According to the Weather Underground Almanac, the hot weather in our part of Belize lasts from May through September, and this September is certainly not letting its end of the bargain down! The high for the last several days and forecast for most of the upcoming week is in the low 90s F (30 C). Because we face east toward the Caribbean, the morning sun comes straight in our veranda from dawn (6:00 AM +/- 30 min) until about 10:00 AM. As you can imagine, this yields considerable undesired solar gain. We didn't want to plant trees to shade the east side because that would block the sea breeze and our view. So we decided to try our hand at making solar shades that would meet our requirements. Namely they should withstand the UV, the wind, and the salt air and would be easy to use, inexpensive, and relatively simple to make and maintain. We don't ask for much, do we? Below is version 1.1 of the shades in the first 4 of 11 sections of screened veranda.
|Shades from Keystone's (cheaper) version of Coolaroo shade fabric. Can't you just feel the heat from the blazing sun?|
The shades need to adjustable, yet anchored at each level to keep them from flapping in the breeze.
|We have 3 levels for the shades: fully furled, 1/3rd down, and fully unfurled.|
Version 1.0 was made with cheap cup hooks for hanging and anchoring using the butterfly clips alone. Version 1.1 upgraded the cuphooks to stainless steel eyehooks and added stainless steel carbiners to make it easier to adjust the levels.
I cut the Keystone fabric so that the selvedged edges were the top and bottom of each section. This particular weave of shade fabric blocks out 90% of the UV light, which is a big plus. I left the cut edges unfinished and I don't think I will bother to finish them; I may trim off some of the errant threads if they get too unruly.
|The shades puff out in the breeze, but are securely anchored with the hooks and carabiners. Simply unclip the carabiners, let the shade unroll, and reclip at the bottom to get the full shade effect.|
The butterfly clips were easy to attached to the fabric using needle nose pliers .
|There is a pattern of little prongs that poke through the fabric and then through the holes on the other side of the clip when you fold the clip over, thus securing the clip to the fabric.|
We can tell a tremendous difference in temperature of the side of the veranda that is shaded compared to the unshaded side. Once we were happy with the shades, I bought the fabric and other supplies to do the rest of the veranda. For the entire length of the veranda (34 ft), the fabric was about $70, stainless steel hooks and carabiners were $25, and butterfly clips were $10; all on Amazon with free shipping.
|Sun on the left and shade on the right with shades fully unfurled on a sunny morning.|
So what do you do on a hot morning without a sea breeze to help keep you cool? You get in the water, silly! This morning, Dennis and I got in the water, which is quite shallow in front of our place. I took my camera with me as we waded to the south of the dock.
|I took this photo standing in mid-thigh deep water about 60 ft off shore.|
We waded in the water to the south past our property. And then I swam a bit longer once I handed the camera off to Dennis. The only people we saw were in 2 boats - one was a tour boat with Percy at the helm, probably on the way to give his 2 clients a tour up the Monkey River. The other boat had our neighbor Lloydie and his lady Diana in it going to the village for the day.
|Dock-eye view of our cabana.|
We saw a couple of stingrays, some small fish, and whelks, but not much else. The water was flat and clear - and very refreshing. An idyllic day in South Englishtown.