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Date: 3 July 2014. Budget Boating.


And now, back to our regularly scheduled posts, albeit a bit late!

Boating does not have to mean mega-millions, or even thousands of dollars.  There is another way, and the fun is available for those of modest means.  I know some of the friendliest of folks I have met have been exploring and enjoying the waters in much smaller boats than mine.  If they can do it, why not you?

Mark and Lynn visited Seaweed. They are from Colorado, and having fun in Florida.


When Lynn and her husband stopped by, I learned that Lynn had recently taken a trip down the Colorado River, white-water rafting and camping.  How cool is that?!?

As promised, here are the photographs I took: [Click, and you'll get the full sized versions.]

I also have a 3+ meg
picture of Mark and Lynn.

Click HERE for it.


And thanks for visiting
Seaweed and signing
my Log Book. :)


Sometimes being on the water does mean a live-aboard capable yacht, however lots can be said for the smaller boats out here.  The folks who use them tend to be curious about and interested in the world.

What I am referring to of course is those who paddle, row and putt-putt along in smaller craft such as canoes, kayaks, and even something designated a "cat-a-canoe" by it's builder. 

This exploration however was best described in a book called "Beachcruising and Coastal Camping" and I believe that one ought to be in every budget boater's library. My original copy was borrowed by a friend on a 27' sailboat -- and never returned. I do not loan my new copy. It's a Keeper.


Beachcruising and Coastal Camping


The authors of of this gem, Ida Little and Michael Walsh, are just the sort of folks I like best. They are intrepid and actually have adventures while not spending a ton of cash. Their book offers practical advice on everything from supplies (toilet paper, food stuffs, etc.) to being safe, having fun and more.


There are so many different ways to boat, and I guarantee it does not take a $100,000 boat to be on the water and having fun. Often the smaller kayaks and canoes are available for rent. You can try before you buy.  But note: when it is yours you will probably make some modifications, and/or add cool stuff to make your time afloat even better, just like Ida and Michael did.

Recently I met a couple of ladies who were paddling by my boat.  Amanda and Patty were in SunDolphin kayaks and having just the best time. Florida girls, the three of us laughed and had a great time getting to know each other. 

Photo taken on the Steinhatchee River near Marker 48.




I took pictures of Patty and Amanda. It was a delight to meet the duo, and should they ever see Seaweed again, I hope they will stop by for another visit. 


Paddling is one way to get around, however I met Ron a while back and he outfitted his canoe with an outboard motor.  That is rather cool, and surely does make going upstream a lot easier. 

With a bit of ingenuity, Ron's made certain he can travel greater distances without getting tired. Smart man!


But then Ron thought some more and because he had a second canoe, he built what he calls a Cat-a-canoe.  His, nicknamed TOTS for Terror Of The Seas, is a marvel.



Though Ron has spent about $2,000 for his Terror Of The Seas cat-a-canoe* he told me that if he'd chosen used canoes, a used motor and less expensive plywood, he could have built TOTS for about $500.

*Cat-a-canoe is a made up word. Ron uses it as a playful reference to a catamaran, a vessel with two hulls.


Extra fuel is in the port side canoe.


Ron also stores folding chairs in the starboard
canoe. Obviously this is for calm days on lazy rivers.


On the Carrabelle River heading eastbound:

Ron's cat-a-canoe is made from two Rogue River 14' canoes. He also bought a new four-stroke Honda 2hp outboard.


Though not fancy by any means, Ron has a pretty good system. He has his life preservers handy and accessible at the bow of both canoes. His seat is a cooler with cold coca-cola. TOTS even has a ship's flag with a manatee on it.


Of late I have noticed more and more folks taking advantage of kayaks as a mode of transportation, and to explore quiet waters. Visiting friends takes on a whole new meaning when kayaks are involved!  A friend named Renee sure has fun with hers:

Renee of Seahorse II enjoys her kayak. Renee's has foot propulsion too -- very spiffy! 

I met a fellow named Rich back in Pearl Bayou with that foot propulsion set-up which he stated unequivocally that it was the best.  He could go quite rapidly with the foot pedals.  Rich uses his kayak for fishing. He trucked his kayak where ever the fish were biting and the mosquitoes were not.

Someday Rick thought he might buy a bigger boat, but for now there was real pleasure in simple combining fishing with kayaking. When we chatted over tea aboard Seaweed he did say given an option, to go with the foot pedal kayaks if possible. He liked that version best and commented about fast he could go via simple foot power.

Even those of us with dinghies sometimes also have kayaks aboard our boats.  A friend named Angela aboard S/V Teasa from Brazil visited me in her kayak one afternoon.

She brought a delicious cake too. A kayak is often easier to use than an outboard because you can go straight across the shallows. That cannot be done with an outboard.

Angela paddles home after visiting Seaweed:


Still, the folks that have written the book about using canoes, day-sailboats and kayaks are Ida Little and Michael Walsh.  They have a system, and their book is a real gem for those that wish to explore roughing it, with some degree of comfort thrown in.


Beachcruising and Coastal Camping


Even though I prefer my trawler -- after all, Seaweed is my home, Ida and Michael have so much practical advice in their book that I advise boat friends to buy it.  It is for folks on a budget who cannot afford to throw money at each problem as it occurs. [That would definitely be me.]


Small boats are reviewed, both the good and bad!


For folks with smaller boats, and those who do not wish to invest major dollars in a big boat at this point, Beachcruising will open your eyes to possibilities.

Not only do Ida and Michael give unbiased reviews of boats they have owned, they also tell you how to fix what they consider detriments to the boats.  In both pictures and text we are shown how to improve a day-sailer, along with what modifications will improve our experience afloat.

They tell what they liked, as well as what could be better in a variety of inexpensive watercraft.  From personal experience, I find the tweaks very useful.  I might not do exactly as they have done, but I will take their idea and make it suit my vessel.

Ida and Michael have wintered in the Bahamas, coastal hopped along the Carolinas, camped along New England coasts and more. They don't say "No" or "I can't" but instead embrace the word "Yes," and have a great time while doing so.

Another nice feature in Beachcruising and Coastal Camping is found in italics. The Editor has added comments that I found of benefit.

See page on right.


And they provide you with a "What I wish I knew then" and how to make stuff better in the future.  Their book is like sitting around a pot luck on the beach and chatting with new friends about what works, along with what does not. I liked it.


If you have a 40'er, Beachcruising will probably not be of much use. However, for those of us with small boats and limited budgets, there are nuggets of information in the book.  This is one of the few boat books aboard Seaweed -- it is a Keeper.

For instance if you were anchored off  a deserted island, would you have any idea how to find fresh water?  I did not -- until I read this book. Not that I ever plan on being marooned on a remote island, but if the zombies come, I want to be ready!

Does your boating include canoes or kayaks?
And, have you a motor on your vessel? What kind of motor (trolling, outboard?)

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