Monday, June 25, 2012

In the Lake and With Good Friends

Makeba is finally splashing around in Lake Michigan!  A few days ago we pieced together the last of the rigging and decorating with our friend Jackie.  The initial launch was postponed due to weather but spirits were high as we got to do one of our favorite activities- painting!  We installed a handle in the bow and stern to make beaching a little easier, so of course, they needed decorating.

Jackie- sporting some retro safety glasses whilst painting

Color explosion!

Jackie and Mary beach party!

The first dip in the lake took place in Beverly Shores.  We were greeted by a few nice DNR officers who first just wanted to know why we were parking on the sandy road.  Once we explained ourselves, the officers, Mike and Dave, kindly offered us some hiking advice and spread the word to their buddies down the beach.  So after shortly trying, and failing, to sail, we paddled around for the rest of the day towards Mt. Baldy.

After a full day of paddling, we've definitely gotten more familiar with the boat and what we should do to organize her and make every inch more functional.  Tight quarters make for thoughtful decisions.

Thanks to our friend, Geof it seems as though she'll be an actual sailboat.  He was able to figure out a few rudder and lee board issues, and even supplied us with an old lee board to fashion into a longer rudder.  What a guy!  His years of sailing a variety of boats have really helped us out these last few weeks since Makeba isn't a traditional boat.

We are professionals.

Makin' a new rudder!

The wind was light yesterday, but we were still able to sail!
She hums like a dream!

Patched more of the sail yesterday!

Not very good at it.

Waves were building last night!
Surf's up on the south end!

Side note- Right now the boat seems to be taking on a lot of water as she adjusts to the moisture and expands.  The leaking has increased, but we're going to give Makeba another day or so to adjust, otherwise we may have some major work to do. -More on this later.  Staying positive and shooting for our original launch date!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Building Non-stop!

These past two weeks have been almost entirely devoted to finishing this boat!  A few things needed to be taken care of in a big rush.  For starters, the sail we were going to use, didn't work out.  The sailboard sail was 16ft tall and required some old school knot rigging to attach the boom to the mast.  We couldn't even find the ancient form to which this sail demands.  Luckily our friend, Geof, has lent us his old sunfish sail, complete with spare rudders... Also, something we needed to replace.

Wrong sail!

Right sail!

While we slowly figured the sail out, we spent the majority of our time finishing the Amas (the outrigger pontoons).  We needed to finish glassing them, attaching the extension blocks, and finally paint them.  Easy to say, a little harder to do... And time-consuming.


So. Much. Dust.
Ama blocks.

Let the painting begin!

But what color?

Have you guessed yet?

Chiquita banana!

Freestyle stencilin'

Look at those colors!

In order to figure placement, we needed to put Makeba back in Stone Lake, Laporte.  She still floats!  Not that we didn't think she would!  So to get an idea of what the water line might look like, we packed up 200lbs of weights and a twin brother.  Long story short, we need to pack LIGHT.  REAL light.  Like, wear only what the other person can wear too, kind of light.  Let's just say our food will hold the greatest weight- and we're dehydrating everything.

Three's a crowd... Or a party?!  Crowded party.

We also installed some leeboard pockets with wood joints.  Aww Mary's first wood joint!  Pretty exciting stuff.

Mary chastising Amy for sanding against the grain. 

Clamp, clamp, clamp.

Let's see, what else have we been up to?  Oh that's right!  We've finally put everything together!  So after "quickly" installing our mast step and thwart, we were ready to make this boat one piece!

The mast goes here, lucky guess on hole placement!

Figuring out the tramps.  We'll use these on sailing days.

We need some bike tubes...

Boom.  Got some!

One of the happiest moments of Mary's young life.

Oh my gosh, it's a sail boat now!

Now where do we put the sail on paddle days??  Possibility #1

Possibility #2- Probably going to go with a third option.

Okay, looking less like a sail boat now and more like the ultimate beach raft...
We kinda like it.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Beautiful Paddles!

Don't you just love the feeling of receiving packages in the mail? Exciting boxes keep arriving and we never know what will be in them. What could this box be?

Beautiful, beautiful paddles! Bending Branches helped us pick out some great paddles to help propel us around Lake Michigan. They have a carbon fiber shaft and red alder, black willow, and basswood laminate blade. They are so light too - around 14 ounces!

The blades are also reinforced to make the paddle more durable. Even though they are made to take a beating, I feel like Mary and I will be very careful paddling with them at first. They are just too beautiful to ding up! But alas, I'm sure after 1000 miles on the lake they will be showing some wear and tear. We can't wait to try them out on the lake, but since we were being so careful with them, Mary decided to try one out on the hammock first...

And then she wiped out...

Maybe we'll take them out on the actual water this afternoon. I think we may have better luck!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Hydro Flask is keeping it coool :)

Hydro Flask provided our trip with their great water bottles and Revolve water filters! We’ll be able to drink as much water as we want safely and have it stay cold or hot to our liking with these sweet products. The bottles are stainless steel. This means we won’t be drinking any toxic bisphenol-A (BPA) that can sometimes be found leaching into the water in other plastic and aluminum bottles. And the filters will clean the water as we drink!

We of course we'll be needing to stay fully hydrated while on our adventure – we’ll be dealing with lots of physical exertion, exhaustion, and lots and lots of hot sun that will take all we have right out of us. We’ll be able to keep using our 21 oz. Hydro Flask water bottles to avoid going through a ton of plastic water bottles! I’m sure seeing all of the garbage and plastic bottles along the way will make us very glad that we will not be adding to the plastic on Lake Michigan’s shores. 

 A nice science lesson (I told you I was a nerd, you've been warned): Everything that has matter conducts heat, including air. The Hydro Flask has a double wall vacuum built into the bottle. A vacuum is created when the air (that could be conducting heat) is removed from between the two walls of stainless steel. Because there is almost nothing in between the two layers, it is very hard for the temperature of the environment to affect the temperature of the liquid inside the bottle. Cool! Or hot if you want. This insulation will keep our liquids hot for up to 12 hours and cold for up to 24 hours. Hot cocoa? Yes, please. Coffee? Mmmhmm. Icey lemonade? Yeah! Cold beer? Duh. Super cool!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Fiberglassing Maniacs

We've been working hard on finishing up the polystyrene foam outriggers with their final coats of fiberglass cloth and epoxy. Of course there is sanding involved, so we try to work as quickly as possible on that part of the project. Look at us go! Check out our Outrigger Madness!

Thanks GoMacro!

Our MacroBars have arrived! Thanks GoMacro!

MacroBars are macrobiotic, vegan, energy and protein bars that are made fresh daily on a rural farm in S.W. Wisconsin. Minimally processed and certified organic, the bars utilize simple healthy ingredients to boost your immune system and help provide your body with essential nutrients. The macrobiotic approach to food is dynamic. GoMacro products do not use any additives or preservatives, refined sugars or flours or dairy, thus helping to create a pH-balanced environment in your body, leading to better absorption of minerals and other nutrients. The bars are sweetened with grain-based sweeteners. These sweeteners take longer to digest, thus avoiding the blood-sugar spikes associated with refined sugars. The fats in GoMacro bars are healthy fats derived from nuts and seeds containing omega3 fatty acids, minerals and vitamins. Carbs are complex carbs from whole grains. These are slow-burning carbs that boost energy levels throughout the day. Protein comes from brown rice protein – a great high protein alternative to animal products and soy.

So many delicious flavors! From Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Protein to Tahini Date to Granola with Coconut, we'll be enjoying a variety of flavors that taste nothing like most health food bars. It's like eating a tastey dessert! We will be able to pack the bars so that we have a breakfast kind of bar and then an energy/protein bar for later on in the day when we need that little extra boost. They provide a great natural form of nutrients packed into a small hearty bar – compact and easy to store in our tightly packed canoe!

Macrobiotics is based on eating all natural minimally processed local foods in order to get the most energy and nutrients out of your diet while also supporting the natural environment. Macrobiotic is Greek for long or great life. The diet originated in the orient and has been followed for thousands of years. The ancients of the east used the term, "golden body" to describe one who has achieved an invincible immune system. Although that goal may be unrealistic for most of us, with the help of macrobiotics we can make tremendous strides towards boosting our immune system. I would say by choosing to travel by dugout canoe and non-motorized craft, we are trying to be as natural as possible and live in balance with our Lake Michigan environment. We’ll fit right in with the travelers of old, even if we won’t fit in with most of the travelers of today. MacroBars and dugout canoe travel go hand in hand I guess. Who knew! :)