More Power!

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Over the last few weeks Ashley and I have begun to notice that our batteries were not keeping up with our electrical demands. In the past we rarely, if ever, ran our generator strictly to charge our batteries.  Recently we have had to run our generator more and more just to keep our batteries full. There are many reasons that our solar panels and our wind generator have not been enough to meet our electrical demands. One reason is the fact that we are heading south and that means the solar panels (which are on the back of the boat) are shaded most of the day. Another reason is that the wind here is very light and when we do sail we are sailing with the wind, therefore lowering the overall wind affecting the blades on the wind generator. Another reason is that our batteries are over 7 years old and are no longer as effective. And the biggest reason for the lack of power is that the water temperature is in the mid to high 80’s. Our refrigerator and freezer use a system that dumps heat from the system into the water. This heat exchange system is very effective when the water is cold and is not so effective in water that we are currently in. Therefore our refrigerator and freezer are working much more than they have in the past. When we combined all of the above reasons Ashley and I decided that it was time to replace our batteries. Our original plan was to spend a few days in Zihuatenejo, and now that we are ordering batteries we expected to stay a few more weeks. We were unable to find the type of batteries for sale in Mexico so we had to order them from the U.S. We were told that they would arrive in 2 to 3 weeks. After 2 and a half weeks the batteries had yet to leave the warehouse and we were given every reason the company can think of as to why. In the end they were unable to find a shipping company that would deliver them from the U.S. border to Zihuatanejo. After many attempts to find a shipping company ourselves we told them to just ship them to McAllen TX and we would get them ourselves. To make a very long and irritating story a little less long, we fired the original company after they were unable to ship them to TX after nearly 5 weeks, and purchased the batteries from another company. This company shipped the batteries to TX the next day. To get the batteries ourselves, I had to fly to Mexico City and then to Reynosa, Mexico which is just across the border south of McAllen TX. I rented a car from the airport with the expectation to drop off the car at the airport in Zihua. I then drove across the border to pick up the batteries. While in the U.S. again Ashley had me pick up a few packages and then make a Costco run. After a whirlwind turn of the UPS stores, Costco and grocery stores of McAllen TX, I woke up early the next day and began the 1500 km drive across the Mexican countryside back to the boat. 880 miles for my U.S. readers. There were many reports of theft and dangers along the route I drove that had Ashley and my mother worried sick and me on high alert. It turned out to be a beautiful drive without incident. In retrospect if we had to do it again the whole family would have come and we would have taken more time and enjoyed the country and all of its beauties. I returned to the boat two days later and the four of us immediately began changing out the batteries and storing all of the goods. Our batteries are in and working perfectly. We more than doubled our battery capacity while reducing the weight of the batteries by 40%. The new batteries have twice the life cycle and charge much faster. We gave our old batteries to a local man who will find them a new owner or recycle them. Now that we are good to go and able to meet our electrical demands we will again point our bow south and continue our journey.

Just some pictures of Central Mexico
The roads were in great shape and very well maintained.
This lake is at 1980 meters in elevation, or nearly 6500ft.
I had to drive over those mountains.
This was the final shopping haul before I started loading the car. The tiny car.
This was just one of the UPS store stops and the batteries. Still had to fit a Costco run and a grocery store stop into the car.
The aftermath of stowing all the goods and removing the old batteries. Those three big blue batteries are the old ones and they each way nearly 90kgs. That is nearly 200lbs to you Mericans.

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