bla-bla-bla progressions

boat tip #1: removing sticky residue from the deck

Did you know that you’re not supposed to put duct tape on the exterior of a boat?


I did not know that. In an effort to seal up the boat before leaving on my long road trip back in October, I duct taped small pieces of tarp over each porthole (window). I had one helluva time getting the duct tape off. In one of my rants about everything I’m hating about working on the ports, someone gave me a really great tip which just saved me a lot of hassle.

Did you know that WD-40 and a metal scraper will remove the sticky stuff of the duct tape like nobodies business? I had previously tried acetone, which works after oh.. forever. If you didn’t know this, now you do.

The sun is finally out and the boat is dry, so the work on the ports continues!


road trip! hwy 1 & new mexico

I recently returned from an action packed trip to everywhere. I checked quite a few things off my bucket list, so if I die tomorrow I’ll be OK with that.

I’d heard all about Highway 1 down the coast of California, but I wanted to see it for myself. Foggy with a chance of beautiful? Check. The doggies weren’t too happy with me loading them into the car at 6 am, but when we stopped in Carmel for a run on the beach they quickly forgave me. Proof in the photo below.. I just love Zita’s face in this picture.


I’ve been to Carmel three times now, and twice I saw dolphins near the beach. Never gets old!



Weee! They hate being wet, but wading in the water/waves is somehow acceptable. We continued on down the coast, stopping often to take pictures.





I had planned to stop in Morro Bay to camp, but it was so foggy I couldn’t see anything. I kept driving until I saw a brown triangle sign (the one for camping) and drove 14 miles off the 1 down to the campsite. Jalama Beach was a great spot to stay overnight and get some rest, but there was a $10 entry fee, $28 camping fee, and $3 per dog. Are you kidding me? Not to mention no dogs were allowed on the beach off leash, and you couldn’t even swim in the water due to the currents. Needless to say, I left before the sun rose. That’s why I prefer backcountry camping, but it’s hard to do that when you’re also on a road trip. I had to be in New Mexico by a certain date to catch the full moon actives at White Sands.

Speaking of New Mexico, it was the one state I hadn’t been to on the Western side of the US. I lived in the desert for six years, you’d think I could have made it over there at some point right? To be completely honest, I was afraid to take these trips alone. I wanted a companion. I gave up on that thought obviously! Bear and Zita are down for anything, being as they’ve so graciously adapted to boat life I figured they could go camping and road tripping just the same. I’m glad I finally did the trip, I was pleasantly surprised to see the variety in New Mexico’s landscape.



I didn’t quite make it in time to backcountry camp in White Sands, but that’s OK because there was an awesome (free!) spot to camp nearby. We returned the following day to do a beautiful 5 mile hike and check out the rest of what the park had to offer.





In addition to checking things off my bucket list, I had a lot of unanticipated new experiences in this adventure. On my way over to NM I drove 100 miles in an Arizona rain storm where I couldn’t even see the road or signs whatsoever. I learned how to properly use my windshield wipers…. Even the back one I was sure didn’t have a button. I also realized that I needed new tires (gurl was hydroplaning. a lot.).

I learned how to use Hunter’s 4 wheel drive while I was on a steep dirt road I couldn’t believe I got onto in the first place! A kind stranger was in the right place at the right time. That also means I took Hunter off-roading! Several times!! We vroom vroomed all over the desert and mountains.

I braved 50 mph winds in my tent in 28 degree temperatures while stranded in Taos, New Mexico. People offered me a place to sleep in their warm rv’s, but I opted to stay put. Cindy and Joe from Corpus Christi not only fed me, gave me blankets, got me a spare bike tire when mine was flat, gave me extra food, gave me an awesome lantern, lent me tools, etc. I couldn’t thank them enough for what they’d done for me! Chuck from Florida gave me a ride from the auto shop, gave me blankets, and extra dog food for the little ones. John and Concha from the Monte Bello RV park only charged me half rate for camping, they also fed me and recommended a shop for me to get Hunter (the Jeep) serviced at. I might have been stuck at the rv park for five unanticipated days, but I wasn’t alone. It was a group effort to get Rachel to Colorado. I also saw enough tarantulas that I don’t think I will squeal I ever see one again. I wish I had been able to explore Taos more, but I have a feeling that I will be back!



Next stop… Colorado!


a boat birthday

Coconut and I survived the stormageddon. Guess what: IT’S STILL RAINING. I was born and raised in Seattle, although I haven’t lived there for 13 years. I do not miss the rain one bit. The wet weather did stop for the weekend though, which happened to be my 32nd birthday.

I usually go big for my birthday but I couldn’t this year due to the whole unemployment thing. I stayed home instead and was strangely OK with that this year.


I had my own little raft up in Sausalito for their 27th Annual Lighted Boat Parade and Fireworks show. I haven’t rafted up at Sausalito before, nor have I ever seen a lighted boat parade. Some friends from Bezerkeley came and rafted up with me. We actually joined a raft up that was already in place, many whom I know but haven’t seen in a while.



It was a great time, but my favorite part by far was the trip home. It was my first solo motor-trip, as I’m still getting used to relying on the engine and docking solo. Bear Zita and I cuddled as the engine hummed along and we enjoyed the sights of the beautiful city we live in. I’m a huge fan of seeing San Fran from the water! It’s just so beautiful. It also marks three years that I’ve been living on a boat. My oh my how life has changed 🙂

adventures bla-bla-bla

preparing for stormageddon: part 2

After reassessing the situation up on deck and some input from boat-friends, I’ve come up with a solution for tonights upcoming stormageddon.

1. I straightened out the tarps and repositioned the weights to be able to handle S, SE winds. 40 knots are projected, which is a lot.

2. I moved every loose and not-heavy-not-holding-anything-down object inside, except the propane tanks for the BBQ. Those are in a corner in the cockpit and should be safe.

3. I tightened the halyards and dock lines. The halyards are nowhere near the mast and there shouldn’t be any blood-curdling noise of line-slapping. Not from my boat anyways!

4. I washed the boat down.

“You washed the boat down?” you asked? Yes, I washed it. I did this for a few reasons.

First, as I was repositioning the tarps I was emptying out puddles of water everywhere. I thought this was a good idea until some light breezes came by and lifted the tarps up. I didn’t even think about it: the weight of the water keeps the tarp down! As a side note, my tarps are brown and the marina only allows silver tarps. I didn’t know this, so I am trying to be as inconspicuous as possible. Because of this, I have the tarps directly on the deck, not hanging over the boom or lifelines.


Second, I washed the boat down because I had done some work yesterday on the porthole and there was crud everywhere that sweeping up wasn’t getting up.

Third, I have two very hairy dogs and I’ve found that their hair will collect in the cockpit and clog the scuppers (drains), thus preventing water flow to leave the boat.



We’re all ready for stormageddon! I know there’s no freaking way I’m sleeping tonight (storms = loud), so I’m going to try taking a nap while I can.


preparing for stormageddon

No, I’m not referring to recent protests happening in the PRoB (People’s Republic of Berkeley). Yet another reason I am glad I don’t live there anymore.

I have a weather app on my phone that has issued 13 warnings for me in the last week. No matter what day it was, AccuWeather really wanted me to know what was going to happen between Wednesday evening into Thursday evening. I had no idea what the big dealio was until I actually read through the red (!) (!) (!) notifications.



Aaah, ok. Another storm. No big deal, right? We’ve had 50 MPH gusts through the area in the last three years. Right guys?? No? Oh… Oh dear.

I’ve become increasingly frustrated with my porthole situation. Every day I get a little more defeated. Today I was going to finish the portholes on the starboard side, but guess what? The screws I removed from the frames won’t go back in. (Some keep spinning, or others won’t go in all the way. Many broke off when attempting to remove them.) Because there was Sikaflex everywhere, I didn’t want to start drilling/picking out the rot/epoxying/drill another hole. OK fine, boat. You win. You will have no starboard portholes this week.

The frames with the new glass are ready to be put back on, although I still need the gaskets. I was trying to get this done before stormageddon, which initially I thought was just going to be a couple of days of rain. But with 50 MPH gusts? How the heck are my tarps going to stay on and keep the water out?!?! That’s my real dilemma. I borrowed weights from a neighbor and will spend tomorrow gearing up for a low grade hurricane.


To blow off some steam, I took the dogs for a long walk and took some photos of the beautiful sunset. I explored a new area I handn’t been to yet and met another guy walking his dog. I asked if there was a beach nearby where the dogs could run around. He led me to this hidden paradise! Le sigh. I lost my boat battle this week, but when all else fails I still have this. If anyone has any tips for gearing up for a storm, I’d love to hear it!


bla-bla-bla progressions

working under pressure: the rainy season!

People keep asking how I’m doing during this rain… To be honest I’m the driest I’ve been on the boat so far! That’s mostly due to me positioning the tarps better, though. The work for a dry boat is just getting started 🙂 I should have started this a while ago, obviously, but when the sun is out I have a hard time being cooped up inside.


At the top of the picture you can just barely see the frame of a porthole (window) and it’s a little greenish. It’s currently soaking in goo, which is made up of vinegar, salt, and flour. That’s what’s in the blue bowl on the table. I’ve found this goo works better if it sits for an hour or two where the salt can dissolve. It makes for a good mixture to put on the brass frame, which is applied with a paintbrush. It turns green as the patina comes off, and after a ton of scrubbing with a wire brush, there should be some nice shiny brass.

Then I’ve got some Goof Off, which works great for getting the black sticky stuff off (you can see it better on the frame to the left). Pour the Goof Off where the sticky stuff is and take a wire brush to it. Scrub a dub dub. The flathead and 5-in-1 work good for removing thick concentrations of the black sticky stuff, too.

After the black sticky stuff is gone, I paint the brass pieces with the vinegar goo and let it sit for about 15 minutes. Scrub scrub scrub with the wire brush, rinse it off, dry it off, re-paint with goo. Repeat several hundred times until the brass is all even-colored.

Finish off by polishing with Brasso.

Don’t forget to wear gloves like I did. Your fingernails will be green for a week if you don’t protect your hands.

Celebrate a victory and attempt to remove the next port. This includes some PB Blaster, a punch, some pliers to remove the cotter pin, and lots of swearing. Not to be out done by attempting to remove the piece of glass from the frame. Lots of swearing really helps. Perhaps listening to Metallica helps, too. While you’re at it, have some whiskey. It’s going to be a long week when it takes two days to remove and clean up two portholes and you’ve got six more to go… !!!!

I’ve found the correct gaskets online, I’ve ordered new pieces of glass, and right now I’m just jamming out to some music as I get the frames prepped for the new glass and new gaskets. I hope to have SHINY brass port lights that are DRY by next week!