According to Wikipedia, “a logbook (a ship’s logs or simply log) is a record of important events in the management, operation, and navigation of a ship. It is essential to traditional navigation, and must be filled in at least daily.” We don’t have a traditional ship’s log and if we did, it definitely wouldn’t be filled in on a daily basis.
So how do we know when to change the oil or how long a tank of water lasts or how far we’ve traveled? Why Google calendar and Excel, of course. Scheduled maintenance tasks go on the shared Google calendar. Everything else goes on a spreadsheet.
Man, I love a good spreadsheet. There’s the Monthly Expenses spreadsheet, the Water Utilization spreadsheet, the Passwords spreadsheet…in case I forget my Active Captain login. But my favorite spreadsheet is the Travel Log.
As the trip planner, I use this spreadsheet A LOT and when we’re underway, I use it multiple times a day. I’ve posted a small section of the log below and as you can see, it’s pretty straightforward but there’s A LOT that goes into maintaining this spreadsheet.
You literally have to go with the flow when traveling the ICW. Tides, currents, weather, bridges, skinny water, winding rivers all dictate how fast and how far you go in a day. That’s why we start each day with a 40 mile, a 50 mile and a 60 mile travel plan. When planning, I mostly use the Waterway Guide and Active Captain to check distances and marina prices. Underway, I open either the iSailor app or the Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net app to track our progress. Once I know where we are, I figure out how many more statue miles we have to go. That number and our current speed gets plugged into the spreadsheet, and VOILA! We have an ETA…at least for that point in time.
And that’s why I use this spreadsheet A LOT when we’re underway. We may be barreling down one stretch of water at 7 knots but after rounding a point, we’re crawling along at 4 knots. At 7 knots, we can cover 40 miles in 5 hours. At 4 knots, it’ll be closer to 9.
Since leaving Stuart, we’ve taken advantage of a good weather window travelling 10 out of 12 days. We’ve covered an average of 47.9 miles a day and have been on the water an average of 7 hours and 15 minutes a day. Man, I love a good spreadsheet!
But, I’m loving these last 12 days on the waterway even more. It’s not too hot during the day, not too cold at night. There’s been more sun than rain. The water’s been calm. Bugs aren’t out in full force yet. The sunrises are refreshing. The sunsets are relaxing. And to top it all off, Sunday was our one year anniversary of living aboard FNR. It’s been quite a year…one that I couldn’t schedule with Google calendar or graph in Excel.
Having spent most my life planning for how things “should” be and then being disappointed when they weren’t, I think I may finally get it. There’s no room for time frames or expectations on a boat. Life is good but it’s awesome and rarely disappointing when you just let it happen.
I’ve complied the pictures taken on this leg of the trip into a slide show. If you have time, click here to take a look.