Shantyboat in the Sloughs – 15 Years Now

I started building this boat more than 16 years ago, and launched about 15 years back.  After that I did as many trips as I could, until two years ago when I had a bit of a scare in the sloughs with someone whose shanty home had sunk taking exception to me taking pictures of it.   After I passed and dropped off a friend, he came looking for me, gun in the bottom of his boat, and wanted to know what exactly I was doing.   For a year I went back just once, as the thought of a guy like that just down the slough from me while I sleep in the middle of nowhere… well… there’d be nobody else to hear my screams!   One thing about the sloughs, there are guys up there that don’t want to be found.

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It’s a bit hard to tell, but just down from the raft and powerboat is his sunken Schooner, now sitting on its side.  He’s living in that little powerboat now.

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Two years ago it was a freshly sunken ship, and it appeared he was trying to salvage it.  So much for that effort.  He told me he left a hatch open.

But now I am back, ready to go out once again.  Today was a trip to clean out all the cobwebs, really just the dust and bird crap that builds up when you store your boat in a barn.  The trip was heaven.

Here’s an overview.  To the lower right is Redmond, home of Microsoft!   Marysville is where I launch, just to the right of the highway as it crosses over the sloughs right beneath the word Marysville.

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Here is a closeup of the waters I travel.  I launch just to the right of the top  I-5, at the green park.

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shambala dock

I launched in Marysville, about 5 minutes north of Everett, Washington, and was the only boat at the ramp.  In fact, I saw just one other boat the entire day, some kind of aluminum duck boat or something along those lines.   By the way, in these pictures I was just off the trailer, and hadn’t undone the line that holds my outboard in place while on the road.  Engine is just 6hp, which is plenty.

shambala at dock in marysville


I’ve been coming up to these waters for 15 years now, so was shocked to see that they’d breached the levee and added a new branch off the slough!  I’d explored every inch of these waters, and now there was a small new place to explore.  The breach was new enough that it doesn’t appear on Google maps yet.  It is right by the word Google at the bottom, and joins Jones Creek, which is clearly visible.   Found this site about the 20 million dollar project.

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As you can see below, they made a sizable channel.   Here I am a few hundred yards in looking at what appears to be a small island.  I’ll explore more later.

shambala new

But back to the more familiar portions of the sloughs.

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Here is my favorite bend in the sloughs, a place where I’ve spent many a night.  There are no houses to be seen, the wind is blocked, and the views and sounds are superb.  Here are some favorite pictures from my afternoon there today.

shambala fav 2

shambala interior

shambala fav

shamabala bend one

As I sat in the white recliner on the front deck above, I thought building this boat was one of the best things I ever did.  Seriously.  I built it at a time I was working through some horrible medical issues with our young son, and that build gave me something to look forward to.  The boat, and the trips it represented, was an escape from the horror of his 11 surgeries, and a boss at work who throughout this time wanted me gone.   (I’ve survived both at work, and with my son!   37 years at this workplace.)

While building it, during those early days of the internet, a couple of people asked me to keep them updated, so I started writing about it online on a website, what has come to be called a blog.  There were no “blogs” at the time.  I used that time to process my feelings, and through the words and processing, I developed a real love for the craft of writing.   Now, more than 2 million page views later, and 15 years of adventures with my son, my wife, with friends, and often by myself, this boat has opened so many doors, internal to me, and in the world around me.  It’s been a gift.

Until today I’d thought of selling her, but no way.  Not yet.   I have a strong need for a few more adventures in this old boat!


Originally posted 2016-06-12 18:40:20.

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