After calmer conditions yesterday, today the deck was once again being lashed by huge waves. Sitting around for 20 minutes getting hypothermic while I waited for water to boil on my Seacook stove did not seem a good idea, but I was sick of surviving on snack foods and wanted a good square meal. So I decided to try out Plan B.

I’ve got a small flask that looks like a thermos, but instead has an electrical heating element and a cable that plugs into an ordinary cigarette lighter socket. I crammed my boil-in-the-bag meal inside, topped it up with water, and plugged it in. After waiting 15 minutes in the relative comfort of my cabin, I had piping hot chicken-with-herb-dumplings. It wasn’t going to win any awards for gastronomic excellence, but at least it was hot and it wasn’t nuts or crackers. It was the first time I’d used this flask, and I was very impressed. Definitely a keeper.

All of my onboard electrics are run from a 12V system. Solar panels send power to three large marine batteries, about the size of car batteries. The power goes via charge controllers to stop the batteries over-charging. Some of the electronics are connected directly to the batteries (like my stereo amplifier, watermaker, Marinetrack tracking unit and onboard cameras) while others I plug in and recharge as their batteries run low.

Most of these plug-in items have cigarette-lighter plugs (satellite phone, iPod, GPS) but some have to first be plugged into an inverter that converts the power from DC to AC (AC is what you get from the wall socket at home) – things like my laptops, and camera and camcorder batteries.

So I am entirely self-sufficient on green, sustainable, solar energy.

Even when I’m on land, I recharge things in my car whenever I can. The power is being generated anyway by the mere fact of driving, so I may as well use the power there rather than plugging phones etc into the wall at home. It’s not exactly green energy, as it comes from driving, but as I have to drive anyway I may as well get my moneys-worth out of it.

So it’s a small step in the right direction, and every bit really does help! If you haven’t already come up with your pledge for World Ocean Day, maybe this is something you could do.

Other stuff:

Yesterday I briefly harboured hopes (I should know better) that the winds were on a downwards trend, but today it is back to business as usual – Force 8 or 9. Uncomfortably windy. The good news is that I am being whisked at a brisk pace in the right direction – southwest – but truly I’d rather be rowing. The sense of achievement is so much greater when you’ve actually done something to get there. The forecast is for calmer conditions by Thursday. Here’s hoping.

Meanwhile I am listening to Richard Dawkins’ “The God Delusion” and pondering the existence of God. Seemed like an appropriate thing to consider while I am out here. My cabin is feeling increasingly like a hermit’s cave, and I am looking increasingly like the Wild Woman of the Sea. Apparently there have been requests for more photos of me. Not until I have had a chance to get out on deck with my hairbrush and make myself more presentable. So for now we have:

[photo: a couple of my 12V electronics – satellite phone and GPS – with the power inverter that converts from DC to AC power ]

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