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Three Days of the Muthah-Ship

I had not really planned to spend this much time on the Muthah-Ship but it was certainly handy to have a place to stay when the water pump on my Dodge pickup went to that great pumping station in the sky at 8:30pm in Everett, WA. Luckily, we used to live in Everett and a call to my friend Jim got him and two mechanic pals to my truck with a replacement and had me running again in under 90 minutes!!! Talk about service!!!!

So it was the least I could do to buy a couple rounds of beer at a local pub and by then it was nearly midnight and I didn’t want to drive 3 hours home when I could just drive one hour to the boat. So that’s what I did.

The surprise was that staying three days and nights on the boat was comfortable. The refrigerator – which looks like it had been through the Iraq war but on the losing side (whichever side that is) – worked to keep food and sodas cold. The vee berth – which was a bit tight with two of us – was

Oak Harbor Marina's blue heron mascot watches over the entrance.

Oak Harbor Marina's blue heron mascot watches over the entrance.

expansive and comfortable with just me in it. The dinette is a great place to sit and watch the marina’s pet mascot – a blue heron – stalk its prey while pretty much ignoring the humans around him.

It didn’t hurt anything that the weather was stunningly beautiful with temperatures in the high eighties either. So I spent those three days doing chores around the boat like adding wiring for the 12vdc priming fuel pump and the fuel consumption gauge, finding an outboard “kicker” motor (a 9.9 hp 4-stroke Mercury), moving the boat to the fuel dock to empty the porta pottie (my first solo move), and getting a library card at the Oak Harbor branch of the Sno-Isle Regional Library System (an easy walk from the marina; even for me).Sue and I had already spent a weekend on the boat cruising from Oak Harbor

The Muthah-Ship at the Coupeville, WA town dock with Mt. Baker in the background.

The Muthah-Ship at the Coupeville, WA town dock with Mt. Baker in the background.

over to Coupeville where we tied to the town dock and visited my old apartment. It turned out to be for rent for $500 a month and when I told the owner that it only rented for $50 a month in 1963 she kindly offered to let us take a look at it. Not much of a change and still a nice little apartment. It’s fun to revisit the past sometimes; especially when the past hasn’t changed all that much. Nearby was Toby’s bar where I celebrated my 21st birthday ( although I couldn’t tell them that since I’d been drinking beer in there for the previous 3 or 4 months).

Whidbey Island is not technically part of the San Juan Island group (nor is Fidalgo Island upon which Anacortes resides) but it shares many of the same characteristics of the San Juans including an abundance of eagles, river otters,

A bald eagle rests on a navigation marker at the entrance to Oak Harbor Marina.

A bald eagle rests on a navigation marker at the entrance to Oak Harbor Marina.

herons, seals and sea lions.  You also live on “island time” which means that life churns a bit more slowly than in the more urban world. Although every now and then a pair of A-6 Intruders approaching a landing at the Naval Air Station can jar you back into the 21st century.

Once I had finished my chores on the boat and had an outboard and Zodiac inflatable (purchased from a nice guy on Vashon Island who had advertised it on craigslist) I was actually sorry to head back home to Moses Lake. But at least I was confident that my choice of a 25-foot boat had been a wise one under the circumstances. Large enough to live comfortably on for days at a time but small enough for one older guy to handle easily.

Next chores are to install the Mercury on the transom (outboard bracket is on the way from Defender as I type this) and fabricate a temporary structure for carrying kayaks (a more permanent structure will go in this winter once we get the bugs out of the design). Then we can start enjoying a kayaking lifestyle enhanced by using our mother ship.

Total costs so far are $8400 including the Zodiac 10’2″ sport boat, the Mercury, two Scotty downriggers (not installed yet), a Garmin 3006C GPS chart plotter/depth sounder/radar display (not installed yet), a Webasto diesel furnace (not installed yet) taxes, licenses and fees. Not including the price of the moorage in Oak Harbor ($185 a month). It’s looking like the Muthah-Ship will be one of the best equipped and comfortable 25-foot boats on Puget Sound for under $10,000.

Craig Jungers, Moses Lake, WA

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