• 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…

Storage Unit

Downsizing

It’s generally accepted that a boat is a never ending project with a never ending to-do list. That’s why I was surprised to realize that my to-do list only has about a dozen projects left! I suppose that is one of the benefits of setting a date to cut the dock lines. At some point, ready or not, the to-do list has to end. With four and a half months left, I decided it was time to get serious about my storage unit. After the…

Sailing Mount Baker

Sailing and (Meteor) Showers

Dark grey clouds hung low in the air, muffling sounds and lending a stillness to the morning. Not an ideal looking morning to take the boat out, but the forecast was for clear sky this evening. Still salty from a sauna I’d had late last night with friends, I longed to take a shower but the day beckoned me with a promise of adventure. After a quick trip to pick up a Friday Harbor friend from the ferry terminal, we set out. It was an…

Waiting for Spring…

Waiting… waiting… waiting… Five months to go. I’ve decided to move my departure date to the beginning of May, as opposed to the beginning of June. That will give me time to make any last minute modifications to the boat before taking off. It’s also much easier to get excited about five months instead of six. At this point, in the depth of winter and discontent, I need all the psychological tricks I can pull. The cold weather and early darkness is slowing progress to…

Tiller Repair

Fixing a Cracked Tiller

A log bobbed along the surface of the water, dead ahead. I quickly unhooked the auto-pilot, grabbed the tiller and yanked it up to comfortable steering level. *crack* I looked down to see a small gap between the laminates near the base, where it connects to the rudder. We limped home and I was extra gentle with the tiller, lest it break off and leave us stranded without any ability to steer the boat. Luckily is was a calm day. I replaced the tiller earlier…

Sailing the Gulf Islands, Part 11 (The End)

Day 19, Wednesday 9/17/14 I left Garrison Bay about 11 AM. Slack wasn’t until 2 PM, but I was anxious to get started on this long leg of the journey. It’s 22.5 miles from Garrison Bay on San Juan Island to Mackay Harbor on Lopez Island, and a lot of open water. Conditions were forecasted to be calm, so I knew I was in for great sailing, or motoring if the wind faded. I wound my way through the treacherous Mosquito Pass, with a channel…

White Sided Dolphin

Sailing the Gulf Islands, Part 10

Day 17, Monday 9/15/14 I woke up early, worried that I may miss my last chance to spend a morning with Andy before the trip ends. We are in a special mental state, he and I. Two weeks without the stress of family and work, we will rarely be more real or honest than we are now. Our conversations are genuine, untroubled by day-to-day distractions. I made coffee and puttered around the boat until he woke up, pulled anchor, and rafted up to me. We…

Friends At the Festival

Adventures at the Friday Harbor Film Festival

I’ve always lacked a sense of community. It wasn’t even until a few years ago that I began to identify that lack in my life and how important that connection is to many people. A small part of my reason for coming to Friday Harbor this weekend was to open myself up to the community. To join in the celebration of documentary films that focus on this area. Opening myself up to the community is also a part of embracing the synchronicity I so often…

Two Goons

Sailing the Gulf Islands, Part 9

Day 15, Saturday 9/13/14 The weather up here has been ridiculously great. It’s only rained once, blew hard twice, and no sign of fog. I awoke to another blue-bird day. After morning coffee, we loaded up Izak’s belongings into the dingy and dropped him off at the Aquila as Andy and I made our way to the farmers market in Ganges of Salt Sprint Island. What an awesome market! They had the most beautiful fruits and vegetables I’d ever seen and art of all kinds….

Happy Face Leaf

Sailing the Gulf Islands, Part 8

Day 13, Thursday 9/11/14 After a good nights sleep, I checked in with my parents over the radio. We decided to leave my boat in Telegraph Harbor while we zipped over to Ladysmith for supplies in their boat. Ladysmith has made efforts to net their share of boater and tourist dollars by building a great short-term dock through the Maritime Society. We walked the half-mile to town where we were treated to a well-stocked hardware store and grocery store. I was able to pick up…

Kayaking with mom

Sailing the Gulf Islands, Part 7

Day 11, Tuesday 9/9/14 My parents are trying to stick to the schedule of two nights on the hook and one at a marina. We had initially planned to head to Pirates Cove today, but Wakes Park is such a sweet spot, we decided to stay another day before heading south to Chemainus. After getting skunked on the salmon yesterday, my father and I decided to kick it up a notch and troll the pass with my sailboat instead of the dingy. We headed out…

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