Trini’s Bug Proofing

The weather is warming up and the bugs are coming out.  Instead of buying expensive screens for our hatches (hundreds of dollars), we decided to make our own for less than $15.

The following items needed to make these screen covers

  • Black screen material from Home Depot
  • An old black rope (ours came with the boat)
  • A sewing machine & black thread

This is what we did to make the screens.

We sized the material over an opened hatch and pinned the seams together.

Pining the screen around the hatch
Pining the screen around the hatch


Then put the rope around the base and pinned it in place.  The rope’s weight keeps the screen on the hatch.

Pins come in handy


I sewed it up and Walla!  A new screen that keeps out mosquitoes, wasps and cockroaches.

Bug Proofed!
Bug Proofed!


This is Bug Proofing on a budget.  We know this works since we had made similar screens for Moorea when we cruised and they stayed on even in windy anchorages.

Fair Winds,

The Domestic Boat Wife


The Answer Plus A Snake


This post contains the answer to last week’s post of “What Is It?” and we found a Water Snake.  What Kind?  Who knows.

 An Update and The Answer:

What is it?
What is it?


Last week we asked if anyone knew what this red contraption was.  We weren’t sure it was for a sailboat.

We had some good guesses come our way, but they just didn’t seem to be right.  Then the Captain’s brother, Chris posted our question & photos online.  Nephew, Joey posted the question on Reddit.  The inquiring minds from the Reddit world got involved and provided an answer and photos.

Turns out this is a Universal Mast Base for a Windsurfer….a vintage windsurfer since the design of windsurfers have evolved over the years.

See the part in action!


dufourmast bicdufourbase

Whew!  Mystery solved.

Thanks for the answer guys.


Now the Snake:

The marina is loaded with Hydrilla – a bed of prop-tangling floating foliage.   Turns out it brings in critters.  The other day the Captain walked past a raft of Hydrilla, right next to the dock, and spotted a snake resting on top of it just a few feet away!  (Insert screaming here.)

What kind of water snake is this?


The marina staff said it was a Water Moccasin.  Then said it could jump four-feet.  Of course, a Water Moccasin is poisonous.

We’re not sure if this is a Water Moccasin.  Any snake experts out there?

The Boat Wife…watching where she steps.




The Pelicans of Seabrook

Around here (in Seabrook, Texas) there are pelican statues of various styles posing through out the small city.  When my parents arrived from Minnesota, we went to  the visitor’s center and found an illustrated book of the 40 pelicans and a map to hunt them all down.

Visitor's center
I like his shirt!

You can also find a list the pelicans and a the map at Seabrook’s Pelican Path Project here. Scene_PelicanMapResize2

The Seabrook’s Pelican Path Project

Driving around to check out the pelicans was a fun way to spend the afternoon and we found other interesting sights in the city, like parks, biking paths, boutiques and new restaurants to try.  Below are some of my favorite Pelicans.

Fair Winds!

From the Pelican Spotting Boat Wife

pelican tourist
Hanging outside my parents hotel
My Dad Posing Next the Cowboy Pelican
More pelicans hanging around


In Honor of Our Heroes


These guys are even well read.  This one’s by the library.

Found by the Library





Watching the Weather

As the cold rain beats against the deck while I write this post, it brings home the fact that weather is important on a boat.  Especially a sailboat.

Under sail, weather determines how to set your sails (full sail or reefed sails), what to wear (foulies or shorts)and if you’re going to have a fun ride with a brisk wind or a bumpy ride with high winds and large seas.

When living on the boat weather isn’t as big of a concern (well…unless a hurricane is coming).  To avoid cabin fever, in today’s soggy weather, I will need to put on a rain coat, (no umbrella – the wind will blow it away) and walk with a fast pace to the car located in the parking lot, about a 100 miles away.  (Okay, it’s only a distance of a city block or two but feels like 100 miles in this weather.)

On the boat, when it’s gusty, the boat rocks around from the waves created by the wind.  At night it can be hard to sleep when the rigging whistles from hollowing wind that blows through it.

So you get my point about weather on boat, right?  Great!

Looking up from the cabin to cockpit
Looking up from the cabin to cockpit


Over the years I’ve labeled weather.

Storms are angry

Sunny days are happy

Wind is energetic

Rain is depressing or therapeutic (this depends on my mood)

Fog…well, fog is creepy

Why is fog creepy? When the thick white wall creeps in, sound is muted. Your visibility is limited and everything you pass looks ghost-like.

We all know this.  But when on a boat and you’re caught in fog, it’s better to be at the dock then on a passage in a busy shipping channel…that’s just scary.

Below are some recent photos of our fog covered marina and some without.

Fair (fog free) Winds!

End of our Dock end of dock foggy marina Marina

Got a Cold Boat? Make Bread!


On a boat, when its cold outside, its cold inside.  The other morning the temp in our cabin was just under 49 degrees.

temp 48

What does a boat wife do to quickly heat up her boat?  Turn on the space heater and make bread.

I haven’t made bread in years.  So a cold day was my opportunity to perfect my bread making skills.  The recipe I used was from my Vegan Plant cook book.

A Rustic Peasant Loaf was the ideal recipe since I felt like a peasant trying to keep warm over a flimsy space heater.


After pulling out the ingredients, making the dough and kneading for  8-10 minutes, I started to warm up.

I then had to let the dough rest & rise for up to two hours.

After two hours, I shaped it.  Surprisingly the dough was soft and easy to shape.  I must be doing something right!


I was able to make two loafs.  One turned out larger than the other…rookie mistake.



I had to bake each loaf for 45 minutes.


bread bake

The oven could only fit in one loaf at a time.  But I was able to get a few potatoes in too.




Doesn’t it look rustic!


I let it rest before cutting.  The first loaf was a little dense.  The second larger loaf was more light.  Overall it was a tasty treat.

The best part.  When all was said and done, the boat warmed up to a balmy 68 degrees.

Temp 68

This week promises to bring even more cold weather. So I will be testing out some new recipes for the oven.  With luck my propane tanks will last through my baking spree.

Happy Baking!

From the Boat Wife

What’s in a Name?


Our 42 foot Whitby had the name of Enterprise.  This is an honorable name, one used on tall ships and battle ships alike.  It even reminds us of Captain Kirk and the phrase “To go where no man has gone before.”  But our name needed to have meaning for us and Enterprise was not what we had in mind.

EnterpriseOur requirements for the name is it had be female name with only one or two syllables.  The name should not be a description like “Knotty Boat” (too corny) or have an element like “Comet” (bad luck, lightening might strike).  Then Kelly came up with the perfect name of Trini.  It was his late mother’s nickname and she had always encouraged Kelly’s dreams of voyaging to distant lands.

We ordered the vinyl letters and waited about 3 weeks to apply the name.  What we waited for was a high tide of 6 inches so we could turn the vessel around.  We’re in a shallow marina (that desperately needs dredging) and Trini has a 5 foot draft.  Normally she hovers about a inch over the silty bottom.

backed up
Stern backed up to the dock

Next was to heat and scrape off the old letters.

take off letters
Using a heat gun speeds up the process


After the letters were removed, we discovered a problem.

Letter still visable
Enterprise wasn’t giving up her name

Enterprise was still visible on the stern.  The gel coat around the letters wore down leaving a ghostly image of Enterprise behind.  It felt like embossed letters.  The remedy?  We painted the stern.

repaint stern
A fresh coat of paint creates a new canvas for a new name

Next was to measure the stern and place the vinyl letters with tape.

New name
Blue painters tape doesn’t leave a sticky residue

Removed the backing and carefully apply the letters with no wrinkles.  This is slow work.

apply new name
Reading the instructions on how to apply the letter was helpful

Late in that morning, Trini had her name in place.  Then out of no where we hear, “You got to have a boat christening party for good luck!” from our 80 year old dock-mate Jack.  We agreed, went to the store bought some sparkling wine and cider.

all done

The boat was christened with a few dock-mates sharing in the festivities while Jack had words of praise to Neptune to keep Trini safe in his waters.

So what is in a name?  For us, it gives the vessel personality and makes her part of our family.

well wishers more well wishers

Cruiser Friendly Composting Toilet

Composting Toilet
Nature’s Head CompostingToilet


When I heard Jeff from vessel Bonnie Lou, a 31 foot Cal Sloop, had a composting toilet I wanted to see it.

Jeff from Bonnie Lou
Jeff from Bonnie Lou

Normally I don’t get excited over toilets.  In a home, you do your business and usually the stuff flushes down without any issues.

But a boat toilet, known as a “head”, can be a different story.  First of all there’s no flushing.  Instead there is a handle at the side of the toilet that is used to pump down the #1 or #2 you just left in it.  So your looking at it the whole time your pumping it down.

This isn’t so bad, but when a head malfunctions or clogs that’s when it can go all wrong.  (Let’s just say the murky, smelly brown stuff can come back up in the toilet.)  You can’t use a plunger to unclog it since it could damage the seals in the marine head.

Instead the hoses and other fittings need to come off to unclog the toilet.  Over time the hoses get clogged and need cleaning or replacing.  It’s a messy job for Captain Kelly.  (I am grateful I’m not the Captain)

Over time Head hoses can clog and need cleaning
Captain Kelly installing new Head


So what’s so great about a Composting Toilet?  They have a simple system without hoses that can clog up.   Urine goes into one compartment while stool goes into the compartment with peat moss or coconut coir.  A few turns of the moss that’s it.  (There is one hose with a computer fan used to air the peat moss compartment.)

Peat Moss in the back & urine container in the front


Urine container easily lifts out for disposal

Jeff mentioned he can go up several months before disposing of the moss and starting a new batch. The down side is composting toilets are more expensive and you would need to carry peat moss.  But less hassle may be worth the extra expense.

Other things Jeff liked about his composting toilet

  1. He doesn’t smell odors- maybe a little dirt smell at times.
  2. The toilet’s foot print is small and fits in his vessel
  3. It’s USCG Certified and meets the No Discharge requirements

Also a side note from Jeff regarding the composting medium:  I use coconut coir instead of peat moss. Coconut coir is heated and pressed into blocks that are easy to store until needed. Heating and pressure kill any critters that may live in the coconut coir.  Peat moss may have bugs. Or so I’m told. I order through Amazon and get either the 1 kilo or 5 kilo blocks. I think it’s about $20.

I want to thank Jeff for showing us his toilet and let you know he’ll be cutting his dock lines this January.  His plans are to cruise the Caribbean with his kitty, Missy.

Check out his blog and what he’s done to get his boat ready at

Fair Winds,
Kelly Girl

Jeff's Kitty
Jeff’s Kitty