• 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…

Clamming Tools

This article helps explain the different clamming tools available to those who are interested in foraging for clams Clams were a staple food for the Native Americans who lived around the Puget Sound. Think about it. Clams can’t run away, they can be harvested dependably at every low tide, they can also be harvested without much effort, and they taste great. It makes just as much sense for modern people to harvest clams as it was for ancient peoples. However, modern clammers have many more…

Cruising the San Juan Islands: Eliza, Vendovi, Cypress, and Jack Islands.

We really packed some travel in for my Mother’s Day cruise. Mother’s Day weekend and we headed out with no particular plan in mind other than to fish for some Ling Cod, sail when the wind blew, and forage for some cattails, nettles, and hopefully some mushrooms. My favorite kind of trip, trusting to our own capabilities to provide us with our food and no particular place to go in mind. We got started on Friday evening, tide was out with the water calm and…

Sea Cucumbers, Oysters, Cattails & other Wild Foods

Last weekend, Sherrie & I took off with no particular destination nor itinerary in mind. It was mid-May, Mother’s Day weekend and the weather was great. Multiple fishing and harvesting opportunities were present, with Ling Cod, Halibut, Shrimp, Clams & Oysters (check the red-tide hotline: http://www.doh.wa.gov/ehp/sf/biotoxin.htm ), Cabezon, and other seafoods available for the catching. Ok, our fishing luck was pretty poor, with a total of one nice rock cod (not allowable and thus released unharmed), and a few sea cumbers. Winds and tides were…

Harvesting Seaweed to Eat – Ulva Sea Lettuce

This article shows how to identify, harvest, dry, and cook with sea lettuce, an edible sea weed. Ulva sea lettuce is one of the most prevelant and easy to harvest wild seaweeds in the world. Like almost all edible sea vegetables, it’s easy to dry and store. It’s texture and color is similar to blanched spinach, and it’s completely tasteless if prepared correctly. Sea Lettuce Facts According to Pacific Feast, ulva sea lettuce is high in both protein and carbohydrates, fiber, and nutrients. It’s also…

Marine Refrigeration and Marine Wood Repairs

The repairs continue on the Rock ‘n Row! This post describes some of the repair work I’ve been doing lately to my boat, including the electrical system for our marine refrigeration and the installation of marine grade ply to stop a cold draft Over the last two months, I spent the majority of my free time installing a large solar off grid battery pack on my boat. This battery pack will primarily be responsible for powering an electric outboard motor, but it will also be…

Sucia Island, Cruising the San Juan Islands:

I thought it would fun to share some of our more favorite destinations in the San Juan Islands.  We have been cruising here since 2008 so we have many “favorites” but Sucia Island is a regular and we try to make at least three or four visits a year there. Incredible scenery, miles of shoreline, excellent facilities, and solid holding grounds.  With docks, mooring buoys, camping, hiking, fishing, crabbing, clam digging, diving, sea kayaking and more.  Sucia offers it all.  No wonder this park is consistently ranked…

Foraging for Wild Food: Fennel Fronds

This article shows how to identify, process, and store wild fennel. After collecting several fennel fronds, I blanched, dried, and vacuum packed the wild fennel for use in future dishes. I ran across a description of wild fennel in Pacific Feast several months ago and wondered what the heck they were. I had never heard of wild fennel, never seen it in a local field guide, and of course wondered what is fennel good for. However, I came across a tasty looking plant while walking…

Our love of the San Juan Islands; Passing it On.

Opening day of freshwater fishing and we had the grandkids out for some fun. We are fortunate to have three of our grandchildren living on Fidalgo Island with us. They are Daneil age 7, Darrin age 5, and Serenity age 4. Daneil and Darrin have become old salts on our sailboat having spent most every weekend last summer with us out sailing. Daneil really surprised me when he decided that he wanted to fish with my favorite light fishing pole (a christmas present from Ken)…

cooking fiddleheads, fiddlehead recipes, sauteed fiddleheads, Lady fern, fiddlehead fern edible

Fiddlehead Ferns With Peppers and Pasta

A very light and tasty dish made with the Fiddleheads we harvested from some Lady Ferns by Heart Lake. INGREDIENTS Approximately 40 Fiddleheads pre-boiled 1 tbsp Sea Salt 2 tbsp Minced Garlic 1/4 each Yellow and Orange bell peppers; sliced 10 Medium Mushrooms; sliced 4 tbsp Grapeseed Oil 1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar 2 tbsp Dried Crushed Basil 1/2 lb Linguine Pasta   DIRECTIONS: In a medium saucepan, bring 2 quarts of water to boil. Add Fiddleheads and salt. Boil for one minute, drain and rinse…

bayliner_buccaneer

Forks in the Road

I’ve been feeling more and more as though I may be in the middle of a mid-life crisis. The crisis part is pretty evident, but is thirty mid-life? …Oh well, I’ve always been an early bloomer. What I know for sure is that I am increasingly rejecting the axioms of modern society that I have tried hard to adopt over the last decade and instead reaching back to the wisdom I had as a child. From about the age of eight, I spent the vast…

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