Hollywood, Florida, N26 01 W80 07
December 31, 2005
Today was errand day. We went to NAPA for parts, Kinkos to post blogs,
and to the bank and to the post office. We bought groceries. We bought
charts and chips at Blue Water Charts and Books. We went to Boater's
World. We poked around in Sailorman. We refilled the propane bottles.
I went to the airport and returned the rental car. I drove a total of
150 miles. At the end of the day there wasn't enough time to do the
engine project, so I went to the beach and lied in the sun and sand for
a while. I really didn't go there to look at the bikinis. I really
didn't have one eye open while napping. I swear.
It was an expensive day. The rental car cost a bundle because we don't
have homeowners or car insurance any more. I paid $44 for the car plus
tax and $42 for all those optional insurances. What robbery. If we
have to do this all year it will cost us about $500/year just buying
those overpriced car rental insurances. Has anyone of you heard of a
kind of policy that we could buy independently? I'm used to being
covered by my employer and/or by my homeowner's and car insurance
policies, so I always declined the rental company's insurances before.
Blue Water Charts and Books is a unique institution. They have stores
only in Newport RI and Fort Lauderdale FL. I can't speak for the world,
but I'm pretty sure that there's no other store like it in the USA. At
Blue Water they have charts for the entire world. Both flat charts, and
chart kits and books of bound charts. Any chart they don't have in
stock they print on the spot in just a few minutes on an HP large format
plotter. They also have every brand of electronic charts and can burn
any compatible chart onto any compatible chip for your GPS plotter.
Best of all, their salespersons are sailors and many have
circumnavigated themselves. Therefore a trip to Blue Water is like a
consultation with an expert. They can give advice on your voyage as
well as sell you the charts. They know which detailed maps are
critical and which you can skip.
We bought enough to get us up the west coast of Florida to Pass
Christian Mississippi and after that to Mexico, Honduras, Belize, Panama
and Costa Rica. We already have the GPS chip for Hawaii and Alaska.
We're missing only paper charts for Hawaii, and for the trip down the
west coast of North America after Alaska. It cost us $580 today. That
makes it about $1500 we spent this year on charts and navigation chips.
It is a very major part of a sailor's budget. Admiralty and NZ charts
are the worst. They charge $40 per chart, double the USA NOAA price
and triple the price of most other countries. Furthermore, there are
numerous complaints about admiralty charts not being updated since the
19th century. Maybe someday we can print needed charts as we go on an
onboard HP plotter. Maybe someday we'll have color digital paper that
can be printed online using a satellite phone.
We found a section of Fort Lauderdale where every business had something
to do with boats or boating. Speedometer companies, fender companies,
engines, instruments, rigging, even one company whose sign said "Line
Cutters" I had visions of their employees sitting around all day
cutting lines. Even the West Marine store here is the size of a Wall
Mart. We stopped at a place called Sailman. There they have used and
salvaged equipment of every kind. It appears that they strip abandoned
boats and sell the parts. It's like a giant junkyard for boat stuff.
You rummage in the junk in the boxes and shelves. When you find
something to buy, the man up front scratches his chin and quotes you a
price. I could have spent days there. We only had an hour and we only
I returned the rental car only to find that their office closes at noon
Saturdays. I had to take the car to the airport and take a taxi back to
the marina. Thus it cost us more than $200 for the marina, car rental,
gas, and taxi for this shopping day. There are countless expenses that
we avoid living on a boat, but the occasional need to be an
automobile-oriented American citizen has a high cost also. It will be
interesting to see if those costs are less in other countries.
The man at the boat next door said the he and other boaters go to walk
on the beach for New Year's Eve. It sounds like fun I think we'll try