Monday, March 23, 2015

The Technical Side, By Technical Guru Dave

The Lighthouse Marina is an amazing place to call home. Actually, it is a lot like being at home. Here are some technical highlights of  this self contained microcosm. This is the watermaker/pump room. Sea water is pumped from a borehole in the limestone and through three high pressure membranes at 800 PSI.

Most of our freshwater is caught on the expansive roofs. We are in the dry season now and the 2,800 gallon-per-day R/O unit keeps up with the demand. It is powered by a 5 h.p. 220v motor.

Fiberglass pressure tanks work well here, as galvanized ones rust out much too soon. This system provides water to the dock and our apartment, the store and the shop. 

This is the generator building. The gen-set is a 100 kw unit, powered by a Perkins 4-236 turbo-diesel. This is only used as a stand-by. There is a power grid and the power comes from approx. 30 miles away, on the mainland, generated by massive diesel generators.  It comes to the islands on 18,000 volt cables, laid over the shallow sandbanks. Electricity is about 38 cents per KWH here. It is less than 10 cents per KWH in Florida. Power goes out regularly here in Abaco.

This is the control panel where we start and stop the engine, and monitor the vital gauges. This machinery is vital during hurricane season and the whole property always has power.

The generator has a closed circuit cooling system, just like a car, radiator and all. There is intake and exhaust ductwork to direct the cooling air out of the building. In the old days, a generator would use a 55 gallon drum filled with discarded conch shells as a muffler!

The power distribution system is all manually switched. Here are some of the big master switchboxes. When there is an interruption, we fire up the generator and manually re-direct 8 circuits to keep the entire property energized. Even Carol knows how to do this.

 Here is the mechanical shop. This is where all of the dry repairs are done, mostly to outboard motors. It is very well equipped. The right tools and spare parts are very hard to come by here.

The shop is organized much like my own. Everything has a purpose and very little is discarded. Much improvising has to be done and you need stuff to work with. There is plenty of ''stuff''. I keep a good relationship with the owners and the work crew, so I can use anything I might need, in addition to my own work area.

This is the ice factory. Ice is a hot commodity here. It costs $5.00 for 8 lbs. The ice maker runs 24/7.

Here is the tank farm. There are two 8,500 gas tanks and one 8,500 diesel tank. During the busy season, these get filled every two weeks by a shallow-draft fuel tanker that comes from Nassau. Our fuel is imported from Venezuela and processed in Curacao. The gas is ethanol free and costs $4.73 a  gallon this week.  They don't have corn here to cut it with!! The tanker is 180 ft.long and also delivers propane from two tanks on its deck.

There are three above-ground water tanks. Each tank hold 44,000 gallons. They have never been completely full. They empty into a 6,000 gallon cistern, under our house, and pumped from there. Right now, we are down to our last few thousand gallons. The above ground tanks are empty. Water is 38 cents a gallon here. Water is sold to visiting yachts and the charterboat fleet. The marina will easily go through a thousand gallons per day.

The boats are handled by this marine forklift. It will lift approx. 8 tons. The longest boats are over 30 feet. This machine is in high demand daily and never sleeps. The property is expansive and I ride around on my bicycle. It is adjacent to a large unimproved tract of land with excellent walking trails and expansive water frontage. There are hummingbirds and free-ranging chickens among other things.

This is the new covered rack. It is home to 42 boats, up to about 28 feet. There are two levels, originally designed to be three, but never built, as to not impede on the majestic lighthouse in the next yard over. The massive roof is part of the water catchment system. The yard can store nearly 200 boats.

BASRA has just acquired this used 25ft. PARKER with twin Yamaha 200's. It will act as the new marine ambulance for rescues and emergencies. We have excellent emergency services here.

 This tug/barge combo brought emergency gasoline rations when the marina sold more fuel than could be supplied by the normal source. The owners are very conscientious to always have an adequate supply. This waterborne tanker truck brought 11,000 gallons from the mainland a couple days ago.

The marina never sleeps and is a major hub for all waterborne activities here. The ''TREEHOUSE'' is on the second level, above all of the action. It is a great place to watch the goings-on and have our privacy, all at the same time. Did I mention that this dock is also a scheduled ferry stop?

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