Home   |   The Boat   |   First Mate   |   Admiral   |   Guestbook

Thanks for visiting. This site has had 543,695 hits this year and 1,840,822 since August 2013.

23' mini-trawler
by Schucker

Janice aboard Seaweed,
living the good life afloat...

Trawler cruising on $10 per day is possible.
I'm doing it and you can too.

Janice Marois, nautical journalist.
Accredited member of Boat Writers International.

It's been suggested I share my views on living aboard a boat with very limited resources. Hopefully my successes will help others achieve the life. And yes, I'll share the things I did wrong too -- though not everything 'cause a girl's got to have her secrets!


Date: 24 August 2015. Engine Debacles.

Some of you may know Seaweed is on her third engine in two years. Every step of the way was logical. Each choice seemed like a Good Idea at the time. And there were moments of perfection when all worked as it was supposed to. Of course there were glitches and a final straw moment. I've left Carrabelle. This is how it all came to be.

When I arrived in Carrabelle it was at the end of a TowBoatUS rope, having blown my head gasket on The Beast. The Beast was the original gasoline monster. She was a 260hp inboard Mercury and far too powerful for my little boat. The Theory was that she'd go fast with a big engine. The reality was far different.

Fully loaded with all my stuff aboard her, the most I've ever seen is seven knots and that was with the current. Later that day I was doing three knots, without touching the throttle! The tide had changed and was against me.

Often when the tide changes I'll anchor and wait for the current to be with me. I am already where I want to be, and there is no schedule mandating movement.

My boat was made by Schucker. They are known for transom squat. Transom squat occurs when you move the throttle forward to go faster. Instead the transom digs in (gets lower). Your speed does increase, minimally. A level boat burns less fuel.

Two weeks after the head gasket replacement was done and sea trials had begun I was offered a small diesel Volvo at a price I could afford. The engine that arrived was quite a bit different than what I'd thought I bought, but that's another story.

This is the BOB Volvo during installation last year:

In any event, after much work, time and money the BOB Volvo was up and running fine. She moved along at five knots with nary a wake. Not even a smidgen! It was fun to "blast past" the no wake signs without making a ripple in the water.

By this point I'd been in Carrabelle for right at a year. The town is nice with friendly folks. It's great to be able to walk to the grocery store, library and post office.

Miss Connie works at the post office and is a favorite.

She knows when I've been a bad
girl, i.e. shopping on eBay China.

It is not so great to not be able to get to Wal-Mart or any of the big thrift stores found in larger towns. I missed that more than you can imagine. To me they are candy stores with lots of inexpensive items I just might be able to use aboard Seaweed.

While in Carrabelle I yearned for yard sales and thrift stores. Big ones like Goodwill and Salvation Army are wonderful. Smaller church run places can be better yet. The thing is, I can afford thrift store prices.

It's fun to look around and imagine what I can do with items available. Recently I found a blown glass swan that I'll mail to a friend one of these days. Plus, with a bit of effort I can take one item and make it into something else.

The Budget Spice Shelf (costs less than $1) article tells about one of my creations. For the record, no I have not updated the spice rack yet. I'm still looking for something to use in its place. However for now it is Good Enough.

I made friends at C-Quarters
too, and visited them regularly.

Once BOB was up and running I took off for places south. In retrospect I should have done more sea trials. Just west of Horseshoe Beach the engine quit. That was followed by a tow back to Steinhatchee. I really hate arriving some place at the end of a tow rope. It's embarrassing!


TowBoatUS captain Dave brought me back into Steinhatchee when I blew a bearing.



Stuck in Steinhatchee with no trusted mechanic in sight and a broken engine, I opted to head back to familiar territory. I hired Marshall Marine to bring me back to Carrabelle. The article detailing that adventure is Leaving Steinhatchee (and engine update).

Carrabelle and Steinhatchee are
on the Gulf coast of Florida.

From there (Steinhatchee) I ended up having Seaweed trucked back to Carrabelle. It was time to start again.

On a hydraulic trailer, getting
ready to hit the road for Carrabelle:

Engine number three, the Kubota from Yanmar Tractor Parts arrived a-okay last autumn. I've named her Betsy at the suggestion of a fellow named Steve.

This is Steve at the helm of Seaweed
during a sea-trial for the BOB Volvo:

Yanking out BOB was heart-breaking. So much of myself and Bob were in that motor. I wanted it to run. That way Bob Winter could continue to cruise with me even though he had the audacity to go to Heaven all too soon. The
Time Stopped article is a tribute to him.


Bob was my friend. He was not a boyfriend. Instead, over time he became a boating buddy. Being a soloist, having someone to share the journey with is helpful. Each day I'd call him when underway. He phoned too, offering and asking for advice.



I tell you this much: when I left Carrabelle by boat is was tremendously difficult not having someone to reach out and talk to on the journey. There was no cell phone coverage and I missed not having someone to say "see that pelican" or "did you see the dolphin pod?"


I can understand why some boaters prefer the more social aspects of cruising in tandem.


When I leave next time, I'm hoping to travel in tandem with another boat.

Anyway, that's not here, yet!

Note: I am catching the blog up to present. The following actually happened last month.

We are still in Carrabelle (imagine it) and one Friday morning I was crushed to discover that the delays would continue to be ongoing. I'd had enough. The one thing I did not do was make an Ultimatum. I did not say finish Seaweed or else.

Instead I opted for another solution. Wise or not, I did it. And in the next article I'll tell you about that.

Comments welcome and encouraged on the Engine Debacles page.

Categories: Boat Talk, Characters, Locations, Money


Announcement: I did start a few months ago emailing notices to readers when new articles go up. If you'd like to be included via BCC* simply drop me a line to janice@janice142.com and I'll add you. It's free.

*BCC - Blind Carbon Copy. Basically no one but me will have your email address and the list of subscribers is not available.

Now this is not fancy. Basically I copy off the top three items in my Archive file. That way you can catch up if life gets in the way of your reading fun.

Secret: If you want to know what's what, start in the Archive. It offers you the title, first paragraph and topics (Categories) covered in each article published on my website.

Skipper, First Mate extraordinaire

Of course every boat needs a Deck Swabbie. Mine, born in 2008, is a papillon mix who weighs in at 4 pounds 3 ounces.


Coming soon ...

Seaweed heads south.


The Archive holds a chronological list of every item published on my website. It includes a brief synopsis (not just the title) along with the topics covered in each article.

Click on the title and voila: you're there. Enjoy!

Topics of Interest:
You can achieve a simple satisfying life

Oh, a wondrous bird is the pelican!
His bill holds more than his belican.
He can take in his beak enough food for a week.
But I'm darned if I know how the helican.
(Poem by Dixon Lanier Merritt, 1879-1972.)


For years I've been collecting short pithy statements otherwise known as aphorisms. If you're like me and enjoy the weird, go ahead and CLICK!

These are previously posted at the bottom of each article -- for new, you'll have to come visit again.

Seaweed is in St. Pete right now.

The above chart (#411) can be a wish book of sorts as you look over your domain and wonder where to go next. And yes, I do have the originals (sans red arrow) as jpeg's for download should you desire your own for closer perusal. Enjoy!

The Writer's Block

It's my belief that other folks who boat are some of the most interesting in the world, and inside every boater is a story. Well, let yours out! I'd love to post short stories, vignettes, or even longer articles that focus on some aspect of our life on or near the water. Suggested topics include:

1. I Remember When...
2. My First Boat
3. Who inspired you to be a boater?
4. Fishing Trips or Tricks
5. Or another subject of your choosing

Life has changed so much on the water since I was born aboard, and personally I'd love to hear your memories of life when you were younger. Boats were smaller, narrower, and much slower, but kids, well, kids were kids. Here are my two aboard the tow boat my dad ran for a time:

Your pictures would be wonderful too. I posted one of Boot Key Harbor taken in 2001 that has gotten quite a few downloads and really, that's not so terribly long ago... Do you have any photos to share? Email me.

Do you want to help out?

Often an article for the website will be completely written yet lack photographs. I like pictures and am looking for some for up-coming pieces:

  • Parrot or a macaw

  • Electric food dehydrator

  • Derelict sloop or ketch

Size: a minimum of 1000 pixels across please. If that doesn't make sense think bigger versus resized for emailing -- I'd prefer the full-size version. Also, the name you'd like me to use when I add the copyright stuff to your picture. And thanks!

My email address is janice@janice142.com

23' Schucker mini-trawler, circa 1983.

Thanks for visiting. If you happen to see my boat along the waterways, give a call on Channel 16. I'm always listening.

click picture to enlarge

My home is not fancy by any means, however you cannot imagine how wonderful it is to come back to her after an expedition on shore.

If I can live this life, why not you too?

Skipper, First Mate

Aphorism Alert: Begin doing what you want to now. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand, and melting like a snowflake. Marie Beyon Ray.

Contributions to my Cruising Kitty
are always appreciated.

Every gift helps.

The Cruising Kitty is what boaters refer to as spending money. There's never enough aboard Seaweed!

I am also an Amazon Affiliate.


Copyright Janice Marois  |  Home  |  Archive  |  Topics  |  Boat List  |  Site Map  |  Email Me  |