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Month: January 2014

How we store dog food: SoftStore 30 bags from Gamma2

Part of our provisioning for shoving off the dock is finding a safe place to store dog food. We searched high and low for air tight/water tight/bug tight containers. We searched even harder for containers that would fit in the odd-shaped storage areas we have on our boat.

The most important part to me was something that wouldn’t serve as a smorgus board for bugs. I’m absolutely terrified of getting an infestation after reading several warnings in other cruiser blog posts about making sure every crumb is accounted for.

I found a company online that has several of the best solutions for storing dry pet food, Gamma2. They also happen to be based out of Carlsbad, San Diego! We love to support local businesses from our home town :)

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We were so excited when Gamma2 agreed to sponsor our adventures by supplying us with four (4) SoftStore 30 bags and one (1) Vittles Vault Plus 15 rigid container!! The SoftStore bags are exactly what I was envisioning when we searched for a storage solution. They can mold into any area where a rigid container might not fit. These bags are lined with a food-grade plastic and the lids have the patented Gamma Seal design to make them totally air tight.

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With two large dogs on board we have to store a lot more dog food than we’d like and it takes up quite a bit of room. One of our first challenges once we leave shore will be getting the dogs accustomed to a varying diet. They’re currently on Kirkland Signature brand food from Costco but we know that once we leave we won’t have very many options for selection. Neither of their tummies do well when we switch their food but we’re just going to have to deal with that. Somebody will be on duty at the poop deck for sure! We decided to add in more table scraps and the dogs will be getting a steady fish diet soon. We’ll supplement with dog food and hope that they get used to eating different brands all the time.

For now, we are carrying two 40lb bags worth of dog food and have fit it all into the 4 SoftStores. They hold 30-35 lbs (8.0 Gallons) if stuffed full, but we like to leave a little room on top so the bag is more malleable. That way we can save our precious storage space and the bags fit into all the odd size nooks and crannies of the two cabinets we have chosen for them.

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It’s much easier to fill the SoftStore bags with two people, but it wouldn’t be too difficult for just one person.

We turned around to position Betsy for a cute picture on the dock and Gunner seized the moment when he knew we weren’t looking!! If we weren’t there, he would have kept eating until he threw up. It’s actually kind of a good thing that we don’t free-feed the dogs, so that way we don’t have to worry about bugs feeding on the dog food at night. We like to clean their bowls out after doing the nightly dishes to help keep them clean.

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Betsy hesitated at the open bag of food. She knew it looked like trouble :)

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The rigid container that Gamma2 gave us is great for storing any kind of dry goods. You could put pet food in there, rice, grain, emergency supplies, cat litter, TP rolls, trash… anything that you don’t want affected by humidity, water or bugs.

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Here’s a close up of what the Gamma Seal lids look like:

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I opted to put all my baking goods in ours. I have our stock of brown sugar, powdered sugar, white sugar, flour, coconut flakes, and pecans in the Vittles Vault, and sealed them in ziplocks just for extra measure to avoid spills when using them.

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We are lucky enough to have a ginormous pantry and the Vittles Vault fits nicely on one of the shelves that I had already designated for baking/breakfast. Coincidence?

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The SoftStore 30’s are going under the settee where we can access them with little trouble twice a day.

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There are two compartments that open up and we can fit two SoftStore bags in each one.

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To fit them way back underneath we needed to leave the lid partially unscrewed to get some air in there. If you press all the air out, it’s harder to adjust the bag. Once we got them in there, we screwed the lids down all the way.

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The front-most compartment is where the filters are for our water maker and this is where it was a little more tricky to find containers that will fit while still utilizing the entire area.

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To access the food, we lift up part of the wood board covering the compartment with one hand, unscrew the Gamma Seal lid with the other hand, and then grab a full scoop of food. SOO easy!!! I had been really nervous about how difficult it might to be to store the dog food inside the boat AND be able to access it without a hassle. Turns out its one of the easiest things we do everyday.

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You can find Gamma2 products in local pet stores or online. If you buy through our Amazon Affiliate link (also shown on the right side of the page on our website) we make a small percentage of the sale but you can probably find them cheaper on other websites. We are grateful that Gamma2 sponsored our adventures and we are excited to tell everyone about how cool their products are!! Living on a boat is challenging and having pets aboard requires even more creative solutions. Now that we have them, we simply CANNOT imagine storing our dog food any other way. If we didn’t have our SoftStore bags, we wouldn’t be able to stow away the dog food anywhere else and it would still be sitting in the original bag on the couch next to us every day. Oh, and we’d probably have cockroaches too!!

Thank you Gamma2 for helping us get to Where The Coconuts Grow as we travel in search of surf, sun, sand and serenity!!!

 

IN CASE YOU WERE WONDERING…

We are PROUD to share the awesome products and services we have experienced with our readers. There are so many different solutions out there for everything we could possibly need, but these are the solutions that work for us.

We gladly accept discounts or samples when a company feels generous enough to support our cause. In return we support the manufacturer or local service by sharing their links and writing about our experience with them. We only seek out sponsorship and affiliate programs from products and services we actually WANT to use and likewise only accept offers for products or services that we WILL use.

We are not paid for any reviews we write or feedback we provide. We simply like to spread the word and share great experiences we have had that could also bring joy to others.

**If you’re in the market for any of our favorite products, please consider using one of our Amazon Affiliate product links. Just access Amazon by clicking through from the banner on the right side of our website first and any subsequent products you search for during that same internet session will help us out when you complete your purchase. It’s no additional cost to you and puts a small percentage in our cruising kitty. We appreciate your support!

Leak Prevention

Part of the routine maintenance we like to keep up on is making sure the gaskets around our ports are lubricated. The rubber seal can dry out and crack if they aren’t maintained. If there isn’t a good seal, water can leak in when it rains or when we wash down the boat.

Step 1: Scoop out a chunk of Vaseline

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Step 2: Smear all that gooeyooey-ness around the seals until they have a nice coating.

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Step 3: Clean up any excess vaseline around the ports

Step 4: Wipe off your hands! Yuk! (I suppose I could have used a rag, but I wanted to make sure it was covered evenly)

Step 5: Celebrate when it rains and water isn’t leaking all over your bed anymore!!

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(On a side note, one of the known issues with Whitby’s is the angle of the two aft ports above the bed. They are angled so that water collects in the corners and has no way to drain out. We either have to wait for the sun to try it out, or wipe it out. It’s not a big deal.)

FOR SALE!! 2005 Toyota 4Runner 4WD SR5

I can hardly contain the excitement… we are FINALLY ready to sell the only vehicle we have left! We plan to set sail from Punta Gorda, FL at the end of this week and we are headed for the Bahamas!! This means we need the truck gone ASAP :) We need to make our Costco run tomorrow or the next day and then we are just waiting for a few more spare parts to show up in the mail this week.

Peter bought this truck brand new in 05 and it has 235,000 miles on it. Do you know anyone in the Southwest Florida area that would be interested in buying it? Price reduced AGAIN to $6800. Fair bluebook is just over $7000. No known issues, runs great. Rubber floor mats not in the picture but are clean and included.

We really hate to sell it, but we don’t have any covered storage for long term. We can always get another one. The adventure we are about to embark on makes it TOTALLY worth selling the 4Runner.

Please spread the word!!

 

HERE’S THE CRAIGSLIST AD:

2005 Toyota 4Runner 4WD SR5 $6800

ONE OWNER, runs great!

MUST SELL THIS WEEK – We moved onto a sailboat and are leaving for the Bahamas, Caribbean and Central America and will not be returning to Florida. We would keep it forever if we could, but it doesn’t float :)

4WD with locking differential and limited slip differential, V6, 4.0L, air conditioning, tinted windows, iPod ready, premium stereo, DVD player installed in rear, power windows and locks, running boards, ROOF RACK and TOW PACKAGE, cloth seats with custom front seat covers, maintenance records, California titled, original owner. Small dent above gas tank, no other issues known.

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Shakedown Shivers

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We left the marina yesterday for another shakedown cruise out in Pelican Bay/Cayo Costa. Our first stop was the Burnt Store Marina fuel dock on the way out for our very first fill up. It was a little strange being on that side of the dock as we have been walking past there for the last three months. We filled up both tanks and our jerry cans too. The dogs got their daily treat from the marina staff as we handed over the credit card. Ouch! It was almost five times the cost of filling up an SUV! As the old saying goes, BOAT stands for bust out another thousand!

We had a nice sail out across the harbor with all three sails up. Toward the end we motorsailed a bit and dropped the sails before following our tracks into the narrow entrance to Pelican Bay.

Peter and Josh raised the dinghy over the lifelines with the main halyard and prepared for the trip to shore. The outboard was acting up and not getting fuel correctly. Peter and I chanced it to take the dogs to shore but Josh and Leah hung back just incase it stopped working all together. We made it to shore and I took the pups for a quick dinnertime walk to do their business. We got back to the dinghy dock only to learn that the outboard wouldn’t start again so Peter and I had to row back. Luckily the current was heading towards our boat this time. We forgot to grab the seat for the dinghy.

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We made it back and started prepping for dinner. Leah and I had everything ready to go and I went to turn on the stove to boil some rice. AND there’s no propane! I checked the safety button on the wall, checked the breaker, everything seemed right but there was just no gas in the lines. The guys checked the tanks and discovered the needle in the gauge for the house tank was broken off. Weird! The BBQ worked fine off the small tank so they switched it to hook up the small tank to the main lines. Still no propane getting to the galley. We checked the breaker and wires but it all tested fine. It was getting late and dark and VERY chilly! We were all looking forward to a hot meal. Looks like this will need to wait until we get back to calmer waters back at the dock.

Even though we had a change of plans, we still put the steaks on the BBQ and cooked a bunch of veggies in the microwave. Our FourWinds wind generator was cookin all night long so we had enough juice to run the inverter for the microwave for awhile.

After dinner we tried for hot showers again like we did last time at anchor. For some reason the hot water heater just wasn’t getting as hot as it normally does. Peter tried a shower anyway and it was not a pleasant experience with the weather so cold outside. We’re going to test out our solar shower next time. So weird though… first the outboard, then the propane, now the hot water heater? We sure are shaking out some kinks while shivering on this shakedown :( Better to find out now than after we leave the dock for good!

It howled at 25-30 knots all night long. Josh and Leah were kept awake by the loud crashing of the waves against the bow while Peter and I had to listen to the wind generator prepare for lift off. It’s crazy how loud that thing gets when it’s really cranking. Peter and I were also paranoid about dragging anchor with the high winds so we didn’t get much sleep. Maybe an hour or two all night. The anchor alarm went off a couple times and scared us half to death. Turns out we were just swinging all the way around from where the anchor was dug in. After the sun came up we were convinced we were still holding good.

Gunner wouldn’t go potty before bed but Betsy did. It was too cold and windy out and Gunner wanted no part of that! They both went on deck in the morning though, thank goodness! No #2s but we’re off to a good start. At least we know they’ll go if they really have to.

We got the dingy back in place on the bow and began stowing everything down below. Josh drove while Peter tended to the windlass and pulled the anchor up. This time he wore gloves :) The wind was still blowing 15-18 but we got out of Pelican relatively easily. Our boat does circles around the anchor no matter how you drive her when there is wind and strong currents. The keel hit sand a couple times on the way out with 5.6 on the depth gauge. We made it out only to hit 15 knots on our nose all the way back to the marina. Peter opted to motor back to get to the dock before sunset.

We’ve got the tunes going in the cockpit as I write this and we’re all relaxing in the sun for a rolly ride back to Burnt Store :)

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Bath time!

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It’s bath time once a month for our pups. I’m sure this will be happening much more frequently once they are swimming everyday in the salt water :) It just takes a little patience and a little love.

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Both dogs got a good brushing from their daddy and Gunner gets a treat so he’ll be good for the deshedding process. Its amazing how much they shed and this is not good when you’re a liveaboard. If you’re not careful, the dog hair will fall into the bilge and could clog up the pump. Although oblivious to it, we don’t want the boat to start smelling like ‘DOG’ :)

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We try to pick a sunny and warm day so they dry quicker after bath time. As long as Gunner has a treat or toy to chew on he entertains himself while Betsy gets groomed.

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Every once in a while Gunner looks back to make sure the hose isn’t coming his way again…

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Then back to the bone :)

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Betsy is pretty tolerant of the whole process. She knows that when she’s all clean she gets to snuggle under the covers with her daddy! Spoiled girl.

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Both puppies get their nails trimmed and ears cleaned after their bath and Betsy gets real excited when we tell her she has “pretty nails” :)

Next bath time will be on the aft deck at anchor, place warm where the coconuts grow…