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23' mini-trawler
by Schucker

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

Trawler life on a nickel budget is possible.
I'm doing it and you can too.

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

This is the year 2013 Archive ... Click for year 2014 Archive

The current year Archive can be found HERE

  • We've Seen Worse. There is a definite difference between the genders, and when it comes to cruisers there are some that you (or more accurately, I) have to wonder about. It's the old testosterone inclination of Macho Man versus Sea. Almost every time the ocean will win and lessons can be harsh.
    Categories: Recommendations, Relationships, Security

  • Running Aground. There are two types of boaters who have never been aground. Most common are those who never go anyplace. As for the rest, they are atrocious liars. The last time I was aground was back in 2012 and I anticipate being aground again. For me it's about a once a year event that I touch bottom though thankfully never in such a condition that I've had to be hauled off by TowBoatUS.  Knock teak!
    Boat Talk, Locations

  • Kitchen Clutter. We have almost completed the kitchen clean-up and hopefully yours is now in much better shape than when the Becoming Clutter-Free series began. Alas, though my notes said we'd be totally done by the new year that's not going to happen. Oh well, it's life you know and we've got to have time for the important things: like boating!
    Categories: Becoming Clutter-Free, Characters


  • Air Horn Saves the Day. Aboard any boat safety has to be a paramount concern, even above the decadence and good life I promote! And yet all too often safety equipment is expensive.  Fortunately, not everything is costly and for Seaweed one thoughtful Christmas gift surely made a difference for Skipper and I. Let me tell you about it.
    Boat Talk, Boats, Characters, Gear, Security

  • Boat Presents. During this time of the year often friends ask what a boater needs. The most important thing of course is time. We all want and need more time. What we do not need is more Stuff. Goodness knows we have plenty of useless stuff. Dirt-dwellers seldom understand the lack of space for the extraneous, and though their heart is in the right place, well, sometimes their mind is simply missing in action. Storage considerations usually trump desire though any woman worth her sea-salt can of course find a storage spot for something she wants. And don't think the boys can't bring in another tool and disappear it into the bilges -- we are not alone girls!
    Categories: Gear, Vignettes

  • Christmas Aboard 2013. This is my fifth Christmas aboard Seaweed, and it is still more fun each passing year. The decorations are up, almost all the Christmas cards sent, and life is indeed good afloat. Of course over the years I've made a few mistakes especially regarding my tree which has crashed spectacularly, twice. If nothing else, sometimes I require lessons more than one time. Glue is a wonderful thing, don't 'cha know!
    Categories: Comfort, Entertainment

  • Reluctant Wives. More than one time I've heard while ashore some fellow bemoan that his previously encouraging wife no longer wished to take to the seas with him. There are a variety of reasons for this. Of course a guy is going to figure that if he argues, suddenly the Mrs. will realize how fabulously smart her fellow is. She'll also change her mind because he is absolutely correct and she is wrong. Sure...that's going to happen. Men, bless their hearts, just don't "get" it, but not to worry: I've got some ideas that might just help!
    Boats, Relationships

  • Anchoring. The only folks who have never dragged anchor are either those who never anchor or they are atrocious liars. The last time I dragged was back in 2012 and I don't anticipate doing so again. With proper (read: oversized) ground tackle I'm safe and secure. And I rest well at night knowing that when I set the anchor, I'm not moving until I raise the anchor!
    Categories: Boat Talk, Gear, Locations

  • How Do Osprey Land? This morning I watched an osprey flying with his talons holding a good sized fish of approximately eight inches. The fish (mullet?) was about 8 inches long and was held fore and aft to the flight pattern. As the osprey flew by he first appeared to want to land on an oyster bed but took off before landing. Then he aimed for a sandbar, but again appeared to think better of the idea.
    Category: Vignettes,
    Wild Things

  • Capable of Learning. All too often I read massive lists of all a boater needs to know before shoving off, and I've got to tell you it's a personal pet peeve of mine. Absolutely there are basics of navigation you must know and there are a plethora of places to learn those things. And too, knowing how to fix the items onboard is always good however it should not be the determining factor as to your successful life afloat. Besides if a former housewife can do it without testosterone, surely you can do so as well!
    Categories: Books, In the Bilges

  • Fine Folks. Since arriving in Carrabelle I've enjoyed the privilege of meeting many fine folks along the waterfront. This is a small town that to my eyes is laid out for the convenience of boaters. A couple of marinas and a working boatyard (Dockside is do-it-yourself and also has hired help available) are all good things but what I like best of all are the people.
    Categories: Books, Characters, Locations, Recommendations

  • Pots and Pans Primer. This is the perfect time of the year to evaluate your collection of pots and pans along with their lids. If you're like most dirt-dwellers you've accumulated an amount that would rival a kitchen department at your local department store. Most of those pans are for one reason or another not used. You really do not need five frying pans, and sauce pans galore won't fit in the limited locker space found aboard most boats. And who wants to wash all those pans anyway?
    Categories: Becoming Clutter-Free,
    Boat Talk, Books, Galley, Locations, Recipes, Recommendations, Wild Things

  • Intriguing Possibilities (boat cards) The last article in the continuing series on potential partner acquisition (Where the Women Are) suggested strongly a couple of things. Of course you want a person who shares a similar outlook on life and views of the big picture on items as ethics, morals and such. Those devout will find many blessings in church activities. For those so inclined colleges offer classes in a variety of topics. Attend a class and for certain your fellow students will have at least one thing in common, i.e. the class -- thus a shared passion. And passion can lead to, well, passion!
    Boat Talk, Entertainment,  Relationships

  • Travelers Met. A couple days ago (specifically on 21 November 2013) I had come to town to check for mail and do a bit of provisioning. Mail, real mail, is such a treat for me, especially since I'm out here without the privilege of regular deliveries from the postman. Bills come electronically, but mail is sometimes from friends. Or Amazon -- I am weak when it comes to books.
    Categories: Characters,
    Sojourners Saloon

  • The Log Book. As the days grow cooler I tend to nest more and go to shore less frequently. That and my ice lasts longer too. Today is one of those blustery days that define autumn in the south. The skies were overcast but still bright, the weather is warm and, well, it was just about perfect. So rather than stay aboard Seaweed I went to shore.
    Categories: Books, Characters, Gear, Recommendations
    , Wild Things

  • Quite the Sight. You know the boys give me heck sometimes because, well, because they can but I've got to tell you there's something great about the freedom that comes with a trolling motor. I passed the half century mark quite some time ago and believe me, I'm about as physically phfittt as anyone over 50 can be. And no I do not eat health foods, figuring at this point I need all the preservatives I can get!
    Categories: Characters, Comfort, Gear, Recommendations
    , Wild Things

  • Outside the Box (fire extinguisher hint) The propane tank for Seaweed is stowed in a cockpit locker on the starboard side. It's conveniently just on the other side of the bulkhead from the stove so the hose run is short. As far as safety, storing a propane tank inside the locker is okay, as long as said locker drains overboard. Fumes are heavier than air and you do not want that stuff in your bilges. That's why mine is sealed to the interior of the boat and drains outside just above the waterline.
    Categories: Galley, Gear, Security

  • Making Friends. One of the truly delightful things about cruising is meeting new friends and getting together on each others boats for a shared meal. An arriving boat into the anchorage is always a thing of interest and that's where my social secretary helps a great deal in getting acquainted with the new folks. I know you're probably thinking that aboard a 23' mini-Schucker having a social secretary is a bit "much" but there you'd be mistaken!
    Categories: Boats, Characters,
    DVDs, Entertainment, Locations, Pets, Recommendations

  • Silverware and Spatulas. You've had a bit of time since the last article in the Becoming Clutter-Free series so let's delve right back into the chore of clearing out the land-base so you can come out here and enjoy life on the water. As a recap, the last article featured was entitled Dratted Dishes, and at least one of you made a huge difference in the amount of Stuff in his home. See photo:
    Categories: Becoming Clutter-Free, Characters, Galley, Recipes, Recommendations

  • Where the Women Are. As discussed in the previous article on relationships If the Deck Shoe Fits there are some basics that many cruising single sailors fail to appreciate the importance of: specifically the rules of socially acceptable behavior don't change just because you're now the captain of your own vessel. In fact there are additional items you must follow in order to find your cruising companion.
    Categories: Boats, Characters, Gear,

  • 3x5 Cards. Keeping track of your paperwork aboard a boat can be problematic if you're not inclined to be organized and in that regard I think my system is pretty doggone good. Everyone should have a real log book, a record of the work done on your boat, maintenance schedules, etc. Yet it's the paperwork that comes with your wind generator, electric blanket, solar controller and such that can wind up in divergent spots -- and that's to be avoided. My system is simple:
    Categories: Organizing, Recommendations

  • Why Be Normal. [Originally submitted to an RV site, and since it's Halloween today shared here... Boo!] Hello from the Gulf coast of Florida. My name is Janice and like so many others I live alone in a tiny home. Mine is just 23' long and the views are spectacular. Mileage is always a concern for RVers and I get approximately ten miles to the gallon so in that regard we are perhaps similar. What's different though is that my home is a miniature trawler and my roads are rivers, waterways and even into the Gulf of Mexico.
    Categories: Books, Comfort, Money, Recommendations, Vignettes


  • Carrabelle Sparkles. The first thing you should know is I am not taken with drink... perhaps a glass or two of wine once in a great while, but I am stone cold sober when I tell you that the water in Carrabelle sparkles. It's the most amazing thing and you simply must see it too. Now I confess that this time viewing I'm a lot less unsure of the whole situation than I was in January when I first spotted the sparkles while anchored in Pearl Bayou.
    Categories: Anchorages,
    Boat Talk, Books, DVDs, Locations, Pets, Recommendations, Wild Things

  • If the Deck Shoe Fits. Have you dreamed of a life aboard a boat sailing in the Bahamas or down thru the Caribbean during the winter season? And then thought "gosh, it'd be great to have a woman along for the ride" but wondered why you're not doing so well in that department. Well, sailors, I have an answer for you and if the deck shoe fits...!

  • Looking for Catamarans. Yesterday morning I get up to find two new boats in the river anchored east of me. One's a pretty little ketch and the other a big yellow trimaran. They looked a bit close but you know how angles can deceive you, especially if the view is a bit skewed? I continued to periodically eye-ball them, and when the tide changed they came together. Repeatedly.
    Categories: Humor, Vignettes


  • Fish Training 101. You have to first understand that out here I do tend to entertain myself, and one of the ways I do that is an old family tradition. On our boat each time we would throw any food over the side we'd slap the hull three times. Thump. Thump. Thump.
    Boat Talk, Fishing, Unmentionables, Vignettes, Wild Things

  • Abandon Ship!  Generally when in Algae it's just a simple ride for the Skipper and I. She loves trips -- it doesn't matter if we go to shore or simply putt-putt along the river and look into the trees at birds or squirrels. She likes squirrels but goes absolutely bonkers over dolphins. They are her favorite!
    Boat Talk, Comfort, Pets, Recommendations

  • Dratted Dishes. In the continuing saga and hard work of de-cluttering your dirt dwelling, this week's task is again in the kitchen. As you can imagine storage space on all but the Queen Mary is rather limited so it's imperative that we pare down the items accumulated during our hunter-gatherer years. It should be getting easier to part with the minutia as the weeks progress. One turning point for my good sport (he's been providing the pictures in the Becoming Clutter-Free series) came when he realized that even his workers didn't want the stuff he'd been storing in his lockers for years.
    Categories: Anchorages, Becoming Clutter-Free, Locations


  • Hatteras/Krogen demographic. Have you ever opened your mouth and inserted both feet? Please tell me I'm not the only one who has gotten out of the bunk on the wrong side, then been confronted with a computer system that isn't cooperative. Of course you are probably smarter than me and don't write (or at least don't send) missives when annoyed. I wish I could say that, and of course I know better.
    Category: Vignettes


  • As Winter Approaches. The chill is in the air and I've been told by a long-term local resident boater that this coming week looks to be the first cold snap of the year and to expect four days of north winds followed by a slow warming. Thank goodness for my Comfy Cruise electric blanket and the propane catalytic heater though I do not expect to have to light the heater just yet. Still, it is good to stock up on essentials for the cooler weather in weeks ahead.
    Categories: Books, Comfort, 
    DVDs, Galley, Recipes, Recommendations

  • Portlight Pretties. Stepping aboard many boats is often like entering a man cave, predominantly decorated in navy blue and off-white stripes, suitably nautical and totally boring. Just because it's a boat doesn't mean it must reek of every yacht motif created, and there's something to be said for creating a home that reflects the owner. Mine is girly for certain -- shocker there, eh? Still, there are ways to make your floating home nice that perhaps are just a touch different than the norm.
    Boat Talk, Comfort

  • Making the Right Choice. Picking the right initial boat is a job that is often fraught with equal measures of anticipation and fear. Over the years I suppose I've seen about every mistake known to man (and woman) made when buying that first boat. Today's article will focus on some of the ways you can avoid being a statistic in the Failure File and instead can become a real boater.
    Categories: Boats, Books, Comfort, Entertainment, Money, Recommendations


  • Pull the Plug. In the continuing series offering guidance on Becoming Clutter-Free last week we tackled Glasses and I know that was a tough one. Frankly, the glasses week was one of the hardest you'll experience in that so few people show any restraint when it comes to collecting cups, mugs, glasses, and such. You are not alone as I probably had just as many at one time. Now however I have a boat with only a few and my happiness overflows with the lack of Stuff. Goodness knows if I can do it, you can too. In any event, this week is going to be less work and hopefully just as satisfying as far as results.
    Categories: Becoming Clutter-Free, Galley, Simplify

  • Tricks and Treats. As the seasons progress we are coming into my favorite time of the year: autumn. At night the cool breezes make sleeping nice although I confess to loving my warm bunk courtesy of a fabulous 12-volt electric blanket.  It's an indulgence, and one I'm happy to have discovered. Plus this particular brand draws just 35 watts versus most that use 7 amps (70 watts!) -- I want to be warm but also need to have a battery in the morning, you know? Still, it's the decorating that makes me smile and believe me, Seaweed has her Tricks and Treats....
    Categories: Comfort, Entertainment, Money, Recommendations


  • Organizing Your Tools. Aboard Seaweed, like all other homes afloat having tools available is important and having said items convenient to access makes life ever so much simpler. Originally when I moved on board I had a fool-proof storage system ready to go. Then, because that was not working well for me in practice I changed it. Much of life when you're first aboard your home full time is spent moving things so if you're not expecting it, well, every little thing can begin to seem overwhelming. Life afloat isn't always like that however you'll need patience at first for certain, and a large helping of humor always helps when stuff isn't quite as you'd imagined!
    Categories: Books, Characters, Gear, In the Bilges, Organizing, Recommendations

  • Shooting Star. Have you ever had a day that reminded you of how good life is and how wonderful it is to kick back and enjoy good company and fabulous food? Well, last night was my night, and it was one I'll remember for quite some time. It all started a couple weeks back when I was invited to dinner and on Tuesday plans were solidified for the following night. Wednesday was Wonderful!
    Categories: Characters, Entertainment, Locations


  • Glasses. - In the last article of the Becoming Clutter-Free series (Prepping - Plastics) I had the audacity to suggest you had too many plastic containers and some judicious culling was in order. Hopefully you can be proud of the one small neat and tidy section in your kitchen cabinets you created. Also by now you should have dropped off the extraneous at your nearest thrift store or donation center and are ready to have at it again. This week we're going to make a big difference in the amount of space in at least one locker as we prepare for life aboard a cruising boat.
    Categories: Becoming Clutter-Free, Boats, Comfort,
    DVDs, Galley, Recommendations, Simplify

  • Boatyard Blues. Life on the hard is what we call living aboard your boat when she's in the boat yard, and it can be a ticket to trouble if you're not aware of some of the pitfalls associated with boatyard life. Oh yes, it's fine for a short duration however most boaters make classic mistakes and end up spending far too long on the hard, relationships disintegrate while costs skyrocket. Today we'll talk about boat yards and hopefully by learning of mistakes made repeatedly by others you can avoid same and be smarter -- smarter than I was for certain.
    Categories: Boats, In the Bilges, Money, Organizing, Recommendations,

  • Growing Lentil Sprouts. Preparing for a life afloat is a big job, and one thing I do might help you as you begin the road to living life on the water. Of course reading books is helpful in getting a flavor of what's out here, still there are mistakes made time and again by newbie boat buyers. Because I was born (conceived too -- made the Log Book) and raised aboard a 40' motor vessel you'd think I would be immune to all mistakes. Well, that's a good theory and I'm here to tell you that it doesn't work quite that way.
    Categories: Anchorages, Boats, Books, Galley, Locations, Money, Recommendations


  • Prepping - Plastics. In the inaugural article (Getting Started) I extolled the virtues of getting rid of stuff that clutters your life and holds you back. After years of living in chaos (two children, job, husband, home-schooling the kidlets, etc.) well, I could certainly have stayed a life-time member of the hunter-gatherer tribe, yet living aboard a boat is such that I knew I had to make some profound changes to become a successful cruiser. And if I can do it, so can you.... This is a good Step One in the process:
    Categories: Becoming Clutter-Free,
    Boat Talk, Galley, Organizing, Simplify

  • Computer Short-cuts. Consider this your quickie lesson in a few of the short-cuts I have come to use when online. There is nothing too complicated about a computer though of course it is all overwhelming at the beginning-- much like any skill (do you remember how worried you were about shifting, pushing in the clutch and such?) and it does get easier with time and practice. That said, there are a few short-cuts that make this online stuff simple. Here are some of my favorites to get you started:
    Boat Talk, Entertainment, Simplify

  • Going Batty. My tale for tonight begins like many nights aboard Seaweed start.... As the sun meets the horizon I light my small reading lantern and bring out a book to read later. An oil lantern is not a necessity in these modern times though I must confess I enjoy the ambience. Mine is a-okay for reading but it does not light brightly the interior, and that's where the trouble began!
    Categories: Boats, Characters, Comfort,
    Security, Wild Things

  • Screening Seaweed. When you live in a bug-free home maintaining same is of utmost importance. Sure, we all know the old tales of "keep all cardboard off the boat" and use Borax as bait, but it's not the roaches that drive you batty so much as the mosquitoes, biting flies, no-see-ums and the like -- those critters have to be kept out and there are several ways to do so.
     Boats, Characters, Comfort, Gear, Recommendations, Unmentionables

  • More Trolling Motors. A reader suggested I expand upon the whole trolling motor as an alternative to noisy gasoline outboards immediately, and he had the temerity to hint that men don't want to wait. Who'd have thought a man impatient?! So this article focuses on these $100 miracles and details on battery life, charging, etc.
    Boat Talk, Comfort, Gear, Pets, Recommendations

  • Trolling Motor Woes. Your standard small outboard will get you where you're going but they require strength to pull the ding-dang cord plus they are LOUD and they break down -- other than that they're not too bad at all. Still, for actually enjoying the trip in silence there's nothing better than a trolling motor. After all who wouldn't like to sit down, flick a switch, open a parasol and head off? A trolling motor allows you to do exactly that, when it works. And that's where my tale of woe begins....
    Categories: Boats, Characters, Comfort, Gear, Locations, Recommendations

  • First Mate. As you would expect, life aboard a coastal cruising boat insures spectacular views, calm and tranquil anchorages, peaceful nights and busy days. What it doesn't guarantee is a friend, and the lack of social interaction can be one of the few down-sides for life afloat. Fortunately for me, I now have a terrific companion, one who adores me first thing in the morning even before I've had caffeine.
    Boat Talk, Characters, Entertainment, Pets, Security

  • Autumn Preparations. Though we are barely into September I can feel the changing of the seasons. Smoke is definitely upon the water (fog on the river in the early a.m.) and that has become my back to nature "wake up" call. I know from past years afloat that soon the evenings will chill, and I have to be ready for it. This is the time of year when how well I prepare and supply will determine my level of comfort in the coming months.
    Categories: Boats, Comfort, Gear, Recommendations


  • Peachy Chicken. Of course with the news of the new engine I had to celebrate my good fortune. One of the ways I do that is by cooking. Suppertime is special aboard Seaweed as I try to make each evening meal an event. You see, if I were having company of course I'd want to make it lovely. Since you'd go all out for a relative coming over, why not do the same for yourself? It lifts my spirits to realize that with a tiny bit of extra effort I can enjoy a sumptuous feast that looks nice and tastes great.
    Categories: Comfort, Galley, Recipes

  • The Big News. A couple nights ago was momentous -- and thanks to a boat friend I've spent an embarrassingly little amount of money on a new engine and transmission for my girl. Currently I've a gasoline power plant way too large for this tiny boat and, well, it's just not right. A small diesel has been on my wish list for ages, and now, well, I could not be happier. Bob on Maverick sure knows the way to a girl's heart -- right thru her engine block! ;)
    Categories: Boats, Characters, In the Bilges, Locations, Money


  • Lonely No More. As a soloist, living alone can at times be quite daunting. When things go wrong there's no one to help, and having nobody to share life's successes with is frustrating too. Then a friend told me her solution, and it was simplicity itself. Irene has been living on Katja for many years. It's a Valiant32 and is pretty terrific. Hers is so homey too!
    Categories: Boats, Characters, Entertainment


  • Silence Reigns (Saul Creek) Have you ever wondered what it would be like to stay in a place where the only sounds you hear are ones you make? Well, one such place is at the fork of a river off the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway.  When heading east which is sort of south as you follow the coast from the west you'll come to a favorite spot of mine.
    Categories: Anchorages, Locations

  • Getting Started. Anyone seriously considering this life must realize that it can be yours, IF you're willing to focus totally on making it happen. That means, specifically, downsizing, getting rid of clutter, and simplifying your life. Sure, it's easy for me to say get rid of it all and trust me when I acknowledge how difficult that can be. It was for me too.
    Categories: Organizing, Simplify

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
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.


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