girls backpacking trip! big sur


“Hey, do you want to go backpacking for a few days next week? School doesn’t start until the week after and I really want to get a trip in before hand” my friend Leann asked me as we were hanging out on a neighbors boat. What a coincidence! I had been avoiding boat work for about a week and wasn’t really sure what to do with myself. We hiked 30+ miles in three days, and the next week we went back to Big Sur to hike 20 more (and were four ladies instead of two).

It’s a 3.5 hour drive to Big Sur and we were trying to get to Sykes Springs. During the storms late last year there were a couple of rock slides, so the trail is only open on the back end (i.e.: an extra hour of driving time in the backwoods). We got to China Camp (in Los Padres National Forest, not San Rafael) at 10:30 pm I believe. We parked and went in search of the hiking trail, headlamps and all. Well, we got a little turned off when we found the trail and it had a sign saying the trail was impassable at a certain point. A couple of us weren’t comfortable proceeding, so we set up camp and slept at China Camp for the night. In the morning we felt more comfortable and set off for a long arse hike.

We only made it 10 miles to the Redwood Campsite, but it was a really long trek just to get there. I guess I’m just so used to doing things on my own, I have a hard time going at other people’s pace if they’re vastly different from mine. I’m a fast walker, so I tend to be a fast hiker. Leann and I are at the same pace, but as a group it was tough to stick together. We weren’t able to make it to the springs, which was a bummer, but it was still drop dead gorgeous and a great hike! Also, the ban on campfires was lifted so that was really nice warming up by the fire at night.

The only other thing I would have changed is bringing a tick key with us. When I’d gone to Big Sur the first time, the dogs picked up fleas like nobodies business. This time, little Miss Z had ticks all. over. her. Bear stayed with his Uncle (dog sitter), he’s having hip issues 🙁

Z did the 20 mile hike like it was nothing, and I’m beginning to think hiking might be her “thing”. Bear is a lover, Zita is a hiker. She and her boyfriend for the weekend, Jack (J-Z as I called them) had a lot of fun staying right at my heels almost the entire time. Who could get closest? Oops, just ran into her heel. Too close. Wait, gotta get clooosseerrrwhack.



11 pm finish time. 50 miles hiked in a weeks’ time. My knee and hip still hurt. Getting old sucks.


road trip! southern utah

I have a confession: I am in love. With Southern Utah. There is SOO much to do there! I had no idea how great of a hiking/camping/outdoorsy area it was. Between my two nights vroom vrooming through sandy roads to get a cave like camping spot, to Coyote Buttes, Zion, Kanab, Arches, coral pink sand dunes, the list goes on. The place is spectacular, and I could spend a couple of weeks exploring and still not have time to see everything!

Let’s start with the first night. I was tired and needing somewhere to sleep. I had no reception, so I have no idea where I was. By now I’d learned to look for the tire tracks off the side of the highway as a path to free camping spots. The first tracks I tried led me to this awesome lake. The difference between the sunset and sunrise were pretty spectacular. Not to mention I found an actual road that led to the lake, but why drive on a road when you can ride on a semi-scary dirt road using your 4-wheel drive skills you have yet to perfect? I mean, the answer is obvious.





I needed to get down to Kanab, as I was meeting a long time friend Jamie so we could hike Coyote Buttes. Coyote Buttes was in Northern Arizona, but for some reason you needed to get the permit to hike the Buttes in Kanab, UT some 40 miles away. I had also since learned visitor centers had water fill stations as well as knowledgeable people who could lead me to awesome free campsites. The guy there led me to a sweet half-cave near the country’s largest no-kill animal shelter. I liked it so much there, I spent a couple of nights here. It really was a special place. My friend Jose sent me off with a bottle of Colorado made whiskey, which honestly couldn’t have been more perfect. At that moment, life was pretty damned good. I also decided that Coconut’s middle name was to be Huckleberry. Coconut Huckleberry Belle.




Between the trek through Arches (no dogs allowed, I just drove around for a couple of hours), my hike with Jamie through Coyote Buttes, and a quick 8 mile hike through Zion (also don’t allow dogs), and the Coral Pink Sand Dunes, I really wish I could have spent more time in this area.

IMG_4848 IMG_4674

By now I’ve obviously lost all decency! What can I say? I’m a wild woman. Next stop… Arizona!


say hello to my new fridge!


My old fridge was slowly dying. The end of a much too short era. I went two and a half years of not having a fridge, and on my new boat and six months of having one… I need/want/must have the fridge. I went ahead and whipped out the credit card and bought a new Isotherm unit. It was a fairly easy install, and I saved myself $500 in labor!

I’d called my neighbor Fred over to make sure I wasn’t jacking up this new piece of equipment, and he said “you know kiddo, you really amaze me. I know plenty of men who wouldn’t attempt to do what you’re doing.” Fred’s my favorite neighbor, who I’ve since learned is this gentleman. And he’s right. I recently tried dating a land guy who really threw me for a loop. When giving him a tour of my boat he professed “eew, so I’m never going to use your toilet.”

Excuse me? My brand new, clean, odor free, FUNCTIONING toilet isn’t good enough for you? That was the first of many insults he spewed out about my boat and life on the water. Happiness lies within your attitude, not within what you have. If he could be so negative having been onboard for a mere couple of hours on a beautiful sunny afternoon, god forbid he be on the boat while it’s moving or raining.

While I was replacing the fridge, I installed a snazzy soap dispenser I bought myself using an Amazon gift card from my bestie. I hated fiddling with the soap bottle on the counter, it gets in the way of gaining access to my spices and whatnot. A girl needs a clutter free space!




The new Isoterhm unit is so much smaller and quieter than the old kerplunker (it was an Adler Barber, but ancient). I’m very happy with it and very happy I was able to install it on my own. You can see the bottle above for the soap dispenser, it fits like a glove. Yay to fixing shit!


boat tip #2: marking anchor chain

I hadn’t marked my anchor chain prior to being on the hook for a few days for New Years. That proved to be a mistake, and it led me to research how one should mark anchor chain. I found a method I found to be very simple and straight forward using zip ties. It was noted to keep the tails on, for visibility and for the sake of your hands in handling them (when cut they can really hurt you).


I used two colored zip ties for two different lengths:
pink = 25′
yellow = 100′

I brought all 300′ of chain out onto the deck in 25′ segments. In the photo above, one yellow and two pink = 150′ of chain. It only took 30 minutes total and almost zero brain power. For good measure, I put three blue zip ties near the end of the chain to signify STOP!

I hope this helps anyone who hasn’t yet marked their anchor chain!



leaks leaks leaks

“Hey, how do you fix leaks?” this ridiculously-too-handsome of a man asked me as we ran into each other at a boat store a couple of months ago. I’d met him before, a new resident of my old ‘hood. 22 years young and just bought his first boat (a wooden 35’er). I just wanted to give him a hug and apologize. I knew my answer wasn’t going to be what he needed to hear.

I remember that feeling. Whenever I got complex answers early on in my boating endeavors, my eyes glazed over and somehow my ears closed shut. I wasn’t hearing a “get this product” or “do this and that”. I was more being asked questions I didn’t have answers to, and it was frustrating.

My dear Coconut has her fare share of leaks I have slowly been working on over the past couple of months. I’m happy to report progress has been made! My strategy has been like so: find the worst offender, try to fix it. If you can’t fix it, cover it really well when it rains. There are way too many leaks and it’s overwhelming to attempt to correct them all simultaneously, so I figure one set of problems at a time should do the trick. Of course you can only repair these areas when it has been dry for at least three days, so it’s a fun game of waiting for mother nature to start repairs and then test out your work. (You could spray the area with a hose upon completion, but I find if an area is still dry on day two of rain you did good son.)

Let’s dig in to where my baby girl is a bit leaky, shall we?

Exhibit A: 3″ holes on both port and starboard sides of the boat. I’m assuming, because of the old screw holes, at one point something had been here to cover the holes. I bought two clam shell covers and used butyl tape to 100% keep moisture out. I’ve also epoxied the wood on the inside. Incase water does get in, there is no chance allowing it to rot.

Project complete.




Exhibit B: Hatches. I can’t even get into taking apart the hatches right now, so covering them with plastic found in the shop has done mighty fine in the aft cabin. Not so much in the forward cabin, which tells me there’s a fiberglassing issue or something else that remains a mystery. Cover with tarp/plastic.

Project incomplete.


Exhibit C: Portholes. I don’t really want to talk about these right now. I found dry rot behind the exterior frames. (starts crying) Cover with a tarp and go to bed early.

Project in progress.


Exhibit D: Exposed screws in the toe rail. The toe rail has been sanded down so much over the years that the bungs (that’s what they’re called! don’t laugh) came out and the screws are exposed. I can’t fit bung holes (stop laughing!) in most of the areas, so I could try to make my life miserable by attempting to remove the screws and rebidding them. Or I could pour some GloveIt resin over the offending screws. Success! Many previous “where the f is this water coming from?” areas are staying dry now. Also, the photo below is bare fiberglass. The steady stream of water already did cause quite a bit of water damage.

Project complete… (but I’d like to rebuild this area one day when I’m rich!)



Exhibit E: Improper previous caulking/repairs. This part of the cockpit used to be a hatch that opened up to the shop area. Someone closed it off for some reason but didn’t do a good job of it. Somewhere water is leaking in and I have to remove all the caulking anyways and redo it, so I might as well open the sucker back up while I’m at it. Again, not something I can get into right now, so covering it with plastic does the job and keeps this area dry.

Project incomplete.



Exhibit F: Random hardware holes. There aren’t too many of these offending areas on the deck, but one cleat had been ripped off and with all the water I was getting in the aft cabin I thought I’d jam some balled up butyl tape into the remaining holes. If no hardware will be going in, I will epoxy the holes to seal them for good.

Project complete.



Exhibit G: Deck hardware. Stanchion bases, cleats, tracks. I’ve found removal of these offending pieces to be next to impossible. The bolts come off easily down below. The screws up on the deck 100% of the time will. not. budge. (grabs tissues) I spray them down with PB Blaster. I have an impact driver. Manual AND mechanical. I’ve had several people attempt to help me with this. They won’t budge. I’m thinking dynamite might work. What do you think, guys???

Project in progress….


Exhibit H: Missing appliances, etc. So Coconut used to have a Charlie Noble (coal heater) that I decided after months of relocating it that I just didn’t want it. It wasn’t installed, as the previous installation had been done improperly and (guess what?!) leaked and caused water damage. The hole for the chimney is still there, though. It is covered by the tarp when covering the portholes and forward hatch.


There was also something (possibly a metal channel?) where the wires would run from the mast to the interior of the boat. I’ve simply stuffed that with some plastic, although it doesn’t entirely work.


I’m also missing a dorade box. I’ve elegantly covered the area where the box should be with a bucket. There’s even a sandbag on top to keep said bucket from flying away. It works for now! I’ve got a guy on speed dial who can custom make a dorade box whose construction matches the other boxes already on board. I’m just waiting to win the lotto (that I never play).

Projects incomplete.


BONUS! I installed a drain. One improvement I made wasn’t quite a repair, but it was necessary to allow water run off to keep running into the bilge. At some point in Coconut’s boat life, something happened in the head (bathroom) area. There should be a sump pump here to remove excess water, as this is where the shower is located. There were a lot of repairs made in the area, but it’s a mystery as to why. Anyways, I found that a cutesy little hole (these have a name, I’m blanking on what they are) was allowing water to drain from the aft cabin but it was pooling up in the head and I was having to vacuum it out after getting rain. For a few bucks I found a drain at the Blue Pelican (favorite boat store!) and bought a hose to fit on the other end of the drain. I cut a hole to size, epoxied it, and voila! The water run off is no longer my problem-o.

Project complete.




Seeing all the work I still have ahead of me is a bit daunting, but I’m feeling much more in control when the rain does come to visit because at least I know where it is coming from. The boat stays dry for the most part and is much more comfortable to be on during a storm.

May all our boats be dry one day!