• 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…

Broad Reach

Broad Reach

While anchored at Cortez and getting my internet fix, I started working on the fuel tank. I only managed to siphon out a couple gallons before it ran dry, which led me to think the problem was an almost empty tank. All the varnish coming through must have been floating at the top and it all came through as the tank emptied. Hopefully, I thought, the problem is now fixed and a full tank will be the final nail in the coffin. However, it only…

Considering Time

Considering Time

I’m losing the desire to continue north. I’ve been travelling through remote islands and mountains and they’re all starting to look the same. I love my solitude in nature but I also appreciate the company of like-minded individuals. I’ve had plenty of the former and I’m missing the latter. I like the idea of canning seafood while I’m out in the wild, clean waters, but my desire to voyage, for the sake of voyaging, is waning. Instead I feel an urge to answer the challenge…

Solace anchored in Desolation Sound Park

Desolation Sound Marine Park

The northwest wind was heavy and steady at 15 to 20 knots. It had been like that for three days with no end in the forecast. My engine appeared to be running well, so I shoved off the dock and carefully dodged the other boats transiting the Lund Marina. As I rounded the most northern point of mainland before Desolation Sound Marine Park, my engine began to sputter. I throttled down to just above idle, hoping I could limp in. No dice. With a half…

Adam Nash Family

Nomadic Families

I don’t know at what age I learned to fear poverty. I don’t know at what point I became convinced that wealthy people had better lives. I think it had more to do with watching how people acted and the culture portrayed in the mass media than anything I was specifically told. This whole trip I’ve been going out of my way to connect with cruisers – especially families give their extra risk and cost – to ask them… what? How do they do it?…

Rock Quarry Selfie

Beating Windward

I left in the afternoon from Pender Harbor. The Blues Festival was underway and I pumped gas as guitar strumming pumped out of big speakers above the marina. Dodging the islets guarding the entrance, I worked my way into Malispina Strait and raised the genoa. Texada Island cast a wind shadow on the far side and I tacked to avoid it. I’ve read a lot of firsthand accounts of the psychological states a long distance, solo sailor goes through when crossing the ocean. The boredom…

The Sunshine Coast

From Nanaimo, I sailed due north, up to Welcome Passage. On the back side of the peninsula that houses Smuggler’s Cove, is another, mush lesser known anchorage called Frenchman’s Cove. It’s a crazy tight anchorage. I accidentally (fortunately?) arrived at low tide and idled through a passage that was only twice the width of my boat. At one point a huge boulder loomed in front of my boat, only a foot underwater. I threw the boat into reverse, then forward again, slowly creeping by it…

Preparing Oysters to Can

Canning Seafood While Cruising

At Frenchman’s Cove I came across a pile of perfectly sized oysters in clean water. As a local recently reminded me, the ‘red tide’ will soon be making an appearance with the warmer waters and so the availability of oysters will only go down hill from here. How can I preserve the harvest? I’ve flirted with canning, but it’s always seemed like more trouble than it was worth. The canner I have in storage is a *huge* 24 quart monster. Canners, jars, and supplies take…

Yahtzee Goodby

Charging North

This is it. I’m here. This is what Solace and I have spent almost two years preparing for. I’m in the middle the Strait of Georgia. Water stretches out in all directions. The hills of both sides are mere outlines. I’m doing 4.5 knots beating into the northwest wind with a single reef in my main and my working jib hoisted. Solace is charging through the three foot chop rolling down the Strait. I can feel the tension. It feels like every piece of rigging,…

adventure-ducky-sunset

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

As I write this, I am leaving the US and crossing the Canadian border for the second time in a month. My first attempt wasn’t a false start. I spent two weeks circumnavigating Vancouver Island’s Saanich Inlet. A very populated place, akin to Seattle. The early spring weather was stormy and made a good shake-down cruise. I got to cross Butchart Gardens off my bucket list. While the trip showed me that I was ready to cruise north, it also showed me that a few…

What is Voyaging?

It’s been about four weeks since I started voyaging and the lack of a clear goal, the mentality of conventional ‘productivity’, is starting to get to me; as I knew it would. It’s like a mini existential crisis. I keep asking myself roundabout question about my ‘purpose’ and what I’m ‘doing’. I tried to take solace in Annie Hills book Voyaging on a Small Income which I pilfered from a friend a few days before crossing the border. Here is a woman who has been…

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