It's 1:15 AM, Do You Know Where Your Power's Coming From?

Like anything, marina life has its challenges.  Some are easily overcome, while others are completely out of our control.  The means by which we obtain electricity is one of those things that is completely out of our control.

We’ve been living aboard in our current Marina off and on for about 5 years, many more than we ever intended but that’s another story.  Our current and hopefully last stint began last October.  In that time we have had several power outages, brownouts and other fun power anomalies that had our lights, panels and inverter jumping.  So this morning at 1:15 am (of course it was 1:15AM, this stuff doesn’t happen in the afternoon) I awoke to the sound of the microwave resetting itself every 45 seconds or so.  It was also 85 degrees out and the air conditioner was not running.

I woke Mark to get his help with the problem.  We spent several minutes determining that the power coming into the boat was intermittent at best and the inverter was cycling on and off, hence the microwave reset.   We checked all of our breakers and other systems and everything looked good so we called the Marina.  Now every time we have called in the past we have been informed that the problem was on our end, even the time the entire Marina lost 1 of the 3 phases and they had Marina wide failures.  It was never on our end.  

After moving the boat to plug into a new power post we still didn't have power, yep it’s the boat have a good night.  Fortunately we had the generator working and were able to crank her up and run all of the systems including the air.  I know we could have opened the hatches but man is it hot and humid here.  Why be uncomfortable if it’s not necessary? 

This morning more investigation was in order.  Mark pulled the wires coming into the boat, which we had done last night but only one of the two and that one didn't have a problem.  The inspection went a little differently today. 
The end of the cord and the 30 amp inlet were completely burned up.  We are so lucky that we didn't have a fire!  I don’t know if this happened because of all of the junky power we’ve been getting from the Marina, but both the cable and inlet were only 4 years old.  I would think that they would last longer. 

In the do we stay in Corpus or do we go decision this one is definitely on the go side! 

I Just Love A Good Government Website!

For those of you that love nothing more than spending a couple of hours finding and filling out a simple application  this is not a post for you.  

Today I had the pleasure of applying for our DSC, MMSI and ships radio licenses on the FCC website.  I cannot tell you how much of a pleasure it was following the simple prompts, breezing through the intuitive and easy to navigate pages to comply with all requirements and the quick concise payment screen where I gladly handed over more of our money to a grateful government.  Oh wait, that was the fantasy I was hoping would become a reality.  

Let me back up a bit.  Friday I had the pleasure of hanging out with our friends over on S/V Dos Libras.  Tammy mentioned a post she had written about getting licensed for the SSB and other radio communication equipment for the boat.  As this was something I had on the ever growing to do list I decided this morning to take a peak at the post and thought I would just get it crossed off.  Tammy did a great job of laying out all of the steps but my experience was not as easy as hers seemed to be. 

The first part of my journey was relatively easy.  I followed the link to get our login and initial registration number, the one by which the FCC will forever track and store our license requests.  Once completed I logged into the system.  Again, following her link, I went to get the first of the two license applications.  For the most part it was pretty simple, when it came time to pay I was taken to a third party payment site to make my "plastic card" payment.  Bing bang boom and our bank account was $160 bucks lighter.  

Now on to license number two.  Tammy says just go the license manager and find the "RR" license in the handy dandy drop down menu.  I looked for what seemed like forever and could not find this wonderful tool.  I'm starting to feel a little stupid here I must say.  Ok plan B, follow the link  provided, it worked the first time.  So I click and yep there I was at the infamous RR page.  Now the fun really begins, we are required to fill out form 605, so I click on 605.  Right there on the top it says online form, so I click.  But wait, no form, it's an explanation of the great benefits of being able to apply online.  Back button and click on the form number, again "click for online form" and again the wonderful explanation.  Really?  

Plan C, logout and start over, maybe I missed the drop down menu on my first pass or had gone beyond the screen.  It had to be there somewhere. Of course it was, turns out it just wasn't my day.  A couple of "who are you questions" and $60 later we have successfully applied for the stuff we know that we need right now.  But what a pain in the ass.  Ok, granted it was partly my fault for not clicking the right button in the first place, but the "online form" button on the explanation page couldn't take me where I needed to go?  I can't be the first person to get there.  Oh well, it's all done and doesn't need to be repeated for the next 10 years.  

One more thing off of the to do list!