It’s been exactly one week since we left Houston. To the minute. We left at 7:45 last Saturday. It’s a bit hard to believe that it’s only been a week since we have done so much. We are finally settling in to our routine though. We have our french press thermos for making joe, and we have had the same breakfast for four days in a row, half a bagel with cream cheese sprinkled with old bay and an egg over easy on top. Our new home is small, but we have adjusted quickly. With a little bit of organization and planning a lot can be done with a little space.
One of the biggest adjustments has been actively thinking about how much electricity we are using. We have been on the hard (out of the water) the entire time but haven’t used shore power at all. All the electricity we have been using comes from the wind and solar. Our wind generator adds some electricity to the equation, but most of the energy is generated by the solar panels. We were surprised one morning by how low the voltage (a rough indicator of how full our batteries are) was being reported Wednesday morning. We thought we were generating plenty of power, but it turns out we need to be much more careful. This ain’t a house with unlimited grid power.
To get an idea, the refrigerator draws by far the most energy. The refrigerator, set on medium, pulls 2.5 amps on average. Multiplied by 24, that’s 60 amp hours a day. With a full days sun yesterday we only generated 100 amp hours. So our daily budget is about 40 amp hours just to keep the batteries at current levels. We would like to fill the battery bank up (420 amp hours) so we need to stay under that so we can fill it up. With that 40 hours we spend it on the stereo, bilge pumps, water pumps, lighting, fans, and the inverter. The inverter is what turns our battery power (DC) to “plug” power (AC) so we can plug our laptops, ipads, iphones, drills, etc in. The inverter is great but wastes a lot of energy. When I have my laptop plugged in I am drawing roughly 4.5 amps for the laptop then the inverter adds another 5 amps on top of that. Fortunately, the way I understand it, that draw is constant so the rule of thumb is to charge as many things all at once as we can.
We couldn’t be having more fun. We have been crazy busy working on projects, but it’s so much fun it doesn’t feel like work at all. The coming week has plenty more projects. The goal is to be in the water by this time next week. Fingers crossed!
Oh yeah, and we got the hailing port changed!