Mary Leach Natural Area, Sinclair Island

“Wait a minute… you guys! There is a piece of public land on Sinclair Island that I read about. Apparently there was a lady who donated her land to the public before she died. Let’s go find it!” …That’s how our little expedition got underway. My friends Andy and Izak will be joining me on my 250 mile sail to Texada Island in September. They will each have their own boats and our small regatta plans to storm Canada together. This weekend we rendezvoused at…

Blind Bay, Shaw Island

Blue Camas and Yellow Death-Camas

It took three hours to reach Blind Bay, motoring the whole way from Skyline in Anacortes. I had calm weather and a significant flood tide helping me. Entering Thatcher Pass on a flood tide or leaving the islands through it on a ebb tide works great. Try that with the opposite tide, and it can turn into a nasty piece of water. All the passes are like that though, but Thatcher is probably the worst because of all the traffic. The sheer rock walls rebroadcast…

Making It Mine

Making_It_Mine

A boat is just a boat. It only becomes your boat when you put your energy into it; when you take it apart, inspect it’s components and put it back together. Until that point it’s just so much fiberglass, wood, and steel. I find that I harbor a trepidation against all new components that I add to the boat until I’ve taken them apart and rebuilt them. Until that time, I always half-expect it to blow up and misbehave when I turn my back or…

Circumnavigating Lopez Island

Circumnavigating Lopez Island

Last weekend found me with perfect weather and nothing better to do than circumnavigate Lopez Island. Along the way I met Alan of ArtOfHookie.org, ran aground, hit a log, lost my hat overboard, rescued a lost dog, and had a great time. Friday Winds were forecast on Friday at 12 mph from the southwest and a slack tide. I have a healthy scepticism this time of year that the weather will behave anything like the forecasts. This turned out to be an excellent example of…

Mating on Cypress Island

Moored in Eagle Harbor

As I headed across the opening of the harbor, I was rewarded with the sight of a bald eagle gliding low over the water with a fish clasped in its talons. A couple seagulls were screaming bloody murder, which meant they thought the eagle stole it from them somehow. Shortly after pulling the dingy up to the beach, I crouched down to reset my GPS. At the familiar chirp of a bald eagle, I looked up to see three eagles flying in my directions –…

Boat Insulation – Part 3

Boat Insulation

This is part three of a three part series. Be sure to check out part one and part two. I finally finished fiberglassing in the hemlock ‘studs’ that will be used as scaffolding to support the upholstery and insulation. The final step was to mount the insulation and upholstery. Unlike a house, almost nothing on a boat is ‘square’ as the concept of ‘level’ doesn’t really exist on a boat. When trying to retrofit anything in tight quarters, construction become even more difficult. My friend…

Yee Ha!

Whitecaps danced along to top of the waves as I drove by Rosario Strait on my way to the boat. Today was going to be a real test of my growing skill as a sailor. For the last three days I’d been planning my trip. The weather called for steady 15 mph winds from the NE and slack tide right after work. These would be perfect conditions to sail due west, through Lopez Pass, and into Lopez Sound. I figured I could duck in behind…

Insulating a Boat Hull – Part 2

Insulating a Boat Hull Part 2

This is part two of a three part series. Be sure to check out part one and part three. After identifying the materials that I had at my disposal, the real work began in earnest. The first step was to remove the old vinyl covering that had been glued to the inside of the hull. I’m sure that when the boat was new, this stuff was great, but 20 years later large swaths of it had turned black from mold growth. It felt very healthy…

Who Needs Radar?!

Rosario Strait Fog

Living on a boat requires a significant downsizing of possessions. Before Christmas I warned my family that I can no longer accept physical gifts, but gift cards will be gladly accepted. I was delighted to receive a gift certificate from my parents for the Rosario Resort on Orcas Island. I set out on an early Saturday morning and the conditions appeared perfect: glassy water, a flood tide, not a breath of wind, and warm sunlight glancing off the nearby islands. No sooner did I poke…

Infrastructure Independence

Infrastructure Independence

I’m increasingly feeling that I should focus my blog on promoting a lifestyle of … I’m not really sure what to call it. Cruising? Living aboard? Off-grid tiny houses? ‘Infrastructure independence’ is the best phrase that comes to mind. The point is this: I believe the root of ‘the problem’ with our world today exists in our infrastructure. Most people today still live the lifestyle of the industrial age: Income obtained from a single job, paying taxes to a central government. Groceries obtained from a…

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