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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.

This is the year 2016 Archive ...
Click for year 2015 Archive or year 2017 Archive

The current year Archive can be found HERE


  • Christmas Connections. Christmas 2016 aboard Seaweed was laid back and relaxing. I saw friends, shared meals (am still stuffed!) and thoroughly enjoyed the day. It was wonderful. In 2014 while enduring the engine swap I saw not a single living soul on Christmas day. Trust me when I say that was The Worst Christmas of my life. Ever.
    Categories: Boats, Books, Characters, Comfort, Galley, Locations, Wild Things

  • Naming Your Dinghy. When choosing the name for your dinghy I'm full of free advice. Today I offer things you should consider when naming the tender (aka dinghy) for your home. Most important of all I will tell you what I would never ever do, and why not.
    Categories: Boat Talk, Boats, Characters, Pets, Security,

  • Hanging In the Head. Seaweed's *head has had some hardware additions over the years. I've made it more convenient and added little touches that might work aboard your boat too. These are a few of the tweaks I've made. All are inexpensive. They make my life easier and better.
    Categories: Boat Talk, Boats, Characters, Unmentionables,

  • Anchor Down by Noon (policy vs. practice) Whenever I say something along the lines of "It has always been my policy" it may be time to pull on the boots. Policy and practice can differ. Things change and life happens. Being adaptable is a necessity in my view. My cruising style is evolving. I like it better than ever now.
    Categories: Anchorages, Boat Talk, Boats, Characters, Gear, Locations, Wild Things,

  • Seaweed's Dryer Bar. I have a thick 100% cotton area rug in my cabin. I bought it in 2008 because I liked it so much. $15 was a lot of money and it has served me well. The problem is that it has faded terribly after numerous trips through the washer. It also dries slower than a turtle walks through molasses at the North Pole. I came up with a solution that serves me well.
    Categories: Boat Talk, Gear, Pets, Vignettes

  • Transmission Fluid in Bilge. The day started with a Good Idea. A neighbor suggested we go for an outing on his boat. Like prudent mariners, before starting the engine an inspection was taken of the engine and bilge. One look told us the trip was off! Transmission fluid was in the bilge.
    Categories: Boat Talk, Characters, In the Bilges, Locations,

  • All's Well aboard Seaweed. QUICK NOTE: All is well aboard Seaweed! Skipper and I have been having fun, going out regularly, anchoring and basically enjoying life. I've been testing systems (don't ask about the fan belt issue, yet!) and finding room for improvement. Sigh.
    Categories: Boat Talk, Books, Characters, Locations, Recommendations, Vignettes

  • Cup-holder Repair. One of my first purchases for Seaweed in the line of decadence enhancement was a cup-holder. It was one of those fancy ones that remains level when the boat rocks. My caffeine would be safe while underway. After years of use however it broke. This is how I fixed it.
    Boat Talk, Gear, Locations, Pets, Wild Things,

  • Fast Window Curtains (a thrift store recycle) Here in St. Pete one of my favorite things to do is visit thrift shops. It is amazing the number of items that flow through those doors. Some move aboard Seaweed. I have been making a concerted effort to immediately use whatever I acquire. This past week I took $2 and turned it into two window curtains plus one valance the same day I brought the purchase home. Here's how I did it:
    Categories: Comfort, Locations, Money, Vignettes

  • Varied Recommendations by guest author Rich Gano. I came to know Rich through his beloved woodie Calypso. She was a Grand Banks with emphasis on the Grand. Cap'n Rich offers a perspective on boatyards and the work performed therein. Enjoy.
    Categories: Boats, Characters, In the Bilges, Locations, The Writer's Block

  • MIA in the Abyss. It has been an interesting month here aboard Seaweed. I'd like to be able to tell you I accomplished lots of major projects. I'd love to say the planned infrastructure is finally complete. Goodness knows I wish I could say I'd been out cruising. The truth is more mundane.
    Categories: Boats, Characters, Locations, Vignettes

  • Sea Fever on Gutenberg. Aboard Seaweed reading is an important activity. I love, love, love my Kindle. Books have always been a big part of my life. Now with the advent of Gutenberg life really does not get much better. Thousands and thousands of books are available, all for free!
    Categories: Boat Talk, Books, Characters, Vignettes

  • Gutenberg Books (for free) Often I am asked what I do all day. I'm always busy. Sometimes it's doing icky stuff like cleaning. Other times I've lost myself in a good book. I do a lot of reading. At anchor I have actually run out of books to read. That was a serious event and it happened more than once. It is unlikely to occur again now because I own a Kindle. Gutenberg is my secret and today I'll tell you how to get thousands of eBooks for free.
    Categories: Anchorages, Books, Characters, Entertainment, Locations, Money, Recommendations,

  • August Update. A website friend named Marty wrote me this week. He said "I see it's raining down there today, and will bet you're keeping dry and cool. But it's been three weeks since last post so naturally I need reassurance you're ok. My vicarious serenity requires occasional updates from the Mistress of all she surveys." Here is what is going on in my world.
    Categories: Characters, Vignettes, Wild Things,

  • Bolt Sizing Primer (an adjunct to the Moby-Cool a/c cover Installed article which should be read first) Lots of the fellows know all this stuff and more about bolts. They learned in their daddy's shadow as he repaired items. For the neophyte this vignette offers a little bit of knowledge to get you started.
    Categories: Gear,  Vignettes,

  • Moby-Cool a/c cover Installed. A few days ago I told you about my Moby-Cool a/c cover Tweak. This article will show you how it all came together. Here in Florida between the heat and the humidity it can be miserable. I am at a dock right now with access to a power cord. It is cool (read: comfortable) inside my Seaweed because of the air-conditioner. Thank goodness I have an interesting view.
    Categories: Boat Talk, Characters, Gear, Recommendations,

  • Moby-Cool a/c cover Tweak. It's summertime and it is HOT. Blazing hot. Like many, Seaweed is on a tight budget. A couple years back I bought the least expensive 5,000 btu air conditioner I could find. The problem was this: It was ugly. The a/c unit was not attractive to my eyes. Installation looked ragged and not at all nautical. The solution came from a company called Moby-Cool.
    Categories: Characters, Comfort, Gear, Locations,

  • Pan Scrubber Fail. I love a bargain. One thing I am willing to do is try things. If the cost is low I will give a product a chance. When I read online about pot scrubbers that supposedly would work miracles I was intrigued. I splurged and spent a whole dollar for two.
    Categories: Galley, Vignettes

  • Boat Buying Decisions (what is important?) Often folks come online with basic questions. "What boat should I buy? How much does it cost? Can I live well on a small budget?" These are Normal for those in the beginning stages of exploring the life I live. One has to have a point to start refining wants, needs and desires. Buying a floating home is a major investment. Spending wisely is the goal.
    Categories: Boats, Books, Characters, Galley, Gear, Locations, Recommendations,

  • Marking my Paddles (dinghy safety equipment) Being on the water is fabulous. Having Stuff is okay too. Keeping my items from the nefarious is an ongoing concern. This is a mobile society. Boats come and go. I do not want my perfectly good dinghy paddles to disappear with the town bum. To that end I have a solution.
    Categories: Characters, Gear, Security,

  • Safety Nets. In case you wondered life is truly wonderful afloat. Now that my Betsy (the Kubota diesel)  runs I've been taking Seaweed out for lots of day trips. Mostly it's just for a couple of hours at a time. I am working out the kinks in both me and the boat. Some things that were fine on the east coast simply won't work here in this area. Not for me anyway.
    Categories: Characters, Gear, Pets, Security,

  • Toy Bails Dinghy. I love it when a plan comes together. First, for the most part I use a 12-volt bilge pump in Algae. Because I already have a battery in there for the Newport Trolling Motor getting the majority of rain that collects out is easy. However a pump can only get so much of the water out. There is always a bit left in the keel. Today I'll show you how to solve that issue for a dollar. It's fun too!
    Categories: Gear, Money, Vignettes

  • Report on Colin (a tropical storm) For my friends, here is the latest on Tropical Storm Colin: It's been blowing like crazy, raining sideways and flooding too. High tide was at 1300 (1 p.m.) and water was over most of the docks on this canal. It rose about 2' over the normal high tides. What's been worst of all though is the wind gusts.
    Categories: Boats, Characters, Locations, Pets, Security,

  • Hoops and Loops. It is a rough life out here. Living in paradise is not just about sipping refreshing tea from a glass brimming with ice cubes while the sun marches across the sky. It requires effort just to get through the tasks of daily life. If I'm nothing else I am efficient. I like to make things easy for me. When the chores are easy they will be done quicker. Hoops and Loops are one component in making my life sweet.
    Categories: Boat Talk, Boats, Characters, Comfort, Money, Pets, Security,

  • Carbon Monoxide Alarms and Batteries. I don't have to tell you I make mistakes. For proof positive of that read the Dealing with Drunks (tool locker and dinette table) article. This week I made another mistake, and a serious one at that. Honestly it was a compilation of errors. Usually the initial goof-up does not cause a catastrophic failure. The compounding is what ups a minor problem into a major one. The fault lies with me and I was fortunate that nothing serious occurred.
    Categories: Boat Talk, Comfort, Gear, In the Bilges, Recommendations, Security,

  • Relief at a Dental Clinic. Bravery is displayed many different ways. Soldiers are brave when facing an enemy on the battlefield. Explorers charting unknown territory during inclement weather are brave. Going to sea is considered brave by some. For me, none of those things scare me as much as having to visit a dentist.
    Categories: Characters, Humor, Locations, Vignettes

  • Storing Nuts, Bolts and Screws. Aboard Seaweed I have a system for sorting and organizing my screws, nuts and bolts. It works and is easy to maintain. This is what I do, along with a couple of suggestions on how my method could be better. Best of all, it's totally free using stuff you already own.
    Categories: Boat Talk, Boats, Organizing, Vignettes,

  • Hiring a Diver. Preparing for departure takes many different forms. There are always "last minute" items on the To-Do List that seem to be far more important now than they were last month when there was that new book downloaded to the Kindle. Of late I've spent a lot of time reading and now it's biting me in the transom.
    Categories: Boats, Characters, In the Bilges, Locations, Vignettes, Wild Things,

  • Red Fish, Green Fish (visual clues) I like labels, tags and hints. Especially in times of stress having a visual clue can keep me on the right track. It's also helpful for those new to boating. Everyone can seem salty with the right reminders. Here's what I do aboard Seaweed.
    Categories: Characters, Entertainment, Gear, Security,

  • Label Everything. An online associate named Jack who recently bought a trawler wrote "I'd like to go through it and put some sort of labels or tags on everything. Any suggestions?" He's definitely smart to want to label his boat. Aboard Seaweed I mark even the "obvious" and for a very good reason.
    Categories: Boats, Characters, Galley, In the Bilges, Organizing,

  • Baby Wipes. A lot of folks both ashore and afloat have discovered baby wipes are not just for infants. They are refreshing and cool. They make me feel cleaner on those hot days of summer. Simply wiping my face and neck with a moistened wipe makes a great deal of difference in my comfort level.
    Categories: Boats, Characters, Comfort, Locations, Unmentionables,

  • Solar, Batteries and an Inverter. This was a four-part series on solar power, battery storage and AC power used aboard my boat. Sometimes I prefer smaller doses of information and for those who do the separate articles are: Batteries Store Power, Solar Makes Power, Power Used Aboard Seaweed, and Inverters Make AC Power. This is the complete version with all the information contained in the above four articles.
    Categories: Categories: Boats, Books, Galley, Gear, Pets, Recommendations, Wild Things,

  • Inverters Make AC Power. This is Part IV. In order to use the power gathered by the solar and sent to the batteries by the solar regulator I needed an inverter. Originally I opted for an AIMS1000 from The Inverter Store. It worked right well until I upgraded to a microwave.
    Categories: Galley, Gear, Pets, Recommendations, Wild Things,

  • Power Used Aboard Seaweed. This is Part III. I knew my refrigerator used a lot of juice aka power. How much exactly was the question. A Kill-O-Watt meter will tell you how much power your items consume. In 80 degree ambient temperature my reefer/freezer combination (the smallest made, 3.1 cubic feet by Haier) requires 60 amp hours in a 24 hour period.
    Categories: Gear, Recommendations,


  • Solar Makes Power. This is Part II. I now have a bunch of solar panels and could not be happier. Recently I added two more 85 watt panels. They were a gift from Bucky. With those it matters not if I am at anchor or at a dock. Everything works. Except me!
    Categories: Boats, Gear, Wild Things,

  • Batteries Store Power. This is Part I. A boater wrote asking about solar power. Like many I have embraced the solar movement. The price has come down on the panels. Nothing moves so nothing breaks. It is quiet. What solar panels are not is the complete package. There's more to it.
    Categories: Books, Gear, Recommendations,

  • Air Conditioning. Last year was much better than the summer previous in that I had access to a power cord and was able to run a 5000btu Haier air-conditioner. I bought the smallest and least expensive wall-banger* unit sold. In checking it also used the least power at 455 watts. That was a big selling point.
    Categories: Boat Talk, Characters, Comfort, Gear, Locations, Money, Recommendations,

  • Boat Noises. Noise is a given when you live close to the water. You might hear your bilge pump come on. Another time the anchor chain rattle. When you know what the sound is caused by, it eventually becomes part of the background and unheard.
    Categories: Boats, Characters, Locations, Security,

  • Before Outfitting. When preparing for life afloat some questions are bound to arise. Those who enjoy the social aspects of life might find living on the hook (at anchor) an unwise decision. Though I love solitude I know I need to interact with others. For me, having access to the internet has been a huge benefit.
    Categories: Boat Talk, Boats, Locations,

  • Paper Problem (having spares) All ladies have sat down at some point in our lives and discovered to our chagrin a decided lack of toilet paper. It's not fun. On boats storing extras can be a problem. Having access to a spare roll simply takes a bit of planning. A nearby reachable nook is a wonderful thing. In that regard aboard Seaweed I have just such a place.
    Categories: Boats, Characters, Organizing, Unmentionables,

  • Screen Update. In a couple of previously published pieces I've talked about screening Seaweed. It's getting to be "that time of the year" again so I'll tell you what worked. Also today I'll show what I had to do to make my $2 solution function a bit better. I do like a bargain and this time I've got a hit.
    Categories: Boat Talk, Boats, Characters, Comfort, Gear, Organizing,

  • Spare Prop has Swap Potential. During the process of changing engines it was necessary to replace the old propeller. My original was fine and dandy for a big gasoline engine. For the smaller diesel it was not.  I ended up buying another leaving me with a perfectly good albeit wrong-for-me prop. I needed a place to stow the old one until I find a new owner. It has Swap Potential.
    Categories: Boat Talk, Boats, Books, Gear, Organizing, Recommendations,

  • The Birds (ordering iced coffee) There is a certain joy in celebratory meals. It's also fun to find a bargain. Enjoying a quiet dinner with new friends is good too. Lately on the way to and from grocery shopping a favorite food stop has become McDonald's. Their bargain menu appeals to my budget. Additionally, there's a nifty place nearby called The Birds.
    Categories: Boat Talk, Boats, Characters, Entertainment, Money, Pets, Vignettes, Wild Things,

  • Buy and Install Levels. One of my biggest failings is that I buy stuff. That in and of itself is not a bad thing when the budget can swing it. What is dreadful however is the accumulation of Stuff that is not installed. On more than one occasion I've acquired a sought after item, only to months later still have it in the box. For proof positive of that, may I direct you to this photograph from the Inadequate Boat (Gulfport too) article published just last month:
    Categories: Boats, Gear, In the Bilges, Organizing, Recommendations, Vignettes,

  • Three Keys When Hiring. Back in 2015 in the Hiring Expertise article I suggested we not be afraid to hire either tools or workers for our boat jobs. I'll admit to an affinity to tools. I've got lots, however I do not generally have the larger sizes needed for some projects.
    Categories: Boats, Boat Talk, Characters, In the Bilges,

  • Inadequate Boat (Gulfport too) A gent I recently corresponded with is interested in joining the boating world. He wrote "Living on the hook is free isn't it?" The one word answer is yes, with caveats. Although dockage is always a Good Idea in my view for those initial months after purchase. There are some things you can do to rapidly get the costs down to a minimal level. Selecting the right boat is important!
    Categories: Anchorages, Boat Talk, Boats, Characters, Gear, Locations, Pets,

  • Fried Chicken. This is a humorous item that tickled my fancy. After canning sixty pounds of chicken [see the Chicken Leg Quarters (canning times and quantities) article] in two days I needed a laugh. With perfect timing this arrived via email and I share it here just for fun. This is not boat related.
    Categories: Humor, Vignettes,

  • Chicken Leg Quarters (canning times and quantities) This past week a local grocery store offered ten pound bags of frozen chicken leg quarters for 29 cents per pound. My neighbor and I bought sixty pounds of chicken and this vignette details what I learned. I always forget how much I end up with after processing. That is the reason for today's post.
    Categories: Galley, Locations, Vignettes,

  • Making a Towel Rack. One of my flaws is I tend to complicate what would normally be an easy project. I recognize that and still mess up. Just this past week I created a Project that encompassed over two hours of frustration and work. The final solution took about five minutes. This is what I did wrong and right in making a towel rack in my galley.
    Categories: Boat Talk, Books, Characters, Galley, Gear, Money, Recommendations,

  • Freezer Ice Bag. Last month I had a great time thrift store shopping with my friend Cheryl. Cheryl cruises on a Schucker named Island Time. While enjoying a lunch break at McDonald's we chatted about our freezers. I commented on how much I love having ice aboard.
    Categories: Boats, Characters, Galley, Money, Organizing, Vignettes,

  • Electric Drill Repair. I am looking forward to the day when I can start a project and work right straight through to the end without a something else coming up. This time the drill shorted out. It was definitely time to fix this thing properly. Replacement is not in the budget.
    Categories: Gear, Money,

  • Personalizing Your Home. I am predisposed to want my trawler to be pretty. Having her clutter free, neat and tidy are all important items for my contentment level. Being able to leave immediately is critical to my happiness quotient. Yet for my Seaweed it's the small added touches that turn this boat into a home.
    Categories: Boats, Characters, Locations,

  • Making a Treasure Chest. Gosh it was wonderful to see my baby girl this past week. She flew into Tampa for a course and was able to take dinner with me one evening. I loved that. It was fun to catch up in person. I am very fortunate in the Kidlet generally calls me on the way to and/or from work each day. I like that a lot.
    Categories: Boats, Characters, Money, Relationships,

  • DIY Bigelow Teas (and engine swap update) As many know I'm a real tea aficionado. I am also a boater on a budget. As much as I enjoy a spot of Bigelow's Earl Grey and Constant Comment teas the wallet is a mite thin of late. Three engines in two years will do that to a gal. Fortunately I have a solution that is inexpensive and easy to do.
    Categories: Characters, Comfort, Galley, In the Bilges, Money, Organizing, Recipes, Recommendations,

  • Falling Overboard. I participated in the rescue of a fellow who fell going from his inflatable into his sailboat. Bob never knew how he it happened. One moment he was in his dinghy and the next he was soaking wet. Fortunately this accident was in the daytime and there were people around to haul his soggy self out of the water. This is what occurred.
    Categories: Boat Talk, Boats, Characters, Gear, Locations, Security,

  • Boat Search for Beginners (DIY survey) Recently a fellow wrote. He and his bride are coming to the United States. They wish to find their Dream Boat, or at the very least eliminate ones that will not work for them. When the gent asked if anyone had suggestions I piped up with the following bits of advice.
    Categories: Boat Talk, Comfort, In the Bilges, Unmentionables,

  • Getting Betsy Ready-to-Go. Betsy runs! My engine is beautiful. Her name is Betsy. She is quiet and purrs along. What's left? The fuel return line. The mechanic could not find the old one from the BOB engine so who knows? Maybe the last engine did not have one though I believe all diesels have a fuel return line. In any event Paul was successful in getting the engine up and running. My prayers have been answered. Here's what's been done by Sunrize Marine thus far:
    Categories: Boat Talk, Characters, In the Bilges, Locations, Recommendations,

(this is the Archive for 2016)

Click for year 2015 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
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.