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23' mini-trawler
by Schucker

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

Trawler life on a nickel budget 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!

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Date: 16 November 2019. Mucket the Mallard Drake.


This mallard duo arrived one day. It was
lovely to see a pair of ducks enjoying the water.


Today I'll share with you a brief vignette about life aboard a boat in the early 1960's. Although Mucket the mallard drake was not my first pet, he was one of the more memorable ones. This is a trip down Memory Lane came about because the Kidlet mentioned seeing mallards when she was up north.

This is my Kidlet aka Baby, and the original Grand.



Kidlet recently traveled to Virginia for her career with Navy Federal Credit Union. While there she and a colleague took a brief trip over to the District of Columbia (Washington, DC) to do a bit of sight-seeing. In one of the concrete ponds they spotted some ducks with dark green heads.

Baby was able to recognize the mallards and shared said information with her coworker.


Washington, DC circa 2019

The Lincoln Memorial
The Capital

In any event, we know ducks in our family.
This mallard duo visited Seaweed a few times.


When young (pre-teenagers, so to speak) both males and females look like the hen on the left in the above photograph. They are a mottled brown. The way to identify gender just after the duckling stage is to look at the beak. A drake will have a greenish tinge around the sides of his beak. Hers would be orange.

Later the male's head will turn dark green, with a rusty brown chest and grey sides. He will also grow a curled feather (or two) at his butt. Other drakes will attempt to rip out the curled feathers when they are fighting to  establish dominance.

Here is a better photograph of two fully grown |
*drakes. This picture was taken by my friend Cheryl.

You might notice almost invisible in the grass
 a mallard *hen facing away from the camera.

** Drakes and Hens: Male mallards are called drakes. The females are known as hens.

Memory Lane:
Mucket the mallard duckling came into my life when he was approximately three days old. I rescued him. He'd been pulled completely under the water by a turtle. As he bobbed to the surface a bird of prey grabbed him! This happened in the early 1960's. I believe it could have been an osprey however due to the sands of time I cannot be certain...

Picture of osprey:

An osprey is sitting atop a channel marker.
Photo taken by Irene onboard S/V Katja.

Back to Mucket's story: I was in my dinghy rowing along a shoreline, exploring. As soon as the duckling popped back up to the surface he was  grabbed by the hunting bird. This was not ten feet from me. I screamed at the bird, splashed water with my oars and the duckling was dropped back into the water.

Also know that if you're decent at rowing you can learn to take your oar and aim water within a dozen feet with amazing accuracy. When younger I could have gotten people who annoyed me wet, if I was that sort of boat girl that is.

Algae has an oar visible on the far side of the dinghy. A group of pelicans surround Algae. The previously published article Dallas and the Pelican has some great pictures of a friendly pelican.

How to drench your enemy with an oar: Rotate the oar so the paddle is nearly horizontal. The front facing your intended victim should be slightly (1" or so) higher than the rear. Next move the paddle away from your target. Now bring the paddle down and forward toward the victim. You want to slap the surface of the water, aiming toward the person who annoyed you.

This is the way I might have splashed someone, accidentally of course, some 50-plus years ago.

Water children have the best times ever!

Hailey Mei is Cap'n Edwin's beautiful grand. She's already a boat girl.

Continuing the tale of Mucket: The duckling fell back into the water. I captured this small creature and took him home. Home was a 40' boat. I told you about that vessel in The Fishing Boat article.

Back then this boat was home. I was
 born and raised aboard her. It was a good life.

The duckling was named Mucket by a friend of ours, Captain Bob. Bob Skinner lived aboard a 110' Canadian air-sea rescue boat. Actually his boat was along the lines of the Presidential yachts. It was Very nice. Bob even had a full sized cannon on the bow of his boat. He'd shoot grapefruit out of it. That was fun, though the cannon was LOUD!

Have I mentioned boat
kids have the best times?!?

This is my duo aboard our tow boat. Daddy ran a towing service in the days before TowBoatUS and SeaTow dominated the field.

Initially my duckling was not with his nest mates. I suspect he was sick or injured. In any event, the mom duck had left him behind.

Side Note:
Mallard egg clutches are usually around 12-18 eggs, with at least a 75% hatch rate. Both drakes and hens guard the nest. They are recognizable by their coloration. Although I believed that mallard pairs mated for life, newer research online suggests that is untrue.

Link: https://mentalfloss.com/article/78330/15-unflappable-facts-about-mallards

Mucket the mallard duckling had a limp when first captured. That may have been from the turtle pulling him underwater. The limp eventually disappeared. Mucket became my pet.

Ducks poop, a lot. Mucket lived under an upside down laundry basket. Mostly he followed me around. He would go swimming with me too, diving under the water just like me. He bobbed up quickly. Mallards are buoyant.


If I was off our boat and he was hungry he would quack until Mother turned him loose. Then he would waddle up the dock quacking all the way. Mucket had a distinctive voice. He would use it until he found me. Mucket enjoyed his corn.

My duckling initially ate canned corn, then Mucket was switched to cracked corn as he grew larger. He would follow me up the dock when I was heading ashore. Once he was about half grown he was free to come and go.

Eventually Mucket did fly away. I called and called for him. He never answered. That was a sad period of time for me. Although I wanted him to grow up and be a duck, I also wanted my feathered boy to be My Duck forever too.


A few years later Mucket was flying south. I believe he recognized our boat. He and his mate stopped in for a visit while we were at anchor. We were a long way from where he was initially rescued. Mucket had traveled with us for a few months while he was growing up.

Our boat was distinctive. The hull was light green at that time, while most vessels were either white or light blue. That is one of the reasons why I believe he recognized the boat. I know for certain it was the same duck. The coloration of the head and chest, including his white strip was identical.

Mucket knew me right away. He flew up onto the back deck of our boat as soon as he heard my voice.

The white back deck is about 10" wide. There is an overhang with storage below for mops and such.

When I was a little girl we had a laundry line strung
under there. That is where my bathing suits dried.

Mucket's mate stayed in the water.
She received homemade bread.

The mallards that visited Seaweed got
Dollar Store bread. They were not impressed.

My Mucket received a can of
corn. That was his favorite treat.

This is a picture of the mallard duo that
visited Seaweed a few times earlier this year.

That day at anchor the last time I saw Mucket. He was doing well. Alas, there are no photographs of Mucket although I still see him in my memories on occasion.

And that's the story of Mucket.

Thank you for reading.

Addendum: I started a new category for those who are interested in stories from yesteryear. The page with links to related articles is called Memory Lane. Enjoy!

Comments welcome and encouraged on the
Mucket the Mallard Drake page.

Categories:  Boats, Characters, Locations, Memory Lane, Pets, Wild Things,


Announcement: Folks who want to be notified when I post are welcome to become subscribers. I email readers every time a new article goes up. That's usually once or twice per week. 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.

Something a new reader might not realize: Almost every picture on this website can be clicked. The photo will get larger when clicked. Do that a second time and the picture should be full size. Enjoy...

My Cruising Kitty earns money each time you buy on Amazon through my links. It costs you nothing and helps supplement my cruising funds.

Thanks for your support, and heck, just for being here. I appreciate that more than you can imagine.

Paypal Tablet link:  *CRUISING KITTY
*for those who wish to donate direct to me via paypal.


Pets of the Week: Erin and Lessa
on S/V Sparrow

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 five pounds.

Coming soon ...


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:

  • Pets afloat (include pet and boat name please)

  • Any picture of boats underway or at anchor

  • Photos of people enjoying life in or on the water

Size: a minimum of 1000 pixels across please. If that doesn't make sense think bigger versus resized for emailing. I 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 bunches!

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!

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