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Starting Where You’re At

January 25, 2011

When I started this Point of Sail project one year ago, writing briefly about my friend Piper’s advice, “Start where you’re at”, and estimating that 2010 would be a “good year”, I had only a few simple ideas of what the year may hold. I love this about our universe: It takes such simple looking seeds of information and intent and develops intricate ecosystems of ideas, story, and living forms.

Now, reflecting on all that grew out of a year of uncertain floating (ship log), securely docked 20 miles south of San Francisco, swimming in ideas, imagining, despite some harsh realities the possibilities for an emerging ecological era, all-the-while still searching for meaningful, gainful employment, I am often bewildered as to where to start. The exercise of writing here is like trying to write down a wild dream, mid-dream, in order to remain lucid. And like an index finger may revolve around it’s nearest ear, I have come full circle.

The notion of “starting where you’re at” and two other notions my friend Piper relayed to me, have rooted, blossomed, and re-seeded since last year. These notions and the generally accepted dynamics of living systems and ecology (namely Positive Feedback, Self Organization, and Emergence) have bubbled up to the surface of my attention. Starting where I’m at means more than “looking to the moment”, it also means looking to the place.

Thomas Berry, in his book, “The Great Work” talks about this as the importance of understanding our “ecological geography”. I am attracted to this idea both as body of work I can contribute to (e.g. drafting ecological geographies), as well as a guide to being present on the Earth, as Thomas puts it, “in some mutually enhancing manner”. The idea of ecological geography is where I’m at.

This geography shows us more than the structure of the planet, it provides a basic understanding of the interrelated systems in which we find ourselves. It is an art which has been centuries in the making, and may now finally be coming to fruition- just in time.

A 14th-Century nautical chart of the Mediterranean Sea.

The Opte Project’s “graphing” of the internet (see lead image) offers a broad sketch of the immense complexity, and familiar beauty of our fledgling informational ecosystem. The maps the project produced have captured many people’s imaginations. As a part of the Creative Commons, they have been presented in a variety of contexts and are part of the permanent collection at The Museum of Modern Art.

Creative processes and technologies are emerging to describe ecosystems of all kinds, in all kinds of ways.

 
 
Ecosystem model of Caribbean reef foodweb- from the Pacific Ecoinformatics and Computational Ecology Lab (foodwebs.org)
 
 To fully embrace this art however, to give it meaning in our lives, consideration must be given to the structure, function, and interrelations of all ecosystems: living, informational, and industrial. It attempts to tells a deeper story while allowing us to derive our own meaning- our own true sense of place.

Conceiving of ecological geography in this way, I have been looking for signs of it in the world around me as well as on the web. It’s popping up everywhere, and developing rapidly.

A Google Images search for “Ontology” will open the door into a state of the art. Ontology- the study of the nature of being- is currently merging with the field of Computer Science…

The beauty is that the information age, a product of the industrial age, may be what allows us to properly understand the controls and impacts of our societal systems- enabling us at an individual level to collectively and effectively steer this ancient vessel of human presence. At least, that’s the dream.

So, I’m left to wonder: as a humble drafter with 6-years experience drafting, modeling, and rendering architectural bits of the industrial ecosystem, how can I help?

Until that point when employment marks my place, I will be splitting my time living aboard the Bruja Dulce in Redwood City and living in the Sierra Foothills at Skyline Eco-contemplative Retreat Center. In both places I find myself amidst a sea of possibilities. I feel open to following whatever trails beckon me into this emergent ecological era; whether graphical or physical in nature, whether by hire, by further study, or by my own rambled blazing.

Karisa will be moving to one of these areas in the late Winter. We’ll be together, somehow, and maybe we’ll begin some collaborations of our own.

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Hello San Francisco Bay

September 17, 2010

The Bruja and the Golden GateThe Bruja Dulce and Tuatara are now safely anchored in Sausalito, CA after a wild and lovely 7 1/2 day journey south from Washington State. These two giddy sea creatures, clearly thrilled to be at sea, spent the last four days galloping non-stop in a solid 15-25 knot north wind riding 8-10 foot following seas. The ride was like nothing I have ever experienced. The movement was constant and exhilarating, day and night.

As we approached the coast two nights ago, feeling the endless and comforting expansiveness of the open ocean slide to the west- the foggy, heavily trafficked, and rocky California coastline taking it’s place- we careened through the darkness in rising winds which peaked around 2am at (at least) 25 knots- both vessels tracking perfectly parallel, 1 mile apart, making 5 knots with the tiniest of jibs rolled out. The much colder waters (as low as 56 degrees), rose and fell behind us in a powerful and impulsive cadence. Thinking back, the feeling I had while on that midnight watch was similar to those I felt while playing cadences when I was younger- moving ceaselessly forward, in long lines of drums, surrounded by booming crashing sounds and knowing that to fall off, to fall out of time, to miss a beat, would be….bad. That much wind and water may seem intriguingly rhythmical while riding along it, but to face it in any other direction would spell the collapse of the parade, breaking heads, instruments, and players alike.

We were truly fortunate with our timing at all levels. It was worth leaving Neah Bay at night to stay ahead of less fortunate weather. The winds changed behind us- from north to south- all the way down the coast while we rode strong and favorable streams, much to our delight. The final descent to the coast brought us at full speed to the Golden Gate at exactly the desired time to pass under the bridge with the flooding tide and clearing fog. We sailed through this remarkable opening from the sea yesterday afternoon around 3:30pm- my little rainbow colored parafoil kite sailing above us (my cheap waterproof camera tied-on) as we crossed under.

My Dad and I sailed downwind and behind Alcatraz with the kite camera above us taking photographs. The moment for me was, for now, something far beyond description. I grew up around here, and have seen many of the sights, but that afternoon arrival on the bay revealed a beauty and energy which is altogether new to me. I can say that I’m happy to be here. I feel I’m in the right place- at the right time. Tomorrow we will pull the Bruja Dulce into her new slip at Pete’s Harbor Marina in Redwood City.

As the telling of a story is borderline sacred to me, it will be a while before I can fully wrap my words and (many thousands of) photographs around this experience. For now, as regards the well being of both vessels and crew, just know that everything is copacetic.

crews

 

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Hello Ocean.

September 12, 2010

Day3

2010.09.10:
Hello? This is like a dream. Is this this the North Pacific Ocean? This is not what I expected.

It’s warm here, dry, sunny, the winds are fair. I thought I was off the Oregon coast, heading for California. Am I in the trade winds? Going to Tahiti? I have my shirt off. It’s 70 degrees in the cabin. The water is 63 degrees- I expected 55 or less. I thought it would be cold and wet, but everything is dry. I have the stars and Tuatara’s lights to steer by at night. There are so many beautiful points in the darkness. We’re sailing through the Milky Way.
Kevin and Ben caught a tuna yesterday. They were going to share it with us but they ate it all before catching up to us. We found a fair north wind. It’s built to 10-15 knots and we’re making 4-5 knots due south- running with the following seas.
The Bruja is sailing herself. The miles are rolling away like surplus currency in exchange for this surreal experience. Can I afford this? We’re having the time of our lives. At times it’s like we’re flying, floating, both. This is too easy. The forecasts call for more of the same.
This is like another world, but this is the Earth- the Ocean. It’s nice to meet you.

2010.09.11:
Our position as of 9:06am PST is 42.46 North and 126.09 West.
I tried to send this message yesterday but I’ve been having a hard time connecting to HF stations. Wish I could send everyday. Not picking up any email yet either…

Over last night the seas built into a lumpy mess. We’re now in about 20 knots north wind with a wee piece of jib up. Still flying- have some non-stop turbulence though. Still dreamy, but sleep is hard to come by in the lumps. We have the brakes on, making 3.5-4 knots, waiting for Tuatara. I last spoke with them at 7:30pm yesterday. They caught another fish, a huge one, but couldn’t get it on board. I think we sailed south too far from them for VHF. Hoping to fly the kite when they catch up and get some photos of the two boats sailing.
Another sunny day. Last night the sky was completely clear all night. Dolphins came and swam with the boat for a while- electric blue beings playing in the bow wake under a moonless, bright galaxy.

46 miles to the California border. We’ll likely time our arrival under the Golden Gate to Wednesday morning, September 15th. Will send more messages as possible.

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Ahoy.

September 10, 2010

going

Ahoy! Our position is 45.55.50 North and 125.58.45 West as of 11am PST.
Tuatara is about 8 miles south of us and we are in communication over VHF every four hours or so.
We arrived yesterday afternoon into a steady W to WNW ocean wind that is minute by minute settling us more comfortably into this passage.
Dad and I are feeling nearly caught up on sleep now. Our flight from Victoria through Neah Bay had us traveling nearly non-stop..

More later, the Winlink station I’m hoping to use just opened up… All is well!

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On The Air

September 6, 2010

in the air near Victoria- nice beam reach
The Bruja Dulce will be sailing out of Victoria, BC this morning, with my Dad and I fully on board. It’s one day earlier than we had planned. A favorable but narrowing weather window along the coast is adding impetus to our timing.

In this brief, calm moment after a last land-breakfast for while, I’m taking stock and I’m thinking that everything and everyone seems in good order- ready to go. It’s a pleasant surprise, and a little different than I had imagined. I can’t remember a time on land where I have made such an effort to prepare for a 7-10 day trip. Here, finally at this point, between years of anticipation and the slippery slope of ocean sailing itself, the dense piece of cake that my months of preparations now seem to be have an additional, unexpected fluffy frosting of the last week’s successes.

Most importantly, my Dad and I have successfully sent an email using the boat’s shortwave radio from Cadboro Bay, here in Victoria, BC through a private HAM station in Petaluma, California, about 800-miles away. This means we will (likely) be able to get on the air and send reports of our position and condition as we sail down the coast. I have set up “post by email” with WordPress, and if all goes well, we will be posting to this blog everyday from offshore. If nothing shows up for two weeks, however, try not to worry- the weather looks good all the way down the coast and the Bruja Dulce was made for this kind of thing…

On the air, Victoria, broad reach

Victoria from our room

rummikub

Rummikub- I couldn't help but set up the time-lapse camera.... we had fun.

During this week here in Victoria with my family, in addition to enjoying the sites and long sessions of Rummikub, we have been cooking all our meals in this two-bedroom, 7th-floor, condo-type hotel room. And in addition to these meals we have made two extremely large batches of soup- totaling about 3-4 gallons- and have frozen them in separate, meal-sized portions. We have tons of good food- ready to go.

soup making

Split-pea with typical ingredients plus kale, parsnip, turnip, and chard stalks.

This is allowing great happiness to enter my thoughts of the sea- the aroma of homemade split-pea and eleven-bean soups each with a dozen fresh vegetables and spices nicely cooked-in, mixing from the warm steam onto the salt sprayed air. This is an important preparation. Even the saltiest of sailors and pirates benefit from good food.

Lastly, the one day my Dad, Pam, Chris and I went sailing in the waters here near Victoria, I decided (finally having some crew to back me up) to try flying my kite aerial photography rig from the boat. kiteThe little parafoil kite I have been using has always been unstable. I have tried a number of things to stabilize it but nothing has seemed to work. As such, I had little expectations for the flight.

I was surprised.

At the end of the kite string (almost), the kite high and magically stable on the air, in the sky, a speck, (500? 1000? feet away), the  camera taking photos every 10 seconds, I think we were all surprised. The photographs from the flight speak to how I am feeling right now.

We will sail across the Strait of Juan de Fuca to Port Angeles today to clear customs back in the US. We will leave Port Angeles with the tide this afternoon and sail to Crescent Bay or Clallam Bay to anchor for the night. Tomorrow, we will sail to Neah Bay, the last stop, and meet up with Kevin and his crew on Tuatara. We’re leaving together to sail down the coast.

Tomorrow, September 7th, is also both my Dad’s and Kevin’s birthday and I plan on baking them a carrot cake in Neah Bay in honor. We will likely leave Neah Bay early in the morning on September 8th.

Farewell for now!

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Getting to the Point

August 30, 2010

Movement is essential, and can come in endless forms- yet movement is essentially formless, and it’s outcome is always uncertain.

For more than one year now, as movement has become the norm in my life, and especially for the last four months, I have been confronting uncertainty with increasing regularity. It’s like I’ve started a new job since losing one, and it appears that my new co-workers are of made of this deeply intimidating “character”. I have been both frightened and awed by working so closely with uncertainty, but I am finally getting to the point where I am no longer afraid of it.

hiking through CoveloThree weeks ago, after leaving Live Power farm and hiking a few miles through Covelo, I was picked up hitchhiking and taken fifty miles by a young mother with her eleven month-old boy in the back seat. This was the first time I had ever stuck my thumb out over a road that was not on an island. It was also the first time I had ever left to travel three states without a car or a ticket to ride. I got two more interesting rides before catching a Greyhound in Ukiah.

San Fran from bus

A grey San Fran from the Greyhound bus- the Golden Gate Bridge beyond.

5 Greyhounds, 5 other species of buses, one floating ferry, a thumbed-Cherokee, and 10,000 Orcas Island feet on foot later, a nice woman who, despite it being nearly midnight, and despite driving the opposite direction and my thumb not being out, turned her vehicle around to offer me and my 60lb pack a ride. A little stunned, I accepted, and was taken the last 4 miles back to Deer Harbor by this friendly Cajun creole teacher- ending the 36-hour, 800-mile tack in this larger 5000+-mile summer’s road-journey.

Getting to the point by road

Somewhere in California

Somewhere in California, a little west of the Central Valley

napa valley marina

A scene from the Napa Valley Marina (and boat yard). I hope to make may way here at some point, but I will likely stay in Redwood City at Pete's Harbor Marina first.

Throughout the miles I rambled on roads this spring and summer, I’ve been contemplating and scheming, unearthing and developing- ideas, broad-reaching and yet hauled close to my chest. The beautiful and unfamiliar lands and roads I discovered in my home state, the warm and dry air, the dust (you can begin to miss dust living on a boat), the time away from my crazy offshore rigging world, and the time with loved-ones were all salubrious and inspiring. The time was sound-tracked and synchronistically enriched for me by a book on “tape” by Eckhart Tolle, “A New Earth”- a concise articulation of generations of accumulated human wisdom.

In contrast, and always lurking behind evolutionary thoughts, however, is “The Real World”: the immediate need for food, health, shelter and good company which is often found tangled up with money and status. Throughout this movement I also explored Bay Area marinas, devised live/work options and reacquainted myself with the rugged West Coast and the chilly NE Pacific Ocean which will be my home for 7-10 days in September.

Oregon Coast lighthouse

Hecata Head Lighthouse in Oregon, overlooking a typical inhospitable shore.

It was all deeply sobering. A rendering of my “real world” scenario depicts me arriving by my mortgaged, moorage-needing, time and money-hungry floating-home to this bankrupt state, unemployed, and essentially broke. Painted in contemporary style, the image is grim. It conjures the frightening spirit of social uncertainty that many in this world are now facing. However, I recognize this uncertainty as that genie which may grant assistance in times of need- in the form of motivation, creativity, and inventiveness. And in not fearing it, I believe it has joined my crew- though I can’t be certain.

The end of this movement by land three weeks ago marked the continuation, and in a way, the new beginning of another, altogether different movement by water. I left the Cayou Quay Marina on July 31st and have been on the move ever since- sailing single-handed, only stopping for a few days at a time. I sailed south 100 miles from the San Juans Islands, across the Strait of Juan de Fuca, past Seattle to Vashon Island and Dockton (running errands and saying goodbyes). I then cruised back north up to Orcas, then further north to Waldron, Sucia and the northern-most island I could find, Patos, then back to Orcas.

Getting to the point by water

San Juan Tracks

I used only my sails to move the majority of these miles (thus the zig-zags) and let each day unfold on it’s own. Through this, the allure and true nature of the wind and the water made themselves more clear- that they are an embodiment of physical uncertainty. I began to see my movement as a dialogue with this blind-seer, uncertainty, and each unforeseen event as a unique commentary as opposed to something adversarial or fearful:

flight to Blake Island

This flight from Fauntleroy Cove across the Sound to Blake had "free night" written all over it.

I was barked out of Fauntleroy Cove one evening by a local madman repeatedly shouting, “You want another free night here!? huh?!”. I faced the reality of engine trouble, alone, east of Vashon, and had to rely solely on the wind for a day to bring me to a safe anchorage at Blake Island (turquoise zig-zag). And I had to flee a crowded anchorage in Friday Harbor after the wind picked up at 2am, heading out under a black and starry moonless sky.

The flight north from Friday Harbor

The flight north from Friday Harbor- light just beginning to show in the east.

This last event was a final poignant statement. As I motored out of Friday Harbor into the darkness of San Juan Channel, a strong 15-20 knots of invisible wind behind me, I slowly released my gaze from the multiple back-lit screens showing my GPS position on an electronic chart. The deep blackness of my surroundings began to take form as my night vision returned. The white-capping water in the channel began to show as an electric bio-luminscent blue, sparking and crackling with each crest. I shut the engine off and let out a tiny triangle of headsail. I sat back in my little wooden chair and took shelter from the following wind behind my newly hung weather-cloths and a thick wool blanket.

The sound of the wind and the water, heightened by the darkness was so far from frightening I could hardly stand it. The stars, the countless points, some rocketing away with the tail end of the Perseid showers, the brilliant blue stream trailing behind the Bruja Dulce as we sailed at walking speed up the channel, the knowledge that the sun would rise and the sky would lighten as I approached the spacious anchorage in Deer Harbor- marking the end of my two-week journey to Seattle and back- all of it, in that moment, spoke loud and clear. I wasn’t afraid, nor did I feel blindly invincible, only surrendered. I couldn’t wait to head offshore, to California, to sail at night and to see all those points again on the open ocean, to see Karisa, my family, my friends at Skyline and Live Power, and to simply see what happens- not expecting, only suggesting. It was a final movement in a slow and graceful change of watch in my life, a change that has been years in the making.

I’m not alone in getting to this point.

Tuatara and the Bruja Dulce in Massacre Bat

Kevin's boat, "Tuatara", and the Bruja Dulce in Massacre Bay. Both the boats and their owners are good friends now. I think Kevin got to this point long ago. As he puts it, he's 5 years into his circumnavigation, having spent it all so far in this lovely archipelago.

Kevin rowing us out to the Libertatia

Kevin rowing us out to meet the Libertatia and crew

Since arriving back in Deer Harbor, and reconnecting with Kevin in Massacre Bay, I have been introduced to s/v Libertatia and her crew of five Libertatees. These guys (four guys and a gal) are very special, I dare say blessed, and get right to this point. They collectively salvaged and renovated this 1950’s wooden beauty with the time and resources most in the developed world can hardly recognize: free-time, and free, salvaged parts and pieces. From their early 20’s to early 30’s in age, blacksmiths, boat-builders, farmers, sailors….pirates of the modern day- their treasure is clear, intangible, and free for the taking.

LibertatiaKevin and Libertatees

Tuatara and the Bruja Dulce

Tuatara and the Bruja Dulce in Massacre Bay

The Libertatia, Tuatara, and the Bruja Dulce are all planning on heading down the coast within days of each other. Tuatara and the Libertatia may stop in San Francisco to make repairs and re-supply, but will continue on from there: maybe Hawaii, Mexico….the South Pacific. I feel somehow beyond fortunate to have met these adventurers. Just as I had begun tentatively penciling these notions of uncertainty, fearlessness, and freedom in my mind, these characters materialized and colored in the sketch with brilliant and living color. I truly hope our fortunes favor more meeting, more sketching, more coloring.

I have updated the Ship Log page to summarize all of this summer’s events and movements by water. The details, which are somewhat more to the point, will have to wait until later this year to be articulated, but I do believe I am getting to them. For now, this video, cherry-picking some of the most interesting clips and time-lapse sequences (I’ve taken well over 50,000 images this summer) may give you an idea of my movement.

– The voice in the car is an excerpt from Eckhart Tolle’s “A New Earth”
– The song is “Peng33!” by Iron and Wine
 
 
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Leaving Green Isles & Al Green’s Leaving

July 21, 2010

Thursday July 8th- Orcas Hotel, Orcas Island, WA- I’ve been working for over one month now on Orcas Island (and other nearby islands) preparing for my upcoming offshore passage south to California. The Bruja Dulce is not entirely prepared, nor am I, but things are finally coming together. The heavy weight of reality is lifting in the warm, north, offshore summer breeze and I think I’m going make it- just in time for a September departure.

Yesterday I felt free enough to sew a kite-aerial-photography rig (an unnecessary but long-wished-for part of my rigging) and test it from nearby Yellow Island, seen above, whose caretaker you can see in the photo telling me, “This is a nature preserve, not a recreation area”.

The south porch of the Orcas Hotel overlooking the ferry landing

Enough work has been done that I’ve decided it’s time for me to leave Orcas Island- to drive south to California. I’m going to visit and work with Karisa and the noble crew at Live Power Community Farm near Mendocino as well as my dear friends at Skyline Harvest in the Sierra Foothills. I’ll also be leaving my car in the Golden State, so it’ll be there when my Dad and I arrive by boat in two months.

Right now, sitting on the porch at the Orcas Hotel waiting for a ferry, I’m looking around and noting that I feel a little out of place, and scuzzy- like I’ve been in the wilderness for over a month. I’m wondering if anyone else sipping their coffee here on the porch can sense, or smell, the detachment I feel.

Just this morning I was woken at 5am- anchored fore and aft, alone, in a small and shallow bay off Jones Island- by the sound of an otter eating a crab in my dinghy. A little later, while having my own breakfast, I made the spontaneous decision to make a noon-ferry off Orcas island and begin my road trip south.

I nearly ran aground while weighing the anchors and sailing off of them- the experience and hot sun triggering ample sweat by 8am. Barely cooled down by the short sail back to Deer Harbor- having spent most of the time pulling seaweed off the anchors while Ray, the autopilot, steered through the warm, evergreen scented air flowing over Orcas Island- I broke a full sweat again while docking solo. Then, after packing for the trip and closing the boat up in less than 45 minutes, I hurriedly heaved the dinghy up on deck- realizing as I flipped the small craft upside-down onto my un-shirted back that I had never cleaned up the otter’s crab breakfast. With this coating of juices and too many bags, I flip-flopped as fast as I could, my hands going numb, another layer of sweat bubbling-up, to my die-hard, baking in the sun, no-AC-having Camry- which has been inhabited since early June by a Californian lizard I have named “Toyota” (a story for another time).

I missed the noon-ferry.

Such was the punctuation for this 5-week run-on sentence of offshore rigging work and low-budget self-sufficiency training. A period which was harried by fits of feverish and sometimes desperate internet research and which necessarily included parenthetical weekends of sailing to nearby islands, often alone.

Rebuilding winches

I worked at least five days per week on the boat. About 2/3 of the time I was physically working, and the other 1/3 of the time I spent with my head hung over my laptop figuring out what I needed to do and how to do it (and looking for jobs). I blame this anxious and excessive “screen time” with my not wanting to do much else with the laptop.

Trying to mend with my old Nelco machine

However, I am ever grateful to the emerging sphere of collective consciousness that exists within the cloud of the Internet. With it, I was able to tap into the experiences of not only other offshore sailors, but offshore sailors of Tayana 37 cutter-rigged sailboats like the Bruja. The Tayana Owner’s Group forums became daily reading for me.

Repairing the bowsprit

Off to the right, I have posted an “Offshore Listings” page which outlines this first list of important preparations. A number items have been checked off this list but there’s still some whoppers left to check (and pay for). I plan on writing more about maintenance techniques- to add conscientiously to the cloud- but for now, the new page, these few images, and the video I have posted below will give a glimpse into the nature of the work.

Mending the Bruja Dulce's mainsail on the nicely mowed lawn on Jones Island

My violin-maker-neighbor, Vince, the proud owner of my old Apple iMac, holding a gift for Karisa.

Friday July 9th, Seaside Hostel, Seaside, OR- During this time, my neighbors at Cayou Quay Marina in Deer Harbor have been a godsend. These blossoming friendships have brought me sound advice, valuable equipment, and have bore wholly unexpected treasures. I have learned that trading my own time and no-longer needed items with these kindred liveaboards yields returns many-fold beyond such marketplaces as eBay or Craigslist. My neighbor, Lee, especially, has transcended being merely neighborly, and has helped me immensely. I am grateful to him, Vince, Joseph, Kevin, and Eric. It will be tough to leave this neighborhood in August.

But despite this small marina community, and despite sailing with visiting friends the first weekend in June, it has been a somewhat lonely time. I sailed subsequent weekends alone, venturing 6-10 miles to other islands.

Sailing to Stuart Island, alone, Ray at the helm- captured during a time-lapse sequence

Learning to single-hand the Bruja Dulce in the San Juan Islands has been incredible. On my first single-handed Saturday, three weeks ago, I sailed for five hours in the sun letting a CD Karisa made for me cycle over and over. That afternoon was a peak experience which I’m only just beginning to understand, and which I plan on sharing in full as my time allows. The result of this experience was positive, I became determined and confident. However, there was a strange and torturous side effect: the Al Green song “Tired of Being Alone”, third track on the CD, spilled like milk into my brain- seeping into every last cranny of my consciousness, and sticking like honey.

When I say “song”, I mean three or four measures of the song. It wasn’t the song at all, in fact. It was just Al, and his refrain, “I’m so tired of being alone, I’m so tired of on-my-own, wont you help me girl, just as soon as you can…”

I ate with Al, I worked with Al, and yes, I went to sleep with Al. The first thing my consciousness encountered in the morning was Al- crying to me while I lay in the forecastle.

After 10 days or so, when he seemed to be getting comfortable in the salon of my internal dialogue, I began asking him to leave, “That’s enough, Al.” “Please stop, Al.” After 20 days, “Stop!” “Shush!”. When he wouldn’t let up, these requests sometimes escaped the gravitational field of my sanity and manifest as odd mutterings.

Beginning my homepathic treatment: animating time-lapse and editing while camping on the Oregon coast the night before arriving at Live Power Farm

Thursday June 15th, Live Power Community Farm, Covelo, CA – Even as I left left the San Juan Islands, and drove down the coast, Al was with me. On the drive, I concocted a homeopathic treatment. I decided to make a short film, set to Al’s song, so I would be forced to listen to it over and over while planning and editing. Maybe this is more shock-therapy than homeopathy, I don’t know. The treatment helped in my recovery, but there was an obvious cure.

Harvesting is well underway by sunrise

While visiting Karisa during her internship at Live Power Farm, I am asked to help out on the farm- to join the crew in exchange for room and board during my stay. This is my third time staying with Karisa and working, eating, and playing alongside these wonderful people. It is my pleasure. Incredible things are happening here. The work being done, the thoughts being shared (so often the most poignant and cheerful while hoeing or weeding in +100º), the food being grown and prepared, their wild and diverse stories being inked in the fabric of human consciousness, all of it, so wonderful to be a part of- a crew, so……not alone.

I am dedicating, for whatever it’s worth, all the hours I put into this video to the Live Power Crew and the Decaturs. Because, while I happen to have the time to share all of this, they are working 60 hours or more per week, lovingly, achingly, and sometimes sleepily, growing lively food for themselves and 125+ families in the Bay Area- their other passions and interests mostly at bay while they learn and teach the practices which will help the full diversity of life grow more sustainably through people. Their sacrifice will come back many-fold, I’m sure. All the best, and see you in the Bay Area soon- when you can join my crew for a while!

Photos for Karisa and Elijah (because they asked), and all those wanting to see more of what it’s like up in the SJ’s:

Speiden and Jones Island from Yellow Island

Sunset over Waldron Is.- Canadian Gulf Islands and Vancouver Island beyond

Deer Harbor from the top of the Bruja

The Bruja, anchored off of Jones Island- Yellow Island beyond

Speiden, Vancouver, and Gulf Islands

I love this boat! It was anchored next to me at Jones Island. The crew appeared to be Grandfather and Grandkids. Cute!

David of Waldron- I plan on finding him and having another chat, seems like an interesting guy