The name of our vessel is the BPV Libelula. The BPV stands for 'Bicycle Powered Vessel', and Libelula is the Spanish word for dragonfly. Plants and animals are classified with Latin names, and Libelula is also a particulur Latin Genus of the dragonfly species. Dragonflies are also an important part of a healthy watershed ecosystem, which is why we named our vessel after them. You can visit
this site to see pictures of some real life Libelulas.
The boat is a BPV (Bicycle Powered Vessel), so what does that mean? There are two bicycles mounted on the stern of the vessel that have their wheels removed. These bicycles clamp into a mechanical contraption that connects the pedals on the bike to two independent paddlewheels that hang off the rear of the boat. When you pedal the bicycles, the paddlewheels turn and move the boat through the water! Because there are two wheels, you can steer the boat by pedalling faster on one side than on the other. You don't always have to have two people pedaling the bicycles because the paddlewheels can be linked together so that one bicycle turns both wheels. In this case, the person who is pedalling the boat is able to steer using a rudder.
The platform on which the BPV Libelula is built is an 18 foot SunTracker Bass Buggy pontoon boat. The pontoon boat has been modified so that there is a place to sleep, cook food, and even go to the bathroom! In many ways, it is like a floating house that we'll be living on for the duration of our journey. Even though the vessel is powered by a bicycle-driven propulsion system, it also has a 25 horsepower gasoline outboard available for emergency use. A small sail can be mounted on the roof whenever a fair breeze is present and a tent can be pitched over the sleeping area at night to keep the crew dry inside. Here is a photo of what the BPV Libelula used to look like in April, 2005:
Below is a photo of what the BPV Libelula looks like today!