Monday, March 31, 2008


Senioritis is setting in. I've got 12 more days of work left, but I feel like I could just leave tomorrow. And take the afternoon off.

Every day that I go out into the wind, I can feel the sharpening effect it has on my spirit. And every day I go into my office, I can feel the grinding of bureaucracy against my edges.

I've got the shakedown tour planned. In three weeks I'll be heading out for a sea trial, up to Victoria and on to Bellingham. It will test my navigation when I'm out on the Strait of Juan De Fuca, something I've never been tested on before. I have always sailed close enough to land that I can see where I am on a map, and don't need to take compass readings. I'll have a GPS on board, but I think I'll try to navigate my way as much as I can by compass and charts.

Oh, and the above three pictures were taken by Jed Smith.

Sunday, March 23, 2008


The feeling came on slowly, like afternoon turns to evening. Before I knew it, I found that all the things I've worked so hard to get to were unsatisfying. Ultimate Frisbee wasn't good enough, I couldn't find myself enchanted by any women, (except one, perhaps) and my heart wasn't in my new job, that I had figured to be a wonderful step up, and in the right direction. Things were working out great, and I didn't want to be a part of them anymore.
So I've begun my preparations...
I gave Pelinore (to the right) away, and found a new boat: Altair. Altair is a star in the constellation Aquila, or Aquila the Eagle, who is the eagle that retrieves the thunderbolts thrown by Zeus. Pretty hefty job. So Altair has some dangerous cargo in her hold. Anyways, she's an Ericson 27, built in 1971, and has a nice little 11 hp diesel engine. Since I bought her in January, I've been adding things to make her more cruise-friendly, like an autopilot, a bowsprit (for anchoring, for flying a spinnaker), and speakers and solar panels. In the picture to the right you can see the solar panels and the Bowsprit. And the flagpole, of course.
I also got a canoe, which serves as a great "ship-to-shore" boat, because it can take a lot of cargo and two or three people, and it tows along nicely. Warren and I tested it out at Blake Island, and it works great. I've added a few things to the interior as well. I put in an Inverter, so I can plug in normal electronics (120V AC) into the batteries (which are 12V DC) and have them work. Warren and I tested this out as well, and we watched Into the Wild on my computer.
The next project is to get a heater for the boat, because it gets quite cold at night. I've got three weeks of work left.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The end is the beginning

The spring winds are blowing in Seattle now, and the cool salty air brings a fresh perspective on life. There have been a lot of things to think about in the past months, about life, work, and travel. And I've finally made the plunge, to take the step in my own direction.
When I went to visit Sarah Plants in the hospital, on the day she died, I came away with a stark realization about life. Here she was, lying in a bed and straining for breath, warm to the touch, but in my mind, and in the minds of most of the people there, already gone. Her body was slowly becoming an empty shell, just another piece of decaying organic matter.
I returned to work only to find that I too was decaying slowly. I was waiting for death, instead of fighting for life, and it bothered me. Then at Sarah's funeral I was deeply touched by how many people had wonderful stories about her, and how she inspired and continues to inspire bravery in everyone she knew. It made me want to throw a frisbee in a crowd, it made me want to talk to the pretty girls I've seen but hadn't the guts to approach, and it made me want to live.
And the truth is, I've been waiting for this moment all my life. I've been waiting for tomorrow, but tomorrow continues to be just a day away. I'm tired of waiting. It may not be the right decision, but it is mine to make. So I've done (finally) what I've been talking about doing for years. Now that the hardest part is over, its time to get down to planning the journey. More on that to come....