video production, consider becoming a patron here: https://www.patreon.com/sailingsoulianis
Adventures – A Himitsu https://youtu.be/8BXNwnxaVQE
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[Lauren] Hey everyone, we just wanted to give you a quick real-time update.
[Kirk] We are currently at my parents’ house up in Michigan. As many of you know, our YouTube series lags behind real time quite a bit. And this was never our intention. But, it’s kinda just how things play out for us. And there are several reasons for this, we’ll get into that at some point. But, for now, we just wanted to let you know that while our YouTube series has us on the West Coast of Florida. We just hauled the boat out in St. Augustine, on the East Coast. In between then and now, we were fortunate enough to spend a little bit of time in the Abacos, the part of the Bahamas that have just been completely devastated by Hurricane Dorian. Seeing the destruction of these gorgeous islands has been absolutely heartbreaking. Over the past week we’ve been nervous wrecks thinking about Florida, St. Augustine and Soulianis. Fortunately, it seems like Florida and especially St. Augustine have really been spared the worst. And we’ve gotten a message from our boat yard that everything is looking fine. And hopefully by the time you see this, Dorian has skirted past the Carolinas and is headed back out into the Atlantic. For now we’ll take you back to the West Coast of Florida for some more fun-filled times. Less anxiety-filled times. We hope you enjoy this one.
[Lauren] Are those people on horses?
[Kirk] Ooh, they’re like right on his anchor chain.
[Man] What do you think man, they’re mating or what?
[Kirk] Absolutely! Uh, I hope our boats okay. Zipping along the lake and all of a sudden, whoop! That was a dumb ass move by me.
[Lauren] It’s been like five days since our last shower, I think. Not effectively charging our batteries at all. Without all the panels up, we’re stuck. We’re here.
[Lauren] Last time on Sailing Soulianis, we showed you what seven days of the cruising life looks like. Holy crap!
[Kirk] Look at how much rain there is right there.
[Lauren] We’re gonna get blasted in a second, huh?
[Kirk] Yep. It’s always a plus, to see the boat’s still there. Think I can sail through the anchorage while eatin’ a piece of pizza?
[Lauren] After spending a little time checking out Clearwater and St. Petersburg, we kept pushing our way south. How’s the head sail looking, is it lifting at all?
[Kirk] No, it’s perfect. Oh, do we need to maybe up it a little bit more?
[Kirk] No, I think we’re good. We just dropped, dropped to ten.
[Kirk] Why are we being converged upon by space ships? Help us.
[Lauren] Despite the ominous collision warnings from our AIS, we had an absolutely gorgeous sail across Tampa Bay. Then, back in the ICW, we fired up the engine.
[Kirk] Yowza. Felt like we were in the gulf for a second there. Are those people on horses? What! Did they justoh, they just left the beach and went around came back to the beach? That’s the gulf out there. That’s an island. So all those houses don’t have a way to get on and off except for a boat. It’s a freaking sweet house though.
[Kirk] What are you doing down there? Folding laundry. Getting rid of entrapment. I’ve had a box of sweaters over there that I haven’t touched in about a month, so I think it’s about time they go into the v-berth, and the swimsuits come out. Hmm.
[Kirk] After dropping the hook at Longboat Key, Lauren took advantage of our stationary boat to keep working down below while I settled into the cockpit to check out our new surroundings. I love checking out other boats anywhere we go, and notice this catch with a bunch of passengers going out for a sunset cruise. Lauren and I ended up meeting Kurt, the owner and captain later that night, which proved to be rather crucial a couple of days later.
[Kirk] Oh! He’s like, right under our boat.
[Kirk] Yeah. See? There. Ah! Oh my gosh!
[Man] You guys got a dolphin there?
[Kirk] Yeah. Look it, they’re like right on his anchor chain.
[Lauren] Oh .
[Kurt] What do you think, man? They’re mating, or what?
[Kurt] Yeah, baby!
[Lauren] Are we gonna make it? We can make it in, but I don’t know if we’re gonna make it back out. We got blown in, in like 30 seconds and now Kirk’s gonna have to row us back out. Providing that’s something that happens.
[Kirk] Now where are we headed to? To our picnic lunch on the beach. There’s a sweet little restaurant over here. Yeah! Look at that!
[Lauren] It is.
[Kirk] Look it, there’s a boat! There’s a boat.
[Lauren] It looks like this tree has been overrun by cactus snakes. Oh, prickly!
[Kirk] Are they prickly?
[Lauren] Yep, they’re prickly. Oh, it looks like um, rhubarb. It’s purple and green.
[Kirk] Tree rhubarb.
[Kirk] We have moon sparkles already.
[Lauren] Got some waves. Oh, I hope our boat’s okay. That was a dumbass move by me. Boat, I hope you’re okay. The ? It’s more of the underside. This is the look of a boat that is just running around. It’s the look of uh, boat that has a captain who, decided to pull this off himself. Uh, it was a really dumb mistake by me. I misjudged the channel. We had anchored off, and we were headed back to the ICW, and I lined up all the channel markers and thought I was headed the right direction but I missed a little dog leg that I needed to go out and around first. With the assistance of a very nice gentleman named Kurt, who we met last night, he came out in his electric day boat and helped reset our anchor so we could winch ourselves off and attached another line to his stern so, between putting our boat in reverse, winching on the anchor and him tugging we, we tugged ourselves right off. We were in a pretty bad shoal there for a few getting blown further and further onto it with uh, 15 knots of wind. Uh, luckily we had a rising tide. That probably saved us, and we were able to get out of there. That sucked. It totally felt like we were those cartoon characters in that boat that just went zipping along the lake and all of a sudden right up on shore. Yep. The whole boat… The whole boat raised up, eh? The whole boat tilted like this. No, you don’t need to pay attention to that, you’ve gotta pay attention to that. Okay, I see that. Okay. I’m very nervous about running a ground right now. Mr. Beak is going to get a break after this.
[Lauren] Freaking flying along at 6.8. Trying to time the bridge openings is pretty standard operating procedure in the ICW. Kirk, we made it! Is that our first ever swing bridge?
[Kirk] I think so. That’s cool. We’re supposed to be leaving in six weeks for a job in Utah. A video job. And we’re still not in the keys. Are we even going to get to the keys before we have to go to Utah? I don’t know. Oh, I hope so.
[Lauren] This is where living and working on a sailboat gets complicated. Normally, all the work we do can be done remotely, but this was a location shoot we physically needed to fly to, so this meant finding a marina where we felt comfortable leaving Soulianis unattended for a few weeks. Since we had yet to sail those crystal clear waters that we had dreamed of, and this job was forcing us to stay put for awhile, we were hoping we could spend this time in the keys.
[Kirk] But getting a sailboat anywhere quickly, especially on a specific time table, is extremely difficult. To do so while working a remote job, and documenting it all for YouTube, is complete lunacy. So, we’re learning to set our plans cautiously. So, we’re in Venice. Florida, not Italy. Or California. Oh. We’re in a place called The Crow’s Nest, which is right smack in the middle of Venice pass. We had to come here because our batteries were dead. We ran them all the way down to 35%, which is really cool. Yeah. That we could do that. We do not have the traditional lead acid batteries, we bought firefly oasis, which are carbon foam lead acid batteries. So, what this company has done is they’ve replaced half the plates, half the lead plates with a carbon mesh and we get a lot of benefits. They have most of the advantages of a lithium battery, but are half the cost, there is no complex battery maintenance system, and they won’t catch fire. They can be drawn down to an 80% depth of discharge, they’re rated for a very high number of charge cycles. They can be charged quickly, and they can be stored at a partial state of discharge for long periods of time without damage. Because we work remotely from the boat, having a robust, easy to manage battery bank was a big priority for us. We bought the batteries because we knew that we were not going to be able to generate enough power, we didn’t want to run our engine while we’re at anchor. Um, but unfortunately, we didn’t get all of our solar panels up this cruising season, so we’re having even more issues with it than we would have hoped. Yeah. After an incredibly frustrating and disappointing experience trying to work with a metal fabricator to build an arch for our boat, we called it quits on the entire project. The only thing that really we use power for is keeping our fridge cold, and cabin lights, pressure waterCharging our computers. And charging our computers. We probably actually would have been okay with the six hundred and some-odd watts of solar. 520. 520, that we do have right now that just isn’t all installed. Bitter sweet. The uh, $1500 worth of solar panels and now we don’t have anywhere to put them. But, if we have all of our panels up, we’d probably be okay. The other issue we’re having is our alternator is original to the boat: 1979, and it’s just a terrible automotive alternator. It is very close to overheating. We’ve seen 240 degrees Fahrenheit all day today. We only got a max of, I think, 10 amps, even though the battery was like, totally depleted. Has no external regulation, so it’s not effectively charging our batteries at all. Uh, and that’s another thing we have to fix. UmWhat I was thinking was that you sized our battery bank large enough, and picked these batteries so that they could be discharged so much that we could probably get away with just the solar panels and not having wind generator or other means of generating power because we have so much battery bank. We would drain down the battery bank at night, which would be fine. Yeah. But then we would have enough solar to recharge it and then some for us to charge all of our other stuff during the day. And depending on how many cloudy days we hit we can weather most of those. Right. So… But without all of the panels up, we’re stuck. We’re here. In a marina. Which, we sort of assumed we would be going to a marina every other week or so, uh, just because I’m still working and, like tomorrow, I have to go to UPS and drop off a bunch of thumb drives for a video edit that we did, um, for a client. And we need to top off our water tanks, which, you know, we did the other week when we stopped for fuel, um, and got rid of our garbage and all that but, um, we stillwe figured we would at marina every other week or so. We have 60 gallons of water, and we figured we could go almost 2 weeks on the 60 gallons, withbecause basically we just use the water for drinking and washing dishes, and the cockpit shower here and there.
[Kirk] Whatcha doing there?
[Lauren] Taking a sponge bath. It’s been like, 5 days since I last showered I think. And, I just went for a run on the beach. This is great; I sleep so much better after a shower right before I go to bed. Yeah, we were hoping we could get away with like one marina visit every couple of weeks but… I think we just didn’t realize how expensive they were gonna get. So we were used to, like Michigan prices, which were $1 a foot, $1.25 a foot. Here, we’re finding the cheapest is well over $2 up to $3.50 a foot, for a night. I think we kind of underestimated the cost for staying in a marina.
[together] In Florida. But we’re doing funfine. We’re doing fun.
[Together] We’re doing fine. We’re having fun. We finally felt like we’re starting to experience the cruising life. Clearwater was cool, Saint Pete was really cool but they’re both very… Urban. And so when we hit Longboat Key, we stayed there for 3 nights? Was it 2 or 3 nights? It was the first feeling of, like, we were actually cruising to islands, with palm trees and sand. This is totally island-y. This is like, the first island feeling I think I’ve gotten. Yep. But, we are missing a beautiful sunset.