Fall Boating Weekend in Seattle

Calm Fall Day Boating Seattle

Fall Boating……..

Scott and I are so glad that we have chosen to use our boat all year round, as this past weekend was a perfect time for Fall boating.  It was unusually warm during the day with temps of 69º and no wind at all. We headed down to the boat at Elliott Bay Marina on Friday afternoon with our golden retriever Mac.  We didn’t think he would have another weekend on the boat due to his age and health, but he did great! The colors of the trees are absolutely gorgeous at the marina! I shared many photos in my blog about autumn in the marina.

Elliott Bay Marina Autumn

If you remember back a few weeks, we had removed everything off of the boat, including our bedding. So we had to bring our bedding and pillows back down for the weekend. Luckily, I use Jumbo Space Saver Bags which work great.

Fall boating weekend Seattle

golden retriever boating dog

The water was so calm it looked like glass! During the Fall and Winter, the marina is very quiet as many boats have left for the season. We soaked up the sun with a few cocktails and enjoyed our happy hour.

Calm Fall Day Boating Seattle

During  the Summer, the sunset is so far north, that we can barely see it. Now it is setting much farther south and we can actually enjoy it. Here are the two season’s sunsets from the bow of our boat.

horizon sun seattle summer boating
Summer Sunset
seattle sunset boating
Fall Sunset

sunset horizon Seattle boating

Scott and I had dinner on Queen Anne, one of Seattle‘s quaint neighborhoods. They have lots of restaurants and bars to choose from. It was  Halloween weekend, so everyone was dressed up.  We headed back to the marina fairly early and the moonrise was absolutely stunning! Using just my Samsung Edge 7 phone, it takes amazing photos!

Seattle boating moorage

Our first Fall Saturday on the boat

We woke up around 7:30am and the sunrise made DT Seattle look like it was on fire!

marina sunrise Seattle

Sunrising boats seattle

Feeling a bit lazy, Scott and I decided to go out for breakfast. Ballard is only about 5 minutes from the marina, so we headed to a new restaurant called “Eggs and Us“. I love all things eggs and their menu was huge! The food was outstanding and perfect. Scott ordered the “Elvis Presley” and OMG! This was a French toast dish – two pieces of bread, with peanut butter between them, then dipped in egg wash and dredged in Panko crumbs. Then they deep fry it! LOL. I don’t normally take food photos, but you have to see this!

breakfast ballard

Ally Docking the Boat

We decided to take advantage of the perfect weather and have me practice docking on the “yacht dock” at the marina. The winds were basically non existent and it was the perfect day to do this.

practice docking seattle

Here’s the video of Ally docking the boat:

Docking a boat is definitely nerve racking! A few months ago, I tried on the same dock but I freaked out because it was really windy. It is helpful having someone tell you specifically what to do as you are moving. BUT if they call out the wrong instructions, it can also fluster you.

After docking about four times, we headed into the marina. Scott wanted me to pull completely into our fairway (not slip) and I got around the first two yachts and then I had him take over. Remember, Scott’s first docking event (which he did without instruction – wow!).  Again, here’s what we have to do to get into our slip. My advice, is take it very slow and feel comfortable. For me, I didn’t like practicing around other objects (boats, booms or buoys.). Once you find your comfort zone, then go at your own pace.

entering marinas difficult yachts

Trail walk from Elliott Bay Marina

After practicing on the boat, we needed to get out for a walk. There are two marked walking paths from Elliott Bay Marina and we took the one to the north.  We ended up doing a full loop, which was about 4-5 miles!

bike path magnolia

walking paths north seattle

zinc out fencing

salmon safe parks

Seattle bike paths

seattle bike bath

seattle walking path

Interurban walking trail

walking path magnolia seattle

Fall boating weekend seattle

magnolia bridge water view

Who knew staying on a boat could mean this much exercise!? Mac didn’t even walk with us and he was all tuckered out!

old golden sleeping

Things in the Marina

The herons this weekend were hysterical.  One heron made friends with a bird deterrent owl on a boat and the other looked like he was trying to mate the radar (normally their necks are long and skinny)! LOL

marine life birds

marine life birds seattle

We went out to dinner with friends and came back fairly early as we were exhausted. Downtown Seattle was so cool looking from the boat.

view space needle night

Sunday in the Marina

Scott and I had planned on taking the boat out again, but woke up to thick fog and decided to call it a weekend. Even Mac was ready to go home.

Fall Boating Weekend

sail boats foggy seattle

old boating dog Seattle

Staying on the boat for the weekend is like a mini vacation. It seemed like we had been gone for days and it was less than 48 hours. I can’t imagine life any other way now that we are here.  Cheers! Until the next journey! Scott and Ally #KokomoSeattle

Our Favorite Caribbean Vacations

caribbean island lookout point

Favorite Caribbean Vacations

Scott and I have many favorite Caribbean vacations. Though we live on the West Coast of the United States (where most folks go to Hawaii or Mexico), we only go to the Caribbean. There’s something about the smell of the tropical air, the warm breezes and the steel drum music that takes you away instantly.  Our love for the Caribbean started on our honeymoon, during our first trip to Antigua.  Antigua is located in the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean Sea and also the Atlantic Ocean, as you can see in the second image below.

caribbean lesser antilles barbados

barbados less antilles atlantic ocean


For our honeymoon in 2003, we stayed at the Sandals Antigua Resort.  We picked Antigua because the resort was unique and looked romantic. Since then, the resort has doubled in size, but kept it’s quaint beach front. Now Antigua is one of our favorite Caribbean Islands.

swimming in the caribbean sea
March 2003

We returned to Sandals Grande Antigua in 2011 after their big remodel. During this trip, we took our first circumnavigation tour of the island on the Wadadli Catamaran.  The tour took about seven hours and was so fun!

catamaran tour caribbean island

In 2016, we came back to Antigua which I wrote about in my blog. We spent so much time touring the island, both on land and at sea, that I wrote four blogs about our trip. Click on the titles to links to the blogs.

Antigua sting ray city tourist

caribbean sea animal

M/Y Lady L
M/Y Lady L

antigua english harbor

antigua caribbean island view

caribbean island lookout point
Shirley Heights Lookout Point view of English Harbor
tourist spot antigua
This rock island has the Caribbean Sea on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other. Read our blog for more details.
tourist island excursion antigua
View from the top of Bird Island

sail boat washed ashore caribbean

antigua sunset


We have only been to Nassau, which is the capital of the Bahamas. Surprisingly, it is almost parallel with Miami. Be sure to keep that in mind if you visit the Bahamas (or Key West) in January, as it can be cold!

caribbean islands map

When Scott and I visited Nassau in 2008, Florida had a freeze and we had a few days where it did not get above 60º. However, it is a beautiful place and we hope to return and visit the Exumas and the swimming pigs someday.


tropical vacation sailing

caribbean cruising ports

tourist market Bahamas

tropical vacation nassau


Jamaica is located due west of Haiti & Dominican Republic. We have been to Jamaica five times over the past twelve years. The primary reason is that the island folks are extremely friendly and it’s affordable from Seattle. Again, we have always stayed at a Sandals Resort each time. We have been to Montego Bay, Negril, Ocho Rios and White House.

caribbean islands map

tourist towns caribbean

  • Montego Bay

Our first trip was to Montego Bay and Sandals resort, was located across the street from the main airport’s runway. I’m not joking! It turned out to be a cool thing and we didn’t have to drive for hours to get to our hotel. When the planes fly over, everyone waves!

jamaica resort beach

cat sailing jamaica

Unfortunately, a huge tropical storm came through during our trip so we did not do any water excursions.

  • White House

White House is located on the west side of the island and Sandals Resort is located in a 500 acre wildlife refuge park. There is nothing around it, but it is gorgeous! It has a great bay for Hobie Cat sailing and it is really peaceful. There is a bit of a drive to get there (about 2 hours) but the roads have improved. Scott and I have been to White House three times.

caribbean sea jamaica

One of our favorite things we have done, is visiting Floyd’s Pelican Bar, which is located on a sand bar. You take a small dinghy from your boat out to the bar. They sell (warm) drinks and cook up some food.

sand bar jamaica tourist

sand bar caribbean sea

sand bar jamaica


tropical sun caribbean sea

tropical beach caribbean


We have also taken a few cocktail cruises during our stay in Whitehouse.

  • Negril

On one trip to Jamaica, we split up our vacation between Whitehouse and Negril. We drove north for about an hour and it was an easy trip. Negril is very cute and has many famous tourist attractions. We did not do any of them, as we simply relaxed by the pool. The resort offered a free glass boat tour in the bay, which was fun. But beware, because the resort at the end of the beach is nude and they also do boat tours!

shopping tourist caribbean island

tropical caribbean sailing cats

Negril Sandals boat snorkling

  • Ocho Rios

Ocho Rios is located on the northeast end of Jamaica and about two hours from the airport. Unlike many of the other cities we traveled to, the highway was paved and easy to drive on. However, this was not our favorite place at all. It might have been because we didn’t like the resort at Sandals or because it wasn’t as tropical as on the west side. The water is rougher and not as turquoise and clear.  We did take a catamaran cruise to the Dunn River Falls (we didn’t do the chain to the falls). Of course a squall showed up, so it wasn’t a great day on the water.

tourist excursion jamaica

rain squall caribbean sea

Dominican Republic

We visited the Dominican Republic in February 2017. I did write a blog about our trip and voyage. It is a beautiful island and it has cool caves. It just was not our favorite of all of the islands we have been to.

tropical island caribbean

As we visit more places, I will be sure to add them to our list!

Dealing with Cold Wet Weather on a Boat

pnw boating seattle

 Cold weather on a boat isn’t much fun

Cold weather and rain while boating isn’t our ideal afternoon. In fact, Scott and I don’t plan on doing any kind of boating in that type of weather. What we do need to do, is keep the boat dry and warm during cold weather.  I have been talking about this for weeks now.  In our “prepping for winter” blog, we talked about the different heaters and de-humidifiers we bought for the boat. Since the weather has been so nice up until this week, we haven’t really used them.

Last Friday, October 13, 2017 it was sunny but cold and crisp. In fact, it hailed at our house as I was leaving for the marina. I wanted to check on the boat and see how the warm air circulator was working.

winter prep in the pnw cold

winter prep pnw

We are fortunate here in the PNW that our saltwater marinas rarely, if ever, have frozen over or had feet of snow.  The saltwater stays a constant 45º-55º all year round. With that said, I wanted to see what the temperature was inside the cabin of the boat on a cold day.


marina squall pnw

Last weekend we replaced the weather stripping that the previous owner had put in along the sides of the boat. This helps keep the water out, as the canvas is not a tight seal.  I will be curious after this week’s storms, how well it worked.

cold weather winter prep boating

It made sense that the cabin was still about 52º as it was sunny outside, warming up the inside. Know that a series of storm were arriving this upcoming week (October 17 – 21st), we decided to put the Ceramic Space Heater in the bathroom on the lowest setting. This heater has a thermostat and an auto shutoff, so it should kick on when it gets really cold. I also put it on a piece of tile and the bathroom door is secured open, so it can’t close on it.

cold weather boating

The warm air circulator is now up on the counter and we left de-humidifiers all over inside the cabin too.

cold weather boating

What kind of weather are we talking about?

Look what’s headed our way!

pnw storm oct 2017

Yes, call me paranoid when it comes to weather. Think about it. We have left our boat, tied to a dock, with heaters on it during three big storms. Since I’m not working right now, I have the time to go down and check on it.  Thursday, October 19th will be the second round of storms, so that will be a good day to see how it’s doing.

October 19th weather update

Well, they are referring to that stream in the image above as a 5,000 mile long river in the sky heading right for us!  Last night we had torrential rains with wind gusts of 55mph.  Luckily for me, when I arrived today at the marina, it was not raining! Miracle.

pnw boating seattle
The first thing I had to deal with, was the boat lines seemed looser and the boat was about 3′ from the dock. Luckily, we no longer have a slip neighbor. So I pulled it back in and tightened it up.

What was surprising was our owl is still hanging out and keeping the herons off, even in all that wind! LOL

bird deterrant boating

The cockpit was definitely wet. I should have taken more photos. The bimini just isn’t waterproof, so with 10″ of rain falling we can only expect it.

The inside of the cabin was 58º, but outside it’s actually in the 60’s. The heater I left in the bathroom has not kicked on, since it’s not cold enough. All in all, considering what a big storm it was yesterday, things looked surprisingly normal. We have two more huge storms coming today and Friday, so we’ll swing by this weekend and check on things.

For me, it’s a nice drive and diversion. Even with bad weather, who doesn’t want to be at a marina with a view of Seattle?

pnw boating dt seattle

Have a great weekend! Ally

PS, wondering what to make for dinner this weekend? Try my smoked salmon pasta! Everyone loves it!


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Winter Preparations on our Boat – Part 2

broken prop bayliner

Winter Preparations on our Boat Continues…….

Winter is coming and we are getting prepared! They say that this winter could be very cold and wet here in the PNW. Scott and I have been so lucky this past summer, as the weather has been absolutely perfect for our first year of boating. Figures that it could be the worst winter for boating, we’ll find out.

Two weekends ago, Scott changed the oil in both engines. Turns out when he filled them up with new oil through the dip stick hole as he didn’t see the engine oil cap and that’s why it took him about 10 minutes! LOL Lessons learned again. What we couldn’t get done that day, was change the oil filters because we needed an oil filter wrench. We bought the Craftsman 2 pc 16” Rubber Strap Wrench Set, as it’s adjustable and we can use it on other engines.

Now the hard part was actually changing the filters. The filter that is up front is actually the fuel filter and the oil filters are on the sides of the engines, clear in the back.  Scott did a great job squeezing into those tight spaces to swap them out! It was not an easy job!

bayliner mercruiser oil change winter prep

Dinghy water

While Scott was working on the engines, I wanted to get rid of the water that had once again collected in the dinghy.

tender water inside

Last week I removed it with the bilge sponge and the water was so stagnant that my hands stunk all day. This time, I bought a Multi-Use Transfer Pump Kit to siphon the water out.

siphon kit marine

However, that is probably not the ideal situation. I think we will be moving the dinghy down to the storage racks at Elliott Bay Marina. We can store it upside down during the winter. They charge $25/month and it’s worth it. We’ve already brought the motor home to store.

The Propeller Saga continutes

We needed to take the boat out on the bay to get the new oil dispersed through the engines. On top of that, it was a gorgeous day for boating! I looked down at the props and once again they were covered in sea growth after one week of being cleaned!  After talking to the guys at the marina, it’s very common for that to happen, especially in saltwater.

winter prep saltwater marine life boat

I decided to clean them off with our long handled deck brush before we headed out on the water. Last weekend I told you that the port side prop was bent and that’s why we were having trouble. Here’s the photo I shared:

boat prop busted

Well, I should have turned the blades all around, because this time I realized that ALL three blades are busted!

boat maintenace fix propeller

I texted this photo to my brother-in-law, Kurt who was the Chief Engineer for the ferries and asked him if it was ok for us to go out on the bay for a  quick trip to run the engines. He told us not to go far, which we didn’t! LOL.  In fact, now we won’t be doing any kind of winter cruising until this is fixed.

We had a great cruise in the bay with our friend Meghann and the boat did just fine.  Not that we recommend cruising around with a broken prop!

This week, the PNW is getting hammered with three major storms of wind and rain.  Being paranoid about keeping the boat dry and warm, this is another topic that I will talk about later this week. Just after I wrote this paragraph, our marina, Elliott Bay Marina sent out an email telling everyone to make sure their boats are secure and to check on them this week! Here’s the weather forecast that came out today: Gale Winds.  Last Friday I went down to check on the boat and later this week I will check on it again. Must be the “new boater” worries that are kicking in! Stay tuned.  Ally


Fall Boating in the PNW

pnw autumn boating

Fall Boating in the PNW

Fall boating in the Pacific Northwest is absolutely gorgeous! People have told Scott and I, how lucky we have been in regards to the weather during our first year of boating. All summer, we had warm gorgeous calm seas and so far, Fall is much of the same.

pnw autumn boating

Yesterday, we went down to the boat at Elliott Bay Marina to finish some engine work and check on the winter preparations (that blog will come next). We needed to take it out for a bit to get the seagrowth off of the bottom, the props and also to get the new engine oil dispersed throughout.  While checking on the props again, I noticed that the one that was bent, is actually really busted. All three blades are broken, but it has been that way since mid summer. We decided to take it out just for a short jaunt across the bay and we did just fine.

Fall at Seattle marina

calm fairways marina seattle

fall boating downtown Seattle view marina

Even with a bad propeller, it was a nice smooth ride towards downtown Seattle, as we cruised with our good friend Meghann and enjoyed the views!

friends boating seattle

broken prop bayliner

Downtown Seattle really has one of the prettiest skylines around. It never gets old, just cruising by on a sunny day!

view seattle skyline

fall boating skyline waterfront seattle

fall boating big wheel elliott bay

fall boating sailing

While it might look warm and sunny, you did need your parka! I look like I’m 500lbs with my parka and life jacket on! LOL

Stay tuned for this week’s posts, where I will update everyone on the propeller situation and how we are keeping #Kokomo warm this week. Cheers, Scott and Ally

What’s under all that sea growth?!

barnacle boat bottom

Sea growth and how does it form so fast?

Sea growth is part of owning a boat and life in a marina. When our neighbor moved in next door, I couldn’t help to notice how much growth he had on the bottom of his boat. His boat is aluminum, so honestly I don’t know if aluminum boats have anti-fouling paint on the bottom.  Our boat, was recently painted so that was not really a concern of ours. However, it also has never sat in salt water for any extended period of time.

Back to sea growth! As Scott was working on changing the oil last weekend, I noticed that the dinghy had water in it. Great – now how to get rid of that?!

tender water inside

Well, my brainy idea (which worked) was to use our Bilge Sponge to remove the water. They soak up a lot of water and work great. The only issue was the water was so stagnant, that even after washing my hands five times, I still stunk! Next time I will use gloves.  Scott and I have also thought about getting a small hand pump to remove the water. We’ll let you know what works best.

Is that our propeller??

As I was leaning over the swim platform to clean out the water, I noticed our propeller! Yikes!! In fact, it freaked me out so bad, I immediately sent out a posts on Facebook, asking everyone what to do.

barnacle boat bottom

Here’s what the other one looked like!

boats marina antifoulingSome of the comments I got on Facebook were:

  • “Run around in the bay”
  • “Go in reverse really fast”
  • Get a wire brush and try to clean it”
  • “Haul it out and scrub it”
  • “Does your boat have anti-fouling paint?”

It got pretty comical. Just so you know, anti-fouling paint has nothing to do with your propellers. My brother-in-law did think it was odd to have that much growth on them though, but then again, we hadn’t taken the boat out in over five weeks. Then I walked around the marina and looked at other boats. They were exactly the same way. Perhaps Elliott Bay Marina is really fertile? LOL. Determined to tackle it, I decided to get our regular Boat Brush with Long Handle out and see if I could reach the propellers.

Sure enough, the stuff came right off.  That’s the good news. The bad news is, I realized that our port side prop was bent. This would explain why we had troubles getting going on our way to Kingston. What we don’t know, is how it happened?  When we left for Kingston, our bow line got loose and was under the boat the entire trip (30 min). But the line was unscathed. Could it have bent the prop when it first got loose?  It’s amazing really that we didn’t experience too much trouble considering we went to Gig Harbor and also through The Locks after that.

boat prop bustedRepair plan

Since it’s now winter and we don’t plan on traveling anywhere, there’s no rush to get it repaired. A new prop will probably run about $400, plus labor. We can call a diver to fix it or fix it when we haul out in the spring to do all of the annual maintenance work.

I’m heading to the boat today since it is cold and rainy. When we left last weekend, we only turned on the warm air circulator in the cabin. I want to see how well that kept it warm and dry. The weather is forecasted to get colder and down into the 30’s next week, so we will most likely turn on the ceramic heater this weekend. Scott has to change out the oil filters on Sunday, so we’ll give you an update! Stay tuned as always…..Scott and Ally


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Changing the oil on our boat

diy oil change on bayliner

DIY Oil Change on our Boat

Changing oil on your boat is easier than you think. When Scott & I bought our 2000 Bayliner Ciera 3055, Kokomo in May we had both a survey (that checks the structure of the boat and functionality) and a mechanical inspection (just for the engines). Since our boat had not been used in two years, the oil was old and needed to be changed.

Upon moving into Elliott Bay Marina, we found out that Monkey Fist YachtCare will come out and service your boat while you are at work! They get the keys from the harbor master, do the service and invoice us.  It wasn’t outrageously expensive, but it was around $500. Our mechanical inspector, Matt from Puget Sound Mobile Marine, told us to change the oil at the end of the summer to really clean everything out. Well, that would be another $500! Now this is getting a bit expensive.

Scott talked to many other boaters and we found out that most do the oil change themselves. All we needed was an oil extractor, oil and new filters. I bought a 6.5 Liter Oil Changer Vacuum Fluid Extractor Pump for about $60.

diy oil change boat

What kind of oil do you use?

That is a loaded question, so be careful when you ask it! I recently did a blog post about going to Auto Zone to pick up the oil and got grease on me. (Then I did a plug for OxiClean Max Force Laundry Stain Remover, which was amazing!!!) Anyhow, I digress. After that post, a few boaters reached out to me and asked if I really used “automobile” oil in our marine engines. ?Huh? Luckily, we had not changed the oil yet, so we started our research. After posting the question on Reddit and hearing all of the advice, we changed our mind.  We returned the automotive oil and bought what Monkey Fist had used, which was Delo 400 SAE 30w Motor Oil . We only needed three gallons at $26 each.

The overall opinion was that automotive and marine oils are basically the same, but to stick with what the manual says for peace of mind.

We bought the two filters at West Marine, which ran about $26 each. The boat already had a Hopkins FloTool Spill Saver Measu-Funnel , so in total this oil change cost us about $230 including the extractor. Moving forward it will only be about $160.

How easy was it to change your own oil?

It was actually pretty easy. The biggest challenge was how long it took to pump out the old oil and put in the new oil. The extractor works as a vacuum and since it’s manual, it goes slow. You also want to be VERY careful about the tube that goes from the pump to the engine, as it can fly out and oil goes everywhere. That happened twice to us. Before you begin to remove the oil, you want to run one engine for about 5-10 minutes to allow the oil to warm up and get viscous. Then be careful and allow the engine to cool a few minutes as it will be hot to the touch.

diy oil change boat

Our Bayliner Ciera 3055 has two twin Mercury Mercruiser 5.7L engines and each takes 4.5L of oil.  When Scott removed the oil from the port side engine, only about 3.5L came out, which indicates we were burning some oil. It took about 40 minutes for the pump to remove all of the oil.  Then it took another 15 minutes* to add the oil, as you have to add one quart at a time and the tubing is very skinny, not allowing for a lot of flow.

*(Note, after originally posting this blog, a few other boaters asked why it took so long to fill it. We did fill it thru the dip stick hole, as Scott didn’t see another cap. Looking at other photos and videos of similar engines, we can’t really find the cap on this engine in this photo. When we go back to change the filters this weekend, we’ll take a look.)

diy oil change on bayliner

Again, run the other engine for about 5-10 minutes. When we removed the oil on the starboard engine, it pumped out 4L of oil. That is better than the other one, but that one is also burning some oil. With that said, we’ll be sure to have extra oil on hand.  Considering the engines are seventeen years old, that’s actually pretty good. Scott was not able to swap out the oil filters because he did need Oil Filter Pliers, which we will have to buy.

diy oil change boatCleaning up

Changing the oil on your boat is messy. Be sure to have plenty of Shop Towels on hand, as you will need them. Even as we were leaving the boat, the tubing from the pump got loose and we had oil all over again. We keep Dawn dish soap on our boat and it’s great for grease cleanups.

Wondering what to do with all that oil now? Take it to your local auto shop. As long as it is clean and free of water and sediment, they will recycle it for free.

Stay tuned for more info on keeping the boat dry and warm for the winter and other tips! Cheers, Scott and Ally




Boating Desserts

chocolate bars & bark

Boating desserts are difficult to prep on a boat

When you are prepping dinner in a small galley, the last thing you have time for is making dessert. On top of that, I’m not  much of a dessert eater, but Scott is. This summer, I decided to keep dessert simple and easy.

Typically we are enjoying a great bottle or two of red wine relaxing on the deck.

boating pnw bayliner

Red Wine & Chocolate

If you love red wine, be sure to pick up a bottle of Cab from SuLei Cellars out of Walla Walla. They are one of our favorite boutique wineries!  Since dark chocolate goes well with red wine, I decided that’s exactly what our desserts would be this summer! Pick up your favorite chocolate bar or bark and pair it with your favorite wine! Here are our picks: Thindulgent, Roca Thins, Alter Eco, Green & Black’s & Divine.

chocolate bars & bark

friends boating wine

Next time you are entertaining or just relaxing on your boat, grab your favorite bottle of wine & chocolate and you’re all set! Have a great weekend!  Cheers, Scott & Ally

Prepping for Winter

cruising boat pnw

Prepping for Winter on our Boat, a Bayliner Ciera 3055

It’s October 3, 2017 and finally it’s actually cold this morning at 46º. When you just spent the past four months in 80º+ weather, it’s hard to thinking about prepping your boat for winter. But here in the PNW cold weather can happen fast.

Since Scott and I have not moored or owned a boat during winter before, we made sure to ask a lot of boaters what steps they recommended. My brother in-law moors his boat, as do many of our friends. We also read comments on Reddit and other blogs. First question was about heating the boat. Keeping a heater on the boat does freak me out. The key was to find one that has an auto shut off, low thermostat and can’t be tipped over. We had many recommendations, from oil based radiator styles to electric heaters.

Keeping the cabin mold free

After much research, we bought Caframo DeltaMAX Ceramic Portable Space Heater – 750w-1500W.  The catch is, the heater will be left on at all times, but on the lowest temperature. Since it’s a 750w heater, we will turn off our fridge so we don’t trip our circuit. We plan on putting it in the head on a piece of tile and keep the door propped open to the cabin. Scott and I plan on going down to the boat at least every two weeks, if not weekly to check on it.

boat heat pnw

Other tips we were given to keep mold out of the cabin was to clean everything with a vinegar / water mixture and to open up all lockers and closets.

boat storage clothes

We also took all of the lids off of the storage spaces in the hull.

boat hull storage


During the summer we kept all of our linens and towels in a large Ziploc Space Bag .  For the winter, we brought all of them home, including the foam pads we use on our bed.mold free linens

marine bedding

The other big tip we got was to prop up all any cushions to allow for air flow. When we propped up the v-berth, we found MORE storage and a bunch of fenders! Crazy how much storage is on this boat! We used the lid to one of the storage bins to prop up the v-berth mattress and poles to prop up the aft-berth mattress.

winterizing boat bedding

winterizing Bayliner bedding

We already had one dehumidifier in the cabin, but we bought another Star brite No Damp Dehumidifier just to be safe. In fact, our yacht neighbors bought a bunch of them too!
mold prevention boat prepping for winter

The Cockpit

While the cockpit is meant to be “outdoors”, we want to keep the moisture level as minimal as possible. We always have one dehumidifier no damp dome up top, but we also bought a warm air circulator from West Marine. This is only 70 watts and gently dries out wet cabins.

warm air circulator prepping for winter

Scott also removed all of the deck carpets and took them home. Normally, we keep the life preservers under the seat in the well of the floor, but we moved those down to the cabin so there is nothing on the deck of the floor now.

prepping for winter on a boat

The canvas on our boat is almost brand new, however it still isn’t a tight seal. In fact, water does come in (especially when we wash it) on the sides of the canvas (see circle).

canvas snaps boat

Because of that, the previous owner put in weather stripping on the inside to direct water to flow out. We need new stripping, which I found at our local hardware store and we’ll get that up this weekend. In the picture below, that is just remnants of the old stripping, that someone removed.

keeping water out


Lastly, our boat came with a dashboard cover and we used it to cover up the gauges & electronics.

boat console cover

Some people might think we have gone over board (no pun intended) on trying to keep the boat dry and mold free.  My biggest worry of course, is leaving the heater on “automatic”. The one we bought does come equipped with overheat protection and automatic shut off to help provide peace of mind. We’ll test it out this weekend and if I’m not comfortable with it, we’ll search for another.

Scott will be doing some maintenance items on the boat this weekend, which I will include in our next blog. Many people have asked us if we still plan on using it during the winter and the answer is “yes!” While we won’t be boating in bad seas or stormy weather, we do plan on taking the boat out on crisp sunny winter days and staying on it. Stay tuned for that next adventure – Winter Boating!  Cheers, Scott and Ally


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Autumn at the Marina

pnw autumn marina

PNW Autumn at the Marina

Today Scott and I went down to the boat to take things home in preparing for the winter. The irony is, we HAD planned on spending the weekend on it, but on Thursday the weather forecast was rainy for all days. Sure enough, last night was dry and today it was gorgeous!  Oh well.

pnw autumn marina

Later this week, I’ll give you detailed post about our prep work for the boat. For today, I wanted to capture the beauty of the marina. Elliott Bay Marina, is truly exceptional, compared to most. It has lots of foliage, views of the mountains and view of the city. Everyone is so friendly that’s it a bit surreal sometimes.

One of the yachts that came in early in May, is back this week. M/Y Picosa Lady is on the dock next to us. She is a 101′ yacht from the Marshall Islands and gorgeous!

yacht pnw marina

So calm and quiet

The marina was dead calm and quiet. In fact, had we planned ahead, we should have gone out boating today, but it just wasn’t on our agenda! Such a bummer too, because today is probably one of the last sunny days we’ll see in awhile.

Cruise ship seattle port

Of course, the Holland America Eurodam was back from Alaska today too. That part of the marina life we don’t miss on weekends. Since our dock is so close to the cruise ships and we can hear every announcement.

autumn pnw marina

Making our boat our home

Scott and I do plan on coming down to the boat and staying during a few stormy weekends. I know you are asking the question of why, when we didn’t even stay on it last night!  Well, we want to see what it’s like and can we handle it? Remember, we are planning on living aboard, so we have to be able to endure the brutal wet winters of the PNW.

During a storm, we’ll be hunkered down in the cabin watching movies, playing games or reading. It will definitely be cozy! Before we bought the boat, Scott and I would give each other boat themed gifts. For our wedding anniversary, we stick to the traditional gift and this year it was “Ivory”, so I gave him the custom ivory pillow below for our boat.

custom boat pillows

I do try and make our v-berth “homey” too. Most boaters just sleep in sleeping bags, but I wanted to give it more of a comfy feel.

sleeping quarters boat

cruising boat pnw

We wrapped up the day, with lunch at Maggie Bluffs and ate outside for the last time of the season. Just as we paid our bill, the clouds rolled in and it started to rain.  It was the perfect day at the marina.  Look for my next post about prepping the boat for winter!

outdoor restaurant seattle

Cheers!  Scott and Ally