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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 2022 Archive ...
Click for year 2021 Archive

The current year Archive can be found HERE


  • Dawn Detergent. Recently I have been watching YouTube videos on my nifty tablet. The ads are annoying. Various Dawn products are being promoted heavily, power-wash and foaming cleanser to name two. I have been using Dawn dish detergent in many ways. Today I will show you how to easily create my most utilized cleaner. Best of all, this is both cheap and simple.
    Categories: Books, Characters, Galley, Gear, Money, Unmentionables, Wild Things,

  • Nicole Necessity (grapnel hook) As Nicole made her way toward Florida many people were busy preparing for the storm. I was fortunate in that the winds were predicted to be from the north. Seaweed is tucked in to the south of mangroves and behind a multi-story building, thus I was in a good place to avoid damage. In the aftermath however I discovered an old purchase that was a real help in retrieving wayward items.
    Categories:  Anchorages, Characters (comments), Gear, Money, Pets, Security, Wild Things,

  • Madeira Beach Nautical Flea Market. One way to save perfectly good money on marine items is to shop for used products. I do not need brand new hooks to tie off an inside laundry line. For Seaweed, nautical flea markets are an opportunity to find cool boat stuff at a decent price. I keep a running list of items I want on a card in my purse. I told you about my system in the 3x5 Cards article. Prior to Ian (Before and After Hurricane Ian article) Skipper and I were fortunate to attend the inaugural Madeira Beach Nautical Flea Market. I found a few winners and one not-so-good buy.
    Categories:  Characters, Gear, Locations, Money, Pets, Wild Things,

  • Marineland of Florida. As I was writing about my recent Disney trip with the kids (not yet uploaded) I recalled another place that remains dear to my heart. Though not in business these days, one of my favorite stops in Florida was Marineland. This attraction was just south of St. Augustine on the east coast. Marineland had a large marine aquarium which was such fun to view. They also were famous for their dolphin shows.|
    Categories: Books, Characters, Entertainment, Gear, Locations, Memory Lane, Pets, Wild Things,

  • Before and After Hurricane Ian (parts 1 and 2) Living aboard a boat in a hurricane prone area means weather watching is a given. Fortunately Hurricane Ian missed me. There are changes however that I will make going into the future. Though Seaweed did receive some damage, it was minimal. I was very lucky. This page contains both Before Hurricane Ian Arrived (part 1)  and After Hurricane Ian  (part 2).
    Categories:  Boats, Characters, Gear, Locations, Memory Lane, Money, Pets, Security, Wild Things,

  • After Hurricane Ian  (part 2) Watching Hurricane Ian as he headed north off the coast of Florida was nerve-wracking. Securing Seaweed with every line in my lockers was a given. Additionally all my fenders were deployed. Safety gear stored is stupid. EVERYTHING gets utilized when a storm is bearing down. Hurricane Ian was no different from others I have experienced over the years. Fortunately I "dodged a bullet" when the hurricane turned inland south of me.
    Categories:  Boats, Characters, Gear, Locations, Memory Lane, Money, Pets, Security, Wild Things,


  • Before Hurricane Ian Arrived (part 1) Skipper and I were extremely fortunate in that Hurricane Ian turned east before it reached us. Locals here are grateful we are not dealing with the dreadful aftermath that storm wrought just 85 miles south of here. Preparing for Hurricane Ian took place over nearly a week. Some plans were executed well. Alas I did make avoidable mistakes too.
    Categories:  Characters, Locations, Money, Pets, Security, Wild Things,

  • Operator Error re New Computer. As written about in the last article, I received a second new Dynabook computer. All was well in my world, until it wasn't. As I was writing the next couple of articles suddenly I had a problem. FrontPage2002 (yes, I am *that* old, and this is the professional paid-for version) wasn't cooperating. So I fought Front Page.
    Categories: Characters, Gear, Vignettes,

  • A New Computer. August was both a fabulous and frustrating month. First my friend Cheryl asked why I had not posted any new articles since June. As I had uploaded six articles during July I knew there was a problem. After investigating I discovered only one person (waves to Eva) from my mailing list was receiving notices. Argh!
    Categories: Characters, Entertainment, Money,

  • AC Install from Hades (Mistakes were Made, complete series) This became a series detailing the nightmare upgrade to a plug-and-play air-conditioning system aboard Seaweed. I would love to be able to tell you how well it went, explaining how smart I was, and the debacles I avoided. Alas, that's not what happened. Details follow.
    Categories:  Books, Characters, Comfort, Gear, In the Bilges, Locations, Money, Pets, Security, Wild Things,

  • Lessons Learned (Mistakes were Made, Part 7) This journey has been harrowing. I started out with a goal. That was to have an air conditioner that could cool my entire boat at the dock. For that I needed more than my 5,000 BTU wall-banger. After careful consideration I bought what I thought was a great RV a/c unit, the Penguin II with heat pump, made by Dometic. Unfortunately I received a damaged unit, and discovery of that was too late for me to be able to invoke the warranty or return it. I was stuck.
    Categories:  Characters, Gear,

  • Grainger's has Parts (Mistakes were Made, Part 6) Cap'n Jesse's first stop was Grainger's here in Clearwater. They are a major seller of gear, hardware, fan belts, bottom paint, motors and more. One of the things we hoped to purchase was a replacement motor for the Dometic. We also were seeking a new thermostat.
    Categories:  Characters, Gear, Locations, Money,

  • Calling Cap'n Jesse (Mistakes were Made, Part 5) The Penguin II is mounted between the two 85 watt solar panels that were gifted to me some time ago. All is well in my world, except the air-conditioner still does not work. It took a week for the new $267 thermostat to arrive from Camping World. In about the same time-frame the spiffy new 25' RJ11 telephone cord arrived via an eBay seller. Finally I had all pieces together and I should have cool air. But I don't. Nothing. Zero. Zilch. ARGH!
    Categories:  Books, Characters, Gear, In the Bilges, Locations,

  • Thermostat and RJ11 Troubles (Mistakes were Made, Part 4) In the previous installment of the Mistakes series, I detailed how I had purchased a brand new model 15,000 BTU Penguin II rooftop RV air-conditioner with a heat pump by Dometic. This was supposed to be a plug-and-play unit. The instructions though complicated were straight forward. I needed 110 AC power, plus 12 volts. How hard could that be?!?
    Categories:  Gear, Locations, Money, Security,

  • New Model Woes (Mistakes were Made, Part 3) This has become a multipart series on how to install an RV air-conditioner on a boat the wrong way. If there was an opportunity for something to have gone wrong, it did so. Though ultimately I am holding the proverbial bag, in retrospect mistakes I made throughout COULD have stopped the financial bloodbath.
    Categories:  Gear, Locations, Pets,

  • Ordered Dometic AC (Mistakes were Made, Part 2) The decision process to determine which particular air conditioner would suit Seaweed best was time consuming. Like all things boat, choices were weighed by virtue of cash on hand, space, and practicality. Though initially I appreciated the 5000 BTU wall-unit and its installation detailed in the Moby-Cool a/c cover Tweak article, I came to realize a larger more powerful unit would be better for when docked.
    Categories:  Characters, Gear, Locations, Wild Things,

  • Seaweed is too Hot (Mistakes were Made, Part 1) Last summer I had saved enough money to upgrade my air-conditioning system from a 5000 btu wall-banger to a much larger RV unit. Then I came into the difficulties of finding the one I wanted due to supply side interruptions. Finally on 17 September 2021 I was able purchase the Penguin II with heat pump made by Dometic.
    Categories:  Comfort, Gear,

  • Estate Sale Book Finds. Like many, I prefer being surrounded by old stuff. There is comfort in the familiar. When I look around Seaweed I see not only my history but that of others. Everywhere I see reminders of friends, both here and those who are no longer with me. I treasure those memories. A new neighbor named Colleen has reintroduced me to Estate Sales where bits of yesterday are available for purchase.
    Categories:  Boats, Books, Characters, Gear, In the Bilges, Locations, Memory Lane,

  • Green Herons. The wild birds around Seaweed bring me great joy. I also realize that few are privileged to see Green Herons in their natural habitat. A hidden nest in the mangroves hatched the two newest resident green herons. Watching the fledglings grow is a hoot. Baby birds are not the most attractive of critters. They make me feel good about my appearance first thing in the morning.
    Categories:  Books, Wild Things,

  • Inverter Friendly Pancake Griddle. The world is indeed wonderful. A while back I wrote about my pancake failures in the Pancake Memories vignette. My pancake making skills had disappeared, and proof was shown. What I did not realize is that there was an inverter friendly solution. Shortly thereafter Grace gifted me the perfect pancake maker.
    Categories:  Boat Talk, Boats, Characters, Galley, Memory Lane, Pets, Wild Things,

  • WD-40 versus Starting Fluid. One thing successful boaters seem to have in abundance an ability to adapt. Old timers such as myself realized long ago that change is inevitable. For instance, when I was a sweet young thing (that might have been decades ago) and diesel engines were being problematic the solution was to spray the air intake with WD-40. Back then it was deemed safer than ether. Both would turn over the engine and often the motor would start right up. Today however there are better alternatives.
    Categories: Books, Characters, Gear,

  • Watermaker Woes. Truly I am so fortunate. Quite some time ago a generous captain made a substantial donation to my PayPal account. That seed money was received at the perfect time. Almost simultaneously I was offered a Katadyn40 watermaker. Due to the wonderful donation I had enough in PayPal to make a deposit on the unit.
    Categories:  Anchorages, Boat Talk, Characters, Comfort, Gear, Locations, Memory Lane, Money, Pets, Wild Things,

  • Online Purchase Mistake. It is no surprise that getting older is not for sissies. Fortunately there is coffee. I prefer to sip my steaming brew through a straw. This is due to the fact that my boat rocks. Should I have my mouth up the the cup when the boat moves, there is a real possibility that I will be wearing my beverage versus drinking it. For this reason straws are preferred.
    Categories: Characters, Galley, Pets,

  • Soapbox:  Ladder Edition. For decades I have been a huge advocate of being able to safely board my boat from the water without assistance. Too many boaters have a momentary lapse and end up in the drink. This could happen to you. People have lost their lives. Today I will share a Bob tale.
    Categories:  Anchorages,
    Boat Talk, Boats, Characters, Gear, Locations, Security,

  • Pancake Memories. Of late I have been a bit more nostalgic than normal.  Revisiting in my memories life aboard our 40'er is pleasant. Growing up on the boat was both interesting and mundane. The dichotomy is true, and I suspect land dwellers have had similar experiences.
    Categories: Characters, Galley, Memory Lane, Organizing, Vignettes,

  • Witch Hazel. Older folks tend to talk about everything under the sun. Subjects that never would be discussed in polite company become dockside conversation topics. In that regard, one day we were chatting about medicine cabinet contents from our youth. Witch hazel was always in the lockers on our 40'er. The question now is, do you need to make space aboard for this item too?
    Categories: Money, Security, Unmentionables, Vignettes,

  • Declutter by Donation. Aboard Seaweed I have too much stuff. One of my weaknesses is galley gear. I have this idea (most likely a mistaken belief) that with just one more cookbook I will suddenly become a fabulous chef. Ha! Plus I admit to being fascinated by the smaller community cookbooks.
    Categories:  Becoming Clutter-Free, Books, Characters, Locations,

  • Thru-Hull Leak Series. This boater's nightmare became a multi-part series. This page, the Thru-Hull Leak Series contains all articles published regarding the leaking thru-hull fiasco. For those on slower connections or who prefer smaller pieces, the shorter articles can be found here: Finding the Leak (part 1), and Temporary Thru-Hull Fix (part 2).
    Categories: Gear, In the Bilges,

  • Temporary Thru-Hull Fix (part 2) To recap, a sailboat a couple canals over from me had a thru-hull cap failure. Thanks to that trite term "thinking outside the (wine) box" the problem with the leaking thru-hull was temporarily resolved. Definite emphasis should be placed on the word "TEMPORARILY" as this is in no way a solution, however...!
    Categories: Gear, In the Bilges,

  • Finding the Leak (part 1) It was a bad day a couple canals south of here recently. Life lessons were reinforced. One neighbor owns an older production sailboat. He experienced the nightmare of water intrusion. Locating where the problem originated was the first priority. Here is what was done.
    Category: In the Bilges,

  • Manatee Mornings. This morning at approximately 0330 I heard the distinctive sound of manatee breathing outside my home. There were at least two and possibly three manatees visiting the mangroves behind Seaweed. I sat in the cockpit, quietly enjoying the night world. What great way to begin 2022!
    Categories:  Wild Things,

(this is the Archive for year 2022)

Click for the complete year 2021 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!

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