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23' mini-trawler
by Schucker

Janice aboard Seaweed,
living the good life afloat...

Trawler cruising on $14 per day is possible.
I'm doing it and you can too.

Janice Marois, nautical journalist.
Accredited member of Boat Writers International.

Here, I share my views on living aboard a small boat with very limited resources. Hopefully my successes will help others achieve the life. And yes, I'll share the things I did wrong too -- though not everything 'cause a girl's got to have her secrets!


Yes, we are still trying to get Comments to work properly. In the meantime I welcome email comments. Email me at comments@janice142.com and I will add them manually. Thanks too. I appreciate your patience while *we tweak things. J.

That's the royal "we" meaning KEN on Sparrow!

Sparrow, a 40'
Rhodes Bounty2

Date: 8 December 2016. Anchor Down by Noon (policy vs. practice)


Update: First, I apologize. It's not that I haven't had lots of guilt about the lack of new articles being posted. I could give you any number of Excuses. All would be true and none would encompass the whole. Thus, I'm starting fresh.

In the meantime I've had a Wish since forever installed. This is HUGE and will be detailed once I get a bit more caught up.

The St. Pete Boat Show was marvelous. I was fortunate enough to spend two days there and have lots to share. There are pictures galore to process and upload.

And now, back to our semi-regularly scheduled words. Trawler life on a nickel budget is both fabulous and frugal. Cruising requires finding your own footing while underway. Expecting perfection is a recipe for disappointment. Things that work for me may not suit you at all. Also I've learned something: what was the perfect policy in years past simply doesn't fit me and my lifestyle now.

I'm on a soapbox today. Here's a picture of mine:

"Anchor down by noontime" is a policy aboard Seaweed.

Whenever I say something along the lines of "It has always been my policy" it may be time to pull on the boots. Policy and practice can differ. Things change and life happens. Being adaptable is a necessity in my view. My cruising style is evolving. I like it better than ever now.

For instance when chatting with a neighbor we came to the conclusion that it would be smart to always have the anchor down by noontime. That sounds wonderful when you hear the words. Reality is a bit different.

I get tired. Being rested means
I am less likely to make mistakes.

Boating is fabulous. I love life afloat. Getting an early start when heading out seems to be a good idea on the surface. It was the policy that worked well for me until a couple years back. Nowadays I am not always and up-and-at-'em gal. I tend to wake up slowly. Civility arrives with the second infusion of caffeine.

There are several boaters nearby who are or were active cruisers. We have long chats on the aft deck. All of us remember the O-dark thirty departures. Now I'm past the half-century mark and am slowing down somewhat. I find the get-up-and-go of my youth has left without me.

Aboard Seaweed I wake at a leisurely pace. First I have a cup of coffee or tea and relax while rousing my brain cells. Mornings are wonderful at anchor.

I watch the gulls and pelicans. Scanning for dolphins and manatees is another early morning activity. Pondering life while nature puts on a show just for me is a true delight.

This retirement thing is awesome. I don't have to be anywhere.  Boaters should realize schedules are guidelines for the future rather than carved in stone. My life is written in beach sand.

I move about as fast as a sand turtle
until I've ingested a couple cups of caffeine.

The reality of "Anchor down by noontime" is far different than the words. What I actually mean is that before noon I'd like to get underway. Of course there are days of sitting tight and reading on my Kindle appeals more, so that's exactly what I do. Have I mentioned how wonderful retirement is?!?

This realization of boating style and timing did not come while relaxing in the cockpit of Seaweed. Nope. I took a jaunt for a few days intending to head south and cross Tampa Bay. The plan was to meet with some other Schucker owners near Egmont Key. Cheryl of Island Time had planned a get-together and I was disappointed to miss it.

This is Cheryl on the bow of
her Schucker named Island Time.

The Tampa Bay weather forecast predicted moderately choppy to choppy waters. I opted to stay on the north side of the bay. I'm a wimp when it comes to wind, waves and open water. Protected places suit me best.

Folks who long for blue water boats should make sure they like that sort of thing. I'm a decadent loving woman. For me appreciating wildlife in protected waters works best. I do like remote areas.

The peace and tranquility are tangible the further away from "civilization" I get. Of course I also want wifi. There is a dichotomy involved without a doubt.

EGMONT KEY is south of the entrance
to Tampa Bay, which is a major seaport.

For me staying at anchor in a safe harbor is always a better idea than taking a chance on a crossing. Weather windows do happen in coastal waters if one has patience.

I've got my Kindle and life is certainly wonderful afloat. I anchored just north of the bay off a little town called Gulfport. It's quite nice too.


People on boats need to be aware of the weather and waves. I listen to the NOAA WX (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Weather station) reports on the radio morning and night. When anything more than light chop is forecast I stay put. There is no reason to rough it in less than stellar conditions. At this point in my life I have nothing to prove. I'm into decadence.

One thing people such as myself on small  boats need to be careful about is wind and waves. My boat is effected more by waves than a larger and heavier boat would be. I take Small Craft Warnings seriously and heed them.


Being safe is paramount. I'd rather wait.
Besides, I'm already where I want to be.


This is the fishing pier at Gulfport.

Two fishermen and a Great Blue Heron are
 on the dock. All are hoping for fresh fish.

I'm at anchor just a bit to the right of this photo...

While in Gulfport I ended up anchoring in three separate spots. Having a Lewmar windlass sure did make moving my home a snap. I'm a lucky girl.

Advice regarding anchoring in Gulfport: The sand bottom makes this a good holding ground. Anchor close to the dock for easy dinghy landings. There are numerous restaurants along the waterfront business district. It's an artsy town. I had fun meandering around.

Even while off on a short five day adventure I did not rouse self and move boat until after lunch. The "Anchor down by noon" policy of yesteryear is not me... not now anyway.

Currently I'm back at a private dock for the next two months. Departure date, give or take with weather the determining factor, is 1 February. I'm excited!

Remember, if you see Seaweed on the waters be sure to give a call on Channel 16. I'm always listening.

Comments welcome and encouraged on the Anchor Down by Noon (policy vs. practice) page.

Categories: Anchorages, Boat Talk, Boats, Characters, Gear, Locations, Wild Things,


Announcement: I did start a few months ago emailing notices to readers when new articles go up. If you'd like to be included via BCC* simply drop me a line to janice@janice142.com and I'll add you. It's free.

*BCC - Blind Carbon Copy. Basically no one but me will have your email address and the list of subscribers is not available.

Now this is not fancy. Basically I copy off the top three items in my Archive file. That way you can catch up if life gets in the way of your reading fun.

Secret: If you want to know what's what, start in the Archive. It offers you the title, first paragraph and topics (Categories) covered in each article published on my website.

My Cruising Kitty earns money each time you buy on Amazon through my links. It costs you nothing and helps supplement my cruising funds. I appreciate it so much when you click through my site's Amazon links. It really does help keep me afloat.

Thank you.


Pet of the Week: Peaches
Cap'n Noel's watchdog

Submit your pet's photo.
Please email pictures of your crew!

More canine, feline and feathered crew members can be found on the The First Mate Gallery page.


The Archive holds a chronological list of every item published on my website. It includes a brief synopsis (not just the title) along with the topics covered in each article.

Click on the title and voila: you're there. Enjoy!

Skipper, First Mate extraordinaire

Of course every boat needs a Deck Swabbie. Mine, born in 2008, is a papillon mix. She weighs in at 4 pounds 3 ounces.

Coming soon ...

VHF aboard Seaweed

Topics of Interest:
You can achieve a simple satisfying life

Oh, a wondrous bird is the pelican!
His bill holds more than his belican.
He can take in his beak enough food for a week.
But I'm darned if I know how the helican.
(Poem by Dixon Lanier Merritt, 1879-1972.)


For years I've been collecting short pithy statements otherwise known as aphorisms. If you're like me and enjoy the weird, go ahead and CLICK!

These are previously posted at the bottom of each article -- for new, you'll have to come visit again.

Seaweed is in St. Pete right now.

The above chart (#411) can be a wish book of sorts as you look over your domain and wonder where to go next. And yes, I do have the originals (sans red arrow) as jpeg's for download should you desire your own for closer perusal. Enjoy!

The Writer's Block

It's my belief that other folks who boat are some of the most interesting in the world. Inside every boater is a story. Let yours out! I'd love to post short stories, vignettes, or even longer articles that focus on some aspect of our life on or near the water. Suggested topics include:

1. I Remember When...
2. My First Boat
3. Who inspired you to be a boater?
4. Fishing Trips or Tricks
5. Or another subject of your choosing

For the novice, here's how to write: Simply pretend you're sending a letter to a friend. Tell about an event or a memory from years ago that you still recall.

Life has changed so much on the water since I was born aboard. Personally I'd love to hear your memories of life when you were younger. Boats were smaller, narrower, and much slower. Kids were kids and our families often shaped the adult we have become. Here are my two aboard the tow boat my dad ran for a time:

Your pictures would be wonderful too. I posted one of Boot Key Harbor taken in 2001 that has gotten quite a few downloads and really, that's not so terribly long ago... Do you have any photos to share? Email me.

Do you want to help out?

Often an article for the website will be completely written yet lack photographs. I like pictures and am looking for some for up-coming pieces:

  • Parrot or a macaw

  • Electric food dehydrator

  • Any picture of boats underway or at anchor

Size: a minimum of 1000 pixels across please. If that doesn't make sense think bigger versus resized for emailing -- I'd prefer the full-size version. Also, the name you'd like me to use when I add the copyright stuff to your picture. And thanks!

My email address is janice@janice142.com

23' Schucker mini-trawler, circa 1983.

Thanks for visiting. If you happen to see my boat along the waterways, give a call on Channel 16. I'm always listening.

click picture to enlarge

My home is not fancy by any means, however you cannot imagine how wonderful it is to come back to her after an expedition on shore.

If I can live this life, why not you too?

Skipper, First Mate

Aphorism Alert: Begin doing what you want to now. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand, and melting like a snowflake. Marie Beyon Ray.

Contributions to my Cruising Kitty
are always appreciated.

Every gift helps.

The Cruising Kitty is what boaters refer to as spending money. There's never enough aboard Seaweed!

I am also an Amazon Affiliate.


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