Home   |   The Boat   |   First Mate   |   Admiral   |   Guestbook 


23' mini-trawler
by Schucker

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

Trawler cruising on $14 per day is possible.
I'm doing it and you can too.

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

2018 Archive

  

 

  • Attaching a Fishing Reel. Aboard Seaweed I don't have a lot of space for a fishing pole. My pole must be shorter than 5 1/2' long in order to fit in the spot that I chose for storage. Once I had a pole that would fit where I needed it to go came the next step: I needed to attach a reel. Here's how I modified a 10' long surf fishing pole to suit my needs.

    Categories: Characters, Fishing, Organizing,
     

  • Repairing Veneer. Nothing good happens when I am tired, especially late at night. Just this past week I was not careful when opening a locker under my silverware drawer. The door is plywood with a teak veneer. I managed to snag a piece of the veneer which came off. Ugh. It looked ugly. Here's how I solved the issue for free, with stuff I had aboard Seaweed.
    Categories: Characters, In the Bilges, Money, Vignettes
     

  • Grandma's Egg Salad. Aboard our 40'er quite often we made deviled eggs. I do the same on Seaweed. As the holiday season approaches deviled eggs remain my go-to dish for potluck dinners. They are affordable. Sometimes though the eggs do not peel well. Here's what I do when that happens.
    Categories: Characters, Galley, Money, Recipes, Recommendations,
     

  • Breezy the Sea Urchin Octopus (and sprouting too) It all started with Pinterest. I enjoy spending time wandering around there. I suspect it is mostly a girl-thing. As a side note, you must register to view the site. As I was perusing, I spotted the coolest sea urchin shell with an air plant. It looked like a baby octopus. I wanted one!
    Categories: Characters, Galley, Recommendations,

     

  • Hiding the VHF Hole. The former VHF radio was high on the port side of the pilothouse overhead. Unfortunately my left side no longer works quite so well. Therefore reaching up was becoming problematic. The solution was to place a new VHF on the starboard side in a more easily accessible spot. That left an ugly hole behind. Here's how I covered the hole for a dollar.
    Categories: Characters, Gear, In the Bilges, Locations, Money, Recommendations,
     

  • Halloween 2018. Autumn arrived with cooler temperatures and lower humidity. As the season turned I dug out my Christmas box. The top of it contains a small package with Halloween decorations along with my Thanksgiving dish towel. I decided to put up my few spooky items to herald the coming of Halloween. Of course nothing goes quite as planned.
    Categories: Books, Characters, Gear, Locations, Recommendations,
     

  • Hurricane Michael (with Carrabelle pictures) Hurricane Michael had nearly zero effect on me here in St. Petersburg. Today I'll show you what I do to prepare for a storm that is not going to be a direct hit. Skipper and I dodged a bullet for certain. Michael, when the hurricane started was "just" a loose system of weather down in the Caribbean. By the time the storm reached the panhandle of Florida it was a tightly-wound Category 4 hurricane wrecking devastation in its path.
    Categories: Anchorages, Boats, Books, Characters, Gear, Locations, Pets, Recommendations,
    Relationships, Security, Wild Things,
     

  • Pilothouse Window Opener Sought. Aboard Seaweed I have a problem. The pilothouse has a wonderful opening window in the center. It is fabulous because it facilitates good cross-ventilation. The problem is that I am petite. I cannot reach the knobs to open and close the window. Can you help?!?
    Categories: Boats, Gear, Vignettes,
     

  • Clothespins and Hanger Advice. I am sure you're wondering why I am writing about the ubiquitous clothespin. Though you might not think so now, you need to have great clothespins when you live aboard a boat. Clothespins are found everywhere. The problem is in finding quality ones. Here is what I have learned, including what not to buy.
    Categories: Characters, Galley, Gear, Organizing, Recommendations, Unmentionables,
     

  • Making a Laptop Stand (and computer advice) Powered items perform better when they are not overheated. That is true for everything. Daddy used to say "Things don't burn out; they burn up" and he was right. Motors and engines perform best when cool. At box stores we can buy expensive cooling stands for our laptops. For about $5 here is my solution.
    Categories: Entertainment, Gear, Money,
     

  • Delicious Deviled Eggs. I have been told my deviled eggs are something special. I rather suspect that is because so few make them. Basically deviled eggs have been relegated to picnics and potluck dinners. For me however, they are a semi-regular treat. Here are the basics for those who don't want to wait to visit Seaweed for your own batch of delicious deviled eggs.
    Categories: Characters, Galley, Locations, Recipes, Recommendations, Wild Things,
     

  • Perfect Eggs - Eggy Timer (no reefer advice) Today I'm going to suggest you spend $3 of your perfectly good money. The item to purchase is an Eggy egg timer. I want things easy. The Eggy shows me exactly how cooked my eggs are at any point during the boil. Since I bought this item at Walmart, every time my eggs come out of the pan they are precisely perfect. It is a wonder. A $3 solution suits my budget too.
    Categories: Boats, Characters, Galley, Money, Recommendations,
     

  • Routine Maintenance of Hose Clamps. Aboard Seaweed I have a routine schedule of maintenance. One item focuses on hose clamps. Every three months I check all hose clamps on the boat. This time there were a couple of issues, since resolved. Here is what I found out, along with the remedies taken.
    Categories:  Boat Talk, Books, Characters, Gear, In the Bilges, Locations, Organizing, Recommendations,
     

  • Fixing a 24-hour Clock. A couple years ago I met the nicest fellow. He had a clock marked with 24 hours. I thought it was neat. The problem was the dang thing no longer worked. Thus I replaced the works, then gifted it back to him. Here is the tale of how you can fix a clock three times for less than $10.
    Categories: Boat Talk, Characters, Gear, Locations, Money,
     

  • Washing Dishes and Saving Water. Decades ago I was the Galley Slave because Mother said it made her seasick to wash dishes. As the stove was down below I rather doubt her words. Basically she hated washing dishes so it was my job. The important part was that I not waste water. The method used way back then works well today aboard Seaweed. Here's how I do it.
    Categories:  Galley, Gear, Recommendations, Security,
     

  • Red Tide and Forest Fires. Red Tide has been a serious concern on the west coast of Florida of late. South of Tampa Bay it is bad. The algae blooms cause what is known as Red Tide. These are not a new phenomenon however. There were Red Tides and the associated fish kills when I was a little girl too. They were a regularly occurring event to be tolerated or avoided when possible.
    Categories: Boat Talk, Boats, Characters, Fishing, Locations, Wild Things,
     

  • Book of Labels (refried beans recipe) As described in the A Day of Reckoning (the diet) article, I've been on a getting healthier kick. Part of that is tracking what I eat. I want easy access to the nutrition information found on the labels of my food stuffs. Here is how I accomplished that for just a dollar.
    Categories: Characters, Galley, Organizing, Recipes,
     

  • Beckson Plate Fix. Aboard Seaweed I have several Beckson Plates. Though a good brand, after decades of use in the sun they do deteriorate. That is when opening the units can become problematic. The normal solution would be to buy new. Replacement is not an option for those of us on a budget. Here's how I solved my Beckson plate issue.
    Categories: Characters, Gear, Organizing, Recommendations, Unmentionables,
     

  • Laundry Bag (and Captiva Island) A while back I bought the prettiest blouse at a thrift store. The problem was the decorations on the shirt. They would not survive a trip through a washing machine. Even hand washing was perilous as the buttons snagged on my scrubber. The inexpensive dollar store laundry bags won't work because the holes are too large. Thus I needed to upgrade. Here is the solution I implemented.
    Categories: Characters, Gear, Locations, Recommendations, Unmentionables,
     

  • Routine Maintenance and the Thimble. It all started out innocently enough. One of my birds, specifically Bruce the night heron, roosted on the dinghy davit. He left me a mess to clean up as described in the Birds and my friend Dale the Welder article. That wasn't the bad part though. It was realizing I had failed to perform routine maintenance in the cockpit. I am thankful as this could have been a Very Big Problem. I missed a critical component related to safety aboard Seaweed.
    Categories: Boat Talk, Boats, Characters, Gear, Pets, Wild Things,
     

  • Birds and my friend Dale the Welder. Since the discovery of a feeding source, yours truly, the herons have made it a practice to visit Seaweed regularly. When I go off for a few days at anchor they return shortly after engine shut-down. One of us is well-trained. There is however a down side when birds and boats mix.
    Categories:  Boat Talk, Boats, Books, Characters, Recommendations, Wild Things,
     

  • Manatee Newborn. Life aboard Seaweed is truly wonderful. What is outside is even better. Viewing wildlife has become a favorite activity of mine. I hypothesize about what I see, trying to understand why behaviors occur. Just the other week I saw what I suspect to be a newly born manatee calf. Here's what I saw, and why I believe this to be the youngest manatee I have been privileged to observe.
    Categories: Characters, Wild Things
     

  • Julia and the Fabric Postcard by Jan. One of my favorite *people anchorages in this region is over by Gulfport. The anchorage is windy so I have plenty of power via my wind generator. The best day to visit is Tuesday. That is when Gulfport hosts an Arts, Crafts and Farmer's Market. It's folksy with a surprising variety of goods offered.
    Categories: Anchorages, Locations, Pets,
     

  • Cinnamon Apples. Summertime is hot and humid. Having a refreshing snack available is always a good thing. As mentioned in the A Day of Reckoning (the diet) article, I've been on a plan to get healthier. One component is to eat better foods. I recently discovered a real treat. It is simple and easy to prepare. Best of all, I like the taste.
    Categories: Boats,  Characters, Galley, Recipes,
     

  • Washing Clothes Without a Machine (salt water versus ammonia) Doing laundry aboard Seaweed has long been a chore. I used to wash each night in the galley sink. A teaspoon of Tide in water, plus lots of swishing the fabrics. Next came repeated rinsing using precious water. Sometimes I opted for the ammonia method. Now there are a couple schools of thought on clothes washing without a machine. Here's my take on the whole situation.
    Categories: Boats,  Characters, Unmentionables,
     

  • Isis, a  Snowy Egret. It all began with a juvenile night heron. Later many herons joined in the feeding fracas.  A new visitor is Isis. She's a snowy egret. I have become quite fond of her too. She never bangs her beak on my hatch. Instead she squawks until I deliver hotdogs.
    Category: Wild Things,
     

  • Scallions - Second Life. I enjoy the crunch and flavor scallions add to my simple meals. Growing scallions aboard Seaweed helps keep my food costs low. This trick I read about quite some time ago on Pinterest. There are a couple of caveats for those of us in tropical areas. Here's how I have successfully kept the same bunch of scallions alive and producing for a couple of months.
    Categories: Boats, Characters, Galley, Locations, Money, Wild Things,
     

  • Powering the Refrigerator - The Complete Series. This is a three-part series about decadence, focusing on using refrigeration off-the-grid. It encompasses what you need to know to have it all even while anchored in remote coves. This page contains the Complete Series.
    Categories: Boat Talk, Boats, Books, Characters, Gear, Locations, Pets, Recommendations, Wild Things,
     

  • Storing the Power (battery charts) This is the final installment in the three-part series about off-the-grid decadence. It covers what you need to know to have it all, including refrigeration, while anchored in remote coves. Today's article is Part Three in the series. It focuses on batteries and is entitled Storing the Power (battery charts).
    Categories: Boat Talk, Boats, Books, Characters, Gear, Recommendations, Wild Things,
     

  • Generating Power. This is Part Two of a multi-part series on decadence. Okay, really it's about how to have a refrigerator off-grid. Today's piece is Generating Power. It focuses on powering the reefer. Here's how I do it.
    Categories: Characters, Gear, Locations, Recommendations,
     

  • Refrigerator Power Requirements. I am not an electrical guru by any means. The boys that know get technical real quickly. They know their stuff. I'm more of the practical "what works for me" sort... Powering a refrigerator off the grid involves three things. Here's how I do it:
    Categories: Boats, Characters, Gear, Locations, Pets, Recommendations,
     

  • Fancy Egg Salad. Eggs are inexpensive. I eat them a lot. For get-togethers and pot lucks I always bring deviled eggs. Folks like them and I do too. When making deviled eggs I sometimes have rejects. Those are the ones that don't peel well. They are placed into a spare bowl for improvement. Today I share the recipe for my Fancy Egg Salad.
    Categories:  Galley, Recipes, Recommendations,
     

  • Making a Desk. During summertime often it is too hot to do much except plan the next project. A few boats away from mine the owner has an air conditioner. What his boat lacked however was a desk with great visibility. I solved that with items from his back yard and a bit of ingenuity. Here's how I made a desk for less than $5.
    Categories: Boats, Characters, Locations,
     

  • Attaching Wires to the Bulkhead. The 32-volt battery banks on a neighbor's yacht needed replacement. Like all boat jobs it expanded a bit. Most of the Might-As-Well and While-We're-At-It items were as as a direct result of me. One issue was some of the wiring had fallen off the bulkhead. I had a low-cost (free!) solution. Here is how I fixed those wires.
    Categories: Gear, In the Bilges,
     

  • Nautical Swap Purchases - Handles. Earlier this spring I went to a nautical exchange in downtown St. Pete. That's fancy talk for a swap meet for boaters. I brought cash and an eagle eye. To say I was fortunate would be an understatement. I scored, and then came the second guessing. Was what I purchased all it was suppose to be?!?
    Categories: Characters, Gear, Locations,
     

  • Scooper Question. As good friends know I am a nut for thrift stores. They are fun places to explore. I believe it is the thrill of the hunt that pleases me most. Of course the prices are a real talisman too. Last year I found the coolest scoop. Today, if you would be so kind, please tell me what it is that I paid perfectly good money to own.
    Categories: Boats, Characters, Galley, Locations,
     

  • Tablecloth becomes Screens. Approximately eight years ago I spotted an army surplus screen tent at the Army-Navy store over on the east coast. The cost was $15 as I recall. I was wavering on the purchase when I spotted the same item at the Salvation Army for $4. Yes, I bought it then. Eight years later the screen most exposed to sunlight has deteriorated. Here's how I solved that problem for $2.
    Categories: Boats, Characters, Comfort, Gear, Money,
     

  • A Day of Reckoning (the diet) It all started out with a realization that I'd gotten fat. Not just a bit rounded, but genuinely obese. It said so on the BMI Chart. I weighed 50% more than I had when I was 25 years old, post children. I knew I was wearing a size Large, but... well, I'm different. Special. And really the weight didn't look "that" bad. The fault was hammered home by a Walker Bay dinghy. Here's what happened, and how I have dropped 30-35 pounds over the past year, almost painlessly.
    Categories: Boats, Characters, Galley, Locations, Pets,
     

  • Stacking Battery Cables. As the battery project continued the first step was to diagram out what was there before I did anything. I drew a couple of simple sketches, numbering both the batteries and the studs. Then I removed the cables from each post. As I went along I secured them, labeling each batch with the post number it came from. There were errors though.
    Categories: Gear, In the Bilges, Organizing, Recommendations,
     

  • St. Pete's Electro Battery. Replacing batteries is never cheap. Finding a store that has good prices often takes a lot of time and effort. In St. Pete the place where the pros go is Electro Battery. (Phone 727-323-4848) That's where we went. The manager is Joe. We arrived early and were helped immediately.
    Categories: Characters, Gear, Locations,
     

  • Proper Attachment of a Terminal End. During the 32-volt battery bank troubleshooting and eventual replacement there were problems with two 4-gauge wires. One went on the #8 battery terminal. That positive wire end piece had broken. I replaced it. There is a right way to put on a new terminal end. Here's how to do it correctly.
    Categories: Boats, Books, Characters, Entertainment, Gear, In the Bilges, Recommendations,
     

  • Clothes in the Bilges. Before I owned Seaweed I spent an inordinate amount of time obsessing over what clothes to bring aboard her. Looking nice is important to me. I also realized that my choices had to conform to a life afloat. Specifically that meant everything had to dry quickly. A different criteria comes into play when I'm in the bilges though.
    Categories: Comfort, Gear, In the Bilges, Unmentionables,
     

  • Diagnosing a Bad Battery. A neighbor has a boat that would not start. Because the engine turned over weakly, he believed the batteries needed charging. Fortunately shore power is available. Thus it was a simple matter to charge the battery banks. Nevertheless there was a problem. Here's how I diagnosed where the issue emanated.
    Categories: Boat Talk, Boats, Characters, Gear, In the Bilges, Locations, Recommendations,
     

  • Voltage Meters for the Batteries. When at anchor watching the power is a habit. I don't want to take my batteries down too low.  It is important to be able to start my engine should I need to leave immediately. To that end I have a bunch of voltage meters scattered about Seaweed.
    Categories: Anchorages, Boat Talk, Boats, Characters, Gear, Locations, Money, Recommendations,
     

  • Storm Update 29 May 2018 (and boat insurance fiasco) All is well here in St. Petersburg, FL. The storm Alberto passed us by without incident. Basically the winds blew and it rained. I am glad I did laundry the day before though. Having everything clean always cheers me. That I had almost two weeks of groceries in my lockers was a good thing too. I am set! Except for that one thing...
    Categories: Characters, Locations, Pets,
     

  • Storm and Hurricane Info Links. As the hurricane season is beginning a mite early I needed to find my online links for storm information. This article provides the ones I use. It's a convenience piece for me that I believe you may find helpful too. I have also provided easy access to storm information previously posted on my website.
    Categories: Books, Characters, Locations, Recommendations, Security, Wild Things,
     

  • Dock Lines from Halyards (snubber too) One of my favorite activities is shopping. The thrill of the hunt is a great part of the experience. A while back I was fortunate enough to get to the Cortez nautical flea market. That is a once per year event in Cortez, Florida. One of the best finds of the day were some old halyards. Not all were in great condition so I fixed 'em. Today I'll tell you how.
    Categories: Boat Talk, Books, Characters, Gear, Locations, Money, Organizing, Pets, Recommendations,
     

  • For the Fishermen (anchoring system) First of all, please know I am the world's worst fisherman. Fish do not fear me. In fact I've seen them suck my bait into their mouth and spit out a perfectly clean hook. For details on that see the Glass-bottom Dinghy article. However a while back I ran into a successful fisherman who used a different anchoring system than I. Here's what he does.
    Categories: Boats, Characters, Fishing, Wild Things,
     

  • Garbage Containers. Aboard Seaweed refuse is a concern. Because I am in a tidal area where water flow is good, disposing of garbage over the side is one solution.  That said, no trash is ever tossed overboard. The only things I do feed the fish are edibles that sink. For items such as orange peels I made a cool container. By repurposing and recycling items I already had onboard I saved money too.
    Categories: Characters, Galley, Unmentionables,
     

  • Making a Plug-In AC Voltage Meter. A couple years ago I bought an AC powered nightlight. I plugged it into an outlet in my galley. Eventually I broke the plastic part that lit up. The LED was blue and still functioned. I thought the base section might be of use someday so I tucked it into a junk drawer. Then it came to me: I could make my own plug-in AC meter from the broken nightlight and an AC meter I had on hand. Here's how I did it.
    Categories: Gear, In the Bilges, Recommendations,
     

  • Scissors in the Galley (baked bacon) I have lived a few decades. Physically I'm not where I once was. Like many who have passed the half century mark, compensating is a normal state of affairs for me. One of the ways I do that is in the galley. Instead of using sharp knives most of the time I employ my scissors to cut foodstuffs. You might find this technique useful too, especially in rough weather.
    Categories: Boats, Characters, Galley, Recipes,
     

  • Scorpion Vacuum and Kindle Fire Questions. I realize hearing a woman extol the virtues of a vacuum sounds rather odd on a boating website. That said, my Seaweed gets dirty. A vacuum helps me keep her clean. Over the past ten years I have tried several models. Power sources varied too. Most sucked, and not in a good way. Here is what I've learned.
    Categories: Books, Characters, Entertainment, Gear, In the Bilges, Recommendations, Unmentionables,
     

  • Book Store - Haslam's in St. Pete. I am a reader. Books have been a huge part of my world nearly all of my life. Finding a glorious bookshop is always a treasure. Here in St. Pete we are fortunate to have a place you need to visit as you're passing through. It's called Haslam's Book Store and is located at 2025 Central Avenue, St. Petersburg, FL 33713. This place is a gem. It's the sort of store that you book addicts won't want to leave.
    Categories: Boats, Books, Characters, Locations, Recommendations, Vignettes,
     

  • Upsizing the Alternator - My Mistake. First of all, "everyone" says get a bigger alternator. I did so. Though my reasoning was correct errors were made. As with most things, there was not a single flaw that caused the problems I experienced. Instead a litany of Good Ideas morphed into mistakes. I was fortunate to catch this before a catastrophic failure incurred. Here's what I did wrong.
    Categories: Boat Talk, Books, Characters, Gear, In the Bilges, Locations, Recommendations,
     

  • Alternator Bracket Pattern (how to) If I had a dollar for every Good Idea that has ever crossed my mind, I would be rich. When it comes to alternators I've had more than my fair share of ideas. Some worked well and others didn't. One success I had was with the pattern I created for my new, larger alternator. Here's how I did it for less than a dollar.
    Categories: Characters, Gear, In the Bilges, Locations, Money,
     

  • Snook Surface (cold weather consequence) It has been cold here in St. Pete. Even the water temperatures have dipped. The consequence is that fish are coming to the surface. Of late, snook have been spotted. Often when one says "the fish was THIS BIG" the statement is met with skepticism. Well, I have proof.
    Categories: Books, Fishing, Locations, Recommendations, Wild Things,
     

  • Draft Prevention using Foam. I have a drafty boat. When folks say things like "be sure to crack a window when you're using your oil lanterns" I laugh. Really?!? Aboard Seaweed there are breezes even when she's closed up tight. Here's how I help seal the door into my cockpit.
    Categories: Boat Talk, Characters, Comfort, Gear, Locations,
     

  • Rat Traps (securing mouse traps too) So far, knock teak, I have not had an issue with rodents aboard Seaweed. This fact does not mean that I am unprepared for such an event. To be on the safe side several traps were purchased. In case I'm faced with rats or mice I want weapons in my arsenal.  Here is how I make sure the critters cannot escape.
    Categories: Boat Talk, Boats, Characters, Galley, Unmentionables, Wild Things,
     

  • Five Dollars at a Time. Women have a distinct advantage over men. We are more willing to admit that we aren't 25 years old any more. Of course you fellows can do a lot. The question comes down to "Should you?" More often than not, the answer is no. If you are like me, perhaps my solution will work for you.
    Categories: Boats, Characters, Fishing, Galley, Locations, Money, Unmentionables,
     

  • Advice for the Vintage Boater. Last month I received the nicest note from a gent who can be considered vintage. Grover asked "Do you know where there is a trawler like yours for sale?" Alas I do not. That however is not necessarily a bad thing. I believe there are alternatives that should be considered if limited mobility is an issue. These options are often less costly than my own Seaweed. Details follow.
    Categories: Boats, Characters, Wild Things,


(this is the Archive for 2018)

Click for year 2017 Archive
 

A favorite aphorism:  A good deed is like a pebble thrown into a pool of water. The ripples spread far beyond the point of impact. Dear Abby by her daughter Pauline Phillips.

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 extraordinaire

Contributions to my Cruising Kitty
via
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.