Sailing the Gulf Islands, Part 2

Tumbo to Whaler Bay

Sunday, 8/31/14, Day 2 Saturday night we all dropped separate anchors, avoiding the kinetic pinball mistake we’d made the night before. We all slept soundly and woke up refreshed. As usual our initial plans changed completely to take advantage of the changing tide and wind conditions. The original plan was to sail from Tumbo Island to Whaler Bay, off Galiano Island. We all agreed to leave late in the day to take advantage of the evening winds for sailing. That would give us the morning…

Sailing the Gulf Islands, Part 1

Sailing Rosario Strait

I had limited time to post this at a Cafe on Ganges Island. I’ll post more pictures. For now, enjoy this time lapse I took sailing from Sucia Island to Tumbo Island: Day 0 The anticipation this morning was palpable. It was literally almost too much to take. At one point I looked at the clock and it said 11 AM. FOUR HOURS TO GO?! WHAT?! Time crawled on like an ant with a broken leg, hobbling it’s way to 3 o’clock. But finally, I…

Hard and Soft

I was listening to the podcast of an Australian radio station that had Emily Richmond on as guest. Emily is one of the most bad-ass women I’ve ever heard of, presently solo-sailing around the world in her engine-less sailboat. One phrase she said on the podcast caught my attention: “Looking up at the stars, thinking about space and what’s ahead.” Imagine that: trying to plan around all the obstacles of an engine-less voyage to your next destination while admiring the beauty of the night sky…

The Cusp of Consumption

Sailing Selfie

Consumption is the key to everything. For anyone who wants to craft a message for the general public, be it a piece of political propaganda, a viral facebook post, or a call to arms by an environmental activist, you can’t tell people they have to consume less. No one wants to hear that. It’s popular suicide. Everyone wants to heal the earth, everyone wants the American Dream of social mobility, everyone wants the consumption lifestyle we had in the 90’s, but the harder we try…

We’re Taking On Water!

Fog in Rosario Strait

The day dawned glorious and bright, with the densely wooded hillside of Cypress Island for a backdrop, and good friends rafted to either side of Solace. But as so often happens this time of year, Rosario Strait, a mere quarter mile away, was completely socked in with fog. My friends and I had met up the night before for an impromptu rendezvous at Cypress Island. I planned to head back to the mainland this morning to get some work done on Solace in preparation for…

My Off-Grid Power System

US Yacht at anchor

This article describes the off-grid power system that I have implemented on the boat. I believe it’s a good template for those wanting to build their own simple off-grid power system for a cabin, tiny-house, van, RV, or boat. I used to work as an electrical engineer planning out twelve volt electrical systems for semi-trucks, so I’ve spent a great deal of time thinking about how to build a robust, but simple, electrical system. I participate regularly on the Van-Dweller and Low-Cost-Voyaging mailing lists, and…

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…

Pender, Saturna, and Tumbo Islands

Pender Island Bridge

It’s Saturday, the day-after the 4th of July. One of the heaviest tourist days in the San Juan Islands. Andy’s boat, Gladness, and my boat, Solace, are the only ones at the government dock on Saturna Island. I woke up this morning to the squawk of a heron and water as placid as a pond. As I sipped my morning coffee, a pontoon plane landed and dropped off three people at the end of the dock. This seems to be the most popular form of…

Summer Sailstice

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…

Orca-gasm!

In a word, this past weekend was an Orca-gasm. I saw more whales than I’ve ever seen in my life, combined. Staying mostly to the east side of the San Juan Islands, it’s rare for me to see even one whale. This weekend, it seemed like I couldn’t get away from them. The weather over Memorial Day weekend was rainy and there was work to do at the office. I postponed a three-day vacation and worked on Memorial Day. As compensation, I took Monday off…

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