Stormies Head

Subject:  Stormy Stories of the Inside Passage – 5/23/2013


Ever since hiking a 700 mile portion of the Pacific Crest Trail (a trail that starts at the Mexican border and ends at the Canadian border) my bodily functions have never been so fine tuned.


No later than say the first five-minutes of waking up, “I gotta go and I gotta go now”!  Unfortunately on the S/V (sailing vessel – 30′ Fisher ketch) Stormy, it’s not quite that easy.  The boat’s owner and skipper whom I’ll call Captain Scott, even though he is not a USCG or otherwise qualified Skipper but for the sake of the story we’ll keep it uncomplicated.


Captain Scott has a very distinct way of complicating the uncomplicated.  (Sometime in 2013 I helped him deliver his 30′ Fisher from Portland to Alaska)  For me, it was a great way to get to see the lay of the water, sort of like taking the mystery out of the stories told of cruising the “Inside Passage”.  Additionally, Patti and I have already cruised the Inside Passage on a cruise and I put my jeep on the Alaska Marine Highway in Haines, Alaska and rode it down all the way to Bellingham, WA.  But I regress.



Stormy before heading out – vicinity of Janzen Beach, Hayden island, Portland, OR


The Marine Head on Captain Scotts boat:

On every “use” he requires a total shut down of said system.  Once you follow the eight steps to prepare the head to do the deed, you do the deed.  To do this you begin by pulling the pump handle from its wall mounted bracket, then you twist off a six-inch round cover that reveals a thing known as a Y valve.  This valve is important because on one side it diverts the flow of the affluent towards the holding tank and on the other way its aims it towards the ocean side. Wait, there’s more.  Next you turn a handle 180 degrees from its current position.  Scott was very particular here, explaining this part.  The V on the handle needs to point to the “on” letters that he wrote on the thing- a- ma -jig.  There’s more.

Next with your face firmly planted on the bathroom floor of the boat’s head; you look through an opening that requires a flashlight to see.  THERE IS NO OTHER WAY TO LOOK THROUGH THIS OPENING – gross!!

Tucked away with years of what appears to be a mucus swamp colored hunk of metal is a 43-year-old part that Captain Scott does not ever want replaced known as an old fashioned thru-hull no longer manufactured or made for reasons obvious to everyone in the marine industry, owners, marine surveyors, boat yards, everyone – but, Captain Scott.

His reasons for not updating to a new style – “that type of thru-hull can be rebuilt”.  Enough said.  Ladies did I tell you Captain Scott is also single and a sailor!

Stormy on the Inside Passage  DSC_1440



Above – what a crisp US $20 will buy you.


A perfectly restored boat that you too can cruise in.  Find them on google.

Captain Scott believes he favors this type of thru-hulls because they can be disassembled and brought back to life unlike according to him the new more fangled ones “us” voyagers prefer today.  (Did I tell you this guy is in his 40’s)  Not that he’s ever taken one apart before as this is his first boat with these type of thru-hulls.


Note.  This guy is maybe a decade younger than his boat.  Picture this:  Me – recently having hiked the PCT (Pacific Crest Trail) having relearn to let nature make me regular again like a baby wearing a diaper and now facing a Captain Bligh of the marine heads – not a good mix.



First major bridge crossing – Oregon on the left – Washington on the right



Astoria, Oregon – must be a live aboard with a big kid – bridge in background crosses into Washington state


Originally written on the Gulf Islands, Canada 5/22/13 – 0720 hours)



About trawlercat

Retired and now moving on from the cruising life jeeps, adventure bike, gardening, and travel. Always in search of the next great adventure!
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