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Brad Gislason 360-378-4860
Friday Harbor, WA


The Head

Mail a package Get clothespin for your nose, sit, and read.

Like diving in cold water or unplugging a,,,,,, let's get this wonderful subject over with.

Mother nature has won. Man has strived from day one to make a marine head with more than one moving part, (a bucket) which works. Well, they kind of made one that works, but usually for only one season, and guaranteed it will break at the most inopportune moment. Turning an otherwise beautiful day, into a day you wish you were never born.

I treat this subject like I would a bee's nest, taxes, or a traffic jam, all necessary evils, but can be dealt with using a little finesse. Call another charter boat outfit and they will tell you the head works great. They do not tell you your nose must be disconnected to agree. We don't use these guidelines because we like guidelines; we do it for our nose, your nose, and the noses around you.

At Sea

The seaman's mindset toward the bathroom must be different than the land based one. We do not sleep with our head 2' from the head at home, we do not cook in the same room as the bathroom, we do not invite guests to the bathroom to socialize and use the bathroom at the same time. Thus the marine head is different and must be treated as such.

But we must work with what is. Ladies need the head more often for #1. Ladies need more privacy. Ladies have better aim, and Ladies should be treated like Ladies. Thus Ladies use the head for #1 (all paper goes in the trash).

Men have bad indoor aim, more odor, more capacity, and are perfectly suited for discrete outdoor use standing up. Thus Men go overboard.

In all but the first year of cruising we have never used the head for #2(see last paragraph). If at sea or ill, and outdoors or overboard is not practical, a 5-gallon bucket with paper towel in the bottom (of the bucket) works great, every time, without one instance of break down.

At Anchor

If at anchor or dock, a trip to shore is a great way to get some exercise, see some sights, and the crew remaining on board (laying in their bunks, reading a good book, or having a snack, possibly) will thank you for it. And often part of their thanks is to return the favor. Sometimes a nice long nature walk in the woods is just what the soul needed. The nest is not the place for such things; even an animal such as a cat knows this. Enjoy, but bury.

In closing, be aware of your surroundings. Are you in a crowded bay with swimmers, or at sea? Assess your impact and act accordingly. If you break the head, pull out your wallet and call someone to fix it, or roll up you sleeves and plan on spending a day or two on your head breathing the opposite of fresh sea air. We will send the head out in working order and expect it to return the same.

Throw clothespin away.
You won't need it.

Anchor Tips

  • If a popular anchorage is where you want to be, arrive before noon, as most will be leaving at that time and you will have more spots to choose from.
  • Leave a lane for floatplanes to docks.
  • Think about the sun. Do you like sunsets or sunrises?
  • Anchor away from large powerboats (PB), unless you like generators.
  • If blowing, anchor above the PB's, as many are known to slip.
  • Take your time, assess twice, and drop once.
  • In shallow conditions (20'-), check tides.
  • In shallow conditions, check swinging space depth.
  • Always raft the tender; it will bang the hull otherwise.
  • Use a chain hook for quiet and safety.
  • Use the auto chain scrubber (saves many hours work later).
  • Enjoy the privacy, quiet, gentle motion, and cost of a good anchoring.

In closing, prepare deck, raft tender, check for lines overboard, and anchors away!


All materials behave in an organized fashion relating to heat. They expand when hot and contract when cool.

Except WATER.
It expands when cooled below 39 degrees F. And a good thing too, if water behaved like any other material it would shrink when frozen, becoming denser than the warmer liquid water and SINK.
It would not take long to fill the body of water with solid ice where it would not have much of a chance to melt due to lack of access to warm air and sunlight.

Ever thought about the viscosity of water? If water were thicker, our ships would need a lot more horsepower to propel them through it. And sail craft just would not work. If it were thinner, waves in even small bodies of water would be enormous and the oceans would be impassable.

I must say the creator of this planet really knew what he was doing, and I give thanks.

Contact: Brad Gislason
861 #2 Schoolhouse Rd.
Friday Harbor, WA 98250
Phone 360-378-4860 FAX 360-378-5982
Email bradgis@rockisland.com

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