Some Don’t Like It Hot

Seattlites are known for being heat wimps, and with another heatwave coming through this weekend I didn’t know how I was going to manage.  By rights I have no good excuse for my intolerance having grown up in the deep south where temperatures routinely reach 100 F with heat indexes above that. But when someone reminds me of this fact, and they always do, I remind them that I left for a reason.  So when you read about the people in Seattle being so distressed they may rent a hotel room just to get air conditioning, you should remember that it’s a population of Scandinavian heritage, and people who moved here to get out of the heat (excluding all the techies that moved here because they had to).



Just before the first wave hit in late June I had purchased a thermometer that measures the temperature inside (with humidity) as well as outside from a remote sensor.  I was really thinking of winter and some winterizing projects to keep the boat warmer and I wanted that proof that my efforts were not in vain.  However, the thermometer has become something different to me now – an index of how miserable I am. I’ve watched it creep up to 90 or 95 outside and well into the 80s inside as I sit and work on a computer screen.  The hatches are open, the fans are on, and Logan has spread himself as thin as his 17.5 pounds will spread onto the wood floor seeking a cool spot. We are roasting.

Over the Fourth of July weekend, I finally gave up and jumped into the mid-fifties water in Eagle Harbor. I stayed until my fingers and toes were numb. According to my crew, my disposition I proved noticeably. I can’t argue, it was heavenly.

Winter, when Logan stayed under the electric blanket all day rather than hanging with me, seems like ages ago. If he wasn’t under the blanket he was by the heater with his front legs stretched under it to warm his toes. When he discovered the diesel heater he was in love, so I moved his basket there. I keep trying to remember those days. You can always put on another layer, but you can only take off so much.

I'm Just Going To Stay Here

I’m Just Going To Stay Here

Logan’s Run…..This Cat Is Trying to Kill Me

For anyone that is a new reader, Logan is a cat that lives with me on my 32′ sailboat.  We haven’t decided who owns who, but I will give you one guess who pays the bills. When thinking of a name with a 12 week old impish kitten, I liked the name Logan from the old TV series Logan’s Run, and this has come back to bite me in the ass.



Logan has decided he has a wanderlust that I had never seen in him before this spring. When he was a kitten I tried to take him outside on a leash and he would have none of it. Apparently his views have changed. Things would be much simpler if:

1. He wasn’t diabetic

2. I didn’t like to cruise all the time.

Logan Assessed the Marina

Logan Assessing the Marina

The first minor stray was for an hour.  The second walk about was for a day and a half. That one called out the troops and ended with a very hot mess of an owner, and a cat that came back on his own while three of us were out looking in the wee hours of the morning. I have some really great friends (Thank you Sundee and Trey).

For those of you that know us, Logan has been content for months on the boat and would not even look out the window.  Coming into the cockpit was a major accomplishment but seeing the water was enough deterrent for him to not to stay there very long.

….enter stage left…Nookie

They Call Him Nookie from Q dock

They Call Him Nookie from Q dock


Nookie is the quintessential marina cat. He is a Pixie Bob that trucks around P and Q dock like he owns the place, and maybe he does. He goes where he wants, when he wants. He sports a harness with a tag bearing his slip number on it, but I’m not sure you would normally get close enough to read it. He likes to hide behind dock boxes and stalk you at night. He also feels completely free to board any boat, at any time.  He’s like a furry coast guard.

Hey, Where's That Black Cat?

Hey, Where’s That Black Cat?

When Logan and I first arrived on Q dock in May, Nookie visited us every day for a week.  He would hop aboard and walk around the boat looking in each and every window at the two of us. He would stare in the open hatch causing strange sounds to eminate from Logan’s throat. One morning when the blinds were closed in the salon, I awoke to his face staring at me through the V Berth porthole.

Eventually, Nookie must have become bored because he stopped visiting. Logan, however, wanted to go for a stroll. Maybe he was looking for his friend, maybe he saw a kitty freedom he didn’t know existed.  After the day and a half absence with no insulin, and who knows if there was water, he looked bedraggled. He was exhausted, and I was sure he had learned his lesson. Nevertheless, we went in for vaccinations and a microchip. I measured him for a harness like Nookie’s.

Logan had other ideas and went on a Logan’s Run. This time it was for three days. Each morning and evening I walked the docks paying close attention to any boats that were covered and checking all the dinghies. I called his name and listened for a response – he usually answers. I had actually met Nookie’s mom at the Elks a few days before, and checked around their boat. No Logan. I was distraught. Why hadn’t I gotten a collar or harness yet and put his tags on?  At least I had the vet office put DIABETIC in his name for the microchip.

On the third day, I walked the docks again, checking under tarps and calling him. Just before the ramp, I looked into the cockpit of a boat I had checked daily, and there he was. The marina was power washing the next dock, creating a horrible noise, and he was petrified. I coaxed him out and he dug his nails into my shoulders as we walked back to the boat.  Clearly, this was the last time, right?

Found on Another Boat

Found on Another Boat

Within a few hours I caught him half off the boat!  It has been 90 degrees here and I can’t keep the hatches closed or we will bake in our own juices. I have ordered a tracking chip but it hasn’t arrived.  I find little Nookie prints on the boat sometimes, and I hear his thump when he jumps aboard. The temptation remains.

Given the lack of the tracking chip arrival, and a very strong will not to buy an expensive tracker ( I found one online that is REALLY cool…. real time tracking), I used what I had at hand.  Logan now has a bungee cord collar with his HOME AGAIN chip and rabies will stretch enough that I don’t worry about him being caught on it, and the home again tag has my number, his dock and “diabetic” on it.

Several days after Logan’s last return I met another live aboard named Nick on the dock and he asked if I was the one with the black cat with the white patch. OMG!!!!   “You SAW him???”  He said yes…once behind Paul’s dinghy “talking to” Nookie, and once near Nookie’s boat.  At least I know where to concentrate my efforts in the future.

Logan Chatting With Nookie from the Salon

Logan Chatting With Nookie from the Salon

We were off cruising for a few days, on a mooring ball with no where for Logan to go, so I could stop worrying for awhile. Now that we are back,  Nookie is back to the daily visits. I was serenaded a few nights ago by meowlings from our finger dock.  One morning I awoke to strange noises and looked up to see Nookie, directly over my head, peering in through my overhead hatch, and he hissed at me!  That bugger!  He and Logan were having a detailed conversation about something which ended abruptly.

Checking In

Checking In

Last night it continued. I saw a tiny boxing match. Nookie came aboard while I was below and I heard much chit chat I could not understand.  Logan is out….and roaming the topsides, but it seems after his long discourse with Nookie, he has decided to just wander the boat perimeter…maybe.

I’m glad he has a friend. I was worried that he would be bored on a small boat all day even if I do work from home.  The exercise is good for him (moth chasing now), it’s just his medical condition that keeps me wanting to shelter him. However, he’s not quite 8, and he has a lot of years left to go living on a boat. He should learn to be dock savvy like Nookie, and I need to learn to let go.

Nookie Checking On Us From the Cockpit

Nookie Checking On Us From the Cockpit

Logan Decides Living Aboard Also Means Going Outboard

Logan has decided that it’s ok to come above deck.

It started at Spencer Spit, on a mooring ball in the bright sunshine.  After that it was only a few forays at night, and although we all know I love taking photos of that handsome devil, a black cat does not photo well at night. Over Memorial Day weekend he came up to the cockpit on his own (a first) after hearing me chatting with folks on the boat next door. A barrier had been broken, a barrier I wanted, and didn’t want at the same time.

Logan Emerges - Spencer Spit

Logan Emerges – Spencer Spit

The next week, back in Seattle,  Logan joined me of his own accord in the evening and toured the deck, came back, and assumed the lap position. No big deal mom…  I blame Mikey Bamboo for cat calling him from across the fairway, but in the last week Logan has come out of the cabin on his own more in one week than in the last six months. Mikey does seem to speak the language (much to Mindy’s dismay).

I am so happy to have Logan join me above deck and curl up in my lap while I read, or write or socialize, but at the same time I am terrified when he is out of my sight. This must be how parents feel! I’ve wanted him to have the entertainment of the seagulls, ducks, geese, seals and of course Steve (a huge heron, or pterodactyl depending on if it’s day or night).

To have Logan above deck, comfortable, socializing in the afternoon, chatting at Mikey across the way, and playing with a dangling line, made me feel very grateful. Mostly I was grateful that I wasn’t ruining his life by making him live aboard! But I was also grateful that he seemed happy…it’s important to our settling in to our new home.

This Doesn't Seem So Bad

This Doesn’t Seem So Bad

However, there is always a however isn’t there?  Logan went on a walk about this week.  I was reading in the cockpit and he was exploring the perimeters of the boat.  That is, until he decided to explore the dock. He was gone for an hour.  I turned on all the lights (because clearly that’s what a cat needs to find his way back in the dark), and called him quietly every five or so minutes. I was already planning LOST signs in my head when I heard a thump and he strolled back into the cockpit and went down below for a snack.

I was practically on Amber Alert, and he just needed some late night munchies. Now that he knows there is a big world out there, his mom has some adjustments to make, not to mention a harness and name tag. The adventure just got a little more adventurous, for both of us.



Addendum…He went on a much longer walkabout recently and was gone for 24 hours.  He was back on the boat after a search party, exhausted, but intact.  I’ve preordered some Pixie locators and the harness and tag are on their way.  He’s going to be pissed….but that’s the price of freaking me out.  Also I must thank my good friend Sundee, Travis and Trey for helping me walk the docks and look for him, plus the boaters who have been asking me if he was found after that.

Percy and The Anemones

Percy the Spotted Shrimp

Percy the Spotted Shrimp and one of the Anemones

It’s the day before I leave Friday Harbor, WA to head back to my home base of Shilshole Bay Marina in Seattle. There are lists of things crowding my brain that I have to do before I leave (fill water tanks, water bottles, diesel tank, check oil, check strainer, take out trash and recycling, oh yeah, take a shower) and the lists make it a challenge to reminisce, so I thought I’d take a time out and write a few things down that I didn’t want to forget. Things like Percy and the Anemones.

Percy happens to be the cutest little spotted shrimp you’ve ever seen, and he lives on the pylon of G26 in Friday Harbor. There are lots of other shrimp on G28’s pylon, but Percy, he likes his space, so he hangs with The Challenger and Daisy the Dinghy, and lives in a magical wonderland of Giant White Plumed Anemones. It sounds like it should be either a Greek Tragedy or an early 60’s R&B group, but I imagine it’s the Pacific Northwest’s version of the Wizard of Oz.  Although the Anemones are alabaster white, they appear pale green in the cold salt water and tower around Percy like the Giant Redwoods soar above us.  Percy has been there every time I’ve checked in on him to say hello, and the anemones certainly aren’t going anywhere.


Giant White Plumed Anemones

I try to imagine things from Percy’s point of view and wonder what he thinks of this clumsy sailboat careening into his dock space and coming perilously close to his beloved pylon. He has seen the decent, the unfortunate, and hush hush dockings of the Challenger, but never uttered a word of criticism. He has seen friends visit and new friends made.  Percy has watched some experiments, watched me wash clothes in a bucket, and hang them to dry on the lifelines. I’m sure he has heard a variety of music through the hull and I wonder what he prefers. Both Percy and the Anemones have also patiently let me photograph them until my fingers turned blue under the water.  All in all these guys have been great neighbors.



My little trip down memory lane wouldn’t be complete without a couple of appearances from Popeye the resident seal.  She’s rather disgusted with me since I never have fish to share, and I can tell you unequivocally that she thinks potato chips are not fit for marine mammal consumption. She likes to sneak up on your while you sit in your cockpit and make her arrival known with a huge splash, then stare at you with her one good eye until you cave and share your food.  If you want to see her every day, you should probably stock up on canned Salmon. She’s pretty cute.