• Optimism in Palm Springs

    Monday, March 20, 2017

    In a very odd sort of way, the last six months have felt like a honeymoon. I’ve been easing into the new commitments my property represents. Almost like a jealous lover, I haven’t wanted to write about it. It’s been new and confusing and beautiful. Now though, I have many things that I want to write about. I’m getting ready to install 1000 watts of solar panels in order to power a chest freezer. I’m building a micro-root cellar to protect homemade wine and canned…

  • What’s Next?

    Wednesday, September 7, 2016

    As I came out of Lopez Pass this afternoon I saw a large Steller Sea Lion pop out of the water about 200 yards off my bow. He had the tail of a large salmon in his mouth. Steller Sea Lions are large creatures, equivalent in size to a large black bear or a small grizzly. As his head reached about 6 feet above the water, he quickly turned and smashed the flat side of the girthy salmon against the surface of the water. I…

  • Decatur By The Numbers

    Sunday, August 21, 2016

    I reached a fork in the road this winter where I realized I needed a bigger boat or I needed to focus on getting a piece of property to complement the boat I have. I chose the latter, and in the synchronistic way of the universe, I am now the owner of a half-acre lot on Decatur Island. Now that the dust has settled, I feel I can share the financial reality that made it possible. I am trying to live a life of true…

  • Summer Adventures

    Sunday, July 24, 2016

    It’s taken the weather a little while to sort itself out, but summer is finally in full swing. The San Juan Islands are abuzz with boaters, and adventure lurks behind every corner. For the fourth of July, I babysat a friend’s boat in Fisherman’s Bay off Lopez Island. I spent three nights rafted to the side of Tuwamish, staying handy to fend off any emergencies while she swung at anchor, awaiting her family. As usual, Lopez did not disappoint with their stunning firework display. Eager…

  • Swallowing The Anchor

    Friday, July 8, 2016

    After a tempestuous night, Friday dawned clear and sunny with a light, but stiff, breeze. Not two hundred yards outside the marina, I threw up the sails and shut off the engine. I tacked back and forth on a lazy down-wind run, chasing zephyrs the entire way to Vendovi Island.   Vendovi was purchased by the San Juan Preservation Trust a few years ago. It’s a day-use only island open to the public with a small, but protected dock in the harbor on the north…

  • Vendovi Island

    Bad Mood

    Monday, June 27, 2016

    The world is a stage and we are all actors upon it according to Shakespeare, and he’s right. Seeing the world through this lens of ‘playing a role’ is revealing. When at work certain elements of our psyche get emphasized over others. Different elements are triggered when playing with children. Yet others when alone with a close friend. We can’t help but play a different role. And what determines these roles are not so much ourselves as the environment we find ourselves in. Like clockwork,…

  • ferry in thatcher pass

    Scouting Mission

    Wednesday, June 15, 2016

    I spent this last week anchored within walking distance of the property that I’m thinking of buying. We’re like two people courting one another. Right now we’re getting to know the other. If we like each other enough, we might get married.   I walked around the property, erecting and demolishing buildings in my mind’s eye. I followed the lay of the land, imagining where runoff water would flow and how it might be better directed. Over the week, I visited the site at different times…

  • A Double Edged Sword

    Tuesday, June 7, 2016

    I’m trapped at the dock while I wait for a part to arrive for the outboard. I have several bids out for new freelance projects and I’m waiting on one to pan out. I’ve made an offer on a piece of property in the San Juan Islands and I’m waiting on the paperwork to move the deal to the next step. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. But I don’t mind.   The consistent summer weather has given way to a pleasant routine: I wake up to no…

  • Ice Box Upgrade

    Sunday, May 8, 2016

    Whew! I’m glad that’s over. For the last three weeks my work hours got bumped up to forty hours per week, up from twenty, in order to launch this open source project. I love the work I do, but I can never go back to forty hours per week again. It’s one thing to work that hard for a ‘good reason’, or because one has accepted it as the way things are, which I think describes the mentality of most people. It’s another thing to…

  • Another Day In Paradise

    Wednesday, April 20, 2016

    Like a pendulum swinging back, I got my need for solitude satisfied by a few days alone on Cypress Island. The next weekend was time to celebrate Julie’s last day of work. She was a successful digital nomad until she moved to San Juan Island. There she accepted a government job. The promise of a steady paycheck meant financial safety while she acclimated to her new environment. It wasn’t long before the shackles of an office worker began to rub her raw. Once again she…

  • solo sailor

    Finding Tranquility

    Tuesday, April 12, 2016

    I’ll tell ya, I never quite find my zen like I do when I am at Cypress Island. When I left, my skin was crawling with disgust at modern life. My bank account was severely dented by van registration, boat registration, tow insurance, and fishing license fees all due at the same time. And of course I’m already feeling paranoid about ‘the man’ getting his grubby little hands on my pocket book so soon after filing my taxes. My last stop before cutting the dock…

  • A Perfect Blur

    Wednesday, April 6, 2016

    I hate sail bloggers that don’t post regularly. But sometimes, life is so good, it’s hard to worry about the digital world that may or may not be anticipating your next post. So, Dear Reader, I will attempt to bring you up to speed on what I’ve been up to. But it’s life. It has no simple narrative, no character progression, no arc. It’s a random jumble of experiences that does not easily flow onto a page. I spent a week in Portland, my old…

  • Code Pirate

    Wednesday, March 23, 2016

    I haven’t been writing much English lately because I’ve been writing so much code. Besides the 21 hours per week I do for my job, I’ve also been spending a lot of time playing with the idea of starting my own Open Value Network (OVN) for Raspberry Pi developers. The Raspberry Pi is a credit-card sized computer with a funny name. Right now I’m programming one to track my boat’s position and update the Find Solace Page. Eventually I will program it to steer my…

  • Anchored in a storm

    Riding the Pineapple Express

    Friday, March 11, 2016

    March 8th After five hours of heavy weather sailing, I stare at awe when things stay where I put them. I fluff a pillow and put it back from the center of the boat where everything piles up. A half hour later, it’s still where I put it! I got used to things flying across the boat every time I tacked. I’m anchored off Sucia Island and things are finally calm. This blustery March weather has been dubbed a Pineapple Express; a series of storm…

  • Sailing for a Purpose

    Sunday, February 21, 2016

    The wind would be coming from the southeast all weekend. Good sailing wind: more than 10mph, but less than 20mph. The tides were mostly ebbing during the day, trying to suck a boat south, conflicting with a downwind run heading north. Julie and I had four days to have a sailing adventure. We set out at 8AM on Friday morning, attempting to ride as much slack water as possible before the ebb tide would rob our progress. I intended to sail northwest from Anacortes to…

head drain

Installing a Shower Drain in a Head

This article shows how I installed a simple, inexpensive drain into the floor of the head (bathroom) so that I could install a shower. I’m beginning to seriously considering moving aboard full time in April. One of the main drawbacks to the idea is that my boat doesn’t have a shower. There is plenty of room for it, there’s just no drain or pump to handle the water. I researched several different options, originally hoping to install a filter-and-bilge-pump-in-a-box kit that West Marine sells. However,…

deer hunting

My Last Hunt?

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…

Harbor Porpoise

Surrounded by Porpoises

You can never count on the weather in November, but you can always count on good boating friends! Again, I had extravagant sailing plans for the weekend but they were for not. But the weekend was not without its pleasant miracle. Wednesday and Thursday were blustery and the forecast was for steady 8 mph winds for Saturday and Sunday – perfect sailing weather. Midweek I was playing with the idea to sail to James Island. The dock is gone, so I had fantasies of dropping…

Heavy Weather Sailing

Heavy Weather Sailing

Ken enjoys heavy weather sailing and after last weekends gale force winds, he was jonesin’ to get out on the water. Myself, I had a wonderful weekend at Watmough Bay and felt like a champ for reading the weather so well. At 8 PM on Saturday night, I checked the weather and saw NOAA was issuing a gale force warning for the next night. I quickly popped of my head out the hatch to revealed that all was calm on the water. It was still…

Watmough Bay on Lopez Island

Watmough Bay, Lopez Island

I set off towards the sunset, the water as smooth as glass. Every time I leave the dock I get a high, a rush, from the sense of freedom; the sense of escape. It’s a confirmation that I am not defined by my life on land. I am a boater. My home floats. The islands are waiting to feed my body and my soul and my small craft can handle whatever they throw my way. I am one with this environment. This weekend feels especially…

Spirituality and Self Sufficiency

Those who have read older passages in my blog have probably seen me mention Charles Eisenstein and his book, Sacred Economics. That book was inspiring to me because of its clear, logical explanation on the connection between our economy and the sacred, spiritual aspects of our lives. Its concise explanation on how, exactly, the two parts of our culture are tied together. Although I agreed with about 95% of the book, I didn’t agree with everything. I felt he placed too much emphasis on an…

fiberglass over teak

Fiberglassing Teak Handrails – An Experiment

Wood on a boat can be a touchy subject. It seems as though every sailor has their own opinon about how much wood belongs on a boat, based on the (often conflicting) aspects of beauty, functionality, and maintenance. Solace has only a few pieces of teak above deck and a quite extensive teak interior. I love the rich wood interior, but abhor the maintenance required to keep the above-deck teak maintained. The hand rails running the length of my cabin make up forty percent of…

Install Marine Batteries

How to Install a Marine Battery Box

This article shows how to install a marine battery box in your boat according to coast guard regulations. Batteries… we all need them. In order to install them properly, it’s important to comply with coast guard regulations. I recently installed two Group 31 deep cycle AGM batteries on my 27 US Yacht sailboat, Solace. I was careful to comply with the coast guard regulations. Below is how I did it and how I recommend you do it too. As my sailboat has a pull-start outboard,…

minimalist bedroom

Embracing Minimalism

This post discusses my inspirations to adopt a minimalist lifestyle and my financial plans for the future after my recent divorce. I reflect on the past, the future, and the present. Reflections on the Economic Past I’m in the middle of reading Snow Falling on Cedars which is a historical fiction based on San Juan Island. The people back in that era had so little, and had to work so hard for it. In a way, it makes me feel spoiled and petty considering all…

Going Solo

I haven’t done much writing lately because I haven’t spent as much time on the water. As I write this, I sit on the Aggada Da Vida watching the sun come up over Lopez Sound. The quite, the solitude, and the beauty are what give me the inspiration to write. It is the serenity that I find out here which gives meaning to my life. It is this solace that I long for, like an addict looking for a ‘fix’, every time I return to…

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