Payday

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I woke to an email from Patreon telling me it was payday and that I have $7.97 in my account waiting for me, it might as well have been a million dollars.  To celebrate I opened a can of condensed milk and added it with a pinch of sugar to my coffee, two things I never do.


Ten years of  blogging has taught me many things.  When I added a buy me a beer button last year it went against everything I stood for but I’m changing and growing.  The addition of the Patreon account was a bit painful until I realized the glory of getting paid to do what I love most.  This very well may be the most boring blog on the planet but my choice is to accept donations and keep writing or get a job and write nothing, it still may come to that or maybe I will find a happy medium.  I’ve also reconciled with the big sailing rags and while my boycott of commercial sailing might be over I’m still not putting stamps on any of my feature articles

In the pandemonium of arriving back at Sookie and getting her back into ship shape I completely forgot that I had finished Boatyard Pirates and am the push of a button away from publishing.  Being that it’s me in charge I have lost the book altogether, I literally don’t have a clue as to where it is so i guess I’m out on that one.

Nothing much exciting to write about, just another day of waxing,  painting, varnishing, loosening, tightening, adding and subtracting.  I have 8 days to figure it all out before I have to cast off from the Marina and still no oars for my very old rubber dink.  The simple life is a good one with simple problems that are easy to solve.  I just finished the last coat of wax on my hull and slowly but surely Sookie is starting to look more like a yacht than a workboat.  The second we leave the dock all of my hard work will start to undo itself until I redo her for winter which again will kill all of my hard work until the whole process starts over again in the spring.

“The job is what you do when you are told what to do. The job is showing up at the factory, following instructions, meeting spec, and being managed.  Someone can always do your job a little better or faster or cheaper than you can.  The job might be difficult, it might require skill, but it’s a job.

Your art is what you do when no one can tell you exactly how to do it. Your art is the act of taking personal responsibility, challenging the status quo, and changing people.

I call the process of doing your art ‘the work.’ It’s inpossible to have a job and do the work, too.   The job is not the work.”  Unknown

If you enjoy this blog please feel free to donate a buck to my Patreon account.  

Ride your fucking bike

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Eight straight hours in the sun fried me so today I’m in hiding even though I will at some point have to get back out there and continue with my days projects.  Surfing the web I found this interesting little story and while I doubt that it really happened it made me smile.  Each and every day I try and find ways to make my footprint smaller.  This is nearly impossible as boats are by nature one of the most toxic beasts on the planet.  Nothing about boating is green, a challange or sure but a endeavor worth perusing.


Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the much older lady that she should bring her own grocery bags, because plastic bags are not good for the environment.The woman apologized to the young girl and explained, “We didn’t have this ‘green thing’ back in my earlier days.”

The young clerk responded, “That’s our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations.”

The older lady said that she was right — our generation didn’t have the “green thing” in its day. The older lady went on to explain:

Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled. But we didn’t have the “green thing” back in our day.

Grocery stores bagged our groceries in brown paper bags that we reused for numerous things. Most memorable besides household garbage bags was the use of brown paper bags as book covers for our school books. This was to ensure that public property (the books provided for our use by the school) was not defaced by our scribblings. Then we were able to personalize our books on the brown paper bags. But, too bad we didn’t do the “green thing” back then.

We walked up stairs because we didn’t have an escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks.

But she was right. We didn’t have the “green thing” in our day.

Back then we washed the baby’s diapers because we didn’t have the throw away kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy-gobbling machine burning up 220 volts. Wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing.

But that young lady is right; we didn’t have the “green thing” back in our day. 

Back then we had one TV, or radio, in the house — not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of the state of Montana. In the kitchen we blended and stirred by hand because we didn’t have electric machines to do everything for us. When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. Back then, we didn’t fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn’t need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.

But she’s right; we didn’t have the “green thing” back then.

We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blade in a r azor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull.

But we didn’t have the “green thing” back then.

Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service in the family’s $45,000 SUV or van, which cost what a whole house did before the”green thing.” We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn’t need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 23,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest burger joint.

But isn’t it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn’t have the “green thing” back then?

When it comes to health and fitness the cure and prevention for every single ailment is riding your bike.  If you want to save the planet stop fucking taking about it and ride your bike.  If you want to live a long healthy life ride your bike. If you are stressed out ride your bike, if you are poor, ride your bike.  If you are a natural born leader than lead by example and ride your bike.

The good life

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My young niece, a child the last time I saw her only a few months ago has bloomed into a woman, my brother at her side fishing for sculpin in the late afternoon sun. My mom sits next to me in the cockpit sipping on wine, her first visit to Sookie.  It’s been a long crazy day and we are all tired, fat full of my world famous man tacos, life is good in our quiet little Marina.


I look over at the young one, I wasn’t much older than her when I bought my first sailboat and a set sail.  It was the easiest thing I have ever done because it was what I wanted more than anything else in the world.  Now decades later having filled those dreams I look to distant horizons, a new and different way of sailing through life.  Looking out over the quiet bay at dawn, I realize it isn’t my dreams that have changed, it’s me that has changed.

I’m not that same person and my goals are now simpler and smaller although when I say smaller I say smaller from my current perspective, compared to a young Stormy they are like climbing Mt Everast but that’s what my simple life is, ever evolving to meet my current needs.  The islands  are magnificent at this time of year, the journeys slow and un choreographed, no rules, no goals other that to wake up every morning with a feeling of satisfaction in that I’m doing everything right, right now.  Today is one of those days, everyday is.  Life is what happens while we are making plans.

“You say, ‘If I had a little more, I should be very satisfied.’ You make a mistake. If you are not content with what you have, you would not be satisfied if it were doubled.”   ― Charles Haddon Spurgeon

The real one percent 

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I hear the giggles being chased by tanned bare feet.  The liveaboard life is a fine life for the little ones.  I can only imagine it’s like living in J. R. R  Tolkins Shire.  Catching huge crabs off the dock, running barefoot through the spring grass, local farms and the farmers market, these young minds are living a life city kids couldn’t imagine in thier  wildest dreams.  I guess us grown up kids are doing the same as well.


Cleaning the boat for guests I found a killer bottle of wine and decided it would be a feast of all of my very well ripened veggies.  In the city these would be thrown in the trash but on my tiny footprint I eat everything.  In my ganja induced food coma I cranked reggae music and swayed to the beat as I chopped diced and spiced my gourmet meal.


There are no rules onboard Sookie, no curfew and no expectations other than to rejoice in the simple life and to keep our tiny footprint as small as possible.  I’m not a vegan or a veggie head yet 98 percent of my diet would suggest that I am.  I’ve chosen to commune with the briny deep I share company with, rather than to exploit it for my own benefit, not that for one second I disparage others that do.  I just happen so see the creatures of the sea and earth as my brothers and sisters.  I will however break with tradition on random occasions of cannibalism but it is an extreme rarity.


Crunchy kale, island heirloom tomatoes, fingerling potatoes, local garlic and onions, all these fruits of the land are my bounty.  My quinoa salad is a masterpiece topped with fresh dried spicy pepper seeds, cilantro and if I’m really splurging fresh fetta cheese from a local farm.


I pile everything in the steamer, throw everything but the kitchen sponge in my pot and cook it for 10 minutes to conserve fuel. Another ten minutes off the heat and I have a fancy dinner with exactly enough leftovers to heat up for breakfast with a few farm fresh eggs and a bit of spicy juice.  Simple living for sure and not for everybody but the perpetual smile on my face and well worn crows feet tell me I’m in to something good.


When it comes to finding the perfect liveaboard the key is to find a boat just small enough that you want to step out into nature at every available opportunity.  To find a boat you can almost afford, because let’s face it, I’ve never once met a person who can afford thier boat be it 100 foot motor yacht or a 15′ Montgomery.  The labor of love and sacrifice that we lavsh just a bit beyond our means, like a starving artist who is so passionate about creating thier masterpieces year in and year out with satisfaction and a life well lived as thier only rewards. The labor that you put into your boat and life will eventually pay off.  My best advice having done this for almost all of my life is to make your first boat your last boat, go slow, make your home your lifestyle, your art and your artistry and take her everywhere you go.  Sookie isn’t just a movable home, she is a moveable feast.

“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.” 

― J.R.R. Tolkien

How to safely cross the Straits of Georgia

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Fly you fools! And that was the best advice I was willing to give.  Ask any two sailors the same question and you will get three answers.  Personally I feel that preparation trumps experience 99% of the time but for that one percent, if you have to ask, your not ready.  Unfortunatly the only way any of us can become ready is by being a bonehead and getting caught up in it.

I’ve been a constant on the water front my entire adult life, It seems that there is an unlimited number of trophies when it comes to the Darwin Award.  Let’s face it, you know exactly what you are capable of and what you are getting yourself into. You also do or should know the limits of your boat, engine,  sails and rigging, both standing and running.  I’ve seen it turn from 3 knots to 35 in the course of 5 seconds on a weather report that called for light and variable winds. But wind is just wind, it’s the seas that will get you.  In my lifetime of sailing only on a handful of occasions have I seen anything meaner than I’ve witnessed in the straights of Juan de Fuca otherwise known as Juan de Puke ya and Jaun de fuck ya.
I still haven’t given up my dream of doing an engineless clockwise circumnavigation of Vancouver Island which means I’ll be putting Sookie though some bumpy conditions.  Her rig is good, her turn buckles have been pulled inspected and greased.  All sails are in good order including my new 38sq foot storm jib and all my running rigging has been inspected and passed.  Im a fair weather sailor and will be taking my time and watching the weather but as I learned the hard way when  I took my first of only two mast in the water knock downs 10 miles off the backside of Catalina, the weather can change in the blink of an eye.  Minus loosing my official Captians log and everything else in the cockpit there  was no damage other than maybe some mental damage to my crew.  I’ve also put Sookies masthead in the water which wasnt planned but turned out to be the final step in her renaming/christening process.

The only known weakness on Sookie other than the abilities of her captian is that in anything over 40 knots of sustained wind into the wind she starts to loose the battle fast.  She can reach and run just fine in those conditions and has on serveral exillerating occasions.  So back to the original question I was asked, there is absolutely nothing in the world that can prepare you for your first really big storm but a well maintained boat and a very close knowledge of how to use it will get you through.   When you least expect it, expect it.  On the flip side, 90 percent of my sailing has been in 12 knots or less of wind and that’s my type of sailing.

“Uncertainty is a temptress. We may try our best to avoid her. But what is certain is that at some point of time, she will find us. The only question that remains is whether like Medusa, she will paralyze you, or whether like one of the nine muses of ancient Greece, she will drive you to greater things.”   ― Richie Singh

A temple to the sea

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When I go to the sea I take my masters with me on every journey.  Robin lee graham, Lea, the Davis brothers, Karl, Larry Pardey and dozens more.  They are all there and it’s because of them that I am there.  I literally learned to read with the Dove and it was only a few short years later that I tracked them down, both Robin and Patti in a little mountian town, I was eight years old.


My tiller, hand crafted by Mike Anderson, my cranse iron by Larry Pardey, a beer bag from gentle flower my shackle wrench from Frenchie  and the lanyard from Captian sterling, the list goes on.  Every time I sail I look at my bronze pad eyes that hold my ABI main sheet blocks.  One day a good friend showed up with them and his drill and said lets go sailing.  A year later he showed up with more tools a bottle of tequila and a yuloh that he made for me.  

The giving and receiving of nautical gifts goes far beyond generosity, it represents good karma for the boat and safety at sea as does every single hand that has touched my tiller and passed yet another sailing lesson into my black box.  What I love most about small boats other than the fact that they are simply more fun to sail is that you are forced to be creative in how you set up thier living space.  It doesn’t matter where I look, there is a very special gift hanging from a little bronze hook.  I’m always on the lookout for little treasures in old marine chandleries that can be saved for a later date, I have collected a little box and try and keep it full at all times.  I still have the very I first gift I ever recieved, an aqua marine crystal that my mom gave me when I was 18 and found my first sailboat.  That crystal sailed all the way to Mexico with me and has been on every boat I have ever owned, it is stuck with a bit of wax on my cabin mirror as I type these words.

Boats aren’t things that you own, they are a part of your history and you’re  future, they represent the most powerful forces in nature, the wind and sea.  If your are fortunate enough to be the current care taker of a fine sailing craft maybe this weekend would be a good time to do a little primping and perhaps give your girl a bit of boat jewelry, I know I have something special in store for Sookie this weekend.

 From the log of Sookie- in a fit of rage, on some damn island. I just finished laying the best coat of varnish in my life.  Twenty minutes later a sea plane took off covering it with a fine layer of salty water, proof that there is no such thing as a finish coat. So is life when you live on a watery runway.

The edge

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Its interesting going through life not actually knowing if your going to live through the day.  With all the wonders of modern science they still can’t figure out what’s wrong with my brain.  I feel my life slipping away but it doesn’t really matter cause there is nothing I can do about it.

Boat knife

There are good days and bad, this whole week has been bad but I still find a way to get out and live.  Anchored in thirty feet of water I heard a splash and with it went my unreplaceable sailing knife given to me by my grandfather.  Sure I could just go buy another one but it wouldn’t be the same.  Sometimes we don’t fully appreciate what we have till it’s gone.  Like my life my little pocket knife gets my praise and appreciation every day.  It’s over 8 years old now and like my lost sailing knife this little gem holds a very sentimental attachment.  I’ve used this knife to the full extent possible from cooking to scraping blisters and inspecting rotten bulkheads and carving pieces of this or that for Sookies interior..  Using it in the line of my sailing duties I have pushed it far beyond it limits year in and year out. The only sign of wear is that the top handle is faded from the sun  where it sticks out of my pocket.  I’ve also used it in one way or another for every single project in Sookies refit.

Captains varnish

 

So my vertigo is annoying to no end, it’s like being seasick 18 hours a day but I do my best to carry on.  If Sookie is my last project I want her to look like a million bucks before I go to that big ocean in the sky.  Each morning I wake up content that I haven’t wasted a single day of my life and haven’t and won’t change any aspect of how I live.  I wonder why more people don’t take this approach always waiting for some magical date or…

Perfect varnish

It’s sac religious for me to sand down my beautiful wood again and again but I always know that when I’m done with my last coat she will be well protected and easy on th eyes until the next time.  Like my mind, my knifes and all other tools are cared for in he same manor, always well oiled and sharped.  I’ve been doing quite a lot of life assessment these days, it seems like a waste of time to be entering yet another midlife crisis when I don’t even know if I’ll make it through the day but it’s still fun to do.  Taking inventory of my life I have very little that was purchased new and while I certainly don’t have the best of everything, I make the best of everything.

Boat jewelry

Walking through the boatyard after a trash run, I’m surrounded by old, neglected and unloved boats  I wonder how they had fallen so far from grace.  Once loved and cherished both Shiny and new, they are now alone and lonely sitting in the yard of broken dreams.   One of the first things I tell new sailing students is that your boat will only love you as much as you love her.  I could write a hundred books of ships at sea and the storms I have sailed though but I don’t need to waste my time, one look at Sookie is all you need to know how much she loves and cares for me.

From the log of Sookie-April San Juan islands.   Talking to a passerby on the dock she asks “aren’t you afraid when your out there all alone and storms and dark and no help and no security.”  Yes I replied I am often afraid.  “Then why do you do it?”  Because if you aren’t afraid of the life you are living than you are not really living, you just sitting in the waiting room of death all warm and secure waiting for this ride to be over having never even experienced it. 

I dream of dinghy

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“Wherever we want, we go. That’s what a ship is, you know. It’s not just a keel and a hull and sails; that’s what a ship needs. Not what a ship is. What Sookie really is, is freedom. Now bring me that horizon.” -Stormy Sparrow 


The letter starts, “you are living my dreams Stormy” I stop right there and out loud correct her, nightmares, I’m living your nightmares.  So close yet so far away is a hard shore to navigate in a fog but it’s timing in this world that makes and or breaks everything.  I’ve all but given up on finding a hard dinghy that will safely sit turtle on Sookies dog house.  My last resort options are to design and build a little dink or suck it up and buy a soft deflateable one.  My Avon was the most bad ass dingy on the planet and near indestructible but it was heavy and it’s like towing a suction cup.

In the blink of an eye my Marina will go from a few bucks a day to 50 bucks a day so daylight is burning on the dinghy front.  My life’s options have about quadrupled this week in every single avenue of my life except for what to do with the boat and where.  I’ve had to throw all my thoughts into the wind and now only time and destiny will tell me my new direction.

I operate best when I have my back to the wall so I’m pretty excited to see what will happens next but I can’t be worried with my impending future just yet.  Sunday is my deadline for a 180 flip and that means I have 7 glorious days to play Peter Pan, stay up too late and sleep in as long as I’d like.  My soul mate, Katie is coming for a visit soon so the debotchery will continue   My nickname Stormy is quite fitting for me, hers should be hurricane.   She is a salty sailor out of Bellingham we met many years ago over a bottle of whiskey and a ciggi, yes that’s what I said, a bottle.

So I will burry my head in the sand for another week and then spin the bottle of chance and see which direction it points.  I really do miss the days when my surfboard was my dinghy and lifeboat and yes, it also worked quite well as a surfboard. More often than not the best solutions are right under our nose, it’s just that we aren’t looking in the proper direction to see them.

“The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Do you understand?” Stormy Sparrow

Dark and Stormy

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The very unfamiliar plink of ice had my mouth watering. Rum, ginger beer and lime juice.  The cast iron skillet sizzled away, Brompty under her step and a pink Bike Friday tucked neatly into the quater berth.  I heard a few drops of rain and climbed out to re set the awning, seconds later the sky opened up.  Trapped by the storm in Sookies warm interior I had captive company and I praised Mother Nature for her deluge, a perfect end to a bright and sunny day.


The San Juan islands if nothing else were made for cycle touring.  Never ending country roads and every one of them leads you back to where you began.  In my easy way I passed dozens and dozens on cyclists in thier neon day glow spandex.  Brompty isn’t for exercise, she is for fun.  I slowed for small talk with each cultist as I passed, me in flip flops and cotton work shorts.  The out of breath cyclists all reacted a bit differently to this odd duck as Brompty carried me on a leisurely ramble around the island.  Not 500 yards from the boat at the end of the day I passed a Bike Friday rider, “your seats too low” I chirped as I coasted by.  “Can you help me with it” was all I needed to hear igniting a nuclear explosion of cycle geekery.  Back at the boat I whipped up tuna wraps with fresh garlic and stuffed my guest while I gave her bike an over haul.


I pulled out piles of expedition weight warmies, we crawled into the for peak, with my iPad as gentle music swayed with the Rock and roll of the boat.  I shared pictures of Hawaii, Oregon and the islands as we talked of bicycle touring, employment, politics and what ever else popped into our heads.  The rain beat down on our decks like a thousand Indians beating thier drums.  We passed out like a pile of puppies, tired from a long day and one to many Dark and Stormy cocktails.  


I woke deep in the night to fingers running through my hair and a warm body spooned next to mine.  400 am breakfast and a dark ride back to the campground was as surreal as the dawn and has me rethinking my solo endeavors.  Life is to be shared…

“It is an absolute human certainty that no one can know his own beauty or perceive a sense of his own worth until it has been reflected back to him in the mirror of another loving, caring human being.” 

― John Joseph Powell

Pocket cruiser

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With a pop and whoosh my little hobb fires to life.  A hand full of fresh chopped garlic is thrown into the cast iron skillet and both the sizzle and the aroma please the senses.  I’m cooking a feast by the light of my lantern.  The sweet melodies of Bebe Gilberto echo through the cabin to the rhythmic chopping of cold Steel and hard wood, bits of veggies tumble to the floor, two eggs roll back and forth with the surge. I take a sip of my extra spicy Virgin Marry and smile, this is yachting.

Sailing blog
I was recently sent a picture of me sailing through the Desolation Sound, I was surprised by how small Sookie looked and how large I looked in the cockpit.  Sookie has never once felt too small for me yet somehow I am always eyeballing larger boats. Sure would be nice to have a Diesel engine, or space for a hard dinghy.  My mind wanders through all the what ifs yet somehow as nice as they are to think about I can never push the button.

Pocket cruiser

I have a full price offer on Sookie which is causing me great pain.  She is having issues qualifying for the dollar amount which secretly brings me great joy as the offer I’ve written on a turn key boat on the east coast that is 100% ready and waiting for me to take her to Bermuda isn’t my true love.   My offer hasn’t been accepted yet, maybe I’ll get lucky and they will say no.

San Juan islands

Cozy is the best way to describe Sookie, she fits me like a glove, sails like a dream and is the most beautiful boat I’ve ever laid eyes on.  Having my faithful pup at my side, I was never in a hurry to do anything other than to give her my undivided attention.  Now that she has gone to that big field in the sky I have an indescribable urge to sail far and free.  Not having the budget to finish this fine craft I more often feel trapped like a rat.  Is it just a boat I seek or is it a lifestyle?

Anchoring

The new boat is big and powerful and beamy with double roller furling headsails, a huge Diesel engine, a powerful windvane and even a water maker and dodger.  It was professionally outfitted by a couple that dove into the dream before they tried on the lifestyle.  Well over a hundred K into the boat, they want it gone, my offer is slightly half of thier investment and we are close.

Salty dog

Dining and chatting over the new boat I can’t help but wonder if it’s the biggest mistake I will ever make.  Will I lose that cozy factor?  I’ve owned some pretty large sailboats and even my Cal 40 wasn’t as fun to sail as Sookie, it was also way more boat than I needed.  If this all falls together I’ll be in Massachusetts in two weeks for sea trials and a lazy summer of learning the ropes of my new boat.  If it falls apart, well… Who knows.

“A big group of daily friends or a white painted house with bills and mirrors, are not a necessity to me—but an intelligent conversation while sharing another coffee, is.”
― Charlotte Eriksson

Down wind

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The only thing more annoying than sailing in a gale is sailing out of a gale and into a dead calm.  The life of a budget liveaboard voyager is one of never ending chasing.  Chasing the wind so we don’t have to use the motor, chasing fresh water cause we never carry enough, chasing work because we never stop moving for Long and chasing a better use of space because no matter how large a small boat is its always too small until spring outfit in which case no matter how small its always too big.

  
It isn’t all waterfalls, rainbows and perfect sunsets although I do get my fair share.  The task at hand on top of everything else in the world it to rig some lame sort of steering system and a way to safely navigate.  It’s always a dance to keep enough sandpaper and brushes without overdoing the budget or missing the good weather in the small doses we get it due to not having enough supplies.

The rudder is done but it’s only the beginning, rain is coming tonight so I’ve taken the day to hunt down exactly what I will need to finish Sookies rear end during the next short weather window.  At this time it’s hurry up and wait but I’d rather be onboard waiting that somewhere else hurrying up.

The Brompton  has come into her own delivering me in style form place to place as I buy the last little bits of this and that. I was able to skimp just enough to have a box of wine and a shower in the budget.  I’m still in my refit stage so as the green rolls in I grab a head of cabbage, a pile of eggs and a bag of potatoes and everything else goes into boat gold as I call it because anything made for a boar seems to be priced in gold.  Somehow I always pull off the right amount of refit with some outfit and exactly enough food and fuel to keep the fire stoked.  It’s a good life but not for most.

For the most part DINKS “double income no kids” have the best success in this life.  It’s really a godsend to have that extra set of hands and income but some of us pirates just aren’t willing to walk that plank.  I would say it’s a lot of hard work but I almost enjoy the process while I’m doing it and knowing my boat is unstoppable is a good feeling when your hundreds of miles from your home port.  It feels good to finally be back in the throws of it with bits of paint in my hair, tools scattered around the boat, a huge pile of something eatable in my big pot and just enough hooch to sit back at the end of a long day to admire the fruits of my labor.  It’s tape pulling day and arguably the best damn day of my life.

“There is an art to flying”, said Ford, “or rather a knack. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.” 

― Douglas Adams

My Patreon site is up and completely changed, if you enjoy the ramblings of a lunatic please feel free to dump a buck in the rum fund.

Made for escaping 

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Have you heard the news today…murder, rape, crime, hate, slimy polititions, and that’s all in Seattle less than a hundred miles as the crow flies from this utopian world I live in. Has the whole world gone mad? It’s cool this morning but I have the heater cranked, my big fluffy socks keep my toes wiggling and warm.  A super fuzzy jacket and my purple sailing kilt have my sleepy morning a blissful one.


My alltime favorite book and superhero is Forrest Gump.  It’s amazing how much you can accomplish in life if you can simply avoid the traps and anchors that hold us fast.  Freedom is a word I take very seriously and I’m not looking to some skeezy lying politition to provide it for for me.


An early morning ride on Brompty shakes the mad polluted world on the airwaves and reminds me it’s just a myth, living in the sewer is a choice, I’ve chosen a different path with different obstacles.  Fresh air, no traffic and an island that has what we call the Lopez solute, every person waves as they pass you by.


I’ve traded the persuit of little pieces of green paper for the persuit of green rolling hills with young sheep and goats lazily playing in the pastures.  My religion is love for my neighbors, no judgement and an extended arm, meal, or just some happy teasing for anyone who needs or wants it.  My prayer is appreciation for the weather and the many moods she brings me.


Actions speak louder than words and the way you live your life speak volumes over the tiny words that come out.  Natural power and off grid living is the surest way to save this planet and our souls.  Want to end war and child slavery, sell you car and stop shopping at Wallmart.  I don’t worry about my neighbors as I have my own battle to fight, typing on my second hand iPad I’m the problem, my second hand Nikon also shows that while I think I care I really don’t or I’d  refuse to purchase the byproduct of my tools of the trade.  It’s journey and while I get better each year I’ll never get there, just closer and closer.


I’m avoiding my boat chores by writing, it’s my job but one I love in ways I’m not capable of describing.  My fingers peck a little screen with a muted clicking noise and my story appears on a flat white screen, how far I have fallen from my lead pencile and a scrap of paper.  My log book is where I pour the secret inner working of my mind and my mental warm up to a more modern form of story telling.


Today is a day for giving and sharing.  Like every day, today started and will end on my little Brompton.  Sookie is my refuge, my little turtle shell and I’m in hiding, it’s a full moon which makes me batshit crazy.  Tonight when my island is asleep I’ll sneak out of my hole ride Sookie to the end of the road and run wild and naked though the woods howling to the moon with all the other creatures of the night.

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From the log of Sookie June 2011. I loved her like a hurricane, I loved her because she was dangerous, and so am I.  The collision of two fronts created the perfect storm.

Cup of noodles

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Your body can do it if your mind can.  I had to remind myself of this multiple times in persuit of riding my Little Brompton from sea level to the top of Maui’s highest peak Mt Haleakala.  I didn’t make to the summit that day, not because I gave up but because I made so many side tracks on the way to the top that I was losing my light and was wearing clothing fit for the beach, not the freezing rain I was experiencing at 8,000′.

Man cooking

Some things are better left for another day, living to your fullest potential isn’t one of those things.  When I finished WordPress it was a bit of a shock, I didn’t know what to do, for me it was almost like finishing the Internet, is that possible. Anyone that knows me knows that I move at a slow but steady pace, like the tortoise and the hair, eventually I’ll get there.  The problem is, if you wait to long to dive into what ever it is that you seek eventually you will be my age, then my fathers age, then my grandfathers age, then you will just stink like aged Swiss cheese with as many holes.

Starting the process is the hardest part, once this done nothing else matters because it’s all about the journey and yours has begun.  Sitting in the afternoon sun chatting with my neighbor and good friend Laura was the best use of my day, her new journey has already began and I have a feeling they will all sail to the moon and back by the time they are done.

Back on my side of the world I found a case of cup of noodles buried in my aft locker and it was a huge score, no cooking today just add hot water and… For me this is an adventure in eating, I would never have thought to purchase a cup of noodles let alone a whole case, I’m a Top Rahmen guy, or at least I was till I discovered this fine new treat.  Adventures come in all shapes and sizes depending on where you are in your life.  I have a friend who for the life of him can’t figure out why I’m not doing what he is doing, actually I did, when I was his age.  Now that I’ve literally done everything I’ve ever set out to do in this life my ideal adventure is just living free as I choose.  I know there is a Payday candybar somewhere this boat and even though I don’t really eat sugar I’m going to find it and…

Going through my logbook looking for some notes on journeys passed  I’m still a bit surprised I left last season with a jacked engine.  While I doubt I would ever do it again, nor would anybody in thier right mind, at the time it just seemed normal, it way my journey at the time.  If you want what may be the biggest adventure you will ever make, you don’t have to sail around the world, just throw your wallet and engine overboard, it’s a game changer in ways you can’t possibly comprehend having never done it.  Now that I have a brand new engine my new journey will be to learn how best to not use it.  I’m going so far off grid I’m gonna make cavemen look like city folk

From the log of Sookie, GALE WARNING! I can’t believe how fucking scary this is; theres like, whales and storms and fog and shit! Oh, and this useless God Damn metal hunk of shit hanging off my boat.  Today I learned the difference between sailing and having a motor on your sailboat.  When you have a motor you are just a passanger.  When you are engineless you are a sailor, a scared shitless sailor and I love being scared shitless.  I watch all the sailboats passing us under power.  They are all coming from the same place and going the same direction but our journey is far different than they could ever know.  Today I discovered the meaning of life as well and the recepie for the fountain of youth all rolled up in one world, challenge.

All roads lead to home

Flopped out naked in my V-berth the giant hatch let’s the days sun tan my fidly bits in complete privacy, even at the dock. Vitamin D is in mass deficit at this time of year and this little heat wave has me over dosing in this glorious April spectacle like a turtle sunning itself on a log.

Sailing naked
Spring has officially arrived in the island, the heater is off and I find myself trying to kill the lazy notions of my winter body and again find the strength and warmth that feeds my tired body. Oatmeal and a tiny orangy piece of fruit and my second coat of paint has found its way to my rudder cheecks, the question today is will there be a third or is time to work on a bit of varnish.

Gallons of water flood my body, this is snack season so there will be no meals for a while, just lots of exercise, way too many naps curled up in the sun if that’s possible and snacks galore. My body is slowly waking from the long winter hibernation and protests my new activity wanting to hold on to all my excess fat just in case.

The beautiful golden light flooding through all my hatches makes me wish for endless summer but at 48 degrees north that is little more than a pipe dream. Still undecided on my summer schemes, I while the days away playing with baby goats and bunnies, Bs-ing with boaters and generally acting the part of the retired. I’m especially appreciative of my dock and power cord because in a few short days they will be gone. I don’t want to leave, I’m feeling a dock bunny season with lots of land based adventures and sailing on the weekends.

I’ve officially opted out of the dating pool finding far too many of the swimmers congregating in the shallow end and it’s such a relief. This whole dating thing is exhausting single, solo and free, just me and Brompty on the open road, although when you live on an island all roads lead to home.

” I had dreams of becoming a beautiful poet, but upon an unfortunate series of events some of those dreams dashed and divided like a million stars in the night sky that I wished on over and over again, sparkling and broken.
But I didn’t really mind, because I knew that it takes getting everything you ever wanted, and then losing it to know what true freedom is.”
― Lana Del Rey

Do do do…

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Move along kids, nothing to see here.   From this point on I’m not counting the hours, days, weeks or months.  I’m counting the seconds because in a mere matter of them summer will be over.  On a brighter note it’s topping 80 degrees here today and I’m actually hiding from the sun in the cool of the cabin having just laid a coat of paint on my rudder cheecks.  I’m a miserable painter but it will do the job of protecting my wood.

  
   
These are all projects that should have been done in the boatyard had I had the time and supplies, which I didn’t. My options are stacking and I have a serious case of wishy washy I don know what to to.  I’ve applied to a boatyard to hang Sookie for a hundred days to finally after 5 years dry her perfectly smooth bottom out, scrape 30 years of bottom paint and lay her new barrier coat, this is the most logical and least amount of fun.

I could sail her to Bellingham and have it blasted off in a few hours for a grand.  That money, if I had it which I don’t would go a long way towards finishing her bottom including new bronze pintles and gudgeons, new teak rudder cheeks, all new sea cocks, a new bow strap and yes barrier coat and paint.  The reason I’ve never done this as of yet is its a filthy, expensive, miserable job.  I’ve estimated about 6k which means it will cost 10k. 

When dealing with having your boat, in the yard for projects like this I have a very acurate formula. Figure out exactly how much time and money it will take, then double that figure both time and money, now add 50%.  They call it yachting for a reason. 

Another fun option is just to say screw ever taking the boat south in which case none of these projects need doing and continue to happily sail my local waters which are abosolutly un-discoverable in the scope of ones lifetime.  With my new heater I will be able to sail near year round. I will never understand people who keep thier boats in the NE, to me it seems like a sailboat prison. 

Last but not least I can just play the days away and figure out how to ship Sookie to a more hospitable climate once the long lazy days of summer come crashing to and end.  Yes all first world problems, but I live in the first world so to me each and every one of these options holds many pros and Unfortunatly many cons.

I should be doing something productive but I think a long bike ride is in order.  All work and no play…

“You can have it all. Just not all at once.” 

― Oprah Winfrey

Live and direct this is a mic check

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I woke to a bright and sunny windless day, it’s gonna be a scorcher and a perfect day for a little dock sailing and life assessment. Let’s see, hangover, check.  Good hot coffee, check.  Art of Hookie up and running double check.  Thanks to the always wonderful and generous Just Julie AOH will be live and running on a bottomless pit in a few days, that’s right we just grew up and now AOH is a real website.

  
Laying in bed after the multi day shinanigans  I realized I don’t have a single friend in this entire world.  I don’t  call people, or go out to bars, or meet in the park for potlucks.  What I do have is an ever growing tribe connected by the sea, we don’t call eachother or really even write unless we are sending out notice of tribal journey with invitations to all.  Insert Miss Julie, I can only describe her as special cargo, I met her one milasecond before Sea Trout and have loved her ever since.  Always the generous one, she feeds me, pours mean cocktails and even opened up her temporary landlocked home to me and Chloe when we were in crisis getting to the vet.  

The list of precious cargo grows every day, starting with our very own clementine princess Julie, Laura, April, Chelsea, Nina, Nikki… The admission to the tribe is free and the membership is lifetime.  All night and day apart from one another I doubt a single one of us agree on anything be it boat size, shape, or design or … It’s our mutual love for the sea and the freedom we all have fought so hard to live our individual lifestyles the way we choose without being under the constant thumb of mediocrity.

All ships have sailed today and it’s already too quiet and a bit lonely but when Solace  snuck out early this morning her crew left me with the greatest gift in the world.  I now own Art of Hookie and can continue to spew by nonsensical, liveaboard and occasional sailing nonsense to no end.  If you need a kick ass  Wordpress Pro she selectively takes on new clients between her constant sea adventures.  

From the log of Sookie, who needs friends when you have a tribe, a water tribe… Lopez island 2016

On the water off the grid 

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Coming into a unknown guest dock to charge my batteries was sheer anarchy. The current was ripping, a brisk breeze had the chop in a tantrum and there were boats everywhere going this way and that.  I was in the middle of the runway and had no reverse, in fact I had to shut the engine off every time I put it into neutral or it would wind up till it blew. We had 28′ of side tie dock space for my little 22′ cutter but she is 31 LOA.

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It doesn’t matter how far you have sailed or how long you have been out, the second you tie up you are no longer using your  sailors brain.  Tied to the dock we become liveaboards, even if it’s only one day.  Our lines secured, electricity pumping, an endless supply of water.  Conservation is soon thrown out the window, who cares how much trash we make, we can dump it all right here.  Long hot showers, a meal out, the money flows like the free water we are prepetually filling our tanks with.  A trip to the marine chandlery, i.e. Land pirates and we start to realize how expensive society is, but it’s not just the money, it’s the way we mentally change.

Sitting dockside chatting with sailors about dock fear is interesting.  One of them fresh off. 30,000 mile journey, another finding refuge from an extremely rough passage and another getting ready for a potential circumnavigation. When your out there you become hardened fast, you can’t always hide from the weather, you just deal with it.  Sitting snug as bug in a rug in the marina we start to lose confidence in our boats regardless of where they have safely taken us.  Is my rudder strong, do I need to replace my rigging, what about my motor.  When and where will I be able to top off my cruising funds again.  If you don’t have this anxiety you don’t know all the facts.  Setting off voyaging is like preparing to sail to the moon, it’s just you out there.  I see them every day, potential blue water sailors making thier boats rescueable rather than safe.  Can’t afford new rigging but i just got a new AIS and single sideband. Sure my ground tackle needs improvement but I need a new life raft and solar for the boat. Sails would be nice but I’m too busy putting in a new stereo system.  These are the same sailors that come bareling into the Marina full bore not realizing they need fenders and dock lines till they are fifty feet out.

For all the wonderful solo passages I’ve had sailing solo just plain sucks.  Life is to be shared, good and bad.  Having someone to help with sails, navigation, pulling anchor or just keep,you company on those long nights good or bad weather.  When I’m alone in a blow it’s the loneliest place on the entire planet, when I have crew to keep safe it gives me a prime directive, I don’t have time to be afraid, instead I’m in awe inspecting the fruits of my countless hours of labor making my craft a safe and stout ship.  The ones who say just go aren’t fools, they are just the ones who haven’t and won’t ever just go, they have no idea what it takes to outfit even the most basic boat.

I was recently reading a clip of a story of a guy who just went, I won’t recount it here because it’s none of my business but he lost his boat and everything with it, too many Chiefs in his life and not enough Indians.  As the captian of your vessel it’s you and your crew that will decide when your ready, be-it for your first time crossing to Catalina or setting off to the sail the world.  Sitting in my quarter berth going over charts of the Carribean, I know I’m ready as is my boat but all, the small things are still holding me captive.  My prime directive is finding a wind vane but it’s no more or less important than all the small things like new anchor line, or a nav system I can read with my blind eyes. The clock is ticking and if I miss my window it means a yet another cold winter waiting in vain.

90 percent of seamanship happens 20 feet from the dock. -Jay Fitzgerald

Dear shit bucket 

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Dear shit bucket; how I love thee, let me count the ways.  Of all the items I carry aboard Sookie, my shit bucket is by far the most used and loved item aboard this minimalist little blue water sailing ship.

     
Like our own squishy backsides all buckets are not created equally.  I prefer the one gallon plastic bucket. It fits me perfectly and I’ve yet to have a single complaint from the dozens of guests who have shared my throne over the years.  At first the thought might seem a bit odd but I can assure you that there is nothing in this planet more disgusting than storing 30 gallons of shit under your bed.  

Bucket and chuck it is clean, sanitary and best of all keeps the inside of the boat smelling sweet and fresh.  I still have yet to sail on a boat with a well used composting toilet that doesn’t smell like you are sailing through a shit farm. The active vent pulls the stench 24 / 7 / 365 right into the cockpit.  Most boaters get used to the poopy smell in their boat but I have yet to be on any boat on a hot summers day where you can’t smell the stench.   

Haiku

Shit bucket my friend

You fit me like a glove, love

Soul bucket chuck it.

There is a simple solution for everything in this world but that’s the problem with society.  Everyone is always trying to make everything so complex to completly remove themselves from the act of actually living.  Ive been living this battle as my search for a larger boat continues.  I’ve crossed the Crealock 34 off my list and am now focusing on the Crealock 31.  I’ve been cleared by My local Marina that it will fit into a 30′ slip.  When I find mine the very first thing I will do is remove the head and holding tank.

What have I to prove, and to whom, and why? I’m keen enough to want nothing more than to live a simple, humble, unfettered life.” 

― Donna Lynn Hope

Those Alaskan girls

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Standing in line at the ferry I started chatting about folding bikes with a young girl, before we even boarded I knew that she was one of my tribe.  We found a comfy seat on the ferry and like two old friends started blabbing about, bikes, sailboats, the inside passage and then it came out, you need to go to Alaska, those Alaskan girls.

  
I laughed and told her about April, Alaskan  born and raised  When she needed a new bowsprite on her Flicka she didn’t ask a man to help her, she just built it and it’s better than anything the factory put out.  Her caravan isn’t quite finished but it’s flawless And will make a good home while she finishes her medical degree.  I just got a letter from her, she is in Baja doing her thing, I should be there but I’ve been playing too long and it’s caught up with me.

Back on the the ferry I met another  young girl, a sailor just back from delivering a boat in Baja, her smile was infectious, her eyes bright and twinkling, she has found her zen in this world.  A mother and a grandmother,  when she saw a picture of Sookie it was immediately on, we’re going to sail together and yet another hand will bless Sookies tiller.  Alaska might have to wait another year but there are pleanty of adventures right here in my own backyard and my tribe is growing at a rapid pace. 

In Friday Harbor I found a quart of varnish, Captians by Pettit is pretty much the only varnish I’ve ever used and I love it.  Wherever I go Sookie is my calling card and she has introduced  me to many a fine sailor with her deep Amber teak, dark oiled bulworks and bare, salt scrubbed eyebrow and hand rails, she carries just the right amount of stainless steel and bronze and soon will be sporting new titanium chainplates.  

I have an open door policy with April, like a butterfly she flitters in and out as she pleases. I’m hoping she will spread her wings again soon and land in my cockpit as I need help with some interior wood work and she has a mean set of tools, and the skills you will only find in those Alaskan girls.

“I enjoy working for my heat. I don’t just press a button or twist a thermostat dial. I use the big crosscut saw and the axe, and while I’m getting my heat supply I’m working up an appetite that makes simple food just as appealing as anything a French chef could create.” 

― Richard Proenneke, One Man’s Wilderness

Sailing budgets

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Tied to the floating guest dock we felt like we had the entire world to our selfs, my crew danced and twirled in the warm glow of the evening sun, I took pictures of her, the boat and my entire world.  There were no plans, no destination in mind, just two wanderers for the wind slowly adding little X marks to all the places on our charts that looked worthy of exploring.

  
Talking about sailing budgets is fun but in reality there is no such thing.  Budgets are like diets, they work till they don’t which is more often than not.  Right now I’m living more extravagantly than I have all year, my average expenses are about 11 bucks a day.  The only bills I have are insurance, $50.00 a month which I just paid for 6 months so I’m broke again and $150.00 a month for slip rent.  I spend about 25 bucks a week for food and maybe 20 every other week or less on cheap boxed wine. 

Last summer cruising on $100 a week we felt rich and the only time we went without fresh food  was when my galley slave was too cheap and rightly so to pay $7.00 for a head for cabbage.  We didn’t go to bars or eat out with the exception of the times when very generous and wonderful people would throw a donation our way for a hot burger and fries and an icy cold beer which was pure heaven.  Sounds dirt cheap but I’m not telling the whole story, we spent at least a grand stuffing the whole boat before we left for our 75 day journey.  Deep in my heart I was secretly going to take the boat all the way to Alaska so every single inch of the boat was stuffed with snacks, beans, onions, potatoes, tortillas which last for months without refrigeration and a ton of cheese which we accidentally illegally smuggled into Canada. 

We had no cell phones or internet which is why we didn’t blog much about the trip but I’ve got a dozen articles covering the whole trip it I ever decide to publish them. We left with 4 gallons of fuel but got so freaked out by all the motor boaters on sailboats telling us we couldn’t  sail that we bought two cans and added 5 more gallons of fuel. I gave it all away when we returned as we used exactly 4 gallons for the entire trip.

We had a solar shower that was a dream come true for nakey showers in the cockpit and used our candles to save battery power.  We set sail with 24 gallons of water and carried 34 on the longer stretches but never used more that 13 between water sources.  Nothing broke so we didn’t spend any money on the boat although the boneheaded captian forgot to add a preventer so we had to jury rig one whenever the wind was more than 25 knots from astern.  

We met rich people on small boats and poor people on large boats and everything I between including a rad young couple we know from the  islands on thier awesome Flicka headed to Alaska.  

My plan for this year was a 90 day passage up and eventually around Vancouver island but lack of crew has it looking like my summer will be spent in the islands working and saving to ship Sookie to the east coast for a winter in warm blue water.  Flexibility is the name of the game, our lives were dictated by the wind and tide and nothing else. 

It’s all about lifestyle, we wanted an adventure and were willing to put up with the cold wet spring to beat the masses, we would have loved to have had more money for treats in town but honestly didn’t spend much time in any towns.  Our half sunk dinghy worked fine and I loved rowing even when it was half a mile. My tan calloused hands, strong back and ripped stomach was a great benefit of the dinky and my lack of a windlass. Pulling 55lbs in a hundred feet of water damn near gave me a coronary but it’s all part of the game.  

Because we were so minimal on everything going to shore near civilization was always an adventure, a few gallons of water, dump the trash, a few ounces of fuel. We always kept the boat topped off not knowing when or where we might find an opportunity to restock.  Our cruising average of about 500 miles was 3.3 knots but that’s because we usually refused to use the engine even when we could get it to run. Most of our passages were fast and comfy. The wet rough ones were exillerating and a great chance to learn the finer aspects of trimming and shaping our sails in those conditions. There was only one occasion where I wished that I could have reduced sail further when running with just our staysail we were becoming a bit over powered.  I’m rethinking my new storm jib and think a reef or two in the staysail is a better and simpler  option.  The new geniker will also take us further and faster again both purchased second hand and in great condition.  

The only  item I really missed was a steering unit, having just lost out on my wind vane it’s back to the drawing board. Please don’t suggest sheet to tiller unless you have personally and successfully used it for more than 5000 miles :). 

I look at other cruising budgets against my own  but it’s hard to compare as I spend most of my time in marinas while I’m building the boat but I’m pretty sure that I could voyage full time on 12k a year not only living like a king but also being able to save enough money over the years to replace worn items and  add a few small thoughtful upgrades should we decide to.  The whole point of the Patreon account I opened was so that hopefully some day soon a can reach that dollar amount without having to sell my soul the the sailing rags and continue to write this blog which is a full time job in itself. I’ve taken a heap of shit for this move but after 11 years of giving it away for free I think I’ve earned the opportunity for a bit of love from people who have enjoyed the journey.  

“We didn’t actually overspend our budget. The allocation simply fell short of our expenditure.” 

― Keith Davis

Yachting on $15.00 per day

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Take a look at my small boat and meager budget and yachting might not be the first word that comes to mind but I can assure it is no less than extravagant.  Small boats are cozy, cooking from scratch, a skill I’m still learning is romantic and having the freedom to roam is what makes this gypsy lifestyle so appealing to me.   

Sookie is all cleaned up and ready for her next adventure that will start at the stroke of noon, nothing crazy just good music, lots of home made snacks and what ever debotchery we can get ourself so into.  The charm of small boat life is a simple one but not for everybody.  I like to keep the boat clean and tidy but after a long wet and wild passage her interior usually looks like a bomb went off inside.  Wet foulies strewn across the floor, harnesses and warmies hanging from every hook on the boat, hot soup steaming on the hobb.  It’s all very cozy and reassuring that our safe little home, while smaller than the rest got us there in complete comfort and just as fast as virtually any other boat in the harbor, sans the ones which motored there.

We almost always get the best spot in the anchorage due  to our small size and since there is nothing fancy in the boat, nothing ever fails us.  The most complex system on Sookie is her galley sink and it’s about as sophisticated as a garden hose.  Showers are as simple as a refreshing dive overboard and a quick rinse from my wonderful sun shower naked in the cockpit. The plastic bucket has never once failed me and I don’t know what it is that gives me such great joy when I’m plotting on my paper charts and folding them to fit the days voyage.  They represent ancient adventures driven purely by the wind, they feel good in my hands, they smell like a pirates ship and hold all the mysteries that lay ahead. Sookie has two chart tables that will hold a full chart folded in half.  I have a secret stash of chocolate in each starion rewarding the navigator for going below and checking our course. 

Warm and fuzzy blankets keep each berth cozy as do the lee cloths for nap time and the soft glow of her brass lantern tells us were living far differently than we used to.  Small is beautiful, affordable and within the reach of any  person who works at least 20 hours a week on minimum wage.  There are those who will always think I’m crazy for living the way I do and honestly, I think they are just as crazy for living the way they do.  I’m not destitute by any means, I’m living this way by choice.  I can tell time and navigate by the stars, if I’m feeling a bit cramped I have the whole world one step away and time to fully immerse myself in all the wonders these tiny islands have to offer.  I have much more that I wish I could share about this simple life but right now I need to run up for a quick dip in the spa and a shower before the shenanigans begin. 

I may not possess the burden of wealth but I have all the riches my youth can afford, from the log of Sookie, Oracas  Island April 2016

Three little birds

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Rise up this morning, smiled with the rising sun.  Three little birds, pirched on my companion way step.  Singing sweet songs, of melodies pure and true.  Singing, this is my message to you-u-u. Trying to explain my life to a stranger is like trying to sail dead into the wind, it’s impossible. 

  
It’s easily been ten years now since I walked out the door of my rediculesly  over paid cubicle and took my first full breath of freedom.  It may sound easy but it’s not and it comes with many challenges that keep constantly walking tip toe on that tight rope of life. The past month has been one of the most challanging.  The bank dried up, much seasonal work to be done on Sookie and my constant dizziness had the better part of the month slip away to no productive end.

An all day island tour to sell a few bits of flotsam and jetsam and I made a cool 25 bucks that slipped through my fingers like water.  Getting off the ferry at near dark there were only five cars and s six mile walk if I didn’t get picked up.  With each passing car I mentally prepared for the long journey afoot.  The second to the last car pulled over and Bangarang!

Now I have this  theory that there is no point in living if you aren’t an awesome human being.  I will give you my last taco, the shoes off my feet and every penny I possess if you are in true need and a good person.  This directly extends to hitchhiking. If somebody is awesome enough to pull over and pick up a complete stranger, use thier  gas and engine hours to chauffeur you home,  you damn well keep them entertained for the ride.  Within seconds of being picked up we were all laughing our asses off, these guys were super kewl. 10 seconds into the ride an ice cold Amber ale was placed in my hand and it was the best ride ever.  I was shocked and very greatful when being dropped off the driver insisted on giving me a twenty dollar bill to buy me a nice dinner and a beer.  It might as well have been a million dollars and I have to say it was the best damn burger I have ever had in my life.

This one gesture of kindness set my whole world in motion. The very next day two very good friends who I have not seen in far too long came rolling in in thier Lyle Hess Falmouth Cutter 26, surely the greatest boat ever designed, next to Sookie of corse.   They came bearing gifts and I had a few for them as well.  A beautiful bottle of wine named Chloe and a loaner uke has the walls of Sookie singing and dancing, two of my favorite things in the world.  

My whole point in all this is that if you truly love your life and your existence your sure find a few valleys between the peaks but the universe will always give you what you deserve. I don’t know what day today is but another miricle has happened and I have a fistful of C notes and exactly enough money to pay my insurance and yes, joy of joys, another month of slip rent with a wee bit left of for a fresh cabbage.

Follow your dreams and my silly pied piper writing and I promise you this.  I will continue to serenade you from the very humble life that I live as a budget cruiser.  I will sing to you as often as I can, singing, Don’t worry, about a thing.  Cause every little thing, gonna be alright.  Rise up this morning, smiled to the rising sun…

“Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent” 

― Victor Hugo

On seamanship part two

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We had a really good night sleep but come dawn we were both wrecked from 12 hours in the relentless sun.  Straight out of the gate we had a single reef in our main and our Yankee and were screaming along. At this pace we were going to have to heave to for serveral hours waiting for the tide before we could sail into Fish bay and surprise all of our friends.  I recalculated our speed butit was pointless because we wouldn’t make to fish bay anytime soon.


I take full responsibility  for what came next, being back in our home waters my brain was shot off, I know every inch of this area like the back of my hand, every lift and every eddy.  Silently we slipped across an imaginary line the forms a watery boundary between the USA and Canada and as we did the wind went with the ghost leaving us in a lumpy sea.  It was too rough to use our crippled motor and we were sitting ducks in the ships channel of Harro strait.  Eventually we got the boat moving on what was soon to become the glassiest windless day I have ever encountered.  Once the motor goes on I lose all interest in deck side activity, it’s no longer about the journey, it’s about the destination. I showed my crew the corse to the south end of Waldron  island and explained the river of current that would meet us there and whisk us to the customs office in Friday Harbor

Before we set out serveral months earier I had written a post about engineless sailing and my miserable outboard. There was quite a bit of back and forth and high opinions from readers.  By their language I knew for a fact not one of the commenters had ever sailed engineless, I have and it’s more challanging then I have the ability to describe. A fistful of hundreds later we took our little outboard back from the marine mechanic and strapped her to the back of the boat.  Within one hour of use she started to to south and so the almost engineless journey began and true to form we would do what not a single one of the commenters could, would, or did.  We did happen to meet many engineless sailors on our journey. All of them far better sailors than I.

From the shady cabin our conversation was getting a bit serious, I wanted to fix the engine and my crew didn’t.  I will stop right here and say if your crew doesn’t love your life or the care and feeding of the ship you sail together as much as they love their own life, kick them the fuck off I’m immediately  because they surely will take every opportunity they can to sink your home and your life.  Again as the captian of my vessel I take full responsibility.

Id had it with our conversation and I looked out the companionway and said.  You know, you have learned everything about sailing and nothing about seamanship.  As the words slipped out I saw land less that 30 yards from our starboard side.  It was supposed to be on our port side.  I launched into the cockpit grabbing the tiller and Im sure a long smooth set of finely chosen dialog followed.  White water was rushing 10 feet over Spiden point, we were caught in the rapids and being pulled fast into what could possibly become our final resting place.

I steered the boat away trying to find the sweet spot on the little outboard without spinning the prop.  It was useless I steered a full 180degrees trying to find any direction that would free us of the current.  The boat, was pointing east the current was running north, south and west.  I looked down the west shore of San Juan and an huge 40′ powerboat was getting pummeled, befor he pulled out and turned tail. I looked north and got so scared I immdialy looked east toward salvation.

It was hard to figure out but we were pointing east and moving south and west.  My mind went into hyper sailors over dive and in the span of exactly one half second I had a 5 minute conversation with my brain.  I’ve been though many Rapids, but nothing like this.  I remembered my friend reminding me that water doesn’t like rocks and  will flow around them, not over them.  I looked at the volume of water flowing over the point and tried to work east while the stern was pushing south.

I looked  over at my crew, grab the video camera were going through.  Within seconds we were doing 10.2 knots with full steerage and a dozen huge yachts slamming towards  us on a collision course.  The Rapids were bad enough but the huge wakes threw us around causing the outboard  to cavitate, in no time we were though and ducked into the shallow enterance at Roache Harbor.  I looked to my left  at a seaplane seemingly hovering in place  10 feet off the wate 100′ to port, it was very surreal, my fun meter was pegged and I just wanted to get though the runway and into the safety of the harbor. We made it in and I’ve literally never seen such anarchy in my life.  Dozens of boats manovering around, caountless dinks with drunk skippers, three sea planes doing rounds waiting for thier turn at the dock, and us with no reverse and almost no foreward propulsion.

Having cleared customs we had just enough time to slip through Mosqiito Pass and into Garrison Bay.  We dropped the hook in a dead calm bay with 8′ of low water and a cracked a beer.  I was shell shocked.  It wasn’t any one experience but literally doesens and doesens that had my myind made up, today was the straw that broke the camels back.

Ten days later in Fish bay my heart was in my throat and breaking as I heard the words come out.  I offered every adventure on the planet earth and told her I would follow her anywhere in the world or do anything for her but under no circumstances would  I ever set sail with her again.  I had lost 100% confidence in my crew.  When people are careless at sea really really bad things happen.  Nearly a year has passed and I’m still shaken by the things I will never write about, the story I will never tell.  Day by day I dip my big toe back in and know that I have nobody to blame but myself, I was the captian, I could have ended it at any point.

From the log of Sookie August 2015. Any fool, can learn 80% of sailing in a week.  The last 20% will take a lifetime, it’s called seamanship.

On seamanship part one

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I had violated my own cardinal rule on the boat, no schedules and for the next three days I would pay dearly for it. A big part of this story is missing, maybe next year I will write about it.  It had been yet another bumpy day in the Straits of Georga. We were the only boat on the water save for the commercial fisherman that came to check in us one by one in thier 100′ ships.  As each one approached a threw them a Shaka and a huge smile my VHF is always off.  Sookie was in her  groove, in her element and I was like a kid on Christmas morning, smiling from ear to ear, taking it all in.  Huge rollers would break under our keel with a whoosh, she shook every one of them, she was actually surfing.


Running under just my 80 square  foot staysail the sheet was so tight  it sounded like it was going to explode.  I half wondered what would go first, the hand rail mounted jib track, the block or the the sheet.  The whole system Moaned in protest with the larger gusts.  These are my favorite days, big wind and seas, the boat in perfect maintenance  and on this day it was 95 degrees, pure heaven.  There are very few places in this world  that I wouldn’t venture to in my little Falmouth, she has to be sailed to be understood.  This boat sails like no other boat I have ever encountered.

Hiding in the lee of protection island we didn’t get much sleep that night, the wind was rising to the point that my crew asked me to close the foreward hatch because the sound of the wind funneling through it was scaring her.  I reluctantly but happily agreed,, it was really hot and for once no mosquitos due to the wind but it was freaking me out too.

Morning came early and we had to make the tide to get though the narrows and back into the gulf islands.  It was far to windy at this point to get out of the anchorage with our failing motor.  I turned on the weather report and couldnt believe my ears, it’s getting even worse throughout the day and come nightfall all hell was going to break loose.  We had a quick meeting and decided to bounce.  I asked my crew to row Chloe to shore for a pottie break be she was understandably scared.  I didn’t want to because I needed to save my strength for raising the anchor if we even could.

Between the gusts I rowed from boat to boat hiding in the lee and eventually made it back to the boat soaking wet and tired, rubber dinghys suck ass.  I tucked two reefs in the main and burritoed it, got the boat ship shape and explained our attack, we only had one chance at this and our motor was going to be completely useless.  By this time we had quite a few spectators wondering if these silly Americans were actually going to try and leave. It was only blowing 42 mph bet felt much stronger in the gusts

My Rocna was half way to China but with our outboard  and a lot of back breaking effort I got it in, one painfull foot at a time and we were off.  As soon as I had the ground tackle secured I got the staysail up and we took off like a bat out of hell. Running down the channel. We had about  a mile of lee shore and there were going to be some pretty big seas once we cleared the point.  I got the main up double reefed and reaching we were over powered but I would steer into the gusts and we had the main driving but severely depowered.  I should note that Sookie has a neutral helm, we don’t have any weather helm when she is sailed properly.  There was a 36′ Grand Banks that was seriously pissing me off.  Sookie rose and dropped off of the waves,  this was some of the finest sailing I had ever done but I was catching up the this guy and he was in my way.

Within seconds of leaving the protection of the island our fun meter was pegged for the second day in a row and then it happened. The Grand Banks went so hard over I could see it’s full keel, it’s port wheel completly out of the water, I screamed over the wind, get the vhf, shes going to capsize I don’t know what miricle happen that day but the boat  slammed hard back over, I’m sure the captain was thrown to the ground and is now in Devorce court loosing his ship. He had no business being out in those conditions.

Once clear of the point we fell off and dropped the main to slow the boat for a perfect passage through the narrows.  Approaching I called out on the vhf security, security sailing vessel Sookie entering narrows with severely disabled engine, please stand down.  We were pushed hard this way and that it the whirl pools.  The rubber cone on the prop had spun and anything over 20% she would spin freely.  Exactly at the narrowest part of the channel we watched in horror as five huge powerboats came blasting in towards us throwing the biggest waves I had ever seen.  We were thrown around like rag dolls the engine would scream to life as the pop spun freely and up went the sails.

Safely transitioned through we went from full blast to dead in the water within the hour.  The next 12 hours would be spent motoring on a dead calm sea in hundred degree temperatures at 2.3 knots so we could  make our schedule this was the most we used the engine on the entire 75 day trip but the best was yet to come… To be continued.

“The cabin of a small yacht is truly a wonderful thing; not only will it shelter you from a tempest, but from the other troubles in life, it is a safe retreat.” – L. Francist Herreshoff

Crealock 34

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Sitting in the Red Room of one of the literally thousands of airports I’ve passed through I looked up and in walked Ed McMahon.  I tried not to stare but I’ve grown up with this guy on a fuzzy box in my house. He walked up to me, stretches out his hand and with a big smile says”hi, I’m Ed McMahon”.  I watch him work his way through the lounge introducing himself to every single person, this guy is a genius.

  
As incredibly minor as my celebrity is, I’ve been doing this for a long time and can’t go anywhere without having someone recognize me and say hi.  I’ve even been pulled over on a small island by a hyper excitable guy that saw qme at the country market but it didn’t click till I started to drive away.  It’s just what happens when you put yourself out there.  I know how to work a crowd and am very good at it but deep down I’m a painfully shy introvert.  I know an incredibly large amount of people but can count my true friends. On one hand.  When I left Hollywood it was to save my anynimity. 

My coffe is especially good today, I’m going on an island extravaganza, to meet with potential buyers of this and that.  When it comes to buying boats I’m a boat sellers dream come true, I don’t fuck around or waste thier time, I negotiate a price peek around for an hour and either buy the boat and dissaper from the sellers life or don’t buy the boat and do the same, I know what I want.  I’m not a boat shopper I’m a boat buyer.

Looking around Sookies interior I love every inch of her.  In the five years I’ve owned her I have never once walked or rowed away without stopping to admire her lines.  Under sail she is magic in a way you will no know unless you have been fortunate enough to hold her tiller in your hands.

I still don’t know why I do the things I do but if I didn’t seek more here and there I’d still be sailing my Montgomery 15, but as I transition through life sometimes I want a bit more, or at least know that some day I will.  I have been eyeing the Crealock 31 for years, it may just be his best design.  In my constant search and research I have fallen in love with a Pacific Seacraft 34 another boat I have always admired but one I could never love as much as Sookie.   As I sit here pecking out these words she is 100% obtainable, nested into a little boatyard in Mexico waiting for me.

I’m deeply torn because as much as I suffer the cold I am in no way shape or form ready to leave the Salish Sea.  I’ve sailed all over the world and no place I have ever seen can compare with the beauty and richness of this vast stretch of water.  Constantly challanged with massive tide cycles, rip currents that are like sailing through river Rapids and weather that changes its mind mo often than I do.  It would literally take a hundred lifetimes to explore this place.  The only problem is short summers  and long cold winters.  I prefer to be able to see my feet when I swim.  

It’s a long sail home from Mexico but as a budget cruiser long voyages save money.  A quick trip to Hawaii and back to the PNW and she would be home, of course there is an easier way south to the Carribean where I already have winter work lined up, then up the east coast and ship her across the country and home.  Or I could just keep her in Manana land till I have my fill of cabbage Tacos and not so cheap beers. 

Sixty seconds aboard Sookie

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My brain is experiencing a creative orgasm but my hands are tied behind my back. The video carnage continues.  How can it be so hard to find a good free video editor for my iPad.  

Back to the drawing board, I’m starimg  all over.  It’s time to purge my digital film studio and start over from scratch. For now it will just be a Mac air 11 and I’m down grading to a Nikon D5500.  Many reasons for the changes, some good and some bad.  My inner creative has finally been reborn and it’s all I can do to shut it down for a few hours here and there to sleep.

My whole world is stretched too thin, this time I really am wiping the slate clean.  I woke up today with a different perspective on my world and living it.  I’ve been sailing into the wind for too long with this and that.  It’s been a long time coming but I’m finally finding a bit of focus, it’s time to make some sailing videos, find a crew and cut the lines for the season. 

Still a bit shell shocked  from past experiences that I’m as of yet not ready to talk about but it’s time to get the monkey off my back do a little bit of down wind sailing. When I was married I had a deal with my wonderful wife that if for any reason either of us was unhappy we would make a 180 degree shift. I still have that deal with myself and I’ve just reversed the polar caps..

“When I was on The View, Barbara Walters was asking me about the blood and stuff, and I said, ‘Well, you know, that’s a staple of Japanese cinema.’ And then she came back, ‘But this is America.’ And I go, ‘I don’t make movies for America. I make movies for planet Earth.'” Quentin Tarantino

Poverty sucks

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Sure, I’ve got whiskey, scotch, bourbon, gin, vodka, all top shelf, lemon and lime liquors for home made margaritas.  I’ve got good wine and great and Shitty beer but all I wanted was a glass of wine out of a box, it’s my staple and I’m out, poverty sucks.

  
I feel like a total ass but I broke my own cardinal rule and busted out a kick ass bottle of wine with nobody to share it with. Gouda cheese, green olives and farm fresh salami. Yes, that’s right I’m having a pity party and your not invited.  It seems to happen about this time every month, I accidentally look at the calander and oh shit, bills are due.

Since I can’t do anything about it today I corked a world class bottle of wine, made snacks for dinner and here I sit  suffering miserably alone and in poverty. I light a few candles, put on some good music and smile.  I’ve worked my entire life to make it from the top to the bottom, it’s been a struggle and I do have to say, it fits me like a glove.  I look around the cabin in the soft flickering light and realize I’ve made it, nirvana.  I’m not poor, I’m broke, there is a difference. 

“We are not rich by what we possess but by what we can do without.” 

― Immanuel Kant

 

RTFM

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My brain is fried, Im going to effing snap. I just lost a weeks worth of edited video footage.  It’s been years since I pulled down about a hundred sailing videos from YouTube and I’m finally ready to get back on the band wagon again but the entire world of video has seemingly changed while I was sleeping.


I’m looking for advice and tricks to come up with a rock solid dirt cheap video set up. I’m beginning to realize that I am a completle retard when it comes to shooting video on an old DSLR.  I’ve been editing on my iPad but that will be moved over to the nav department soon enough and possibly upgraded but at this point I’m not sure if the iPad air 2 is any better than the iPad Air one when it comes to navigation.

It’s these little things that have me frustrated to no end and literally about ready to start pulling my hair out. I’m about ready to sell everything and start all over but it’s hard to imagine life without a DSLR. In the old days I shot everything on my canon G series and was reasonably happy with the results. Battery power is another issue and the main reason I haven’t used micro 3/4 much. I shoot a lot and every time I use one the battery seems to burn out in about an hour, my Nikon goes for ever. Ahh, first world problems. I can’t or don’t know how to use what I have, don’t have what I need and don’t want what I can’t use but have, or maybe I just need to read the fucking manual…

It’s 5:00pm somewhere, Im pulling out a Cohiba and a glass of whiskey and licking my wounds, tomorrow is a new day

There’s nothing creative about living within your means.

– Francis Ford Coppola

You can’t learn anything from a book

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I was at the boat show talking to one of my biggest sailing couple heroes when one of them actually quoted me to me, verbatim.   I don’t think they knew they did but that’s how our brains work, we read or hear something and all of the sudden it’s melded into our brain as our own experience.

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You can’t actually learn anything from a book  you can get a huge amount of insight but until you’ve  actually engaged in the activity you have no idea what it’s really like. I’ve sat left seat in a jet, taxied, taken off, climbed out approached and touched down.  Put me in that jet by myself and I’m a goner, the pilot carried me through the entire process.

The docks are busy this weekend.  Boaters crashing into each-other, the docks and anything else they can possibly hit. I watched a guy come in with his family it was almost as if he had never been on a boat in his life.  Later in the evening chatting with him I could tell by his language that every single word that came out of his mouth was from the Internet or reading a book. He was a parrot, parroting things he had heard but clearly didn’t understand.

You can read the best book on anchoring or sail trim or self help…  Until you put it thought the process you have no idea what to do when say you are anchored and can’t figure out why  you are broadside to a rising fresh breeze  sail trim books are great in theory but all boats are different and need to be sailed differently.  Until your in the boat reaching in 15 knots of wind and not topping four knots you won’t have the opportunity to figure out why you are going so slow.  I can read a book about how a guy only works a few hours a weeks and gets rich but the only thing I’m learning from the book is how he did, not how I can.

i recieved an extremely long letter from a reader of this blog.  It goes on to say how long they have read the blog and love my lifestyle and want to do the same thing.  I write most days because that’s what I do, I write, some people jog, or go to the gym or meditate for relaxation, I write.

The problem with reading blogs or watching fun videos is that your literally getting a day, week or month long snapshot is 5 minutes.  That leaves just shy of 24 blank hours in every day, a very empty void.  What I’m getting at is you can’t love my lifestyle because you have no idea what it is.  You get a snap shot and a few rambling sentences that usually are weeks old and wouldnt make a whole lot of sense even if they were happening in real time.

i never know how to answer these letters because who the hell am I to give advice.  I could sit down today and write  a hundred sellable books back to back but what’s the point.  You don’t want to live  my lifestyle , you are already living the lifestyle you want, it’s your choice afterall.

The reason I’m writing all this gibberish is to both apologize and also to say thank you.  I read every comment and email I receive but I can’t possibly answer them all.  I do however appreciate them very much and they give me a great amount of joy in reading them.

if you want to know what your dreams are take a good look around your life,  you are already living them.  You’ve worked your entire life to achieve what you have so sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor. Sure we all have fantasies, mine is sailing away with Jessica Alba   The most dangerous thing any of us can ever do is blur the line between fantasy and reality.  I get a constant and steady amount  of hate mail from this blog, it’s from people who think I am living thier fantasy and they want it so badly  that they actually take the time to sit down and write long letters of how much they hate me.  The whole point of a Fantasy is that it’s harmless and not real.  If you blur that line and try and make it real it just may cost you everything.

As far as my crazy exciting life goes, I’m laying around sipping on a really good cup of coffee.  I’m a little bit bored and a little bit lonely, but not too much. there  are things I should be doing but it’s Sunday so I most likely won’t, what I’m saying is that my life is very much like yours with the exception that you didn’t shit in a bucket today.

The one thing we all have in the world that no man nor woman can take from us is the power of choice.  The power of descision is far more powerful than any magic. choose wisely.

“Don’t forget – no one else sees the world the way you do, so no one else can tell the stories that you have to tell.”
― Charles de Lint

 

Minimalist mindset

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April looks up at me with piercing eyes, her long dark dreadlocks glinting, backlit by the morning sun.  I don’t want to leave, but we both know she has to, I want to lock her in the boat… I walk her to her bike and just like that she’s disappears down a quiet country road.  Back at the boat a few empty bottle and a slight hangover, I do a bit of clean up, Sookie smells like April, part of her is still with me. 

  
 
Complete polar opposites, April is a Doozer and I am a Fraggle Her drive exhausts me, my only job is to slow her down between her constant achieved conquests.  Today is my five year anniversary with Sookie, the warmth of the sun stolen by the morning breeze.  She makes for a good home, has always kept me safe and carries my world around the world in teeny tiny hops. 

Today I will explore the high places on the island, find a nice lake and take a nap inland where I can find refuge from the wind, a nice sunny spot is calling my name.  I don’t have much shit but what little I do possess pleases me to no end. I have no time for modern day distractions such as TV and Facebook, maintaining and playing with Sookie is a full time job, it’s why I adopted her, I like the process of her, she is my art. My little Brompton is the same, she is no less than design excellence.  After every ride, I clean her chain, give her the once over, wipe her down and store her where she is alway in plain sight.  

Like April and myself, minimalism and simplicity are polar opposites. Owning a bike rather than a car is minimalist. Using said bike as a station wagon, grocery getter, boat supply mover and people hauler is anything but simple.  Sookie is minimalist but there is no such thing as simplicity when it comes to living aboard and outfitting a small boat, it’s the exact opposite. I use Brompty as a study in genius to achieving perfection in a small package.  While there is no correlation between becoming minimalist and simple living they go hand in hand, feed each other and off eachother.  It’s an almost impossibility to find one without the other. There are a hundred ways to have eggs, my favorite way is with good company. 

“You sell off the kingdom piece by piece and trade it for a horse that will take you anywhere.” 

― Colin Wright, My Exile Lifestyle

Double entendre 

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I love April and I mean that both literally and figuratively. I cant imagine any better way to welcome in April than, we’ll with April. A spur of the moment trip up to visit Sookie and to try and figure out a way for me to make the 12K mile road trip.    

  
I was raised in Baja and love it in ways I can’t describe.  Just my daypack, Brompty, great company and the open road, Nikon in hand. If it happens it will be a dream come true. Back on the Sookie front she brought me a Chinese coffee maker, this thing is amazing, small simple and you can make anything from drip to espresso with the twist of this ingenious little nob inside.  No more filters and it’s small and light enough to go anywhere I go.  I’ve spent the last year of my life looking for something like this but a little bit of patience and here it is.  Sookies galley just got a whole lot better.

Sassage, cheese and crackers. Great coffee for me and tea for her.  A few roasted yams and purple potatoes with friend eggs on top and this is truly turning out to be the best damn day of my life.  April is a nurse practitioner in training, but also an eastern medicine healer and she is working on my body old school style, all I can say is thank god she forgot her needles but I have a feeling I will be a pin cushion for six weeks if I do make the road trip which is the only thing on my radar right now.

Life works in mysterious ways.  A simple email from India and a week later this curious new creature enters my life.  I’m sure I drive her crazy to no end with my insanity but I am what I am. I’ll never understand how I get so damn lucky in this life but I am truly surrounded by the most amazing humans on this planet.  Imagine that, a world with nothing but great friends…

Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend. — Albert Camus

Simple

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I pulled into Nazareth, was feeling ’bout half past dead I just need some place where I can lay my head

Small and simple, my boat like my sandles suits my needs. A place to lay down at the end of a long day, Sookie is my refuge.  I’ve been passing out early these days from exhaustion, too much living if that’s possible.  You can’t fight the genetic urges of spring, earth, wind, fire, water, I have it all.  Nature is the ultimate form of simplicity.

Digital nomad
I’m too lazy to cook breakfast but I know I need to eat, another long day is beginning. It will reach 70 today. Not a drop of wind, more sail work and a real bath for both Sookie and myself. Simple chores, laundry, a trip to find a cabbage, trim my toe nails, go for a really long walk.  Everybody is always trying to give me rides or loan me thier cars, I prefer to walk. I don’t understand why walking is so offensive in our modern culture, walking is simple and fun and on my island very social.

A friend of mine emailed asking for help to lose 10 lbs of winter fat, I told her to sell her car and buy a bike, she drives one mile to work and has not once walked or ridden her bike.  She decided to join a gym instead because it only takes her a few minutes to drive there. I ponder convenience vs simplicity. The kettle is steaming which means it’s almost time to get working. None of my tools plug in, I’m forced to go slow and become part of the project. My knives are all dull, I will sharpen them with a Stone and oil, the same oil I cook with, the same oil I use as skin lotion, simplicity.

For fun I decided to see how far I could stretch a 25 ounce bottle of organic dish liquid. I used it to wash my body, my hair, my dog, my boat and my bike, it lasted 12 months, simplicity.

My lightweight mountian kilt, bare feet and lots of sun. I swim in it and it dries on my body, no laundry to do, simplicity.

I spent a full hour watching the dew dry from my decks, I’m an odd duck.  I keep blowing off potential relationships and dates and… Ther are times in this world when I feel like I’m the last simple human on earth and will frustratingly remain single until I find my eve walking naked down a lonely stretch of beach with nothing but a giant avocado and a sharp knife. The single life is the ultimate form of simplicity.

Hey, mister, can you tell me, where a man might find a bed?

He just grinned and shook my hand, “No” was all he said. -The Band

Deal with it

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Yep that’s right, the time has come. I haven’t actually launched it yet because I’m a sailor and a lazy man at that but I’m launching a Patreon page. Sure I could just ask for money and I’d probably get it but I’m one upping myself.

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My  Patreon will ask for donations of a buck a month, not a large sum by any means, except to me. That’s right I just said it, Patreon, deal with it.

“Because’, she said, ‘your problems are not real problems. You’re dating two beautiful girls at once. Think about it. That’s like…having rock-star problems.’

‘Having rock-star problems may be the closest I ever get to being an actual rock star.” 

― Cassandra Clare

Dock sailing

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Today is and was without a doubt the best damn day of the year and it’s only getting better from here on out. Today was a day to figure out how to rig my new asymmetrical spinnaker.  I’m doing a few other rigging changes as well but now I’m covered from one knot of wind to, well I don’t even want to think about the other end of the spectrum but my new 38 square  foot storm jib is ready to go and I hope I’ll never need it.


Barefoot and narry  a drop of wind, I love this new sail and it will for sure raise my cruising average speed.  I can think of a hundred things I love about small boats but sails are damn near at the top of my list. I not saying Sookie is fast but there is no greater hell on earth that owning a slow boat while every other boat in the  world sails past you.  My westerly cirrus sport was slow as dirt, and it made me crazy. I had seven great sails including a drifter, spinnaker and asym but in less than 18 knots, she was a slug, wouldn’t point well and for a fin keel was just not up to my standards.

 

 
It’s finally time to try and figure out how to aquire  my new wind vane which I hope is still sitting in a box waiting for me in Southern California.   That and a new cooker is about as ambitious as I will get this year as far as the refit goes.  It’s hard to be working during this beautiful weather but in a month when I’m done it will have been worth it.

“hark, now hear the sailors cry, 

smell the sea, and feel the sky 

let your soul & spirit fly, into the mystic…” 

― Van Morrison

 

 “-She is like the wind, open and free. If I cage the wind, would it die?

-Then don’t cage it, Mikhail. Trust it to stay beside you.” 

― Christine Feehan

Time and a bottle

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I’ve lost all concept of time, the sun rises and sets, the tides rise and fall, the wind comes and goes.  Early to bed, early to rise, the hours of light now drawing to nearly 18 hours a day.  I pull out a special bottle, tonight I’m drinking alone.

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My Nikon sits in the corner, my trusty little iPad loaded with fresh sailing pictures,and a note written to myself hangs over my bunk, film your life, be your own movie.  I pop the cork, pour a small glass and take a whiff of this big, in your face meaty red.  I jot got word my 12,000 mile road trip between Cabo and Alaska is off, I have something more pressing to take care of here and it can’t be rescheduled.  When April invited me to join her in her new caravan I was so excited my head nearly exploded,

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Back on level water, I’m getting over my disappointment but life goes on  I need to learn every nook and cranny of my minimalist rebel without a crew mobile office  how the hell do you film yourself with a DSLR.  Someday I might dive into the go pro world but it’s not a priority yet.

 Ive been scrutinizing every single item on the boat, what to sell, what to give away, what to throw away  I’m trying to make her as minimalist as possible, to completely de clutter my life so I can focus on my bottle, my camera and this damn story board that sits blank next to my markers  maybe I’ll just chuck it, I always seem to do better when I’m winging it .

its nice in the boat, tonight, I have a documentary about Cuba on, the candles lit and I’m sitting in my thinking chair with my company for the evening, that beautiful bottle…

“The concept of time, as it’s commonly understood by normal

people with normal jobs and normal goddamn lives, doesn’t

exist on the boat. The nights spread out like the dark,

godforsaken watery highways that distinguish them, and the days run

together like Thanksgiving dinner smothered in gravy. You

never really know where you are or what time it is, and the outside

world starts to fade away.

It’s cool.” 

― Tiffanie DeBartolo, How to Kill a Rock Star

Roam

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Drifter, dirtbag, vagabond, Trekker, cruiser, sailor, voyager, transient…we wanderers for the wind go by many names but we all have one core trait, movement.  The nomadic life of drifting from one place to another fits me like a glove.  The sound of fluttering sails and line running though a winch, soon replaced by the whoosh of the waves, that’s my home. 
  
The sailing life isn’t only about sailing though, most of us spend far more time exploring from the hook than we do at sea.  When I sailed south along the Gold Coast we barely covered 4,000 miles in an entire year.  That’s about 40 sailing days out of 365. On Sookie, my back pack is always ready to rumble and by bike is always ready to roll. Sookie is always ready to go for that matter as well.  We live in a perpetual state of hurry up and wait and the waiting is just as fun.  No need for lights on the bike when the moon is full.  I love night sailing every bit as much as I do day sailing and wandering through a dark Forrest quiet like a mouse, or maybe a ninja.   People who say they don’t have time are kidding themselves. There is always time to do what is important. 

Looks like perfect weather all week, lots of work to do on the boat but I have a feeling I may just blow it off and go sailing, April is a much better month for boat work. Finding sunny days in the 70’s in March??? I love global warming.  It’s still blowing my mind that I will be on the east coast by Christmas getting ready to point east, then south, clear warm water, wind and like minded drifters, off to see the world.  It’s hard not to get ahead of ourselves, all good things come in time, it took me seven years after committing to my Bromton before it came into my life, the boat, a bit longer. So we pass through doing this and that as the weather permits.

This life will never find you, you have to search it out, make it happen and be ready to roll with the punches because when you least expect it expect it. When Sookie landed in WA my two weeks in the  boat yard turned into 12 and it was another 8 before we had our maiden voyage, these things take time. 

I’m still looking to earn some freedom chips and every day I wake up wondering where I might drop my hook in the evening, it’s good to have a mobile home, my backpack my second home and my Brompton, my iron horse. We are unstoppable, naturally powered, off the grid and free to roam. 

“You gotta run more than your mouth to escape the treadmill of mediocrity. A true hustler jogs during the day, and sleepwalks at night.” 

― Jarod Kintz, This Book is Not FOR SALE

Dead silence

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I hate nature, the words slipped out, my world shattered by the silence. We live in a crewel world but nothing compared to what our wild friends live or die. In the wild every second counts, eat, sleep, kill or be killed.  My most difficult task this week is to find a model plane for a photo shoot or maybe it was agonizing over which varnish to use this year.  Simply put us humans have it pretty easy, at least here in Canada we do.

  
Leaving Blind Bay was a hard one, I wanted to stay there forever.  Crystal clear water, white sandy beaches and no effing bears…  Ok there might have been a bear but still it has all the elements that make me sail.  It’s why I’m ok drinking warm beer and yet another night of surprise, half cooked lentils and onions. It’s why I put up with the cold, the storms here are even scary when your at the dock. I put up with poverty, rain, way way too much wind, my horrible cooking and even my man stink. 

I do these things because one day it happens, the dock lines are remeved in favor of really good ground tackle.  The lights shut off and we light candles.  The clothes go away, except for foulies that seem to get used a bit too often for summer.  Everything we eat and drink is the same temperature.  Our life’s revolve around dumping trash, finding water and, well…sailing.

Sitting in some beautiful bay I don’t remember the name of or the island it was attached to life is good.  The golden evening light has the cliffs exploding, there isn’t a drop of wind and it’s dead silent.  Then it happens, the cry of a crane, and the scream of an eagle, round and round they go, the silence is shattered.

Watching this battle to live and kill or be killed, felt so un natural.  To date I had never seen an eagle get its prey and was beginning to believe them to be the most inept hunters on the planet.  This view to a kill had me unsettled, I rooted for the crane, maybe it was a Blue Herron.  They climbed so high we could barely see them but we could hear the crys  of the Herron. It tucked its wings spiraling towards the earth, the eagle right on its tail.  I was sure this would be his get away, he would fly into tight brush, or the trees.  He landed straight in the water and with one last scream, it was all over, dead silence. The eagle won and the words slipped out of my mouth, I hate nature. As humans we aren’t hunted and survival is pretty easy, we tend to be our own worst enemys.  Be careful what you seek, you might actually get it, even if you don’t.

“High and fine literature is wine, and mine is only water; but everybody likes water.” 

― Mark Twain

While you were sleeping

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Thoreau believed to affect the quality of the day was the highest art. I woke early to a dead calm and at false dawn.  The cool of the morning found me riding Brompty down quiet country roads as the word came to life.  The crows serenaded me as the little ticking of my rear hub whirred away happy to be laying a few miles. 

  
It’s a shame that most people sleep through this part of our life and lives.  My splotchy half shaved chest looking something like the waxing scene in the forty year old virgin is a bit itchy and a reminder of my heart stress test.  They are trying to rule everything out so with a dozen electrodes hooked up to little bald patches on my chest I started the slow walk on the tread mill.  By the time it ended it was damn near verticle and I was sprinting.  When it finally came to an end the doctor smiled and said, well it’s not your heart, and it’s not your lungs.  I kicked the hell out of that machine but was also surprised at how out of shape, for me at least I am.  It’s amazing how fast we lose it, but also how fast we regain it.

  
So there is nothing wrong with my body, next step, the neurologist to check out my brain and why I have near constant vertigo.   I get to ride Brompty to Seattle for this one so I’m super excited even though I have already made it clear I won’t consider any form of surgery on my brain damaged brain, I can deal with the dizzy world I live in just fine.  That’s the thing about the Brompty, when it hits bad I can just stop and sit down till it passes, not so much on the boat. 

  
Tonight we’re celebrating on Sookie, fine wine, my home made cabbage salad with salami and really good cheese.  I’m 99% vegan but I love to indulge and tonight will be a big one topped off with a bit of dark chocolate. It’s hard to believe it’s already spring but these islands have literally exploded. Spring is the best time on these islands, come on down for a visit. 

  “Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.” 

― Mark Twain

Here’s stormy

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I love the smell of jet fuel in the morning. It happened with the suddenness of a broken shoe string. Spring has sprung, the weather has turned warm and dry, there is no more condensation in the boat. Everywhere I look nature is in full bloom. 

  
I should be working on Sookie, she needs some serious attention after her long cold winter. I should be looking for a job, finding a sailing mate, doing laundry, anything but today is a day for riding. Brompty is calling my name and there are dozens of secret beaches to find and explore.

The budget may be busted but Sookie is in her finest state ever. All her sails have been inspected and are in good order, her new cruising chute needs to be rigged as does her new storm jib.  Lockers overflowing and ready for 90 days complete with really good booze, yummy snacks both sweet and salty for those long hot windless days of summer.  Good tunes and a sound system that will blow your brains out should you choose.  A dink minus roars and a pump but I’m working on that one.  2.5 hours on the iron Jenny and an almost full tank of fuel. I need to top that off as well as my emergency one gallon tank brings me to 4 gallons of fuel, easily enough for the rest of the year. 29 gallons of water in portable movable tanks and a pile of fuel for my little cooker.

My A.D.D. Swashbuckled my trip to Bellingham for peanuts but that will come soon enough. I finally got a pair of shoes but it looks like they will get tucked away today. I love my new kicks but they also represent society, the binding of our feet is the first step to voluntary slavery. A noose around the neck, they call it a tie but mentally all these things bind us and keep us shacked chasing those oh so important little green pieces of paper.  The beard is growing out as is my wig, I’ve decided to re grow my dreadlocks, a final step off the map.

The cruisers delema is always a fine line of procuring almost enough money without sacrificing too may of our oh so precious life units in the process.  Finding myself broke with a boat that is ready, willing and able is the first and most important step, ther is a fine process to the budget cruiseres outfitting. The bug out boat must always be fed first just in case something crazy happens. From there a few freedom chips will get the job done.  Summer ends  in 5 short months so every second counts, starting as soon as I get back from my ride of corse, all work and no play makes stormy a dull boy.

“Get busy living, or get busy dying.” 

Andy Dufresne The Shawshank Redemption 

Untie the lines

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Yet another blow has me locked  inside hiding from the storm.  Sookies new surround sound sound system fills the void between the sun and summer.  I’m looking for a new place to drop my hook, maybe BC, not the gulf islands but Cortez is sounding good and I think i can scrape up a bit of work there.  Moving when you own a boat is as easy as untying the lines.

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Sitting at the fuel dock smoking a ciggi and sipping on a big red, I leaned back into the life lines and smiled.  As sailors we all put up with a serious amount of shit to find that perfect little cove.  Like hearing voices in my head she whispers to me  from the waters edge in the rolling sand.  Sailing is sudductive, but the lifestyle is the Sadductress, luring us in day by bay, week by week until one day we wake up with that distant stare in our eyes, the stare only a sailor knows. It’s a stare that says, I’ve been around.

I remember arriving at an old Rickety Wooden dock! beaten; I dropped to my hands and knees, kissed the dock and swore I would never go to sea again as long as I lived, a hurricane at sea will do things like this to us.  Less than 24 hours later I was back out, sailors have short memories or should a say selective ones. The rattle from the chain pipe after a hard passage, cracking a warm beer because you can’t afford ice, yet you have beer.  That feeling falling asleep drifting on a cloud, your whole world being held in place by a half inch piece of string.  If I could bottle these things I could make my fortune, but these experiences  can’t be bought and sold like a two dollar whore.

If you want to feel the freedom of voyaging there is only one way to do it.  Get a boat, any boat will do.  Quit your job, cut the dock lines and point her in any direction. It doesn’t matter where you go, just go anywhere you’ve never been.  You don’t have to push your comefort level to find her gentle whisper, you have to throw it to the wind.  You will learn a new level of fear that you didn’t know existed, like when the wind blows so hard it actually knocks thirty foot seas flat.  This fear is raw and it’s alive in all of us, all we have to do is find it, on the other side is that bay.  Its  there where you will hear her quiet whispers and in her you will develope the stare of the voyager.

Quiet nights of quiet stars quiet chords from my guitar 

Floating on the silence that surrounds us.

Quiet thoughts and quiet dreams quiet walks by quiet streams

And a window looking on the mountains and the sea, how lovely. – Frank Sinatra 

Long distance touring on a Brompton

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I’ve developed a very irrational relationship with my still yet to be named Brompton, I refer to her as Brompty but she deserves a real name.  I literally don’t go anywhere without her, spend way too many hours keeping her shiny and perfectly cleaned. I should say maintaining her but after a thousand miles she still is in perfect tune.  A bit awkward and dorky looking she is a work of art, if I had a wall I would hang her on it like fine art.

 

I learned quite a bit about this little gem rolling 750 miles through the Hawaiin islands and my departure date for Cuba is rolling up fast. She climbs well and descends frighteningly fast, I’m sure I have topped 50 on her. Braking on the long descents is unacceptable on her 16″ wheels so I just scream as the heroin of adrenalin surges through by body. She can carry a good load but I’m working on a very minimalist cargo focusing on the experience rather than the gear. Speaking of gear little Sookie makes for the best bike rack and is loaded to the brim, her lockers are all topped off and ready for our move.  

To date I have had her on both commercial airlines and puddle jumper float planes, buses, a taxi, train, car, and with a little bit of luck she will get her first helicopter ride this week when my dinner date lands in front of the boat to pick me up. I’ve used her for commuting, touring, and just plain riding around for no reason whatsoever. She fits perfectly in my boat, under a hostel bunk bed, in my one man tent and at the foot of a bed with really soft white sheets I found the luxury of sleeping in while on tour.  

The Brompton is the smallest and easiest folding bike on the market and was dirt cheap to purchase considering that today is about day 2074 in my boycott of cars. At 27.2 lbs she isn’t light or heavy. I always say that she isn’t small, she is fun size. My plan is to start riding south from the Arctic Circle on the solstice right back to Sookie. I ordered a map today but can’t imagine it will take more than 6 weeks giving me a good spring sailing season and a month of summer sailing. September 15th it’s down the coast to LAX to the Caribbean with a little hopper to Cuba. The beauty. Of the Brompton is that I can go from touring mode to tourist mode in about one minute.  

So there you have it, from polar bears to communists, the last pieces of the puzzle are being sorted. Come join me if you dare or sit back and have a cup of coffee and enjoy the ride through my little journal. My little Brompty isn’t a bicycle.  She is the fountain of youth, expedition SUV, urban assault vehicle, psychologist, stormy nanny,and with out a doubt the most fun you can have with your cloths on. Not that endorse doing anything with your clothes  on.

Disclaimer,  continued reading of this blog may result in wanderlust, day dreaming and A.D.D. Induced A.D.D. Proceed with caution. 

Shit or get off the pot

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I get a text early in the morning , it reads. “Stormy, you’ve been a good friend to me and I know how much you love the Dana 24. I’ve decided to give you mine.  You can come pick it up anytime you want, it’s in front of my house.

  

On the bottom of the bay.   If this was from anyone else but Adam I would think it was a joke.  A few hours later Rainbow was floated, the engine pickled and the leaking dripless shaft replaced with a nice flax packing gland.  We have her looking like a million bucks inside and out.  A full listing will be up soon. She is very fairly priced at $36,000. Price is firm.  Her interior is bright and fresh and she shows the true quality of Pacific Seacrafts Build.

For less than the price of a Compact car you can have a home that will carry you anywhere in the world, not only safely but in complete luxury.  I’m out sailing with my brother, he is a big boat sailor, 40-50′ is his norm.  When he first arrived on Sookie, he commented that he had forgotten how small she is.  Days into our journey his mind has changed, “now I see why you love this boat so much, she is perfect in every way”. 
Little boats come with little price tags, easy maintence and small yard bills.  There is always a slip available and always an admirer at the dock.  The Dana 24 is a ship that you can almost fit in your pocket.  I look out my porthole in the morning rain and smile at rainbow, she is very much like Sookie was when I found her.  A bit on the older side but a rock solid foundation that has always been loved and sailed hard.  Best of all she can be easily plopped on a trailer and taken anywhere you want with ease, or just head out and make the big left. Time and time again these boats cross oceans safely and comefortably.  Come on down and let’s go sailing, your life will never be the same. Freedom isn’t a risk worth taking, it’s an inaliable right worth perusing.  You’ll never be younger than you are right now, shit or get off the pot.  

Left the harbor at 11:00 pm, light winds on an ebbing tide.  My first sail on Sookie, solo, engineless and free as a bird, we ghost across the inky blackness following Orion’s Belt.  I’ve literally waited my whole life for this moment.  From the log of Sookie  at sea. 

This is not a sailing blog

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This is  a blog about a sailor.  We slipped the lines early,  I feel fortunate to have the most reliable motor available on my little cutter, one pull of the cord and we were off.  Sails pulled and pulling the swoosh of the ocean quickly replaced the quiet purring of my iron genny.  Sailing  tunes thumping over Sookies sound system to the dark overcast skies we pointed her high flying all plain sail.  She settled in at 20 degrees of heel hard on the wind occasionally dipping  and bowing to the higher gusts. This was a foulie day, snugged up and warm in our warmies we charged at well over our theoretical hull speed.  I have never had any joy greater than sailing a ship designed by Lyle Hess  

 
  This is how I found my nav equipment after a rousing beat to windward, we were having so much fun sailing I guess we didn’t have time to notice it was a bit bumpy out.

Making long tacks, I’d call out just as I could see the whites of the crabs eyes, slipping through the eye we dodged ferry boats, the coast guard and many commercial fisherman, not many sailors out on this day.  I could hear the clink of bottles and tin cans as they settled into thier lockers as we pushed hard to weather. Sookie is stocked for the season with a few cases of this and that,which I still need to find homes for.  Every locker is stuffed to the brim with good food, treats and snacks and all sorts of secret pirate bountys. The wind carried us all the way to the breakwater and then vanished with the clouds leaving a warm sunny day.perfect for jumping on the Brompton and exploring inland.  

We climbed mountains with sailors legs, ducking, swerving and whooping the downhills all the way to best damn little bar this side of the Brick.  Back at the spa I slipped into the most elegant shower on this big blue earth washing a thousand salty miles from my wind and sun worn skin before plopping into the jacuzzi.  Fresh and refreshed we made our way back to the boat for gin and tonics while we prepared our picnic dinner, packed a bottle of wine and set off to poach a hot sunny deck in utopia.  Night found its way to our party and our party  It’s way to Sookie, heater cranking out BTU’s, Sookies butternut interior pulsed with the base as my favorite playlist spun us into the night. 

In three days we sailed, toured by bike on Lopez, Orcas and San Juan.  Drank the right amount of wine, feasted on way too much good food and and smoked a little contraband.  We stayed up late and slept in as long as we chose too.  I can’t say for sure what a sailing blog is supposed to be like but I’ll be damned if I don’t know how to tell the story of a sailor.  I guess a lifetime and a bagillian sailing miles around the planet  teaches us thing or two about life and living. 

The wind is moaning through the rigging, I’m  alone, warm and tired, a great glass of wine in  one hand and a Cohiba in the other. Little Sookie is in rare form gently tugging at her many dock lines waiting for our next adventure.  Content I lean back and remember the first of many times I sailed in and out of  Cabo, this one I was solo. I paddled to shore and an old man on the beach asked me if my surfboard was my dingy, no I replied, it’s my life raft. 

If you want it badly enough you will make it happen and if you don’t you will make excuses.  From the log of Sookie 48 degrees north 

My brain is broken

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I stumbled dizzy and light headed back to the boat.  I quietly closed the hatch sat down and let out a deep sigh.  Tears welled up in my eyes and the flood gates opened, I wasn’t crying because i was sad, it’s more like the weight of the world had been lifted off of my shoulders.  I’ve been fighting a lonely battle for thirty years and for the first time in my life somebody actually listened to me.  My brain is broken.
It's not me its my A.D.D.
The next step is off to see a neurologist, maybe something can be done. If I was in a wheel chair or on crutches, somebody, anyone might actually listen to me but because I walk up right, I’ve always been blown off, even by my best friends and family. Explaining it is like saying look right there in front of you, it’s a flying saucer, but they don’t see anything so they think you are crazy.

I’ve had to work 10 times harder than the average person just to survive any given day.  I can’t read a menu  or a job application, or even the directions on the new pills I’m suppose to be taking.  People always ask me why the only thing I ever order in a restaurant is bacon and eggs, I haven’t been able to read print for over 10’years.  I’m so  grateful   to have my vision that I don’t complain, I see beauty in everything and appreciate every ounce of what I can see.  It all comes at a cost though which is head aches, blurred double vision dizziness, loss of alertness, loss of appetite due to being natious half the day.  it’s a nightmare that I’ve been living for 30 years now and I’m totally ok with it.  My ear infection led me to a chance meeting with and awesome Doctor.  Mild discussion turned a little deeper, she suggested I see a nurologist and explained how and why my brain was formed from birth.  My reconstructive eye surgery cured one huge problem but created a new one.  My brain and eyes have been in a knock down drag out fist fight every waking moment of my life.  My brain doesn’t believe what my eyes tell it and my eyes don’t  believe what my brain tells them.

It s such an amazing relief to finally have one single soul  tell me I’m not crazy and explain why. So life goes on, the challenge is greater every day and I’m up to it.  Time for a nap and then a nice ride on Brompty, life is good here in the islands.  I’m often asked how I can be so spastically happy every second of the day.  The answer is because I value every single second of the life I have been given. If this is the worst thing that happens to me I am truly the luckiest man alive. 

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.”   ― Helen Keller

The Brompton life

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Why is it so effing cold in here. On a full belly of chicken stew my mind almost feels clear. I have to take another one of those damn pills soon and back into the fog I will slide. Another cold stormy night, the tropical days of riding my little Brompty through islands of Hawaii are but a distant memory.

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im exhausted from yesterday’s storm, boats… A good home for sure but my attention is being pulled in every direction, Sookie, Rainbow and Brompty all competing for our painfully short spring days. I’m still torn between the islands, Bellingham and Port Townsend but I have till the end of the month to figure it out.  I’m spazimg toward riding my little Brompton from the Artic circle, starting on the solstice and heading south. I need movement badly.

All of this being cooped up feels so claustrophobic, my muscles atrophying and my mind numb with boredom. Everything is so easy on the bike, ride, eat, sleep, repeat as necessary. In my blindness I’m finding the boat to be more of a master than a servant but the bike has no bounds. Far too many hours spent in my quarter berth studying the very beautiful interior of Sookie.  Aboard her I feel like I’m living inside a ukulele, I don’t want to give up my little home but the cold is too much, It taxes my days, my journal is a jumble of madness pictures of long winding roads, doodles of Brompty and upgrades, there are always upgrades.  A polar shift is happening, I can only imagine where it will find me.
“To bike, or not to bike: that is not a question”

Love and rum

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Digging through my lockers looking for something fun to eat I stumbled across a bottle of Caribbean rum, this could be fun I thought to myself.  My last can of pineapple was served for dinner and the nectar of the islands made a perfect rum punch. writers and booze, go figure.

  
The Internet is down and I’m sick of all the books aboard so I pulled out my old log book for a trip down the islands of time.  The boat was an old Ericson 27 purchased through probate, it set us back 2500 bucks and came with a brand new Diesel engine and the wrong prop.  Day one we added new rigging, the sails were tired and we couldn’t coax more than 2.2 knots at 2200 rpm’s with that crap propeller.  Easter weekend at Catalina was amazing but all too soon we had to get back to the mainland.  We didn’t have a dingy so I jumped the shore boat for a ride to grab 4 lattes for the 26 mile sail to Seal Beach.  It looked a bit nasty out so I asked the driver If she had heard the weather, she told me it was blowing 15 knots and should be a beautiful sail home.  I remember thinking it looked a lot more like 25 but it all slipped from my mind. Julie my then girlfriend was very new to sailing and I didn’t want to scare her on the maiden island voyage of our little sailboat.

We had the main up before exiting the protected harbor of Avalon and the big jib want up just as fast.  Less than five minutes after leaving the harbor and out of the lee of the island it hit us hard.  The boat slammed over as I released the jib,, we were instantly out there and it was freaking crazy.  I passed the helm to Julie who was already a rocking sailor after about 5 day sails.  I got the big jib down while waves rolled across our decks burring me knee deep with every avalanch of water.  I didn’t have any type of harness so I tied a rope around my waist and the mast on my way to put up the little jib.  It was still way too much so I came back to reef the main sail.  I had to lower the whole sail, reef it and then pull it back up.  The swells were huge and half the battle was just staying on deck.  I got the sail down and in the process the slug retainer fell loose and out went the entire main sail only held by the foot and Haliard.  I looked back at Julie and smiled as I cursed the weather.  I got the whole sail back aboard and fast to the boom, then crawled back to the cockpit.

One look back at the island and I was surprised at how small it already was, we discussed the sail plan and while still were over powered we went with just the little jib. I told Julie if she wanted to call it and head back to Avalon for a drink it was now or never.  She asked me if we were in any danger and when I told her no she smiled and screamed into the wind.  Sitting behind her, my arm wrapped around the winch to keep me from falling overboard I took pictures of the huge seas rolling right over our bow, it was beautiful and frightening all at the same time.  Foam streaked across the surface of the water, the rigging moaned  its mournful song and our little boat was booking.  

Next thing I know I’m underwater having been slammed by a huge wave, both of us were awash as the cockpit was full of water.  In the back of my mind my biggest fear is that Julie was going to flip her wig.  I popped up searching for her face as and as she popped up drenched and sporting the biggest smile I have ever seen, she screamed over the wind, what the fuck! We got the boat back under control and continued on without a care in the world, this girl is a sailor.  The further we got away form the islands the smaller and less steep the waves got until they were down to about 12′ with 25 knots of fairly steady breeze.  Back at the dock a local racer came over and asked where we came in from, when we told him he asked if we would join his crew, couldnt get any of his buddies to sail on days like today.  We both declined preferring out private little world.  After the boat was all wrapped up, I gave Julie a hug, and handed her a glass of rum punch, she was and still is the real deal.  There is no better feeling that being at sea with a good boat, a confident crew, and yo ho ho,  a bottle of rum.

Where ever  we want, we go.  Captian jack Sparrow 

My dream ship

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Being bedridden has its benefits. feeling to weak to do anything physically fun, I pulled put my old journal that I used when searching for the worlds finest pocket cruiser.  We all have a different set of persmters, so my list was for me.  I can honestly say that while I have found a few minor anoyances with the FC 22, by design, she is without a single fault.  Her quality of construction is far and away one of the finest  sailboats ever built but that is really neither here nor there.  Why pay for a blue water cruiser if your never going to sail more than 20 miles from your home port.

Sailing blog
My first and most important criteria other than finding a boat that was easy on the eyes was a very low ballast ratio, Sookie carries 33% and it was one of the main selling points.  Add 400 lbs of water and 3,000 lbs of personal gear and stores to a small boat and you are sunk.  I loved my Flicka beyond words but we simply couldn’t load enough gear without a massive speed handicap.  I would still sail that boat anywhere but it would be a solo endeavor or a painfully slow one, which would still be better than staying home.

Number two on the list was a good sailing boat.  I would never call Sookie fast but she has surprised quite a few bay racers over the course. Nothing in the world is more miserable than a slow boat.  My Westerly Cirrus Sport was the slowest sailboat on the planet.

Third on my list was what I call wandering self sufficiency.  Basically a boat that I can maintain and work on anywhere in the world without having to haul her out.  A stern hung rudder, a massive tabernachling mast step and a full length keel so she can be easily and safely careened.  I also  want a boat with a minimum of through hulls beneath my waterline, my Allegra had zero.  Sookie has three which as far as I’m concerned is three too many.

Number four is a good comefortable layout including a very manageable galley, the largest berths available, and multiple opening ports which no matter how many you have will never be enough in the tropics.  Sookies interior is near flawless with one huge problem.  Her quarter berths were raised quadrupling the storage but also making it so you can’t sit back without whacking your head either on the corner of the dog house, or the under deck storage boxes behind.  I have had plans to re do this since day one but I’m so greedy of her ample storage that I just can’t seem to bring myself to make the change.  This is Sookies number one most annoying feature, she only has two.  I’ve drawn a thousand different designs for her insides and can never find anything that beats lyles original drawing.  I’m even in the process of making a huge athwart ship double nest in the main cabin.  It pops in and out in 10 seconds and makes a wonderful playpen for lazy days like today.

5, Sookies   cockpit is big and wonderful with a very high bridge deck and seaworthy foot well.  Unfortunatly I’ve yet to figure out a way to make her cockpit comfy for long passages as she has no combing whatsoever.  I’m working on completing  her lifelines and lee cloths will be a big help, adding in good chill spots on watch but none of them will ever be protected from the weather.  I have a kick ass pair of foulies and an offer for two new free sets so on a small boat like the FC it just goes with the territory. On the flip side, her decks are incredibly wide for a boat with only an 8′ beam and her transition from cockpit foreward is very safe and easy. I agonized over her stanchion design wanting the tallest ones I could add without detracting from her beautiful lines, my first 3 years were without any and I’m quite pleased with what I have come up with. Sookie has a 6″ raised deck from the back of the dog house to the front of her scuttle hatch.  The double lifelines along this area are 22″inches and I’m adding a 48″ hight removeabke line for when at sea.  In her cockpit and foredeck the stanchions are 28″ high.  If I could do it over I think I could have snuck in an extra two inches but it’s such a fine line between sailing yacht and hobo on the water.  I’ll never add a single thing that takes away from Sookies lines or sailing ability.  Good clean uncluttered decks are safe and I like that feeling.

Last on the list is sail management and fittings.  I will never own a boat that has deck plates, I prefer outboard mounted chain plates as they rarely leak and if they do can be renewed for 10 bucks with no interior water damage.  I love roller furling but it has literally destroyed the performance of sailing ships in the name of saving a little work on the for deck.  Rarely will,you ever have the proper weight or size sail or sheets for that matter.  Cruising boats have what I call performance thirds.  A third is design, a third is water line, and the last third is sail plan.  Roller furling takes away 33 percent of you performance straight off.  The lazy factor in all of us that has us rolling in our head sail because its easier than reefing the main is an adittioanl performance penalty.  I’m not saying I don’t love roller furling but you still need just as many sails as Hank on, the only difference is that they are much more difficult to bend on.

Sookie is my elveth boat and I ve learned quite a bit over the years.  Today I got an email from a girl I have been consulting for, she wanted a full keel pocket cruiser to sail around the world even though she’s never skippered her own boat.  Today she closed on a beautiful Ericson 25 plus.  It cost less than 5k, in the last 4 years the seller added new sails, a new furling system, new rigging, all new cushions in and out and a new motor, it’s the cleanest little boat I have ever seen and shows in pride of ownership.  Best of all its in the marina only blocks from her home.  In a few weeks we start her sailing lessons and I asked her what she was going to do with all the money she saved.  Monday morning she is quitting her job and in a few weeks she moves aboard.  She is taking 6 months off to see if she loves sailing as much as she loves reading all the sailing blogs.  Her goal is the San Juan islands, small and beautiful just like her perfect little pocket cruiser.

I’m writing this because I’m bored and have cabin fever, every time I stand up I get dizzy so today is one of healing and rest.  My time could have easily been over this week.  The question is, how much time do you have.  Stop dreaming and go buy a boat And  do a little living while you can.  If you love it enough to make the big plunge and buy your dream boat so be it.  If it turns out to be more than you expected you can allways sell the boat, cross this one off your list and move on.  The only way you will ever know is by diving in head first, see you out there.
“Why did the old Persians hold the sea holy? Why did the Greeks give it a separate deity, and own brother Jove? Surely all this is not without meaning. And still deeper the meaning of that story of Narcissus, who because he could not grasp the tormenting mild image he saw in the fountain, plunged into it and was drowned. But that same image, we ourselves see in all rivers and oceans. It is the image of the ungraspable phantom of life; and this is the key to it all.” – Melville


The party’s over

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I really don’t know how to say this, so I will just spit it out.  The party’s over, and in a morbid way I feel guilty for letting everybody down.  Today I wrote my last will and testament.  Planning your own wake is actually quite fun, the plan is to have me cremated, put my ashes in my shit bucket and raid Sookies liquor stores which are ample.  Sail Sookie out, then throw the whole bucket, ashes and all into the deep blue ocean.  I have to say I was getting a bit jealous of the after party. The truth is my biggest worry through all of this is who will care for Sookie in the mannor in which she is accustomed.
Not for one single second  have I taken any of this seriously, I simply couldn’t give a rats ass about my last days.  I’m a pirate, a ninja and when my time comes I’m totally down with it.


Maybe that’s why I stay so young, because I haven’t a care in the world. I don’t have any stress not a single thought, when you live your life in the moment literally nothing can bring you down. Sure I won’t get to retire when I’m 75 and I doubt that anybody will feel sorry for me scrubbing toilets at that old age but the payoff for me at least is priceless.. I don’t have a plan, there are no dreams and wants and I’m not chasing my future. I simply exist in the time and space that I do and life is petty ok.

Of corse I have been given a wake up call, I’ve been burning the candle at both ends doing anything and everything I have to, to keep the party going.  I woke up today and it was petty fucking clear that my natural remodies weren’t working. A friend insisted I see the local nurse practitioner and that’s just what I did.  When she walked in she asked what was wrong and I told her straight up, I’m dying. She smiled and asked me why I thought I was dying. My answer, because everybody keeps telling me I’m gonna die.  This girl was seriously one of the most amazing encounters I’ve ever had in my entire life, we laughed and chatted and at some point she did do her doctor thing, turns out I have two haineous ear infections and just like that I was sent on my way with serious instructions and a promise that I would eat some food.  I’ve been a little too creative lately moving my food budget to the boat budget side.  Humm, take this, move it over here, and….it’s gone.
So that’s it, once again am a huge fucking let down, shit I’m the only person who can actually fuck up dying but I have to say I’m quite happy to get a few more good stories in while I’m at it.  Today I was notified that I may be 100% full of shit and I take those compliments very seriously. If my life seems to be lived beyond reality than I just may be doing something right.  Oh and my redicules vow I made, it was taken in a weakened state of mind, fuck that, I’m all in.

P.S. Thank you to all the people who sent me letters of concern but please don’t ever waste your valuable time worriying about me.  This isn’t my first rodeo.  I think Benjamin Franklin said it best when he said. “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”