Crabbing with Family

Bayliner 288

After years of cheerleading and encouragement directed at my parents to get a four-season boat so that they could join me on adventures, they finally got one. No-one in my family but me has any sailing experience, despite three generations of avid boating, so it was no surprise when they purchased a Bayliner 288. The four-day trip we took last weekend was months in the planning, yet only considered a ‘trial run’ for the three-week trip we’ll be taking in September. If it wasn’t for…

Summer Sailstice

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I’m pointed north with two sheets to the wind. The breeze this morning is coming from the southeast and I’m on a downwind run heading northeast from Watmough Bay on Lopez Island, to Eagle Harbor on Cypress Island. It’s Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year. As I write this I’ve got my Genoa jib up trying to grab as much of this 10 mph wind as possible. I’m averaging 4-5 mph and haven’t had to tack once in the last 10 miles. I’m…

Mary Leach Natural Area, Sinclair Island

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“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 Blackberry Wine

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Blackberry wine is not only incredibly inexpensive to make, it’s fun, makes a great gift, and is an excellent product to barter with. The recipe below makes a tasty wine and is very hard to mess up. Every September I pick as many blackberries as I can, put them in ziplock baggies, and throw them in the freezer for a rainy day. This winter, rainy days were not as prevalent than in the past, so it wasn’t until last month that I got around to…

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…

Foraging: Lady Ferns

Lady Fern Fronds

My new favorite wild food this year is Lady Fern, and right now it’s just starting to spring out of the ground. This easy to identify, easy to cook, tasty wild treat will be in prime harvesting season for the next two to four weeks. Any of the voluminous field guides on plants in the Northwest will be able to help you competently tell lady fern apart from its sister species. The easiest fern to mistake it for is Bracken Fern, which is also sprouting…

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 –…

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…

My Last Hunt?

deer hunting

This weekend was deer hunting season on Guemes Island. A friend of mine has ten acres, much of it working land, and she invited me over for a little pest control. Another friend and I eagerly went over to hunt. One of the things I love about hunting is the excuse to go sit in the woods before dawn. Deer and other big game are most active at dawn and dusk, so that is the best time to be in the woods. In fact, the…

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