We found this old wooden boat on Craigslist, and it seemed like a good deal. The owner even let us take it out a couple times, showed us everything worked, and we made a deal. Then we found a slip at the Duwamish Yacht Club, through Craigslist of course. It sounds ritzy, but the reason we chose the place was because it was one of only 2 or 3 marinas in ALL of Seattle that would take a wooden boat with gas engines. The Duwamish is a shipping route, and one of the most polluted waterways in America- a Superfund site in fact. It's also right across from Boeing field, and the lifespan in South Park is 3 years less than the rest of Seattle, so as you can imagine, the clientelle left a little to be desired. We rented the slip from a crazed guy who looked like an extra from Repo Man, and drove a bown 1970's Plymouth Valiant. We made the deal with him- only problem was, he didn't have keys to the gate. No problem right? That makes perfect sense. We were set on the boat so it didn't really matter at that point.
We cruised it 60 miles from Olympia to the Duwamish water way in Seattle, because hey- we took a sailing lesson one summer, how hard could it be!?!? We chose one of the windiest days in Seattle in several years, of course, but that just made it more interesting. The maps we were using were about thirty years out of date, and the depth finder didn't work. It should come as no surprise then, that we ran through a fish hatchery, broke every maritime law in the book and doddled across a shipping corridor and almost crashed head on into a ferry, and eventually grounded the boat and killed the engines on Alki beach while waving back to revelers on the shore. It turns out they weren't waving, but actually waving us off - we were heading for a sand bar....
No biggie, the engines fired back up and we cruised the mile back out around the buoy (that wasn't on our map), and arrived at the Duwamish Yacht Club just in time for happy hour. We checked out our boat, had some friends over, and headed back to our temp housing to gather our things and prepare for work in th morning. We had just gotten to our job the next day when we got a call from the guy who rented us the slip- "You need to get your boat out of the slip immediately- the owners are blowing a gasket, saying it's derelict. They don't want it here til you can prove you have insurance and bla bla bla- stupid, wierd little people" (The slip "owner" had a particular disdain for the management at the club- except for the well-endowed secretary at the front desk whom he chatted up with no problem).
Alright, no problem, but we can't pick it up today- it will have to be in the morning. But, we don't have the keys to the gate yet? So, we had to show up at 6am, under cover of darkness, and climb under the fence to steal our OWN boat back! We fired up those twin 427's and headed out, towards Des Moines marina, where they had temporary moorage open. Danny checked the bilge, and- OH SHIT! it was FULL!!!! The bilge pumps had gotten clogged with dirt and the "minor" leak on the shaft seals had turned into a major leak between Olympia and Seattle. We cranked it wide open when we were out in the sound, and the bilge emptied itself out the back drains. But, we had to keep stopping by the boat in the mornings and evenings to shake the pumps and keep it draining. It was clear we had to pull it out and fix the seals. (By this time, we had ACTUALLY gotten in touch with the slip owner and gotten our rent check back, so all was well with the world!)
That's where the South Park Marina comes in. It was about a half mile upstream from the Yacht Club, and allowed you to work on your own boat in the yard. So, we cruised all the way back there from Des Moines and had it pulled out. That's when we found out you could LIVE on the boat while working on it- and it cost half as much as being in the water! There were only two places in Seattle you could do that! It was a no brainer, and as much as we wanted the boat back in the water for the summer, it was the cheapest living in Seattle. Hell, the guy next to us had pulled his boat out in 1992 and had been lving on it since! We also found that the propeller we grounded was bent in half, no wonder it was so hard to maneuver to the dock afterwards....
That year and a half in drydock was like no other time in our lives- despite not having running water on the boat and having to use a communal bathroom, do the 'splash and dash' every morning through the parking lot in a bathrobe to wait in line for showers, an always full laundry room, etc. We had all of our posessions in the basement of the old parks and rec building behind the Ducati dealership we were working at, and it served as our hangout spot, storage, dog run, and more. If we had it to do all over again, I think we would have fixed the seals (and installed plumbing and a shower onboard) rather than let the boat deteriorate and dry out, and had some fun out in the water, but living on a boat is a crazy experience, dry docked or not!
Ah yes, what a choice "space". The scaffolding there is to stop people from parking UNDER our house.
Not much room in the main cabin for a dog and two dudes.
Ichi loved running around the deck. That station wagon never moved the whole time we lived there.
The shop where we kept everything but our clothes.
This is a moment in time- the South Park bridge is no longer open.
It was a constant struggle to park near the boat and not have to trudge our dinner, dog, and valuables up to the boat everynight, so we had to lock down spaces in the yard with long term parkers. God, Seattle does strange things to your mental, like make you think you can pull off a Hawaiian shirt, brown Dickies shorts and flip flops. And that haircut....
All you need is a pizza cooker and a microwave.
A v-berth is HARDLY a "cabin". It fits a matress (sideways), and that is it!
Twin 427 Ford top oilers!
If we had a dollar for everytime we bashed our heads on that overhead.....
Porta-potty. The closest to a bathroom we had. We WON'T go into the story of how we got rid of the original plumbing and holding tank, because it is technically illegal. But, suffice to say, GET A PUMP OUT BEFORE pulling your boat out of the water......