Finding our boat slip at Elliott Bay Marina

boat slip seattle

Finding the Perfect Boat Slip

How did we pick out our boat slip? It occurred to me yesterday, that throughout this entire journey I never really talked much about how we picked Elliott Bay Marina for the home of our boat Kokomo.

Let’s go back to my blog that I wrote in August 2016 about “Live Aboard Marinas“. Scott and I realized that not only were we challenged with finding the right boat, but also finding a place to moor it! I talked about the buying process in our blog “We’re Finally Boat Owners“. The entire process reminded me of when we started our wine shop. In order to get a liquor license you had to have a lease. In order to get a lease, we had to have a liquor license. Crazy.

At the last Seattle Boat Show we attended, we met with Elliott Bay Marina and Fisherman’s Terminal.  Both were very helpful and eager to help us in a pinch. In the end, Elliott Bay Marina had nicer facilities, secured docks and the views were unmatched. Yes, the monthly moorage is a bit higher, but worth it to us. They also allowed us to reserve a spot before we owned the boat.

skyline water view

We found the marina, now what slip?

In all of the books I have read, one thing I have learned is the importance of liking your slip and slip mates.  Scott and I went down to Elliott Bay Marina on a sunny Saturday and met with Jordan and Brandon at the harbor masters office. They gave us a sheet with available slips and we then walked the docks N and M.

view of boats Seattle

N Dock is the last dock on the east side of the marina towards Seattle.  All of the large yachts dock on the outside of N during the summer.

boat slip seattle

mega yacht seattle

Our objective in looking for a slip

Scott and I had two objectives in finding our slip. One, was to find one with a view of downtown Seattle.  We knew that would be tough with all of the yachts on Dock N. What we didn’t know at the time (because they hadn’t arrived yet), was that the cruise ships would ruin that come summer anyway.

Cruise ship seattle port

Our second objective, was to find a slip that either didn’t have a slip mate or one that had a small boat. Since we were new boaters, we did not want to have to dock next to nice boats.  We walked up and dock docks N and M and took photos of different slips. Most of the slips we ruled out due to the slip mates, like this beautiful tug from Ranger Tugs.

boat slip seattle

boat slip Seattle

The marina had told us that even if the slips were empty, they would be occupied by summer. With that said, we took our chances and selected M95.

boat slip mooring seattle


boat slip seattle
If you look really hard, you can see the Columbia Tower in the distance.  It didn’t really occur to us at the time, that our bloat slip M95 was a quarter mile walk to the parking lot. Well, at least we get our exercise now.  The other thing we didn’t realize at the time, was “how we had to get into the fairway” on our boat. Read all about that journey in this blog.

entering marinas difficult yachts

Eventually, we did get a slip mate (an aluminum fishing boat) about halfway through the summer.  That was a funny story too!

aluminum fishing boat

Summer is over and now what?

Now that it’s winter time, many boats are gone. It’s like a ghost town at our end of the dock.  In fact, our aluminum boat neighbor moved into a boat slip much closer to the parking lot a few weeks ago. I figure, we need the exercise and I still love the view of Seattle. It is definitely hard on our old golden retriever Mac as he can’t walk that far these days. Unfortunately, he is declining at a rapid pace and doesn’t spend any time on the boat these days.

golden retriever boating dog

We found out this week that the boats all decorate for Christmas and there is a contest for the best decorated boat.  Of course plugging in a bunch of holiday lights freaks me out as you know from my previous blogs.  So we’ll just put up a few to be festive. We are looking forward to the holiday party and meeting other boaters. Stay tuned for the photos of the event!

Cheers, Scott and Ally  #KokomoSeattle

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What’s That Smell?

air freshener

Ewwww, What’s That Smell?

Of course there is a song that goes “ewwww, what’s that smell?”. When you own a boat, the last thing you want to deal with is bad odors. Typically these odors are due to musty & damp cabins and stinky heads (bathrooms).  Knock on wood, but our boat Kokomo really has no bad smells in the cabin.  As I have mentioned in previous blogs, we do keep dehumidifiers and a heater on inside the cabin to help keep it damp free.

Now our head (bathroom) is a slightly different story.  When not in use, it doesn’t stink at all. But the minute you pump the head, the waft of stink is overwhelming. With guests on board it’s almost embarrassing, because they think the person using the bathroom made that smell! Yuck.

As some of you know, my position at my company was eliminated in September and now I am back looking for new opportunities as a Director of Marketing. (What does this have to do with that smell?? I’m getting there).  Last week, I applied for a role at a new start-up company which makes odor eliminating products called “NonScents“. I had the opportunity to visit their team in Redmond and they gave me a few products to sample.  Two of the products are perfect for both boats and RVs–and even around the house.

NonScents Pet Odor Spray

Scott and I took two of the products to the boat. While I knew the cabin didn’t have odor issues, I did know the “waft” from pumping the head was horrible. So we tested out the NonScents Pet Odor Spray, after pumping the head. Keep in mind, the head had not been used in two weeks, so the odor was pretty bad. We sprayed the outside cockpit with the spray (since that is where the fumes come out) and immediately the smell was gone! Usually it hangs out a bit, but we were amazed as to how fast and well it worked!  It works so well because it is not masking the odor like other air fresheners, but instead it neutralizes them at the molecular level. Wow! You can buy NonScents Pet Odor Remover Spray at Amazon, by following the link.

eliminate smells

NonScents Refrigerator Deodorizer

The other product they gave me was the NonScents Refrigerator Deodorizer (again, you can buy this at Amazon using the link above). Our fridge on the boat is actually very big for our cabin size and is also seventeen years old. We keep ours running all year round, but it’s hard to get rid of that old “fridge smell”. Last week, I put the deodorizer in the fridge and a week later, the odors were gone! I also like that it can’t be spilled (i.e.  baking soda container) and it’s compact. This is another product that would be great for both boats and RV’s.

stinky fridge

So if you have pets, boats, RV’s or any other odors you want to eliminate, these are great products for you to try! I’m glad I had the chance to try them and now we’re hooked. Enjoy!

Scott & Ally on #KokomoSeattle



Submerged Boat

boat disasters

A submerged boat is not a good thing

Don’t worry, we do not have a submerged boat, but someone in the marina does! I get teased a lot for worrying about our boat Kokomo and going down to check on it every week. After today’s visit, I feel justified!

Elliott Bay Marina lost power last week for almost three days during a very major wind storm we had. I talked about this in my last blog. So we wanted to make sure everything we still secured. As I am typing this, I realized we didn’t notice if our owl bird deterrent was still there. Great.

Today the weather was gorgeous and a great day to go down and check things out. Remember a few weeks ago when I was learning how to dock the boat?  Notice that boat docked along the dock there?

Here’s another still shot of the boat, which was called “Morning Wood”. This boat is an old wooden 35′ Trojan. It was making me nervous docking near it.

boat disasters
Notice that there are no other boats along the outside perimeter of “N” dock. That’s because during the Fall and Winter months, the weather is horrible and it’s unsafe to dock your boat there. During the summer months, this dock is primarily used for yachts only.

yacht pnw marina

When things go wrong

Well, today as we walked down the plank way to our dock, we noticed that “something” was submerged where they store small sail boats! Uh ho!

boat disasters

At first, we thought it was two or three of the sail boats that are normally tied up here, but instead it was PIECES of one boat!

boat disaster

This is the bow of the boat and the windshield.

boat disaster

This is the fly bridge. It still had the key in the ignition!

boat disaster

Yep, this is the remains of “Morning Wood”! Apparently, the marina told the owner, not to leave the boat on the outside dock. Despite their warning, he left for a few weeks. Last Monday when we had 50mph winds, it tore the boat apart.  The engine is actually still attached to the dock with a boom around it. I didn’t get a photo of the engine this day, but check out our blog from a few weeks later.

Lesson learned! When the marina says “don’t leave your boat on the outside”, follow their instructions.  There is so much of the boat floating everywhere. There were lights, cushions, books, you name it, all floating around the marina. What a disaster! Not to mention now they have to deal with environmental issues with the engine.

Luckily for us, Kokomo was just fine. The dingy was still inflated and it was nice and warm in the cabin.  Always a good day! Until next time…..Cheers, Scott and Ally on #KokomoSeattle

boat owners in the pnw

New Boater Worries

new boater worries

New Boater Worries During the Winter

As a new boaters, we (especially I) worry constantly about the boat while it’s unoccupied in the marina during the winter. It’s silly, I know. Call it the “newby boater syndrome”. During the summer, the weather is so nice and warm and we don’t have to worry about any weather issues. But here in the PNW, our winters are wet and nasty. As I’m writing this blog today, we are in a high wind warning forecast and my house is rocking!

new boater worries

With wind gusts of 50mph and dumping rain, I worry about the boat. It’s secured by four lines, but the winds from the south are so strong, that our boat can be 3′ from the dock when it’s windy.

cruising boat pnw

Breakfast in Magnolia

For me, I feel better if we check on the boat once a week during the winter. Remember, we have a low wattage Dry Warm Air Circulator and an electric auto shut off Ceramic Heater running right now on the boat.  It snowed here last week, so I wanted to see if the heater had kicked on and what the temps were at inside the cabin.

Since Scott and I were coming all the way to Seattle to check on the boat, we figured we might as well make a morning of it.  We headed to “downtown” Magnolia and had breakfast at a great restaurant called “Serendipity Café & Lounge“. The food was simple and amazing! Super fresh, hand made and tons of flavor.  Now that we know how far downtown Magnolia is from the marina, we can walk there though it’s all up hill.

We stopped at the Magnolia Park, so I could get some photos from above the marina. This is a gorgeous park, with lots of trees, great views and dogs galore!

new boater worries

new boater worries

new boater worries

Another crazy wave!

If you remember back this summer, Scott, Kurt and I went out boating and as we left the marina a very long huge wave / trough came at the boat. Well, I happened to notice that there was another one out in the sound. This wave was probably two miles long and not a single ship or vessel was anywhere around.

new boater worries

It really was a strange phenomenon. Some people wondered if maybe an underwater earthquake caused it? Who knows.

A quick trip to the marina

After breakfast, we headed down to the marina. It was super high tide and there were actually a few logs floating down the fairways.

new boater worries

The tide was so high, that the normally visible rock formation inside the marina, was covered. But there was just enough land for this heron and seagulls to stand on it, making it look like they were standing on water.

new boater worries

Upon arriving the boat, the first thing we noticed was our dinghy was deflated. Scott thinks it is due to the cold weather, since both chambers were deflated. We pumped it back up and we’ll see what it looks like next weekend.

new boater worries

Surprisingly, the cockpit didn’t have that much rain water in it. I wonder what it looked like today, with all of our southerly squalls coming in?  While the heater was not kicked on (yet), the temperature inside the cabin was surprisingly at 50º. Outside it was 44º. Our objective is to keep it warm and dry. That’s the key word “dry”. If your cabin is too warm, it will create condensation, which can lead to mold. We don’t want that.

new boater worries

My question to all other boaters who keep their boats in the marina, is how often do you check on your boat? Please share with us your stories and input.  In addition, if you would like to guest blog for us, please send me an email.

What’s ironic about the paragraph above, is the marina has been out of power for two days. This morning they sent out a text that it is up and running, but to come down and check on your boat. I plan on doing that tomorrow when I am in Seattle, but my “worry” is if that is soon enough?

Cheers and happy boating! Scott & Ally #KokomoSeattle #BoatingJourney

new boater worries



Boating & Philanthropy

philanthropic boating

Philanthropic Boating Organizations

Scott and I love boating, but we’re also very committed to different philanthropic organizations. One thing I love about boaters is the comradery amongst them. Most boaters will help out anyone in need, whether it be help docking, borrowing a tool, towing a boat or sharing a beer.

Over the past ten years, I’ve read more stories about boaters and organizations coming together for a cause. One story, was about a sailing couple from Bellingham, WA. They were sailing the Caribbean and visited the island of Dominica. When they went ashore to provision, they were shocked that there were virtually no fresh vegetables. After that, they started a foundation to give seeds to farmers in poor Caribbean islands. Hopefully they are still active, but I can’t find anything on the web about them now.

Five of Our Favorite Philanthropic Causes

Hands Across the Sea

Sailors visiting poor islands, realized that children and schools were in need of books and educational materials. When they first started, they would collect books from other sailors and deliver them. Today, this a full-time organization dedicated to improving literacy rates in Eastern Caribbean countries.



Warrior Sailing Program

Anyone who has spent any time on the water knows how therapeutic it is. This organization is dedicated to getting veterans with injuries (physical or mental) out sailing to help improve their lives. Sailing is a great way to learn teamwork and build strength. Warrior Sailing Program also offers a variety of camps. If you know a veteran that could benefit from time on the water, please tell them about this program.

sailing charitable organization


Baja Dogs La Paz

A vast majority of cruisers on the West Coast, go to the beautiful Mexican town of La Paz. It’s ideal weather and location in the Gulf of California is one of the reasons cruisers flock to this tropical destination. Sadly, La Paz has also seen a huge increase in stray dogs.  Many cruisers who are wintering in La Paz, volunteer their time to help Baja Dogs La Paz. They are dedicated to reducing the over population of dogs and finding them new homes. In fact, our neighbors adopted a dog from La Paz!

dog shelter


Sailors for the Sea

This organization has one purpose and that is to educate us and protect the sea. Three quarters of the earth is ocean and right now it needs our help. Just Google, “garbage, ocean, plastic bottles”. Did you know that there are floating ISLANDS of garbage out there? It’s time we all got together to help our planet, the oceans and the sea life that lives in our oceans. This is a great organization and they need not only our donations, but our support to raise awareness of the situation.

save our


Sea Mercy

Cruisers from all over the world head to the South Pacific islands every year.  What many people don’t realize is how remote these islands are. With the help of volunteer vessels cruising to the South Pacific, this organization is dedicated on helping communities thrive.  They provide low cost (or free) service delivery platform to support the remote island health, agriculture, education, infrastructure, economic and ecological initiatives/programs of these South Pacific islands.


One of my dreams has been to create a foundation “Ally’s Kids” and help kids with educational materials, similar to the organizations above. The difference is, we would target islands not currently getting any support. Perhaps someday when we get our catamaran we can finally fulfill this dream.

Local Philanthropic Events / Organizations

Local groups and events are always looking for support. These range from regattas for cancer, to ocean conservation clean up days to helping those less privileged go boating.  Talk to other boaters about how you can get involved.

What’s your favorite charitable organization that is involved with boating? If so, please share with us and we’ll include it in our next blog about sailors helping out causes.   Cheers, Scott & Ally

Boating Must Haves

boat must haves

It’s been six months – what are our boating must haves now?

When Scott and I started shopping for our boat, we were still trying to figure out what type of boat to buy. At that time, we didn’t really think too much about what we “had to have” on the boat, other than a few basics (head, bed, etc). Since we took possession of our Bayliner Ciera 3055, Kokomo in May 2017 we have slept on the boat 27 nights or almost a full month. This has certainly given us some perspective on life living aboard a boat.

custom boat pillows

Currently our plan is to sell this boat next Spring and upgrade to a larger boat. What size you ask? We haven’t decided that yet.  Scott and I have talked about finally selling our home and moving onto a live aboard, but that’s a big jump. That boat would have to be at least 48′ for us to live on it.

Boat Must Haves

What we do know now that we have spent time on our current boat, are the things we wish we had. When you are home, you take for granted simple things such as using the toilet, washing dishes, getting a glass of water, etc. Think about the things you do the most at home and see if those are also important to you if you spent any time on a boat.

This Bayliner Ciera 3055 is perfect for a long weekend or short vacations, but it’s not designed to be lived on. I consider it an upgraded camping experience.


First off, let’s address the topic of the toilet.  Our boat has a brand new Thetford toilet, but it’s a manual hand pump and the first weekend we were on it, someone clogged it. After that,  a rule was created, which was that no toilet paper can go in the toilet. This obviously is not a rule we like. Scott and I want the comforts of home, so a dependable toilet will be on the list.

At each boat show, we have talked to numerous sanitation suppliers. For toilets, your choices are a manual, electric or vacuum flush.  Right now we are leaning towards an efficient vacuum flush toilet (one that doesn’t use too much water). Top brands on our list right now are VacuFlush and Lavac.  Our toilet is a salt water toilet. This means that the water comes in from outside when you flush, so you don’t have to worry about using up your fresh water. However, a salt water toilet has more maintenance issues as salt water can calcify inside the plumbing and holding tank. Below is a head on a boat we saw at the boat show – comforts of home.

yacht bathroom toilet


The fresh water tank on Kokomo holds 30 gallons and the hot water heater holds 6 gallons.  This is potable water, but ideally I would like a filter for the water too. Remember, our toilet is using seawater, so that is not a factor in our water usage. But you would be amazed as to how much water you go through when washing hands (often), doing dishes and filling up dog bowls.  Kokomo has three fresh water faucets and we use them frequently. If we spend three days on the boat, we need to fill up our tank by the third day.

outdoor sink boat

What’s the solution to this? Install a water maker. These systems use reverse osmosis to convert seawater to fresh water. They are a bit expensive, but definitely worth the price.  When we fill up our fresh water tanks with water, we use a special anti-bacterial ZERO-G Hose. The fresh water input in located on the starboard side. Our boat is docked on the port side, so to do this, we have to hang over the edge with the hose to fill it. It’s a pain in the butt.

seattle cruising boat

Having a water maker on board, gives us a number of benefits that also make life easier.


Our boat has a shower and the curtain does separate it from the toilet area, but honestly everything still  would get wet. In addition, with only a 6 gallon hot water tank and a 30 gallon fresh water tank, we would run out of water pretty fast.  Having a water maker on board with a larger hot water tank, would alleviate that issue. Looking at larger boats at shows, we also want a separate shower stall.

boat must haves


Ice Maker

At Elliott Bay Marina, we have a fully stocked store at the fuel dock. In fact, they have a great selection of wine and beer. However, the store is six docks away and it’s a long walk. Every time we stay on boat, we have to go get ice as our freezer is very small.  Friends of ours converted their outdoor faucet in the cockpit to an  ice maker. Who needs three sinks anyways. Great idea!

Comfortable Bed

Like I said earlier, our boat is perfect for a long weekend as it’s an upgraded camping trip. But it’s not meant to be lived on. At home we have an expensive mattress which is very comfortable.  Moving on board we would definitely invest in a high quality comfortable mattress.  There are many custom mattress companies out there. Then there is also a company called Froli Sleep Systems. They make a unique spring type of foundation that goes under your mattress for support and circulation. You would use this system in addition to a high quality mattress.

spring marine bed support


Lastly, we would have to have some type of oven on board. Many boats come with a microwave / convection oven combo. Ideally, since I love to cook, I would love to have a stand alone oven. Here are some dream ovens we have seen on boats.

boat must haves

boat must haves

I could live on this boat! This is bigger than my kitchen at home!

boat must haves

Of course, we will not be able to have any of these galleys or ovens in our price range, but a girl can dream! What will the galley most likely look like?  Probably like these below.

spacious liveaboard kitchen

boat must haves

boat kitchen cooking

If you have any “must haves” not on this list, please share with us. Just like a home, we can always add items, but it would be great to find one with everything we want.  Stay tuned! Scott and Ally #BoatingJourney

Organizing Dock Lines

neat boat lines

Coiling excess dock lines

Organizing dock lines is a hot topic for mariners. Next time you are walking down your dock, check out your neighbor’s excess dock lines. Last weekend while Scott was working on the engines, I decided to walk the docks. I was amazed as to how many different ways people organize their dock lines. I remember when we first arrived to Elliott Bay Marina. Scott and I were walking down the dock with my brother-in-law, Kurt and we came upon the lines below. They were so neat, that he said he wanted to mess them all up. LOL

The main lines (bow, spring & stern) on our boat are 3/4″ and very thick. The bow and stern cleats also hold the spring lines, so it’s difficult for us to neatly organize a 50′ line that is so thick. We certainly could do better though!

boat dock line cleat

We do have a another bow line we use, to help keep the stern close to the dock, which is much smaller. Since it’s on the main walk way, we try to keep it neatly organized.

organizing excess dock lines


Here are some other dock lines on our dock at Elliott Bay Marina that are fairly neat and organized.

Messy dock lines

Then there are these dock lines and they just scream “Hey, don’t really care what we look like”.  🙂

How do you organize your dock lines? Do you have any madness or superstition about your reasoning? Leave us a note and share with us how you organize. We’d love to see your photos too, so you can email them to us and we’ll share with our readers.

Happy Boating! Scott and Ally

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