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Monday, December 23, 2013

Blissful Bottom’s Brawny Boys

boat maintenance hull cleaning
Ollie of Blissful Bottoms unloads his dive tank from the dock cart.
“Boys didn’t look like that when I was growing up!” Diane sighed, gazing in unabashedly at the bronze, built and shirtless “Blissful Bottoms” “boys,” Ortega Landing Marina regulars. 

No, this isn’t a dirty post.  Well, actually, it is; it’s about a clean-up business.  More specifically, it’s about an Atlantic Beach based boat bottom (aka “hull”) cleaning business, called “Blissful Bottoms.”

 “Everyone likes a girl with a clean bottom,” quips my cruiser friend Larry of Jacari Maru, with a coy wink, only in partial reference to the need to haul out a boat, scrape its hull and repaint it, to deter boat slowing and system clogging hitchhikers like barnacles.
boat maintenance hull cleaning
Ollie’s tank, all strapped up and ready to go.

In Jacksonville, where we stayed, the St. John’s river is a warm, opaque tea-colored waterway. Visibility is about… 4 inches.  The river provides a flourishing breeding ground for mussels as well as a variety of other flora and fauna, including otters (click here for more about that) deadly algae bloom (more on that in a future post) and alligators (click here to read that post).

“I wasn’t anxious to dive in this nasty water to clean my hull,” admits our Ortega Marina Landing neighbor Rich, of Side by Side, who started every morning spraying down and cleaning his boat’s topside.  “But when I saw that alligator in the marina, that did it!  No way am I going down there; I’m hiring someone else to do that here!”

boat maintenance hull cleaning
Ollie’s other tools of the trade, all lined up.
While far less fastidious than Rich, Wayne and I regularly dove down and cleaned our hull – elsewhere.  At Ortega Landing Marina, we too, decided to join the bandwagon, and happily hired Blissful Bottoms to do the deed, scrape our boat’s bottom and bag our boat’s propeller to protect it from St. John river’s invaders.

Enter Ollie, owner of Blissful Bottoms.  Before going down under, he and his partner slug their whey protein powder drinks and chug down some good clean water to do what they can to stay healthy, despite messing about in St. John’s murky muddy muck.  Trim and toned, they “don’t need weight belts to sink like a stone,” as they don their dive gear daily, jump in, then carefully scrape their customer’s hulls clean, while doing their best to avoid stripping off whatever hull paint remains to prevent future invasions.

cruising liveaboard ortega landing jacksonville
Last chance for getting good
stuff down the hatch before
entering St. John’s pea soup.
Here in Florida Keys’ Boca Chita, we just encountered our first clear water since the Bahamas last May.  We’ve yet to see how clean our bottom is, anti-ablative paint and all.  Soon, though.

Worst case, we can echo another marina neighbor Ron’s take -- “I decided to do Dee [Ron’s wife] a favor.  I hired the Bottom Boys.”  Ron’s normally proud of his penny-pinching prowess.  Yet, he was smiling when he remembered his Blissful Bottoms hire.  We’re betting Dee would, too.


GalleyWenchTales asked and emailed Ollie some business profile questions to beef up this post with more than beefcake.  But Blissful Bottoms had no website, and they were too busy to follow up.  Guess that’s enough of an answer in itself.
cruising liveaboard ortega landing jacksonville
Splash! In Ollie goes!
cruising liveaboard ortega landing jacksonville
Blissful Bottom’s truck, full of dive tanks, whey protein and
water bottles.