Free Stuff: Our Favorite Boutique to Dumpster Diving


Sailors are a curious bunch. We don't have room on our boats to keep the things we 'might need someday', but we are reluctant to put them in the trash, as we know for certain they are a truly valuable items that someone will surely want. There is almost always, in every marina, a free pile. Books, clothing, boat bits, and miscellaneous awesomeness. At Shilshole we called it “Our Favorite Boutique”, and regularly came away with fabulous additions to our wardrobe, great books on cruising, novels, random boat parts, the occasional bit of art... We have, in turn, contributed to the mix. All sorts of great stuff. It is pleasing to go back and find all of the items gone, and note that that one thing that was a little weird remains fully unwanted.

We have been pleased to find similar “boutiques” at many marinas. Lots of great books, a CD with all of the charts for the US, and miscellaneous boat bits. We have dropped off a myriad of items that we don't have a use for at various marinas, happy to give back. Since we arrived in Alaska, we have found book exchanges, but no real free pile. It seems that people just toss those valuable items in the trash. Blashphemy! Hence, the Dumpster Dive. It started in Ketchikan. Noj was putting our trash in the bin when he noticed some charts. Alaska charts! I was passing by on my way from the Harbormaster's office when he opened the lid and showed me the goods. I immediately offered to hold the lid open. Fortunately Noj has very long arms. He didn't actually go IN the dumpster. As we were excavating the treasure, a small group of yachties strolled past. They cast nervous sidelong glances in our direction. I found it hilarious, and smiled broadly at them as they passed, with no explanation for our behavior. Not our kind, really. In Juneau we took the trash up the dock to find the antenna we needed and some high quality cable that seemed just the right length right on top of the heap! No diving necessary!

Hey, one man's trash is another man's treasure, right? Hooray for free stuff!


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