• 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…

livaboard_financing

Full Disclosure – Financing My Liveaboard Life

A lot of people dream of cruising full time. Inevitably, those people look at stories of other cruisers and liveaboards and ask themselves “How do they afford to do it?”. I have often asked that same questions and what I’ve found is that every liveaboard and cruiser has a very different story to tell. This is my story. This is how I plan to finance my cruising lifestyle this summer and why I am doing it in my own unique manner. Wealth and Poverty Today…

bayliner_buccaneer

Does Size Matter? Yes, it does.

I recently stumbled across a solicitation on monkey’s fist for boaters to give their opinions on size. I know several cruisers like Teresa and Ben of One Simple Question and Stormy of Art of Hookie, who are pocket cruisers and love it. My wife and I live aboard a forty foot Cruise-a-Home, with approximately eight tons of displacement. We upgraded from a twenty-five foot, Buccaneer sailboat, the Sea Muse. Let me tell you why. You can read about how I came to possess the Sea…

boat_fireplace

Transitioning to a Liveaboard

I love crisis! My wife and I have ‘officially’ moved aboard. No more staying at the house. We sleep on the boat every night. I have dreamt of this day for so long, that even after a week, it still hasn’t fully sunk in. But transition to life aboard is never painless. I have read widely in the boating forums and all the liveaboard transition stories I’ve read have had unpleasant surprises as a common thread. We were no different. We spent the entire weekend…

safe_anchorage_in_puget_sound

Port Angeles – A Cruiser’s Haven

A reader of the blog sent me an awesome email. Not only is he a kindred soul, we have many experiences in common. His knowledge of Port Angeles and the western Puget Sound was so impressive, that I decided to share an edited version here (with his permission). Hi Chris, I’ve been following your blog. It’s very entertaining and also inspiring to see someone your age actually thinking about life and how to live it. I had a similar dream to yours – i.e. living…

depiction of the devil

The Nature of Evil

Warning: Explicit material ahead. The bad dream I had below contains references to sexuality and murder. I just woke up from a vivid and elaborate dream. It was so powerful and so meaningful to me, I felt compelled to get out of bed, write it down, and ultimately, share it here. In the dream, my wife and I were harassed by a man. Throughout the weeks and months that existed in our dream lives, he constantly threatened us. He threatened our lives and attempted to…

greenling fish

Drift Fishing For Salmon, Lingcod, and Kelp Greenling

Ok, it is early February in the Pacific Northwest. Weather is variable with wind, rain and clouds expected more often than not. Still, a day on a boat out on the water is better than any day I’ve spent at work. We took off Saturday morning at about 9:00 am. My crew consisted of my wife Sherrie and 3 good friends. Our target was for about 8:00 but reality and a few trips to the store left us departing by 9:00. On this excursion, we…

how to repair gelcoat

How to Restore and Repair Gelcoat

After any fiberglass repair to your boat, the final step is to restore or repair the gelcoat. Gelcoat is a two part epoxy, just like the kind used in fiberglass repair, except you do not use fiberglass or filler and the epoxy contains a pigment to give it a specific color. Why is Gelcoat Important? The gelcoat is most important when working with polyester resin. Specifically, this covers boat repairs since virtually all boats are built with polyester resin. Polyester resin will absorb water, whereas…

fiberglass techniques

How to Use Fiberglass Resin

Fiberglass can be messy and hard to work with for the beginner. I know that I made a lot of mistakes and messy work when I was first learning how to use fiberglass resin. The video below shows you the fiberglass techniques that I use when doing repairs on my boat. Many people are familiar with mixing two part epoxies. The instructions for mixing them are clearly labeled on the container. Less well documented is the use of additives. One tip on how to do…

how to fix fiberglass

How To Work With Fiberglass

Over the next month, I’m going to write a series of instructional posts on how to work with fiberglass and do common types of fiberglass restoration on a boat. This first article explains an overview of how to work with fiberglass and do basic repairs. The second article will show you how to use fiberglass resin. I’ve done a ton of fiberglass repair on the Rock ‘n Row already, and I still have a bit more left to do. I never took any classes on…

eagle harbor wa

Eagle Harbor Washington and Reed Lake Hiking Trail

My wife and I spent a beautiful weekend in Eagle Harbor (washington), just off the coast of Cypress Island. We are truly experiencing the Halcyon Days here in the San Juan Islands. The weather is crisp, calm, and sunny. This weather should last on and off between now and the middle of February. Then the winds will pick up again until about May. Our trip this weekend was a bit spur of the moment. The weather was so nice on Saturday, we decided to head…

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