Adventure boat life DIY humor liveaboard sailing

Boat Projects and Things That Go Bump All The Time


Jamie and I have been busy…very busy. We have pretty much decided that extended cruising should be undertaken sooner, rather than later. And, we’ve been taking steps to make that happen. We have taken Artemis out under a variety of conditions, survived unscathed, and learned something new on each outing. Our confidence as sailors has grown on each trip as well. I wouldn’t say we are ready to sail to Hawaii today…we have a ton more to learn before that happens. But, a trip to Catalina is within our aptitude. How hard can that be? Right? We also have several projects to complete before we begin a travelling/seafaring life. The projects are typical of a 30 plus year old boat, and truth be told Jamie and I look forward to each project. Except one. Our holding tank needs to be replaced.

We found out that our holding tank needs to be replaced the hard way…we spent a miserable weekend in our floating home wondering if we had made a terrible mistake. I’ve smelled outhouses in Fallujah that smelled better. Why an entire weekend you ask? Well, the answer is that none of the pump out folks work on the weekends, and I didn’t want to brave a DIY job that could have seen me covered in other peoples crap had I done it wrong. Doodoo just isn’t my thing.

Popeyes Pumpout of MDR was the first to return my call…his much needed visit made a night/day difference. And, his home brewed concoction added to the holding tank after pumpout worked. So…Jamie and I have added “replace the holding tank/lines” to our list of projects. It gets priority over things like “start the dinghy outboard”. In is number one on our list of things to do. It’s an ambitious project for sure…think of replacing a sceptic tank in your home, only it’s under your dining room table. Yes…my dining room table sits over a 40 gallon sceptic system. Yes, it’s a horrific project to even think about. Clearances are tight, the work area small, and the potential for bumps and bruises is through the roof. Despite that Jamie and I will happily take on the DIY project.

We have both taken to doing boat projects with a certain amount of glee. Successful completion of a boat project is pretty satisfying. We also have a plan to relocate us, and our animals to my parents unused apartment in Marina Del Rey while the holding take replacement project is going on. Their place was occupied when we found out our holding tank needed replacing…but it wont be while we replace it! Having the use of my parents place will make the bumps and bruises of boat projects a bit easier to take.

Bumps and bruises have become a way of life. Jamie and I both look like we practice MMA bouts for fun. We have bruises on our legs, arms, and occasionally heads. We are still bumping into stuff with alarming regularity. “Have a great day…don’t bump your head” was our lighthearted joke on the way out of the companionway. I have now bumped my head in every spot, and in every way possible. Jamie is serious when she tells me not to bump my head on the way out of the companionway now.

Jamie has done some head bumping of her own as well. We were woken from a sound sleep sometime between 2 and 3am last week. Our kitty Onyx had taken exception to our failure as humans to provide her with food that she thought was acceptable to her kitty palate. She let us know by puking it all up. Usually when she does that, she makes an ungodly sound that’s loud enough to wake us up. If we’re quick we can get a towel under her before the contents of her kitty stomach reach the floor. Knowing this, Jamie woke with a start, sitting upright in bed. Had we been in our old bedroom her efforts would have been rewarded with a contained kitty puke. In our boat her efforts were rewarded with a serious bell ringing. She sat bolt upright and smashed the side of her head into the ceiling of our bedroom. It was loud enough to wake me up completely. The impact had some bass to it…Jamie needed a minute.

The bed on our boat is the most comfortable bed we have ever owned. It was our first improvement to the boat and the folks at did a fantastic job. Couldn’t be happier with their service. Our bed has a drawback though…it sits under our aft cockpit. So that means we don’t have a whole lot of clearance for sitting straight up in bed. We both know this, and behave accordingly, but clearance issues aren’t at the top of our thought process when groggily trying to mitigate Onyx’s dietary activism. It is now.

Despite the bumps, bruises, and projects we both still believe that buying a boat to sail, and live on was one of the best decisions we have ever made in life. Between work, and projects we have sailed Artemis a lot. We have seen dolphins up close, whales in the distance, and sea lions are regulars. Sunrises, sunsets, walks on the beach, and a sense of calm have become the norm in our life. The benefits of living in the water far outweigh the challenges. Our takeaway from head bumping, elbow bumping, and knee bumping is that Artemis is telling us to slow down a bit. Be more deliberate in action. Take things in…we are learning. Slowly. Isn’t that the whole point of sailing though? The journey is just as enjoyable as the destination if we take the time to appreciate it.