Monday, February 1, 2021

Boat Problems and January in Gulfport

 We arrived back in Gulfport on January 6th. It did not take long to settle into life aboard SHIFT. January can be cool, but we have not seen any freezing temps this winter. We have seen periods of settled weather with high temps in the 60's F, and lows in the 40's F. We have also seen some northern fronts come through with winds over 20 knots and cold north wind. On those days, we hunker down inside the boat. We turn on our little ceramic heater and are perfectly warm and comfortable. It is no different than staying in an RV park with electric. 

The one thing that happens when we have a strong north wind is the water leaves the marina. Our normal depths of 9 feet go to as low as 6 feet. This requires us to adjust lines and it makes it difficult to climb up the 3 feet to the dock. 

It is kind of hard to see in this picture, but the deck of the boat is about 2 feet below the dock. We have seen the deck 4 feet below the dock at low tide with a strong north wind. 

 In the picture above you can see the chafe guards that Kim made for our dock lines. We were gifted the material back in Palmetto from our boat neighbors on Oo La La, and it has worked out great to protect our lines as we rise and fall with the tides. 

A couple of times when we were out and about we saw dolphins in the marina. They swim around and catch small bait fish for a nice meal. They will swim right up and look at me as I stand on the dock and take their picture. 

A momma and her baby

All was going along well until one day about mid month, I entered the boat and noticed a strange smell. Upon further investigation, I found a leak in our holding tank. The good news is that the holding tank is in a separate compartment in the bilge of the boat. That contained the leak. The bad news is the only way to clean it was to get the pump-out hose down in there and pump out the disgusting/ smelly mess. I then removed the tank. I was guessing it would take about an hour, but as boat projects go, it took all of 6 hours and a few swear words to get it out. 

This is the aluminum holding tank for the boat. I could tell by the date code on the tag, that it had been replaced once before in 2002.

Kim went to work doing a deep clean and disinfect on the compartments that hold the tank and the macerator and Y valve. They then got a fresh coat of paint. 

This is in the lazarette just below my "spot". The tank goes in the compartment on the right.

I then ordered a replacement tank. I found a company in Florida that builds custom poly tanks. They had all of the specifications for this tank. It only costs a little over $400. We have to wait 3 to 4 weeks for delivery. This whole problem means we have no working head on the boat. We have to walk to the marina office to use the bathrooms. Oh well, such is boat life. 

We did celebrate our 41st anniversary during January on the 19th. It was a beautiful day and we decided to go for a sail. We had light winds, but we made it out to Cat Island and back.

Kim at the helm on this cool day. My partner in crime for 41 years. 

Flat water and calm seas. Cat Island off the bow.

Very relaxing day on the water going about 3 knots. 

All in all it has been a good month. We are leading a very relaxing life that includes a daily walk of about 3 miles for me. It is beautiful around here with nice sunsets and plenty of wildlife. Here are a couple of bird shots from a few days ago.

A Blue Heron

A Snowy Egret standing on one leg.

That is about it for January in Gulfport. We are already seeing the weather warming a bit. It was in the high 70's yesterday. We hear that February brings some nice sailing days. We are looking forward to sailing out to the barrier islands and exploring them by dingy. I will write about that in my coming entries. 



  1. I guess there are worse things that could have happened but that sure sucks. Hopefully you will get your replacement tank sooner than later and things will be back to normal.

    1. The good thing is we are in a place that it will be an easy job to complete.

  2. Sh*t happens on boats too I guess! Happy Anniversary!

  3. Not a truer statement has been made. Thank You!