• 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…

money and paycheck dependence

Money & Paycheck Dependence

I just gave my resignation today. In exactly four months, I’ll be a free man – free from a paycheck. I’ve managed to save more than six months of living expenses, so I’m not worried about living without a paycheck for a while. More importantly however, I am hoping to use this savings to help ween me off the need for a paycheck. I plan to use this time to focus on making money as superfluous in my life as possible. What I mean by…

Rosario resort

New Year’s Eve at Rosario Resort on Orcas Island

It feels really good to be back out on the Rock ‘n Row again. She’s been docked up since October while I’ve been doing some much needed work in the engine compartment – tuning the engines, cleaning the bilge, installing a bilge pump, fiberglassing in a new bulkhead, and installing raw water pumps among other things. This trip feels particularly good because my brother and his wife joined us for a New Year’s trip to Rosario Resort on Orcas Island. After all the work, it’s…

bilge pump with float switch

Installing a Bilge Pump

The bilge pump stopped working on the Rock ‘n Row, and it inspired me to spend some serious time in the engine compartment. Since I was going to all the trouble to access the bilge pump, I decided to shoot some pictures and video to help give beginner boaters an idea of how to install a bilge pump in their boat. . How to Install a Bilge Pump The best place to install a pump is in the lowest point of your boat. This isn’t…

degreasing an engine

Degreasing an Engine Compartment

I’ve decided to spend the next couple months doing some much overdo maintenance in my engine compartment. Over the following weeks, I’ll be documenting my activities doing some serious fiberglass repair and engine tuning. The first step however, is degreasing the engine compartment. I’ve decided to document the process because these are common activities that every boat owner needs to do, and new boat owners are often times apprehensive when tackling these chores for the first time. While not nearly as dirty as fixing marine…

Dungeness Crab Cakes

We are very fortunate to live and to boat in an area where dungeness and red rock crab are readily available through a good part of the year. During the open season, we are able to catch, cook, clean and preserve enough to cary us through until the next season. While we are in open season, we feast on fresh caught crab dipped in butter or in wonderful salads while putting up the remainder for our use when fresh caught is not as available. The…

Discovering True Wealth

Many people, including me, have been wrestling since 2008 with the question of ‘what’s going to happen in the future?’ in regards to our economy. In the four years since, the economies of the world have grown at a snails pace. In the meantime, damage from the effects of global warming have steadily taken out more and more GDP in damage, threatening to nullify the small gains in growth. To find answers to this question, I have read widely over the years. It was ultimately…

454 water pump

How to Install a Raw Water Pump

The engines on the Rock ‘n Row are both OMC Cobra’s, which are really just marine versions of the Chevy 350, the same engine in the Corvette. Instead of a radiator, like a car engine has, these engines have a heat exchanger. The heat exchanger is really just a copper container. Engine coolant flows through one side and cold sea water is pumped through the other. The liquids are not allowed to mix, but heat from the hot engine coolant is transferred to the cold…

Mushrooms at Home and in the Wild!

Mushroom Hunting In our attempts to become more self-sufficient, we have acquired a number of books and other reference materials on mushroom gathering. We love mushrooms but, frankly, gathering them in the wild scares the shit out of me. I’ve eaten one or two without harm and we’ve gathered many more to subject to the various spore print and other tests. To our surprise, many yummy looking mushrooms turned out to be members of the Deathcap (Amanita) variety. Because of this, I have become respectfully…

fighting fear of failure

Fighting Fear of Failure

As I continue to prepare for our departure in May, I’m experience a rainbow of emotions throughout the day. Fear and uncertainty plague me constantly, but I have developed some powerful weapons to fight fear. I think this is the best that can be done with fear. I don’t think people can actually ‘overcome’ fear. That would be like overcoming the need to breath. Fear is natural. It must be accepted and lived with. Fear of failure is something that plagues everyone. I’ve had some…

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