• Avoiding the Fog

    Thursday, April 20, 2017

    There is so much unnecessary fear and frustration in the world today. I don’t think it’s always been this way. My experience is that its been building, my whole life, like a smog. At first it was barely noticeable, but with time its gotten thicker until now, when the whole world seems to be choking on it. Over the course of my 34 years of life, the world popultion has grown, local infrastructure has degraded, national GDP has gone up, and climate has gone awry….

  • 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…

When is whale watching season?

Those of us who live here in the San Juans know that the opportunity to see whales exists pretty much all year round, but there are definite seasons when the whales are more likely to be about. Of all the activities to enjoy here in the San Juan Islands, whale watching is one of the most spectacular. There are many whale watching tours available for those that don’t have a boat, and for those of us that do, knowing where and when to find the…

simple living

Food, Voluntary Simplicity, and Happiness

Watching wildlife is a big element of spending time in the San Juan Islands. I’ve always been particularly fascinated by the birds and how each one has evolved within a specialized niche. For instance, Robins are extremely sensitive to noises and visual cues made by earthworms – their main food source. Kingfishers evolved in the same area as Peregrine Falcons, which prey on smaller birds. As a result, the Kingfisher is not only a superior diving and fishing bird, it’s also extremely paranoid and prefers…

matia island

Matia Island State Park

High winds caught us by surprise while anchored at Matia Island for Memorial Day. Fortunately, I followed the steps listed in my marine safety article before going to bed and we were able to avert running aground when both anchors began to drag. Boating to Matia Island My friends Ken and Sherrie, my wife, and I had made plans months ago to redevous at Matia Island for Memorial Day weekend. I made a hard push in May to get my hands on the new Torqeedo…

Best Place for Whale Watching in the San Juan Islands Washington

One of the many really cool things about living here in the San Juan Islands is our Orca Whale population. We have both resident whales and transient whales and if you know where to go and when, the chances of seeing them are very good. Even if you don’t have your own boat many whale watching tours are available. Whales and Sails Ken and I were fortunate enough to come across three separate pods a single day while transiting and fishing along the West side…

Vegetable Soup

We were out again this weekend, cruising, fishing, just hanging out. When boating, keeping yourself and your crew fed, is fairly important. To do it easily and with few dishes makes everyone’s trip more pleasant. We keep our boat well stocked with a variety of food stuff, from soups & chili to rice, beans, and pasta fixings. We have pancake and muffin makings, granola, pop-tarts, cereal, canned vegetables, milk and munchies. Our boat pantry may be better stocked than our home pantry. For Saturday lunch,…

cattails prepared for eating

The Marine Galley Kitchen- Basics & Beyond

What is a Galley Kitchen? What is needed, what is helpful, what is extra? This article is about provisioning our boat galley, kitchen, and pantry. That is to say, about the food, cooking utensils and ingredients that we consider basic to our cooking style, as well as some other items that we find convenient or fun. We love to cruise, we enjoy cooking, and we enjoy eating. Equipment for Cooking Our galley consists of a gimbaled 2 burner alcohol stove, sink, icebox, auxiliary butane “Ninja”…

Controlling Fear While Cruising

This article is a followup on my previous post about the virtues of logic and emotional control. I believe that fear is an ever present companion for people that choose a life of cruising. “Did I set the anchor properly? What is the weather doing? What if the winds pick up overnight? Is my anchor alarm working properly?” These are just a few of the fear based questions that makes me hesistate to adopt a cruising lifestyle. They are questions that consistently keep me up…

Fishing for Lingcod, Cypress Island Washington

Heading out to Cypress Island in Washington to one of our favorite Lingcod fishing holes. Fishing from a sailboat is challenge, but bottom fishing for Lingcod can be especially difficult. Ken and I have spent several years perfecting our style and have learned the best times and tides for us to fish for this wonderful fish. One of the places we make a point of visiting during the Lingcod fishing season, is at Cypress Island. There are several very productive holes around the Cone Islands…

Old Timer Stories

An underlying theme at SanJuanSufficiency.com is products we love and recommend and the local businesses that we respect and choose to promote. But this post has nothing to do with commercialism or product review. It is dedicated to stories and recollections, sometimes first hand and at others, second or third hand, of the histories of a few of the people that interacted within the San Juan Islands in periods past. What has it to do with sufficiency in the San Juans? Frankly, I don’t know…

The Lost Virtues of Logic and Emotional Control

Usually when I write, I have two objectives: to entertain and to educate. This is a warning to you, the reader, that this post contains neither of these. This is just my incoherent rambling on a topic that has long irked me. Ancient Greece – The Origin of Logic The great Greek and Roman thinkers are attributed with creating and perfecting two of the greatest inventions ever concieved: deductive logic and debate. Men and women had long fought amount them selves and argued with one…

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