• 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…

gunkholing in the san juan islands video

Gunkholing in the Salish Sea

From Wikipedia: Gunkholing is a boating and sea kayaking term referring to a type of cruising in shallow or shoal water, meandering from place to place, spending the nights in coves. The term refers to the gunk, or mud, typical of the creeks, coves, marshes, sloughs, and rivers that are referred to as gunkholes. While not necessary, gunkholers typically seek out the serenity of isolated anchorages over the crowds of marinas and popular bays, and a minimal draft is preferred, since gunkholers tend to go…

small part organizer

Saving Space With A Plastic Organizer Box

With five and half months (or less) to go until we plan to be on the boat full time, I’m making greater efforts to condense and organize all the ‘stuff’ in my life to make it fit on the boat. For more than a year, basic repair has been the primary focus on the Rock ‘n Row. Now that focus is shifting to making the boat clean, comfortable, and livable. I need to get a better handle on all the parts and tools scattered around…

Wild Rose Hips

Wild Rose Hips

Winter is setting in. The mornings are getting colder, it’s getting dark earlier, and most of the leaves are on the ground. As the foliage of the forrest dies back and the first frosty morning threatens to rear it’s head, the wild rose hips glow like fiery winter jewels. I’ve long read about the edible and medicinal benefits of rose hips, but I’ve continually been frustrated in my attempts to harvest them. The edible part of the wild rose hip is the red skin. It…

repairing the boat video pic

Rainy Season Boat Repairs

It’s officially rainy season in the Pacific Northwest. There is never enough time to get all the work on the outside of the boat done before rain sets in, but all in all, I feel pretty good with what got done this summer. The big project that I completed this summer was sealing up the gunwale. If your wondering what a gunwale is, it’s the side wall of a boat. The gunwale on the the Rock ‘n Row form a wrap-around deck. The interface where…

Anacortes picture

Anchor Watch

So… I have now been up for about 5 hours at anchor watch. Well, not really ‘anchor’ watch as we’re not at anchor (thankfully). I should start at the beginning… Annie and I had a crazy busy week. Friday evening came around and the weather forecast was marginal – 10 mph winds steady throughout the weekend. 12 mph is the magic forecast number where things start to get really uncomfortable. Also, based on experience, I can tell that when the weather forecast calls for steady…

Marine Engine Heating and Cooling Problems

We have been salt water sailing and cruising for many years and have had a variety of issues connected with the heating and cooling of our inboard (and outboard) boat engines. This article deals primarily with inboard boat engines though most of the same issues apply to outboards. Cooling System Basics Inboard marine engines have two basic cooling system configurations: Fresh Water with heat exchanger, or direct raw water cooling. The primary difference between fresh and raw water cooling is that a freshwater cooled engine…

lovers pond at resario resort

Rosario Resort – A Honeymoon Destination!

An Accidental Honeymoon On Thursday evening, Sherrie & I took off from our home port in Anacortes, with the intention of spending 3 or 4 days out crabbing, salmon fishing, whale watching, visiting Garrison Bay, just cruising the San Juan Islands. On our way out, we experienced some engine heating problems (See article on Marine Engine Cooling) and so decided to beach the boat and do some diving to try to clear the problem. Our efforts were not very successful so, on Friday afternoon we…

Living on a boat

What ‘Living On a Boat’ Means to Me

I frequently summarize my future plans by saying, “My boat is my solution to all the problems in the world.”, which I think is the most succinct summary I can manage. While that means a lot to me, it’s as clear as mud to most people. I’ve expounded on how this lifestyle solves the dilemmas I see in the future as well as issues of control in my life. But to me, living on a boat is also the anti-thesis to a lifestyle of paycheck…

great blue heron

Living Aboard and Loving It!

It’s been several weeks since my last blog post entry. Life has taken a sudden up tick in busy-ness for me. It goes to show that just because you live on a boat, life doesn’t automatically switch to ‘island time’. I’ve been living aboard the Rock ’N Row since July, and almost three months later, the novelty still hasn’t worn off. The old girl stays at the dock most days, but every day I smile when I see the water on my return home. I…

Backyard Blackberries, Bounty or Bain?

http://sanjuansufficiency.com/wp-admin/media.php?attachment_id=2333&action=edit Foraging Wild Blackberries There are many among us who consider wild blackberries to be the bane of our existence, especially when they try to take over our yards. Here in the Pacific Northwest Costal areas, blackberries grow wild and without constraint, can take over any reasonably sunny and moist area. A lot of people expend huge amounts of time and money trying to eradicate blackberry bushes. I choose to take a more moderate approach and try to allow a generous growth for harvest while…

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