Prepping dinner in a small galley

kale beet salad

Galleys are much smaller than kitchens!

Galleys are kitchens on a boat. One thing you will learn very quickly on a boat our size, is that there is NOT a lot of room to make any kind of gourmet meals.  I love to cook and entertain, and I couldn’t wait to do that on our boat. Soon I realized things had to be very simple and pre-planned.
This is our “Kitchen”, which has a microwave, two burner stove top and fridge.

We have some cupboards and three drawers for utensils.

utensil drawer boat

With limited space, I’m always looking for efficient kitchen gadgets to make prepping dinner easier. One of my all-time favorite tools is my Mueller Onion Chopper . It’s fast, no mess and easy cleanup! Here’s a quick demo:

If you want to try it out yourself – ORDER YOUR CHOPPER HERE!

Local Shopping

Elliott Bay Marina, is located just down the road from Whole Foods and Wild Salmon Seafood Market at Fisherman’s terminal (great FRESH fish daily!)

We bought a Magma Cabo Adventurer Series Charcoal Grill that fits perfectly on the side of the boat and I’m amazed as to how much food we can cook on it.

Last week we bought “marbled salmon“, which I had never had before from Wild Salmon and it was fantastic! Because it has a higher oil factor, it stays moist when you grill it.  The grill does have larger grates, so we typically will use our lava stone or foil to keep things cleaner.

Since we are buying super fresh fish, you only need a few spices on hand. We simply used garlic salt, Italian seasoning and pepper with some olive oil for this salmon.

galley cooking grill

Pair it with a pasta and green salad, which you can make ahead and you have the perfect dinner for hot weather!
tasty kale galley salad
Sweet Chopped Kale Salad


premade pasta salad galley
Pesto Pasta Salad
Many  weekends, we’ll go down and stay on the boat on Fridays. Since we work on Fridays, we don’t have time to prep for dinner. That’s when we will swing by Alberton’s grocery store (they have the best fried chicken) and buy their six piece chicken dinner with the side dishes. It transports easy and there’s no cleanup!
take out dinner for galley
If you are searching for ideas, two of my favorite cookbooks for the galley are The One-Pan Galley Gourmet : Simple Cooking on Boats and Six Ingredients or Less. Simple and perfect for a boat!
galley cooking recipes
When in doubt and it’s a hot day, you can always fall back on a fresh tomato salad with mozzarella! It only has four ingredients and tons of flavor!
galley heirloom salad
Heirloom Cherry Tomato Salad


For those who know me well, I personally don’t eat desserts, nor do I make them. But when you are entertaining guests, dessert is a must. With limited fridge space and no oven, what’s a good idea for dessert? I love to serve different kinds of chocolates. Super easy and delicious!

chocolate bars & bark

Scott and I haven’t been entertaining that much this summer on the boat, since we have such a great restaurant at the marina, Maggie Bluffs. But as Fall arrives, we’ll be spending more time on it and we’ll share some of the great recipes with you!
Cheers, Scott and Ally #Kokomo


Print Recipe
Sweet Chopped Kale Salad with Roasted Beets Yum
The sweetness of the poppy seed dressing combined with tangy roasted beets is a perfect salad for summer time!
kale beet salad
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Passive Time 0 hour
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Passive Time 0 hour
kale beet salad
  1. Mix all of the ingredients today with the dried cranberries and poppy seed dressing the salad kit comes with. Serve immediately.
Share this Recipe
Print Recipe
Pesto Pasta Salad Yum
This pasta salad can be served chilled or at room temperature and is perfect for a hot summer day.
zippy basil pasta salads
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Passive Time 0 hour
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Passive Time 0 hour
zippy basil pasta salads
  1. Mix all the ingredients together and season with salt and pepper as needed. Serve chilled or at room temperature. We transferred the pasta salad to a ziplock bag for easy storage in our small fridge and it kept perfect for the next two days!
Share this Recipe
Print Recipe
Heirloom Cherry Tomato Salad Yum
This heirloom tomato summer salad only uses four ingredients and is perfect for boating!
summer salads
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Heirloom Tomato Salad
Red Wine Vinaigrette Dressing
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Heirloom Tomato Salad
Red Wine Vinaigrette Dressing
summer salads
  1. Mix and blend all of the vinaigrette dressing. Then add 1/4 cup of the dressing to salad. Season with salt and pepper as desired. Let sit for 15 minutes and serve at room temperature.
Share this Recipe

Our first boating trip to the San Juan Islands – Part 3 Oak Harbor back to Seattle

Our First boating trip to the San Juan Islands – Part 3

Our first boating trip to the San Juan Islands has come to an end. We started in Seattle to La Conner (Part 1) and then La Conner to the San Juan Islands (Part 2). Not knowing originally how long it would take us to get home, we planned to stop half way at Oak Harbor on Whidbey Island on our way home on Monday, Jul 24th.  Now that we have done the trip, one regret we have is that we didn’t stay longer on each of the islands to allow time to explore them. It’s a long way up and expensive, to simply turn around and come home. But we had fun, non the less.
My brother Ron and his wife Patsy moved on to my sister’s boat, Semper Fi in the morning and we departed soon after.  We really lucked out on the weather and the conditions of the sound. We decided to go south along Lopez Island, through Cattle Pass and then towards Deception Pass.  Deception Pass is very very tricky to get through. Because of the severe currents that create whirlpools, it’s best to go in during slack tide.  Given this information, we had to go through between 10:30am and 12pm.


first boating trip deer harbor map

first boating trip deer harbor marina

first boating trip calm san juan waters
first boating trip san juan channel
Leaving San Juan Channel towards Lopez Island
We went back and forth if we should travel north back through Thatcher’s pass, which we knew or head south through Cattle Pass, which was unfamiliar to us. But since Cattle Pass was east of Deception Pass, it made more sense.
first boating trip san juan straits
As you come through Cattle Pass, especially at high tide, be very careful to not get too close to the end of Lopez Island. There are a number of small islands and reefs and we almost slammed straight into one.


first boating trip nautical chart cattle pass
We went through Deception Pass very quickly at about 18 knots, but it was definitely like driving on black ice!

first boating trip deception pass

After we got through the pass, we came upon Hope island in the channel. We weren’t sure if we should go through on the west side or east side and no other boats were around for us to see what everyone else was doing.

first boating trip map hope island
Well, we quickly found out that we should have gone on the western side of Hope Island, because we were suddenly in only 4 feet of water!! We carefully and slowly made our way towards Whidbey Island.

first boating trip scenic hope island

 first boating trip oak harbor skagit
Skagit Bay was extremely windy and choppy on our way to Oak Harbor. When we arrived to the channel, the tide was super low.  We stayed dead center, but even then we were only about 8′ of water.  Then when we got to the Oak Harbor Marina, we weren’t sure where to go in. We tried calling the office, no luck and they didn’t have a VHF channel posted for the harbor master.  But we did have our slip number, so we eventually figured it out.  Luckily when we pulled in, another boat was next to us and they had to help us dock as the current was really strong.
The slips have picnic benches and there are seals that lay around on the logs surrounding the marina.  This marina is a city marina, so it’s not super fancy, but it does offer the basic amenities, including free Wi-Fi.  I will warn you though, it is very noisy due to the fighter jets from the air base that fly day and night!

first boating trip oak harbor marina dock

first boating trip kokomo oak harbor dock


first boating trip seals oak harbor


first boating trip oak harbor marina picnic tables
We walked into town, about a 15 minute walk from the marina. There are lots of memorials throughout downtown in honor of the fallen service men who served our country.

first boating trip oak harbor memorial

first boating trip oak harbor navy memorial
Downtown is very small and there’s not a lot to see or do. They have a few small shops, a couple of taverns (which we found one….that was interesting!!) and we ended up having dinner at the Loakal Pub.

first boating trip downtown oak harbor


first boating trip jo jo tavern


first boating trip loakal pub
While at the Loakal, we ended up buying drinks for a jet engine mechanic who was headed to Japan for a two year tour. He has been in the Navy for over 20 years – we were truly thankful for his service and longtime commitment.

We ended the evening enjoying the sunset, but again it got hard to talk due to the loud jets flying over. Not super romantic. But we were so exhausted from the entire trip that we fell into bed early and slept in the next day.

first boating trip nautical magazines

 first boating trip oak harbor marina seals

first boating trip oak harbor sunset

The Journey Home

We left Oak Harbor at high tide (yea!!) around 9:30am and we had placid waters all the way home!! This is so rare for the Puget Sound.  Scott made the comment that if it was always like this, he would go up north regularly!!

first boating trip departing oak harbor

first boating trip calm puget sound

first boating trip kokomo wake
I tried taking photos of the whales we encountered, but this is what I got every time! See the tail? Oh, yea, it’s already underwater!

first boating trip whales
The sight of Seattle and our marina, Elliott Bay Marina was a very welcome sight!

first boating down town seattle

first boating elliott bay marina

first boating elliott bay marina slip
We got home around 12:30pm and gassed up (another $300).  For the next three hours, Kokomo was scrubbed & cleaned from top to bottom. We took off all of the vinyl/canvas windows and scrubbed them clean. It was so nice to have a shiny boat again.

first boating kokomo clean

first boating dock duties

first boating cleaning
Lessons learned from this trip:
  • pack light! We ended up wearing the same clothes multiple days, no need for a new outfit every day.
  • Food – pack light! Our fridge holds A LOT of food, we were amazed! But we brought enough food to feed an army and so did my sister-in-law. We used every nook and cranny to store food.
  • Stay longer and explore the islands.
  • Fuel- if you travel between 18-22 knots, you will burn through a lot of fuel. Our fuel tank is 148 gallons and when we left Seattle, we put in 75 gallons, then in Deer Harbor we put in about 90 gallons and upon our return we put in another 90 gallons.
While we don’t have any major trips like this scheduled for the rest of the summer, we are going on a quick weekend trip with friends closer to home in August. Stay tuned for our next adventure!
Scott and Ally on KokomoSeattle

Our first trip to the San Juan Islands – Part 2 La Conner to Fisherman’s Bay, Lopez Island & then to Deer Harbor, Orcas Island

San Juan Islands Boating Trip – Part 2

San Juan Islands Boating Trip – Part 2.  On Friday, July 21st we left La Conner around 1:30pm after replacing our power steering pump on the port side engine.  We were headed to Fisherman’s Bay on Lopez Island through the Swinomish Slough and up and around Anacortes and via Thatcher Pass & Guemes Channel, about 26.6 nautical miles. If you missed Part 1, Seattle to La Conner, read here.

The slough is a no wake zone and is very shallow. It took us about 30 minutes to get through it. The weather was cloudy and quite a bit colder than the day before.

As soon as we came out of the slough into the bay, we headed into the Guemes channel around Anacortes. Going across the Guemes channel was a bit choppy and you definitely want to be on the look out for logs! Within a few minutes, we were now in rain which makes in a bit hard to see.



One other word of CAUTION when docking at Fisherman’s Bay is the current is wicked! It might look calm, but you will need help from either the harbor master or crew from another boat. We struggled and we also watched boat after boat, struggling with the current.


Fun on Lopez Island at Fisherman’s Bay

That evening, friends of Kurt’s were also moored at the marina and they had just gone crabbing. Looks like we’re having a crabfest on Semper Fi!

Boating on Semper Fi
Bryce, Kurt, Scott, Susan and Mike


Ron, Susan and Scott


After our fabulous crab feast we headed to the bar at the Islander Resort where they had live music and lots of beverages! Trust me, if you get to this bar you will have a ton of fun!


We had custom t-shirts made for Kokomo
Day 3 of our San Juan Trip

Saturday morning (Day 3), we followed Kurt’s dingy out to the bay in our dingy LilMo to put crab pots out. It was so shallow, that Scott and I stayed in the bay in about 2 feet of water and I made him pull the engine up. I didn’t want it to get caught up in all of the sea grass. It was bizarre how low the tide was.

The marina had quite a few boats anchored in the bay, including this very cool “pirate” ship! Everyone who came into the marina, took a moment to take a photo of it.

We let the crab pots sit for a few hours while we waited for high tide to leave Fisherman’s Bay and head to Deer Harbor, Orcas Island.  It was scheduled for 5p, but checkout was 12p.  Knowing that we couldn’t go anywhere, the marina was very flexible with our departure time.  We ended up leaving about 2pm, as that was half way between low and high.  I still recommend going low and slow thru the bay and channel!

As soon as you come out of the bay you enter the San Juan Channel. It was pretty windy and rough for us.  We headed due west towards Friday Harbor.

Again, you need to look for logs and it’s difficult as we had 2′ white caps going through the channel.  We got through pretty quickly, going about 20 knots and got into Deer Harbor within about an hour.

Welcome to Deer Harbor Marina
When we arrived to the Deer Harbor Marina , we first went to the fuel dock and also pumped out. My brother Ron was incredibly generous to fill up our tank. I kept asking him “are you sure??!! it won’t be what you expect!” Another $300 in fuel and we were set to go.
I will say the marina staff wasn’t the friendliest welcome committee. We had made our reservations weeks ago, along with my sister.  They gave us our slip assignment and when we got to the spot, one of the dock hands came out and said he was going to put us in the slip across from the assigned one and walk us in stern in first and put Kurt’s boat in front of us.  That made no sense, as we wouldn’t be able to leave and we couldn’t use our dingy. The kid argued a bit with us and asked why we needed to leave during the day. I replied “Well, we are here to go boating and crabbing”. Apparently they were trying to squeeze in a 52′ boat behind Kurt’s boat, but they gave up. The moorage is also quite a bit more expensive than say Fisherman’s.  We paid $34/night at Fisherman’s and for Deer Harbor, with power it was $63/night. Plus you have to buy tokens for the shower.

They do have a cute gift shop with lots of clothing items and souvenirs, plus a well stocked grocery store. On Saturday and Sundays they sell freshly made donuts in the morning and they have local artists selling goods too.

We were able to snag a picnic table on the dock, that we used for our meals and gatherings!

A day of crabbing & fun

The next day, Kurt went out to pick up the crab pots they dropped on their way in. Oh, are you wondering how many crabs we got in Fisherman’s Bay? None…..he forgot to cut the plastic zip ties that hold the doors together when they are shipped. LOL  This time around he got five (the limit for one person per day) beauties! We celebrated with Mimosas, pre-made that we got from The Wine Alley! Yumm!

Scott and I spent the morning zipping around in our dingy and checked out all of the cool boats that were in the harbor!

That afternoon, we all went out on Semper Fi to check the pots, since Scott and I both had crab licenses.  Unfortunately, they lost a pot either from a high tide or someone took it. It was a very fun relaxing afternoon hanging out with everyone on one boat.


We met a local traveler from Olympia, Ray who has been a live-aboard for a long while and his dog Rex.  Rex got all of the attention and he had “human” eyes. But I could never quite capture his look.

The day ended with a great crab feast, salad and birthday celebrations!

Including two of our favorite wines from Gamache Cellars & Five Star Cellars.

Soon after this “party” photo was taken, the guys headed up to the Island Pie, a pizza place to order a pizza and the gals chatted away.  We were parting ways the next morning as we were headed home and Ron & Patsy were staying a bit longer on Semper Fi.

Stay tuned for Part 3 – Deer Harbor to Oak Harbor! #KokomoSeattle

Our first trip to the San Juan Islands – Part I Seattle to La Conner

Boating to San Juan Islands – Part 1

Boating to the San Juan Islands for the first time. When we bought our boat, Kokomo in May, we hadn’t planned on taking a trip this summer to the San Juan Islands, as we wanted to become more familiar with the boat, etc.  But my sister Susan thought it would be fun for us to boat up there with them and invite my brother and his wife.  So we mapped out a 6 day vacation leaving Seattle and head first to La Conner, which is 54 nautical miles.

My brother Ron and his wife Patsy, stayed with us the night before and we headed down to Elliott Bay Marina first thing in the morning. We learned right away that all of us over packed both food and clothing.  Our boat, Kokomo has lots of storage, but it’s not that easy to access and if you don’t use it, things get cramped quickly.  It took four carts to load the boat with refrigerated items, beverages and their stuff (and remember, we had already loaded our clothes and non perishables the weekend before!).

The winds normally come from the north or northwest, but on Thursday they were 8 knots from the south – which really helped us out a lot!

crane on puget sound

boating on puget sound

My sister Susan and her husband Kurt were traveling on their 34′ trawler Semper Fi at about 7 knots and they left Shilshole Marina around 8:30am on Thursday, July 20th.  We knew we could catch up to them traveling about 17 knots, so we didn’t leave until 10:15am.

trawler boating

We caught up with them around the north end of Whidbey Island, around 11:45am.  Scott thought it would be funny to circle around them, but you know the story of the Tortoise and the Hare? Well, more on that later.  After we circled around them, Kurt called me to say we had a loose line. Turns out one of the lines on our dingy had come loose and was flying all over the place, including under the engines, yikes! Soon enough Karma caught up to us and about an hour later.

We started hearing a rattling / pinging noise from one of the engines, so we stopped and decided to check it out. Since we have two engines, we can use each of them to compare what the other should look like.  We noticed right away that the power steering pulley was at an angle and there were also some metal fragments from the ball bearings.  Not sure what we should do, since the serpentine belt was still working, but noisy, I called my brother-in-law Kurt (retired Chief Engineer for the Washington Ferries) and he zipped over on his dingy for a quick assessment. Determined that the power steering pump needed to be replaced, we now had to limp into La Conner on one engine – and 8 knots, right along side Semper Fi.

boating mercruiser trouble

Luckily for us, the waters (as you can see in the photos and video) were very very calm for the sound. So calm, that Patsy and I decided to sit on the bow and enjoy the smooth ride up.

Ron relaxed on the stern…….

To get to La Conner, you enter a channel and then up the Swinomish Slough.
boating swinomish

swinomish canal

We had made reservations a few weeks ago and were fortunate to be on G Dock on the outside on the end, since we didn’t have much steering control. Semper Fi was right next to us.

trawler la conner

We called the local NAPA store and they had the part. The La Conner Marina staff was so helpful and drove Scott down to the store. He had taken the old pump with him and when he got the new pump, they informed him that it didn’t come with the pulley shaft and that a machine shop, La Conner Maritime Services would have to use the hydraulic press to remove it from the old one and put in it in the new one. They would be able to do that in the morning.
The La Conner Marina is very quiet and has nice facilities for restrooms and showers. That evening, we all walked into town for dinner. La Conner is super cute with  lots of quaint restaurants and shops.  We were drawn in by fresh oysters (not me!) at the Oyster and Thistle Pub and decided to eat there for dinner.  Now that I’m looking at a map, there were many other restaurants to choose from…..but we stumbled on this quaint cute place first.

Knowing we had to fix the boat, Scott woke up bright and early and headed to La Conner Maritime Services.  He picked up the part and we thought we were on the home stretch, when he realized it was not threading (connecting) to the engine. Uh ho!  Turns out it couldn’t reach and it needed an adapter piece. We called all of the parts stores, nothing.  At this point we are preparing to limp home on one engine and transfer my brother, his wife and all of their stuff over to my sister’s boat. Not a fun moment.
Kurt and Scott were not giving up and they went to La Conner Maritime that put the shaft in to try and find this piece in the back room. Still no luck. That’s when Kurt got the idea of taking the old part off of the original pump and using it! Voila!! That worked great. Scott then added power steering fluid and went to put the cap on when there was no cap.  The new pump didn’t come with one. Now what??  Wait – why don’t we go back to the machine shop and get the cap off of the old pump Voila again!  Note to self:  always keep your old parts until you are sure you are done with them!

We were finally on our way to Fisherman’s Bay on Lopez, Island! Let the vacation begin!  Stay tuned for part two!

Prepping for the big trip!

Prepping for our first trip to the San Juan Islands!

Next week, we are leaving for the San Juan Islands for a five night trip.  My brother, Ron and his wife Patsy are joining us. We’ll tag along with my sister Susan and her husband Kurt, who will be on their trawler.  We stayed Friday night on the boat last weekend to relax and then do some prep work on Saturday.
Friday night, we decided to eat at Maggie Bluffs restaurant, as we didn’t want to bother prepping dinner on the boat.  What a great spot to relax and enjoy the views!


seattle outdoor dining

seattle marina dining


shrimp cocktail seattle dining


Mac was once again a trooper. For an old dog, at 14+ years old, having to walk to the boat which is a quarter mile, he does very well.  But he doesn’t really enjoy “boating”. So with that said, he will have a dog sitter next week when we go to the San Juan Islands.


dogs at Elliott Bay marina

people pets marina boating


old golden retriever boating
Got any snacks mom?

I decided to relax on the bow, enjoy the sunset while catching up with my favorite boating magazines.

relaxing on boat

We had a full moon and once again, we find that this is certainly a great retreat after a long busy week.

yachts summer pink sky

Heading out on our own!

Saturday, was our day to take the boat out by ourselves – our first time!!! We wanted to measure how long it took us to get to Shilshole Bay at 7 knots.  It ended up taking us 30 minutes, BUT our boat cannot go that slow. The engines rumbled and were not happy. We were testing that speed, as that is how fast my sister and husband will travel in their trawler.  So on the way back, we increased our speed to 14-15 knots and it hummed happily.
This means we will be far ahead of them. With that said, we plan on leaving about an hour after them and catching up in Mukilteo.  We will get to La Conner a few hours before them, barring any issues. (fingers crossed!!!).
summer seattle sound
We were planning on having me practice docking the boat along our main dock where the yachts park, but we had too many rolling waves that were making me uneasy.  I want to practice in calm waters to fully understand what I’m doing.  I will say, that Scott is doing an AMAZING job operating / docking the boat.  He was my instructor!
Our next big test was to bring it back to our slip and this time docking with another boat next to us! I wasn’t sure if I should be on the bow to push off, or on the stern to jump off. I decided to stay on the stern and Scott brought the boat in perfectly, swung the stern to port and we tied off in less than a minute! Wow!!
boat slip neighbors


We spent the rest of the day, taking stuff off of the boat that we wouldn’t need next week, to make room for storage (under the seats, closets, etc).  Our plan is to go down for the day this Saturday, get gas, clean, load up anything we can in advance and get things ready.
In order to feed six people and have plenty of food and beverages, we knew our little galley fridge would not be sufficient. Scott and I bought a great cooler, Coleman 120 Quart Coastal Xtreme Series Marine Cooler from Amazon and when we are at port, we leave it on the swim step. Obviously, when under way, we bring it on board.
beverages cooler boating
We are scheduled to leave Thursday, July 20th no later than 10am after we load up! We are headed to the La Conner Marina for one night, then to Fisherman’s Bay on Lopez Island for one night, then to Deer Harbor on Orcas Island for two nights, then to Oak Harbor on Whidbey Island for our last night.

Stay tuned for the stories of the big adventure!  Scott and Ally

Enjoying the weekend in Seattle!

Weekend on the Boat in Seattle!

The weather last weekend was HOT HOT HOT and there’s no better place to be than on the water!  We stayed on the boat Friday and Saturday night and ended up entertaining friends all weekend.  Friday night, Scott’s old friend Erin came down for dinner.  It was great to show her the marina and the boat.  One thing she said to us was “I’m so happy to see that you guys follow your dreams. You had a dream to own a business, you did that. You have always wanted a boat, and here you are.”  It was nice to actually hear someone say that to us.


It’s June 23rd and we still do not have a “slip mate”. Our biggest challenge with having a mate, will be when we dock, as we have been running into the “imaginary boat”. LOL  The winds were very strong both Friday and Saturday coming from the north. While it was great to help us stay cool, the marina was also much noisier with the sail boat riggings clanging back and forth.

Also, the 159′ S/V Georgia is still there and it is stunning at night, as the pictures show.


Elliott Bay Marina really is such a beautiful place to be during calm warm nights.

Even Kokomo looks awesome at night!

Friday night they had a wedding up at the Admiral’s House and we could hear the music all the way from our dock. It didn’t bother us, but we were amazed as to how far noise travels.
Sitting in the dark at the marina is also so incredibly relaxing – it’s a great way to end a hectic work week.  We bought Flameless Candles for more ambiance and I love them!
Saturday, we went to the pump out station all by ourselves! LOL  We did find out that the marina will come by and pump out your waste every Tuesday if you want and they charge $20.  But it was super easy and the guys at the dock helped us.
I spent part of the afternoon relaxing and reading one of my favorite boating magazines, Cruising Outpost in the sun while sitting on the bow. It just doesn’t get much better than that!
That night we had our friends Nick and Rhonda on the boat for dinner. It was nice to catch up and show them how great the marina is. I don’t think we can take enough photos to do it justice!


Mom, it is so hot on this boat!

Entertaining on Kokomo at Elliott Bay is certainly easy with the beauty of the atmosphere.

Early Sunday morning Scott is standing in the galley, when he looks out the starboard window and says “Ummm, I see a fender!”  What?! What do you mean you see a fender?!!! We both rush up to the deck and sure enough, we HAVE A SLIP MATE! Ugh. So it begins.  Luckily it is an aluminum fishing boat and if we were to bump into a boat, it is the best kind. LOL I guess the guy moved it into the slip at midnight! Crazy.
In preparation for a trip we are taking to the San Juan Islands in July with my brother and his wife, we decided to check out all of the storage spaces on the boat!  Under the salon cushions we found all kinds of space, where we can put wine, beer and staples. We also found a BRAND NEW Thetford head pump. Score!! These retails for $210. Let’s hope we don’t have to use it, but what a treasure!


Enjoying the weekend during the heat wave

Sunday, June 25th was the HOTTEST day on record for the month of June in history in Seattle! It was the best day to be on the water.  Good friends of ours, Tim and Lori joined us, as they used to be boat owners. It was great to have them along and they were so helpful.  We traveled over to Alki and then down to Shorewood where they just purchased a home.

Mac isn’t too keen on going fast in the boat and kept crawling up on the seat cushions. I started to worry that he would jump out, so I eventually put him down below.

senior dog boating

Notice Scott’s new custom T-Shirt for Kokomo??



Mac, finally relaxing down in the aft berth! Before I took this photo he was sound asleep like a baby!

senior dog aft berth




I drove the boat from Alki down to Shorewood and back to the marina. Now I just have to get docking down. Even though it was the hottest day of the year, when you are going fast on the water, it’s chilly! When we got back into the marina, it was hotter than hell! Amazing the difference in temperature is when you go from one to the other.
When we got back to the marina, Tim suggested that we finally put the dinghy in! Whoa, this is a lot. LOL. The electric winch uses a 12 volt and we don’t have that, so we manually put it in the water and lifted it out.  The engine started right away and Tim noticed immediately that the plug wasn’t in. That would have been a disaster!

We couldn’t have asked for a better weekend and we know we have many more to come.  The other cool thing about the marina and boat life is all of the sea life we see. When we were out in front of West Seattle we saw dolphins again.  It’s been awhile since our seal has visited, but this past weekend we had eagles flying over head, we had tons of minnows and a super cool purple starfish on our dock.

We are planning on staying on the boat the weekend of July 15th to prep it for our trip to the San Juan Islands. So stay tuned for our next blog which will discuss all of our preparations and things we are buying for it.
Cheers! Scott & Ally on M/V Kokomo

Getting to Know Our Boat Part 2

bayliner engine well

Getting to know our boat, Kokomo – Part 2

Last Sunday was cloudy and damp in Seattle, but we still wanted to spend the day on the boat and do some housework.  Better to do that on a cloudy day and enjoy it on a sunny day we figured.  We left Mac at home, so we could move about easier and get things done.
When we arrived, we noticed we had another new yacht visiting. This time it was the S/V Georgia from George Town. This photo doesn’t do it justice. We found out from our neighbor that it is 159′ long and now is a charter vessel. The mast could be seen from miles away!


sailing yachts

Time for Chores

Scott and I had different chores – he replaced all of the spark plugs and I cleaned the interior carpets.  I also brought our Dyson Vacuum Cleaner from home, which made a huge difference both inside the cabin and in the cockpit. Something about walking around 17 year old carpet that someone else walked around, was creeping me out. At least I feel better now!  We ended up ordering a vinyl anti-fatigue mat for the galley too, to help make it better and we also bought a portable vacuum cleaner to keep on the boat – too much dog hair! LOL


Working on the engines was a tight fit, but Scott did a great job! And he only broke one spark plug while changing out all 16 plugs.


Next on the list, was (doing something with the dingy motor)….as you can see, I’m not sure what he was doing. LOL I can’t say he was mounting it, as it was already mounted….but it had something to do with drilling a hole thru the bracket and putting in a screw. Unfortunately his drill bit wore out.


We have yet to put the dingy down and take it for a run – but we promise to do that this weekend!

Next on the list – the anchor chain

Now we need to figure out how long our anchor chain is and spray paint it in 20′ lengths.  I was a bit freaked out running the electric winch as it was so noisy.  I kept going down to the cabin to see how much was left. In the end, we had almost 240′ of chain and looking at the chain, it appears the previous owner rarely used it. We also noticed that our winch is missing the manual handle, should it break down, so that’s on the “buy list”.



Scott fired up the engines and our Furuno radar – we’ve been told to do that every time we go onboard. Especially the radar as it can get “stuck”.  After a few hours work, we called it a day.  Walking down the dock, we ran into this fella, a Blue Heron.
If I saw him outside my stern entrance it would have scared me to death. He was so stealth like.
Scott & I are staying on the boat this upcoming weekend and entertaining friends each day.  Our goal is to take it out on our own and also with friends. Time to jump out of the nest I guess!  We still don’t have a slip neighbor, so who knows, we may get it all to ourselves this summer. Stay tuned! #KokomoSeattle


Getting To Know Our New Boat

Getting to know our Bayliner boat, Kokomo

bayliner ciera des moines marina

Getting to know our new boat, Kokomo

It’s been two full weeks now that we have owned the boat and we headed back to Elliott Bay Marina to spend Saturday and Saturday night on it. We wanted to utilize this time to figure out all the ins and outs of the boat and also take my brother in law out on the sound with us for tips and practice.

The first thing Scott and Kurt did, was open up the engine hatch and check everything out on our two Mercruiser 250HP 5.7ltr engines. We had just had the oil changed this week by Monkey Fist Marine in the marina and all looked great there.  They said it really needed it badly. Remember, the previous owner hadn’t ran the boat in almost two years!

Kurt wanted to look at the spark plugs and instantly that one cracked. So off I went to West Marine to get a bunch of spark plugs and some other stuff, including self-repair tape for the “just in case” incidents.  They replaced a few that they had removed and Scott will do the rest of them when in a few weeks.


Off to Blake Island

Then we headed out to the sound, so Kurt could listen to the engines and make sure everything sounded great. To be honest, I got freaked out last weekend when the engines would make different sounds as we moved across the sound, so I wanted Kurt (who used to be a Chief Engineer for the Ferries) to listen to them.

As we pulled out of Elliott Bay, a bizarre wave came at us – it was absolutely HUGE and we took a 6′ nose dive. There were no ferries, no freighters  and no cruise ships. It was unexplainable! Let’s say it freaked all of us out.  Kurt wanted to head to Blake Island across the sound.  It was a bit choppy with NNW at 8 mph, but he wasn’t worried at all.
satellite map elliott bay
About 1/4 of the way of the trip, we were going full throttle when we heard and felt a huge “thug”! What the hell was that?!! Yep, we hit a log and thank God, it was not a big one. We were all okay, but now I was a bit white knuckled between the white caps and the log.  The key to the trip, was we were finding out that the “sounds” we were hearing was that there was cavitation (see below) in the engines as we were going up and over the waves.
Soon, we planed the boat and found the perfect RPM and we made it to Blake Island State Park in about 40 minutes.


They have 30 minute docks and overnight moorage. We pulled up to the 30 minute dock and walked around a little bit. We checked out Tillicum Village and then we had lunch on the boat. Of course, I had to get my photo with my Cougar flag (I do this in every new city).

salmon bake indian reservation
Soon, the park ranger came knocking on our door – we had stayed too long.  By now the winds had shifted slightly and as we returned back, we had to close up all of the cockpit, as we were getting sprayed everywhere.


What is Cavitation?

The aeration (bubbling) and boiling effect of water caused by creation of a low pressure area. Generally caused by a solid shape (propeller blade) passing through the water, in such a position and speed, that a low pressure area is formed due to the inability to move through the water in nonresistant manner. An example is, a propeller blade that has a rough edge would not cut efficiently through the water, thus creating a low pressure area. If the pressure drops below the vapor pressure, a cavitation bubble will form in that region. These bubbles will collapse when they reach the higher pressure region of the blade. This causes a rapid change in pressure and can result in physical erosion. You may notice burns (erosion) at some area on the face of the blade.

We finally got back to the marina!

By the time we got back to Elliott Bay, the winds were fairly strong from the north, at about 12 mph. We headed to the fuel dock and twice, the winds pushed us off of the dock. The staff at the fuel dock was super helpful and on the third approach we nailed it. It didn’t help that a 70′ yacht was sharing the same fuel dock! LOL

I’m always a bit nervous doing the “S Turn” back to our slip between 3 yachts, especially in the wind, but Scott did an amazing job.  We still don’t have a slip mate yet on our starboard side and so we have a bit of “room” when docking. This time, the northerly winds pushed us right into our side of the dock and he did great! We wouldn’t have even hit them if they were there. LOL  Mac was happy the ride was over too. It was a bit too bumpy for him! As you can see by the photo of the cabin – things went flying! Lesson learned – secure everything!

sweet golden retriever face


We then spent the next two hours cleaning all of the salt water off of the boat! It was a mess! We couldn’t see a thing out of any of the windows!



Relaxing after a fun day

The best thing we love about boating, is relaxing after a fun day, in the sun with gorgeous surroundings! This weekend, we had a new yacht neighbor join us “Invader”. It is one of the largest yachts in North America at 164′ and it is owned by a media mogul.


Super Yacht, Invader

Scott & I ended the day grilling steaks on our new Magma Gas Grill  – it works perfect for us! We just made a simple blue cheese salad to pair with it. Mac surely was tuckered out too.
Another thing we learned about the boat this weekend, is how fast we go thru water. I was prepping dinner, when I heard the water pump – we were nearly bone dry! We have an antibacterial hose, Teknor Apex Zero-G Hose that we use to fill the water tanks directly from our dock.

After dinner, we strolled to the west end of the marina to take in the sunset – Elliott Bay Marina really is a beautiful place.
Unfortunately, for the month of June we won’t get to spend much time on the boat, as we have trips or commitments. We will try and squeeze in a night towards the end of the month – but will definitely use it a lot in July and August. Until then……..


Memorial Day Weekend – Our Official Weekend on the Boat

boating journey

Our official first weekend on our boat, Kokomo!

Memorial day weekend was our first full weekend on the boat. Scott and I  certainly lucked out getting the boat before Memorial Day weekend and then spending the entire holiday at the marina (Elliott Bay Marina).  The weather was warm and sunny – 85 degrees, which is hot for Seattle.
We headed to the marina after work on Friday and surprisingly, got there within 45 minutes. Probably because everyone else was leaving Seattle, while we were coming in.  We had two huge carts to load up and as we got to the boat, we met our neighbor Doug (who owns the 75′ yacht at the end of our dock) and his 13 yo yellow lab Zoe. The yacht is his first boat – his fiancé, Jules, is a long time boater and each of them can dock their yacht by themselves. Needless to say, we are still nervous when we leave and enter the marina as we round the corner of their yacht!
Friday, we washed down the boat, inside and out. It’s amazing how dirty a boat can get, even sitting at the marina.  We finally finished around 7:30p  and we could relax, eat dinner and enjoy the views! The views are so gorgeous, that it’s impossible not to take photos one after another.


Even Mac finally relaxed on Friday with his woobie. It’s a very long walk from the parking lot to our dock, so for this 14 yo boy, it’s exhausting.



Keeping busy at the marina

Saturday morning, we headed to Wild Salmon Market at Fisherman’s Terminal to get fresh fish, shrimp and crab. It’s a 5 minute drive and we love how close we are to really fresh fish!
Later, my sister Susan and her husband Kurt came down to help us learn how to dock the boat. We don’t have a slip neighbor yet, so that made it easier. We left the entrance of the marina and practiced coming in and out and me jumping onto the dock. Then we went to the fuel dock to pump out the holding tank – it was much easier than I expected. The gross part is it was pretty full and we hardly have used it. Yuck. After about an hour of this, we had enough (LOL) and it was time to go to lunch! The view of Mount Rainier is gorgeous from the restaurant.
Scott and I finished the afternoon cleaning more of the boat, then showering at the marina (they have really nice facilities at Elliott Bay) and prepping for dinner. We were having our neighbors, Dave & Kathy and Scott’s brother Jeff and his wife Michele down for dinner. Finally, we were entertaining guests on OUR boat after a 5 year dream. We bought a  Magma Gas Grill  and it worked great! We did have to buy a mounting bracket that expands in the fishing pole hole (not sure if that’s what it’s called).

Entertaining on the water in Seattle

Once again the views were picture perfect for our guests! Seattle is such a gorgeous city, especially during the summer.




Unfortunately, soon after these photos were taken the toilet got clogged by toilet paper and was unusable.  That called the night short and everyone went home. Since it is a 1/4 mile walk to the marina facilities, Scott and I used a bucket for the rest of the night. LOL  That’s what we did when we went fishing as kids, so it was no big deal to me.  But the question was, can it be unclogged?  We tried a weird plunger we found on board – no luck.  So first thing on Sunday morning, Scott got the idea to take off the hose that connects to the head and see if the clog was there.  Sure enough it was. There is a baffle at the end of that hose to prevent anything from coming back into the pipe and it is ridiculously narrow. He pulled out all of the toilet paper out and Voila! it works.  Our first fix (of many to come I’m sure).
NEW RULE: Nothing goes in the toilet except pee.
Originally, Dave and Kathy were going to stay the night on the boat and go out boating with us on Sunday afternoon. They came back down Sunday morning and off we went on our first boating outing with guests. (Scary!!!)  As we headed out of Elliott Bay, the Olympic Mountains were right in front of us and beautiful! We went north to Shilshole Marina in Ballard and then west over towards Bainbridge Island. Surprisingly, the sound was very calm.
From there, we went south and then over to West Seattle and Alki Beach.  I was driving the boat then when I spotted about 5 fins in the water. Everyone thought I was crazy until they saw them too. They came and went, but since they were small we think they were porpoises.



Alki Beach


After about an hour and half on the sound, it was time to head back to Elliott Bay Marina.  We had a nice lunch with Dave and Kathy. After they left, we decided to go thru all of the storage lockers and also look at the engine. I should have taken a photo of all of the cleaning supplies the previous owner had on the boat. I ended up taking most of them home, but he must have had over 20 bottles! We also dug thru the locker on the swim platform and found an extra anchor, 3 lines, 2 gas cans, more cleaning supplies and other stuff. One thing we did find was an outdoor shower with hot and cold water! Who knew?

We walked over to G Dock to get ice and that’s where some of the largest yachts are moored. It is amazing HOW CLOSE they are to each other!!
We did have a very scary moment with Mac. As he was getting on the boat from the deck, he fell in the water and he was almost crushed between the boat and the dock! We quickly got him out and on board, but needless to say we were all shaken up! He does have a life jacket, but it was almost 90 degrees and he wasn’t wearing it since he had just walked down to the park for potty.  Just another reminder to be very very careful when getting on board.
golden retriever begging for food
Later in the afternoon an Azimut 116′ yacht “Sin or Swimpulled up and docked parallel to the dock sideways!
Sunday night was a great night for us to relax, barbecue burgers on the grill and just take in all of the scenery. It’s really why we have chosen to be boaters and enjoy this lifestyle.



Memorial Day

Our good friends Nick and Michelle who have gone on this journey with us from the beginning, came down Monday morning for a quick trip around Elliott Bay. Unfortunately it was cold and cloudy, which was a bit of a damper. We knew the sun was coming out, just later. It was great to have them go out with us to help us practice more.  Right now, I’m not comfortable going out on our own, especially if we do end up with a slip neighbor. I can’t be in two places at once and it’s more important that I be able to jump on the dock to tie us up. But having another person on the bow to help push us off should we go towards another boat, is important too.
We ended the day with lunch at Maggie Bluffs, with a bloody mary and a good time with good friends! Oh, and more cleaning of course!



Scott and I are heading back down to the boat this Saturday to practice with Kurt and Susan again. We’ll stay just one night. Unfortunately our schedules in June don’t allow us much time on the boat, but we are wide open in July and August, so we are looking forward to many fun days. #KokomoSeattle


We are Finally Boat Owners!

We have bought our first boat!

We have finally bought our first boat. After my last post, we put an offer on a 31′ Bayliner Ciera 2000 cabin cruiser in the beginning of April. I owned one before and Bayliner boats are very prominent here in the northwest.  We had looked at many boats, but we kept coming back to this one.
The boat was located in the Des Moines Yacht Club on the hard and was in mint condition. The owner kept heaters in the cabin, cockpit and engine room. He didn’t accept our initial offer, but we settled half way in between.  Now the fun begins as we try to schedule the survey and mechanical inspection.  The challenge here was both the weather windows and the seller’s schedule, as he travels every week.


Finally, we scheduled the survey with Terry Larson of Northwest Marine Surveyors and sea trials for the second week of May! Yes, a whole month after our offer. This was one of the frustrating things about this process, as we were at the mercy of the owner.  Even our broker, Eddie from NW Yachts said this was one of the more difficult deals in regards to scheduling he had dealt with.  The boat was surveyed on the hard for a few hours, then the seller put it in the water so we could go to sea trials that same day.  We went out on the sound with the seller, surveyor and our broker.


Sea trials went great. It was a fairly windy day and I as you can see by the photo, there were lots of boats lined up on the dock. When we returned I started asking the seller what all came with the boat, so we could prepare and purchase anything needed. First I asked about the life jackets. He had them, but they were up in the shed at the house. (??!!) I was just out on the sound, are you kidding me? He had no distress kit, no first aid kit and the fire extinguishers were from 2000, the year the boat was built!
The survey only found some minor issues, that were not major nor deal breakers.  We then scheduled the mechanical inspection for a few days later.  The seller had upgraded almost everything on the boat, including the engines, the cooling systems, the electronics – in fact, he went a bit overboard our broker said. Even the electronic winch and davit system for the dingy he put in was a huge investment and a bit overkill for the boat.  But we’ll take it. Now we needed to schedule the closing….not as easy as you would think.

Boating Supplies

I wanted to be prepared for when we finally took possession. Knowing that he was leaving only the bare necessities on the boat, we went shopping. First to Fishery Supplies in Seattle to buy all of our boating items: PFD’s (we bought two inflatable ones for us), distress kit, first aid kit, boat cleaner, rags and much more.  Then we went to get stuff for the galley: dishes, glasses, utensils, etc. I also stocked our toiletries. The idea is that we want to be able go down to the boat and enjoy it without having to pack anything (besides clothes and food).
Back to the boat – the seller hardly used it in two years.  We are going to drop it in saltwater for the summer and I wanted it cleaned, buffed and waxed.  The seller refused to do that, so we paid someone to come out while it was on the hard and take care of it.  We finally went to closing on May 17th. It was a bit surreal to be finally signing the papers! When you buy a boat, it is much like buying a house. You sign at a title company and the funds go into escrow.


We signed with VanNess Vessel Title on Wednesday the 17th  and we wanted to take possession on Saturday, May 20th. If we didn’t, the seller was going to be out of town starting on Monday, May 22nd for two weeks!  The catch for us was, the seller wanted the funds in his account before he would hand over the keys, but he couldn’t sign until Friday the 19th. In the end, it all worked out!! Thank God.

Taking possession of the boat – finally!

Our broker Eddie moved the boat to a guest slip at the Des Moines Marina and we met him on Friday evening.


While we were so excited, we were also extremely anxious and nervous. Remember, I hadn’t operated a boat in 18 years and Scott has never. And this is a twin engine boat, which can be easier or harder depending on your experience.  Eddie spent about 45 minutes with us on the boat and took Scott to the fuel dock. I wish I had thought of taking video of all of this, but my phone was on the boat and I was on the dock.  During that time, he showed him how to dock it (who can learn in 5 minutes?) and then he backed it up into the slip. From there we drove both of our cars to Elliott Bay Marina in Seattle, so we could leave my car there (so we had a way to get home after we got to the marina) and also load up our dock box with some supplies. (It was a long night!!)

The trip from Des Moines to Seattle

Needless to say, we couldn’t wait to get up the next day and have the fun begin!! Our good friend Randy, drove us and Mac to the Des Moines Marina, where we loaded all of our gear and got things put away. After about an hour, the winds really picked up and we knew we had to get going.  My sister Susan and brother in law, Kurt were meeting us at our dock at Elliott Bay, so we could throw them the lines in case we needed help docking. The trip would take about an hour. I had no problem pushing the boat off the dock as the winds were coming from the north and all I had to do was untie the lines and we were off. And we were nervous as hell.
The trip was easy and fun. It was a gorgeous day, in fact, fighter jets from Whidbey Is were doing maneuvers over head. When approached downtown Seattle the views were stunning and we were glad we were mooring in Seattle, at least for the summer. Elliott Bay Marina is on the northwest side of Elliott Bay.


Scott and I had picked out our slip a month earlier. We had walked the docks and picked one that (at the time had no neighbors) and was close to the entrance. We picked M95.

Arriving to Elliott Bay – Uh ho!

As we entered the marina, we soon realized that we were not on the west side of M dock, which was right in front of us. We figured, we would simply pull into the marina and head down our dock lane. But not so. Turns out we were on the other side of the M dock which required Scott to turn a sharp right and then a sharp left to dock. The catch is we had to maneuver between two huge yachts and it was very windy.  The image below doesn’t do it justice, as it has two small boats inside, but when we went through, there were two 65′ yachts on both sides.


Luckily, we made it just fine, but our hearts were racing like mad. We wanted to dock this boat and get off (LOL). So I threw Kurt the lines from about 10′ away and told him to pull us in. We were ready to relax, have a beer and enjoy some sun!




Sleeping the first night on the boat

Even Mac did very well. He had troubles at first getting on and off, but soon that was a piece of cake. He wasn’t to sure of going down the stairs to the cabin, but food finally encouraged him.  We slept that night on the boat peacefully and woke up to a gorgeous morning.


That morning, we explored the marina. We knew it had two restaurants and then we found the fuel dock and marina store. The store is much bigger than we expected. They even have a great wine selection!
We are staying the entire Memorial Day weekend on the boat, Friday – Monday.  My sister and her husband are coming down on Saturday morning to spend a few hours with us. He will help us practice docking, entering the marina and other maneuvers so we can be comfortable using it on our own. The weather is forecasted to be warm and sunny, so it should be a fantastic weekend. This is what we have been waiting for all these years!  #KokomoSeattle