Chilly Chihuahuas

Chilly Chihuahuas

The weather is delightful here in Key Largo today. It is my favourite type of day. It is raining steadily and the temperature is 82°F (27°C). Mind you; I find this type of day more “favourite” in the summer than the winter… at least the rain part. Yes, there is a reason. The reason is air conditioning.

Air conditioning is “wicked” expensive on a boat. There are many more things which can go wrong with a marine air conditioning unit than a land based machine. After all, land based air conditioning units are not subject to jellyfish committing suicide by inserting themselves into the intake tubes of the cooling system. Land based systems do not offer safe high rent residential property for barnacles and other mollusks. Best of all, most land based air conditioner units can live on a much cheaper “diet” than their seagoing relatives. Land based machines can use electricity provided by the power grid… at around 8 cents per kilowatt/hour. Producing electricity on board costs between 30 and 40 cents per kilowatt/hour. Cool dry air on a boat is many, many times more expensive per BTU than ashore. This is especially true when one adds the operating costs of a generator into the equation.

The M/V Margaret Ashton Cruisaire Duo… now appearing in The Engine Room
Sure… you could do it with solar power but you’d require a hectare of solar collectors and a battery bank the size of the ones on WWII submarines to accomplish the task. There really is no such thing as a free lunch. Living aboard a boat really teaches one appreciation for energy.

Of course we don’t run the air conditioners for our comfort. Jinna and I are much tougher than that. We have the air conditioners for the comfort of the Chihuahuas. The dogs would be absolutely incensed if they were subjected to any sort of discomfort at all. They’ve never lived an uncomfortable day in their lives. They’ve never even been emotionally uncomfortable. When I die I want to be reincarnated as one of our dogs. Heaven wouldn’t hold a candle to that.

Anyway, back to the reason I like these rainy days. The air conditioners get the day off… and so therefore does our emaciated bank account. Next summer we will cruise the The Great Loop… and we’ll be somewhere in the northern Great Lakes of the US during the heat of summer. That, of course, comes at a price too… but at least the Chihuahuas will be comfortable!



About snootyartist

Cheers Everyone! I'm Lonnie Dee Robertson. I was born long ago in mist shrouded antiquity(although I guess that should be evident). My nativity occurred in Harbel, Liberia West Africa. My mother was pregnant up until the exact moment I was delivered so I didn't have a lot of choice in the matter. I pretty much had to do what she wanted but I did not mind for throughout her pregnancy we had been very close. Due to my youth and inexperience at the time of my birth I was rudely excluded from the decision making process as to where I would be raised. Apparently since my parents were already in Liberia they thought; "What the Hell, we'll raise the little blighter here." So it came to pass. Upon completion of the seventh grade I had almost exhausted the Ed. Programme at the Firestone Staff School in Harbel. The school curriculum comprised only the first through eighth grades... as based upon the Ohio school system in the USA. Further education could only be secured offshore. So... for reasons still incomprehensible to me... during the eighth grade I tragically agreed to incarceration a military school in the great American Midwest. Transferring from Harbel Liberia to a military academy is tantamount to being dragged screaming and naked out of a warm bed and then hurled bodily into a vat of ice water surrounded by demons flailing you with cudgels, chains and whips. The following year my sentence was mercifully commuted and I gratefully matriculated at a school in the Swiss Alps. I was much more comfortable there. Having already established a pattern of wandering I pirouetted from school to school all the way from there through college. I went to too many schools to enumerate. Actually there are probably some of them I don't even remember. Nothing good came of all this education (except that I didn't end up in Viet Nam... I was invited but previous commitments made it impossible for me to accept... sorry Lyndon). I ended up as an artist... so what good would an education have been anyway? Art for me takes three forms; writing, music and last and most bizarre, woodworking and sculpture. Since I lacked the appropriate education and motivation necessary to secure a productive job I have made my living... if you can ennoble it by calling it that... as a musician and entertainer. I wrote articles for magazines etc. so I could afford icing on the cake. The involvement with wood I pretty much kept to myself. I used it to keep my boats afloat and to make their interiors absurdly fancy. To add further to my credentials as a misfit I live on a boat. Through deviousness and manipulation I have even managed to convince my wife Jinna to live on a boat too. No one is, after all, free of sin. To be truthful I have lived on three boats. I think I finally have it right this time. I have just published The Borealis... a true story of living aboard while restoring a 90 year old wood boat. Within its pages I have confessed the true chronicle of my 30 years living aboard and restoring a decrepit wooden sailboat... all the while becoming decrepit myself. Jinna and I currently live and cruise aboard our Bristol trawler, M/V Margaret Ashton. She allows us to move from place to place while we perform music and write books and articles in an apparently futile attempt to make a living. At least it's not lonesome on the boat. In addition to Jinna and I our crew of eight Chihuahuas keep each other company. The dogs promote Jinna's and my athletic abilities while we avoid stepping on them... particularly when it is a bit rough on the sea. The Chihuahuas fitness programme involves trying to stay out of our way as we move about the boat! Although the boat keeps us busy we still have plenty of time to devote to writing... I'm working on the second (and last) book in the Borealis story and Jinna is in the middle of her latest book dealing with the care and rewards of travelling with a lot of dogs on board. We also manage to keep up with our music. I play the guitar and the Renaissance lute... Jinna plays the bass and the bowed psaltery. Together, in our duo "TropiCelts" we perform a repertory of over four thousand pieces of music... but we like to specialize in Celtic when we can. Lonnie Dee Robertson
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