• 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…

Camper Van

Birthing a Brain Child

For the last two weeks I’ve been visiting family and working on my van in Portland. I purchased the van on my way out of town during my last visit and it had been patiently waiting for me to give it a thorough inspection and a little TLC. My new home-on-wheels is a 1995 Gulfstream full-sized GMC van with a V8 Chevy 350 engine. I chose a van with a Chevy 350 engine and mid-90’s era body because both are very easy to work on….

Van Camping the Olympic Peninsula

As I opened my eyes, I saw that fog was coming down the mountain and just beginning to kiss the tree tops in the golden light of dawn. As I lay in bed, I watched the fog get thicker while listening to the birds greeting a new day. My girlfriend and I were camped in the back of my truck in the Hoh Rain Forest on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State. We were scouting the peninsula for great van-camping spots, once I get my…

Macgyvered shift handle

Calling all Gearheads

During my trip up to Desolation Sound, I started to have shifting issues trying to put my outboard engine into forward or reverse. The main cause of the issue was a bent shifting rod. It got progressively worse and eventually I snapped off the plastic shift handle. I was able to Macgyver the fix that you see here. But now I’m back in port and I managed to get my hands on authentic replacement parts. The only problem is… I’m stuck. And I could really…

To Friday Harbor

As Solace motors closer to the Islands, I feel that familiar sense of ‘homecoming’ wash over me. It really does feel like an invisible barrier through which I pass. Whether by ferry or private boat, returning from Canada or Oak Harbor (as I am today), the feeling is the same: I am home. At this point I am convinced the San Juan Islands will always be my home. And though I’ve lived on the outskirts for over five years, this winter will be my second…

Cracking Crab

Escape Velocity

I’ve fallen into a pleasant routine: In the morning I hop out of bed to make a cup of coffee and then work on the computer as I sip. Lately the focus has been on applying for jobs, revamping my professional website, and working on websites for friends so that I can build up my portfolio. Around noon I go for a jog and have lunch. In the afternoon I work on the boat. I’ve slowly been putting Solace back together after her long trip….

camper-van

VanDweller

I was down in Portland, having a good-bye lunch with my father and uncle. In two hours I was going to get back on the highway and head back to Solace. They started chatting about something or other and my attention drifted. I always keep an eye on van prices around Seattle as I’ve been toying with the idea of buying one for months. I realized I never perused the listings in Portland while I was down here. A quick look came up with the…

Portland Friends

Portlandia

Here’s the dark side of getting complimented on your writing: Compliments feel good. So I try to do better and better. Eventually I psych myself up so much that I get writer’s block. Nothing seems ‘blog-worthy’. So much vanity. 😉 That’s a long winded way of saying that this entry won’t win any awards. I’ve been down in Portland for over a week, taking a break from the boat. The truth is that four months of non-stop voyaging scratched my itch. My fun-meter is pegged….

Routine is Heaven and Hell

Fear has been gnawing at me like a rat in the wall. When I pay attention to it, it scurries away and hides in some deep recess of my mind, only to later reappear on a near subconscious level. I woke up early to pack my truck for a trip to Friday Harbor. I was at the top of the dock, walking back to my boat for another load when the sunlight played out over the hill and crashed into the dock like a tsunami….

Stern Tie

Dragging Anchor

I was sitting on my girlfriends couch in Friday Harbor. I had just put in the first load of laundry. I was enjoying a cup of fresh brewed coffee and her high speed internet. I’d only been away from Solace for about twenty minutes and was just getting comfortable when my phone beeped with a voice mail. It was odd, I thought, that the phone hadn’t rang. I picked it up and as the message began to play, I froze in horror… “Hi, my name…

Step into my office

Digital Nomadism

Hating on cubicles is my favorite dead horse to beat. I have held onto the hope that I would never have to go back to one again. That’s why it thrills me with joy to write about a positive development in my work life. I’ve accepted a part-time (4-hours a day) support engineer position that will involve JavaScript programming. It allows me to telecommute. I can live anywhere, so long as I have an internet connection and am available during the work hours. After taxes,…

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