28 December, 2005

Back to the south

Back home with family and alll that comes with it:
Ice cream, honey-baked hams, late-night movie watching, ducks, gin and tonics.
Christmas was grand as always.  Some things don't change so much.

21 December, 2005

Back from the South

Just got in from Mexico.  Sailed down on Lift with Dan and Sonia.  Great trip.
Now I am back in San Diego and getting my own ship ready to head out.   But after Christmas.

17 December, 2005


I'm using internet in the biggest West Marine in the world.   Just weird.
Ben and Moriah are leaving for the south.  I'm really bummed.  Very bummed indeed.  And they're heading for the Canal and the Caribbean--not my way.
But we've had such fun.  Such very, very good times.
Tilikum is here now and that is refreshing, talking about all that may lie before us.  So much is in the mix and making.

14 December, 2005

Mariner's Cove

Sailed from San Diego Harbor to Mission Bay.   Once again I sailed out with Hubris.  We had nice wind for a while and decidd the time was ripe for a race, to prove finally whose boat was the fastest under sail.
And in this there was a clear and decisive winner:  Me.
It was good fun.  When we made the anchorage we found our friends Sonya and Dan waiting and cheering for us.  Together we went into town and drank a few and ate a meal.  There boat, Lift, looked beautiful.  It was great to all be together again.
This was all two days ago.  Yesterday we went into Ocean Beach.  Today Dan and Sonya left for San Diego proper.  I stayed and did a bit of boat stuff, found a library and lurched around town a bit.
Tomorrow I head back to town and hope to leave or make further plans then.
The 24th I leave for home.

06 December, 2005

life's little synchronic moments

Who can judge good from bad?     Example:
Yesterday morning Hubris and I were both to leave the public / police dock for the A-9 / cruiser anchorage.  Well Ben left and I did not.  My engine finally died in earnest.  She wouldn't start.  Ben went on and I was left to take apart my fuel system to find the cause. 
After a big mess I found a faulty injection pump.
After a bit of networking I found a guy who could test it and repair it on the cheap.  Not so bad.  It would cost me a few nights more at the public dock; I'd have to pay a bit for the repairs--no choice there.  I'd simply try and make the most of the time and mess to change my oil, fuel filters, and fix a leak while I'm in the bilge.
However, a positive I could never have foreseen emerged as I sliced an orange for breakfast this morning.  Some guy at the other end of the dock was talking loud enough for me to ease-drop without really paying attention.  But I tuned in as he said, "yea, I've got a bunch of stuff to sell.  You know, doesn't hurt to get the word out."
I thought, damn right.  I need to get my hot chocolate and walk on over there and see.  I didn't have great hopes.  The things I need aren't really the sort of things most people sell--shackles, blocks......  Oh, but was I mistaken.
He was selling everything.  As it turned out, Jay,   was selling his boat.  For some reason, this meant he wanted to liquidate everything in it.  (I would leave all my equiptment with my boat should I ever sell it, seems fair.)  Cheap used good are hard to come by.
I've been stressing some things, filters mostly--one for fuel and one for water.  Both were gonna run me around a hundred bucks.
I got both, essentially, for a total of twenty bucks.
Not to mention a bunch of shackles, blocks, carabiners, a dinghy anchor, zincs.  It was a virtual windfall.  It was huge.  Spectacular.
So, the point here:  What seemed like a bummer, my engine pooping out, turned out to be a grand opportunity.  If I had left yesterday I wouldn't have met Jay and I would have had to spend much more (granted, for a higher quality product in some cases) for what I needed.  Plus, it was fun.  He didn't even bargain.  He just accepted my first offer.
A good day.

02 December, 2005

“Stealing Back to that Same-ole Used to Be”

"Stealing Back to that Same-ole Used to Be"

Must be brief.

A good trip: moments of great sailing, lots of calms, shining-clear weather, mirror seas, wildlife and pristine air all around.

The Channel Islands were the jewel of the trip. We came into our first harbor at San Miquel at night and we watched schools of fish glowing in orbs of light as they swam beneath the bow. Bio-luminescence was everywhere in the water—all through the Channel Islands. The propeller seemed to have a long green tail trailing behind the boat. Pods of dolphin were blurs of twirling green light. Hard to imagine, less describe.

We motored endlessly. We ate much. Lots of soups. Lots of Parm pasta. I feel fat.

The trip went smoothly. We laughed a lot. Sailed at night under the Milky Way. Dodged freighters on our way to San Diego.

Our only mishaps was in the very entrance to San Diego Harbor—the engine died. Luckily there was a fine northerly blowing as we sailed in. The engine revived itself just in time to dock.

I have feared the governor was going out, but it saw us through in the end. Now it will need a little attention.

It feels good to be in a safe port once again. Living on anchor will be more tenuous here than it was in Sausalito. Hopefully I won't stay long, but there is a deal to do before leaving. My crew for the next leg is not yet for certain. I am still trying to get home for the holidays, which now seems more possible (since I am not yet in Mexico).

For now I am with a friend I met in Antigua, years ago now. She taught me the difference between a ketch and a yawl. I knew nothing. It still feels like yesterday.

Enough until I get more situated. Hubris is here, too. Okay, thanks for the good wishes. All came off well enough.



Ben and I have been getting organized on "the police dock" a cheap temporary dock in the harbor. I was to leave today, but.........the engine wouldn't start. Yes, as cliche as it sounds.

So today I spent twittling around with it to find that the high-pressure fuel pump isn't working. I found a guy who hopefully will get it going for me on the cheap.

Ben and I both got approved to use the Cruiser Anchorage. It is the only anchorage in town that you can stay for more than 72 hours. It isn't so nice, but it is free and a bit more permanent than the rest.

So Ben left and I am left to my engine.

My finances aren't so good, but I am planning on leaving the boat and coming home for a couple of weeks and getting some work while I'm there. Ben and Tilikum can watch the boat for me while I'm gone.

This way I can see the family and stock the coffers at the same time. Hopefully.

San Diego has the greatest marine hardware stores I've ever seen. Spectacular! And my friend Kelly works at two of them. (That means I get great deals!) She's been great about driving me around and

advising me on this, that, and the other. It means so much to have such an open welcome to a new town.

I don't love it here, but I really haven't got out yet.

I am anxious to move on, but I need to be patient. There are still some strings that need to be sorted.

All is well. I've had some great conversations: My dear friend Jamie (Widgen's Mom) is engauged; I talked to my nephews (5 and 11 years old); I talked to a friend who is muching dogs north of Denali N. Park.

I hope everyone is feeling the good vibe in the air.

Happy holidays.


15 November, 2005

Much Ado

Much Ado


Impossible explain what I need to.  I am in haste.  Tomorrow Erin and I set sail for the Channel Islands off the coast from LA.  The last ominous obstacle of the NA coast is here: Point Conception.

The weather is currently mild, almost too much so.


But nothing else has been.  I lost my last crew in most spectacular fashion.   She went crazy.  It was so nice to have her gone, but she still needed to come back and pick up her bags.

Finally she did.  She was sane and normal and seeming to be the girl I once new.   All I hoped for was a nice parting after a stressful end to a relationship (~).  But, in the end, she flipped out, went crazy, and proceeded to try and beat the hell out of me.

A small boat is no place for a fight of any kind.  And she was ferocious, if not accurate or lethal with her blows.   She was so so so upset.  I've never seen or imagined anything of the sort.

So, in short, I was assaulted by a woman on my boat.  The police had to be called.   I had such a dramatic time getting her safely off the boat.  It was a debacle of the highest order and I was lucky not to find myself in jail.

I have some fine scratches on the back of my neck and hands to show for my effort.


The whole thing has frazzled my nerves:  How did I come to something like this?   This is not the time for me to give my theories or what-have-you.  I'm trying to leave for a trip.


I've gotten most everything.  The sun is slowly coming out and shining on me again, making me feel a bit safer about voyaging.

The drama has made me ready to leave, though a lot of people here will be missed----badly.  (Some not so much J)


Here is the Plan:


Tomorrow morning I right out the ebb tide.

We have a 300n. mile run to  San Miquel Island.  Thinking four days, but the wind is highly variable right now.   Could get becalmed, but I hope it is picking up.

From S. Miquel we will hope the islands down to Catalina, to "the one south of that", and then to San Diego.


A week and a half should be a minimum.

Worry after two and a half weeks, starting tomorrow.

But this should be a easy leg.  Ben and Moriah are leaving with us on Hubris.   Tillikum on the 19th, Dan and Sonya on the 22nd, and Brian is just in front of us.  Strength in numbers I hope.


So please so a little prayer; get a laugh out of my recent drama (I'm trying to), and have a happy Thanksgiving.




Jonah Manning
General Delivery
Sausalito, CA  94965

Phone - (415) 377.3985
Online Journal - www.freejonah.blogspot.com
Email - bellyofthewhale.gmail.com

02 November, 2005

week of hell


A Week of Hell followed by a week of progress.


My crewmate went crazy, literally, and is now gone.  It was hell.  She was totally off her rocker.

But now I have found other crew and am finishing with my job.  The boat projects are moving on well.   The weather is getting colder and I am starting to itch for the next leg.  I am planning on a week and a half from now, perhaps next Friday.

Is it bad luck to leave on a Friday??  Not sure.


I feel great.  Much better.  I was stressed and rather distraught last week.   I love living alone.

23 October, 2005

this for that

With all the added comforts and pleasures of sharing space,
there is also a seemingly innate stress.

17 October, 2005

Great day



Yesterday was one of the "great days".  I don't think I am going to explain, perhaps I can't, or maybe it is not the time.

Let it suffice to say that these are good times and I am trying to relish them.  The sun is shining—the weather is good in all sorts of ways.   Smiles surround.

If I can find a way to make times like these come about on a semi-regular basis I will be succeeding at something.

Though, whatever it is that lies before me still does so in obscurity and shadow.

12 October, 2005

The New Roomie

Last night my new roommate arrived.
We talked late.  Years have gone by since last we saw each other, but if anything, we have grown more alike.  She is taking well to the simple life.
She is a dedicated cleaner - which will be a great boon.  And she likes to cook.  I am excited to be relived of some of my daily duties.   (She also brought two great duffles, which will need a home somewhere.)
Work has been great.  Hans has helped me to build an addition on to my bed, also opening some new stowage space.  I also have a few days off to show Genny around and help her adapt to Sausalito.
The weather remains nice, though a bit cooler.  Plans are the same.  An early November departure.
No news to speak of, excepting that which has been said.  LIfe is good.  I am looking forward to life with a roomie.

06 October, 2005

Work, work, work, work……


I work with a man named Hans.  He is a master craftsman.  He builds amazing concrete counter tops and other things.

Together we work on his boat, his girl friends yard (ripped a hedge out with the hitch of his minivan), and we also finished putting in a great big concrete bar for a seafood restaurant.   It was beautiful.

But we work a lot.  I get home late.  It is a great change.   I am tired and happy and busy.  This is the first time in well over a week I have even made it to the library.


The only exciting news is that with Hans' impetus I have conceived a wild plan to remodel the cabin of my boat.  

It could be fantastic.  It could not work.   Shortly we shall see.   At the least I am extending the bed to be more comfy.


The October weather has far exceeded Aug/Sept thus far.  Blue and sunny.   I am in heaven.  Plus, Hans "forces" me to eat out everyday for lunch.  An Indian buffet you would hardly believe.

Life is Rough, I say!

Jonah Manning
General Delivery
Sausalito, CA  94965

Phone - (415) 377.3985
Online Journal - www.freejonah.blogspot.com
Email - bellyofthewhale.gmail.com

23 September, 2005

The Flood


When I was hiking in the Alps I met a girl named Kim.  We hiked down from the Augille de Midi together near Mount Blanc.  Over the years we've kept in touch via the internet.  Now she is living in Santa Rosa, just north of San Francisco.   It has been years since we've been this close together.

This weekend she came down for a visit and a sail.  I hadn't sailed the boat since my arrival three weeks ago—I'd say I was due.   We hit the store for some lunch and prepped the boat.

I should say I prepped the boat, and not such a good job at that.  I was rushing about so she wouldn't have to wait around.  Eventually we started the engine and dropped the mooring line (I set a semi-permanent anchor.).

The wind was picking up and we could just barely handle full sail.  We really needed to reef, but there were boats all around us and we didn't really feel like we had the room.   So we headed out into the Bay, the tiller a bit heavy due to all the canvas, but we were howling along.

For some reason I continued to fight the urge to reef.  I am no longer sure why, be it that it was going to be a hassle, or I was simple lazy—I don't know.   The sail would have been much more relaxing had we reefed.  We didn't.

It seemed that the wind was still picking up.  When we were coming back to the anchorage and it was about time to drop sails, I realized it was time to do precisely what I had been avoiding—heaving-to.    I didn't have to, but for some reason I felt that Kim ought to experience it.  But with full sail and this much wind, we were going to get knocked down rather hard when the wind backed the sails.   (Why I didn't just have Kim point the boat up into the wind I have no idea.  That would be the normal way of things.)

But this day was just a bit odd.  I don't know what I was thinking through out it.

I told her it would be a bit violent.

And even to my surprise it was.  The wind knocked the boat way over, farther than it has ever gone before (I also didn't have the centerboard down).   Water spilled over the coamings, a first.  She took it well but was a bit surprised. 

I went forward and doused the jib and all went back to rights.  However, as I was forward with the jib, I heard Kim say, "Water is getting into the boat."   I could only assume she was referring to the water spilling over the coaming into the cockpit.  I thought nothing of it.

It was only after we had dropped all sail and were motoring toward the harbor that she again mentioned that water had come into the boat—through the port light.   I looked through the hatch and sure enough, to my dismay, the port lights were wide open.  In my rush to prep the boat I had over looked them.

It occurred to me that this was hilarious—I could visualize a firehose of water blasting in through the window and into the bilge.   What a gas!  Sure enough the bilge was filled to the brim. 

Amazing, what a numb-skull I am.  There are so many things to do to get ready to sail, and I botched it up a bit.   But I didn't reckon it was all that serious.  The water seemed to have went straight to the floor.


The rest of the day was fine.  We went out to a fine fine dinner, a Indian joint.   It was only that evening after Kim had left that I started realizing how "un-funny" my flood had been. 

The bottoms of many books were wet.  My tool locker was drenched.  Every map I had was saturated.  All my cds/dvds were soaked in salt.  This was going to be a drag to clean.  At first I thought I could simply dry them, but that would leave them covered in salt and they would scratch.  Each cd had to be bathed in fresh water, then dried.   The case itself was ruined.

For a while I was rather bummed, cleaning tools, cds, dumbing bucket after bucket of salt water out of my forward, non-draining bilges.   But it soon occurred to me how amazing lucky I had been.

If this event had occurred to my starboard side instead of my port side, as it had, I would have lost my computer, my two camera's, my inverter, my battery charger.   In short, everything electrical is on the other side of the boatl—and vulnerable.  I would have been wiped out in one stroke.

I had never concived anything like it.  I had no idea how vulnerable I was to total disaster.   I was so so near.  I am so lucky to learn what I have.  The cleaning has taken several days.  I have a new colony of flies.   But the lesson is well learned, yet the chances that need to be made are not yet clear.

Also the importance of an easy, clean reefing system are also appearant.  If I had had a reef in none of it would have happened to begin with, and maybe the lesson would never have needed learning.   But it seems it does.  Meanwhile, my bilges are getting a thorough scrubbing.  War is declared on the flies and the books and charts are drying in the sun and breeze.

The Flood

San JoseSanta Cruz


On the morning of my birthday (Sept 20)  I awoke with a call from LeAnne.   Her mother-in-law lives in San Jose and she had brought herself and her two kids from Twin Falls Idaho to visit her for a couple of weeks.  We haven't seen each other in a year.

She told me her mother-in-law, Lavon, would be in San Francisco that day, and if I wanted to, I could meet her in the city and get a ride to San Jose to stay for a couple of days.   Seeing as I didn't have to work until Saturday at the earliest, and it being Tuesday, and my birthday, it sounded perfect.

Leaving my boat to dry, I hopped the ferry and met Lavon on time.  We enjoyed the long drive to San Jose with good conversation—we had never really had time to talk much before.

Her house was beautiful.  We pulled into the drive and LeAnne, Alissa, and little Elijah stepped out of the door.   Elijah, only four, I had never met before.  Alissa was a year and a half.


The afternoon was spent talking and catching up.  She gave me a long needed haircut.   For dinner we had salmon and wine and LeAnne had baked me some brownies for a b'day cake.

The next day we took Lavon's car to Santa Cruz with the kids.  We walked the town and went to the beach.   We could hear the barks of the seals from far away on the wharf.  I felt like a dad-for-a-day.  The kids were good and we were back by early afternoon.   Lavon had a meeting or something of the sort so she sent us out to sushi.


I left the following day by train.  It was Thursday the 22nd.   On the train I opened my book for the first time.  I am starting Lord of the Rings for the third time.   As I started the first chapter, called a Long Expected party, I realized that the book began on the same day, Sept. 22—Frodo and Bilbo's birthday.

It is interesting to start a book on the same day as the story itself begins.  It is almost ominous.    

19 September, 2005

check this out

I was to submit a story to this magazine.  Check it out.
I think it would be a good fit for me.
What do you think????

Jonah Manning
General Delivery
Sausalito, CA  94965
(415) 377.3985

email - bellyofthewhale.gmail.com

Rolling along

Got a job.
Visited an olf friend from France this weekend.  Went sailing.  Flooded my boat.  (Will be more on this soon.)
But the weather is finally beautiful.  My birthday is tomorrow.
I spent all day Sunday cleaning out my boat (because of the flood) and now the bilges are as clean as ever.  It has also helped in some major organizational concerns.
I finally got the solar up and running again.  This is such a relief I can hardly describe.
Though, now I realize that I burned up my starter motor on the Farymann.  It will need to be rebuilt.
It looks like I have crew for my next passage south, which will likely take place early November.
Sunday night I ate one of the best dinners I can remember, the last being the night Wendy took me out to Sushi Hana's.   THis was Indian.  Chicken Tika Masala.  The best damn chai.  Wow it was awesome.  Thanks Kim.  What a day that was.
Jonah Manning
General Delivery
Sausalito, CA  94965
(415) 377.3985

email - bellyofthewhale.gmail.com

15 September, 2005

The world is glowing right now.
I think I want to go eat icecream

This is a test

I am trying out a new program.....I think it is working.
....I got the coolest phonecall today.  Loren Donwana, my old roommate from Spain and Antigua.  I haven't heard from him in years.

13 September, 2005

Wine Dark Sea

I have new contact info. I'm getting a POBox, but until then I am:

General Delivery

Sausalito, CA 94965

And I have at last given in and gotten a phone, one of those month to month deals, pretty sweet actually:

(415) 377.3985 USE IT!!!

And, before departing Port Townsend, I did name my boat.

The boat's name is Araby.

I decided in the end on a name that wasn't a reference to anything at all, not filled with secret meaning, not a metaphor—any meaning the name has the boat itself will create. (No, this has nothing to do with James Joyce.)


Wine Dark Sea

In the warm weather and fair seas of mid-August, three boats left Port Townsend for harbors behind the Golden Gate Bridge. On the morning of Friday the 12th Ben, Moriah, Phil and Katie—all friends of mine—set off in Hubris, Ben’s Bristol Bay sloop. I promised them that I would leave shortly behind them, hoping for a Tuesday departure. Everything seemed to be well in hand, with the lone and dubious exception of my only crew member being then in jail for a DUI.
As fate would have it, the jailbird dumped her boy friend and he was therefore anxious to leave Port Townsend. Seeing as his boat was not yet fit for the trip, he came aboard as a welcomed replacement. Unexpectedly another friend had come upon an old liferaft, an item I lacked, and offered it to me as a gift (a new 4-man liferaft can go for three-grand). Tuesday evening was spent fashioning a safe mount on my stern for it. We decided to eat a good meal, catch some rest and catch the five am tide out Wednesday morning—five days behind Hubris.
When I awoke at quarter to four it was dark and raining. I let Ozzie sleep and cranked the motor and threw off the docklines. We motored into the foggy calm morning heading for the sea.
No wind to speak of, not a whisper as the sky blushed. No boat or soul about. The tide took us from Boat Haven through Admiralty Inlet and out into the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The tide pushed us mile after mile. Into the fog we rolled and out again. The danger on this leg was the shipping. All the freighters heading for Seattle, Bellingham, Vancouver, ect all come through the Juan de Fuca. It presents one of the gravest dangers of the entire trip.

Before we had left PT, we had learned that Ben and Moriah had not gotten far with their five day headstart. As they had reached the Strait of Juan de Fuca they had been hit with thirty-knot westerlies straight on the nose. They were taking a beating and making very little way. They had turned into Dungeness, then Port Angeles for shelter. For all we knew they could still be there.
As we approached Port Angeles I got it in my head to try and reach them on the VHF radio. As I went below I heard Ozzie yell, “I think I see Ben dead ahead.” This seemed improbable and I didn’t really listen, not to mention look. “Hubris, Hubris, this is Araby. Over”—I called out over the VHF. To my delight, I heard, “Arobi, Arobi, this is Hubris.” (Arobi is what Ben and Phil like to call my boat.)
“Hey Ozzie I got ‘em on the radio,” I said. I wasn’t paying any attention to Ozzie at all. It was Phil on the radio. I asked them where they were. It was difficult to hear him over the rumbling of the engine.
Meanwhile, Ozzie was watching them slowly approach, me still totally ignorant. “Jonah, how do I get this thing out of gear,” he asked as Hubris approached, trying to slow the boat. I’m still below, Phil mocking me on the radio: “What’s your twenty?” I didn’t know what that meant—I assumed it was, ‘what’s your position.
Of course, they were directly in front of us. Finally I looked up as Hubris passed right by us, to my bewilderment. “Ozzie, they’re right there!”
What an idiot.
We pulled along side them and heard their story about the winds in the Strait and their long wait for weather. They told us we had only a brief weather window. The time was now. “We’ll see ya down south. Good luck,” we all shouted to each other.
That night in the Strait we were laid in a thick fog with freighters passing on each side, the fog horns reverberating through the stillness. I felt very small.

There was also another boat I’ve only mentioned briefly. It left about a day ahead of us, but stopped the night at Neah Bay, at the western extent of the Strait. It was called the Golden Rose. It was a pretty nice modern boat, expensive by our low-bag standards. I had only met the captain once and briefly, but as Ozzie and I approached the ocean, we should have been close behind them, no more than fifty miles perhaps.

By five o’clock Thursday morning with the rising of the sun Araby entered the waters of the Pacific for the first time in the saddle of the ebbing tide. The fog was slowly burning away. We still ran the diesel, having not found the north-westerlies that would bare us to the south.
For several days we had light and variable winds—sometimes contrary. Our course was exactly due south. We saw whales and dolphin. We ate well. We slept between nearly every shift. We were on four-hour rotations. Ozzie being a morning person and I a night person, we divided the shifts accordingly: I took the graveyard, 2-6 and he the early morning, 6-10. Everything else was manageable.
The winds eventually picked up on the third day and continued to grow steadily. With the wind came the chill. It was fifty-degrees and cloudy nearly the whole way (the wind chill near forty). We wore our ‘foulies’, our rain gear, whenever we were on deck. We both dealt with a bit of nausea though neither of us ever got very sick. Strangely, we sort of took turns and were never sick at the same time.
It was Ozzie’s idea to try out sheet-to-tiller steering. I had brought the few supplies and we had both read a little on the subject. The idea is to use the wind pressure on the sails to keep the boat sailing straight. This way, someone doesn’t have to be constantly sitting at the tiller. It is difficult to describe clearly but let it suffice to say that it worked amazingly, just a small line hitched to the jib sheet run through a block to the tiller, opposite some rubber tubing strapped to leeward. This was the great success of our trip. From this point on, we spent a bit more time below together talking about ex-girlfriends and existential philosophy. We had the sea all to ourselves. We didn’t see a freighter from the Strait to fifty miles out of San Fran. Washington was passing away with each wave.
After several calm days, the seas swelled and the winds grew to gale force. We reefed in our sails, then we went to storm sails: storm jib and a trysail (a try’sle is a very small main’sle without a boom). We hung a warp (200 ft of anchor line) off the stern to slow our way and to keep our stern to the waves. The waves rose behind us in long swells. The wind blew white horses off their peaks, but what was important was that they weren’t breaking—they weren’t the type of wave that a surfer would ride. If the wave doesn’t break than it won’t crash over your boat.
Still, by nightfall the wind was blowing over forty-knots. The standing rigging began to whistle and moan. We deemed it time to heave-to. Heaving-to is the nautical equivalent of putting a car into park. It is the safest way to manage a storm. The sails are balanced in a way to keep the bow pointed just off the wind (50 degree angle). The tiller is lashed and the boat slowly drifts to leeward (downwind).
This is what we did, more or less.
Unfortunately, we still crept forward a bit, allowing waves to occasionally break over the bow. This isn’t ideal and if the storm had been much worse it would have had to be remedied. But as it was, Ozzie and I both went below and hit the sack. We took it in turn to stick our heads out and check for oncoming vessels. By the morning the wind began to calm a bit. We unlashed the tiller, fell off, and pointed to the south, still under storm sails.
The weather calmed through the day but re-strengthened in the afternoon. The swells were too powerful for the sheet-to-tiller, but it was fun and invigorating sailing, the best I’ve ever done. We passed the night as we had done the night before, comfortable and hove-to.
As we awoke (not for the first time) in the morning I realized that the radar reflector, a spherical aluminum devise, much like a large crumpled beer can, had come lose from one of its lashings and was flailing about between the mast and the shrouds (wires which support the mast on the starboard and port sides). This would have to be dealt with. If left it would not only make a racket, but would also slice up the sails. But to manage it would mean going up the mast. It was still blowing a good twenty-five knots and we were well ready to start making some southerly miles.
At first I was not fully aware of what I was getting into. I pulled on my harness and prepared my climbing lines only thinking of the necessity of doing so. But my attitude would soon prove naïve.
Ozzie came on deck and manned the winch to hoist me aloft. I’ve been up the mast many a time, but none of those trips prepared me well for what I encountered. The combined strength of the rolling yacht and the high winds—it was all I could do to keep myself vertical and close to the mast. My legs girdled the mast like it was a polo pony, my hands worked the lines and gripped the shrouds for support. The higher I climbed the more I understood the desperation of the situation. If I were to lose control I would be flogged and beaten against the rigging with such ferocity that I would easily break arms or ribs. I had to keep vertical; I had to stay in control.
As I reached the spreaders and the flailing radar reflector new dilemmas came to light. What now? I could hardly let go long enough to untie it, which had been my plan, and bring it down. I didn’t take the time to think about it at all. With great intention I unclipped my knife, positioned myself, and took two deep breathes. This must be quick. I opened my blade and with two slashes cut the radar reflector free to fall as it may. I gave no warning to Ozzie who was below.
Ozzie, however was paying full attention and with amazing fortune the reflector at once missed Ozzie, but landed in the cockpit—and stayed there! (Amazing, considering the wind.) I safely sheathed my knife and hollered to Ozzie to get me the hell down as fast as he may.

The storm passed. After that, we often sailed with reefed sails and fair to strong winds. It was cold. Cooking and taking care of “natural business” were a bit strained. (I have one sterling memory of relieving myself while hanging off the stern pulpit—but I won’t elaborate!) Remember, all I have for this purpose is a bucket. Everything inside was wet. We slept on the floor on foam pads in sleeping bags, often still donning our moist long johns. We slept hard, four hours at a time.
The days passed on. We assumed that in the calms Hubris had likely turned to their motor and would be far ahead of us. Phil and Katie had to be back to work very soon so they wouldn’t waste time. We didn’t know anything about the Golden Rose. If they were that far ahead, then perhaps they missed the storm. We wondered if they had been caught as we had and wondered how Hubris might fare? As fate would reveal once we arrived to San Fran, Hubris wasn’t hit by the storm but had run from it to the east. However, it was the Golden Rose whom we should have said some prayers for. They were closer to us and didn’t fare as well.
But from the wilderness of the sea we knew nothing of the other events that were unfolding at the time. We ate, we read, we lounged; becalmed, we even watched a dvd that a friend had burned for me. Being becalmed, the slow rolling seas were awkward for my stomach. We drifted ten to twenty miles BACKWARD. This was most despairing, like hiking the wrong way on the Appalachian Trail. Our trip was not a much shorter distance: all told, a 860 miles straight line.
For this distance, it should have been a 5-10 day trip, but ours was carrying on, both because of wind and lack their of. We spent perhaps fifty hours becalmed and thirty hove-to. We started to suspect that folks back home and elsewhere were starting to worry. Of course there was nothing to be done, we were doing well under the circumstances.

The sheet-to-tiller steering carried us well when the wind resumed. We had just over two-hundred miles to go. We’d make it Saturday afternoon, just in time to catch the flood tide under the Golden Gate. We’d be home. Richardson Bay. Sausalito Harbor. But nothing is ever easy. The wind died. The fog came. We waited for a few hours, but on the VHF we heard that a new storm was approaching from the north and would reach us by Tuesday. In the fog and not too far off the bow we felt the shudder of great fog horn as a freighter passed in front of us, nothing more than a faint aura of light in the night.
Before dawn I started up the engine. Becalmed and adrift is no way of defending yourself in a fog. We would make San Fran in ten hours or be damned.
We saw pods of dolphin again and some whales. We saw our first pelican. Some small birds came out and hitched a ride with us. Our first and favorite, whom we named Phil-bill-daryll, was our first and only fatality on Araby.
The wind never rejoined us—at least, not until the last moment. We reached the entrance to SF Bay just after one-o’clock. I was making the boat ready for coming into port. But as we approached the great bridge the wind picked up all at once. “Hey, let’s sail,” Ozzie yelled to me on the bow. “A damn fine idea,” I said, surprised he noticed the wind before myself.
I’ve never hoisted sail so fast in my life. The Golden Gate was rapidly approaching. We got all the sail up just in time to tack beneath the bridge. The clouds that had hung over our heads for days uncounted were all stayed by the Marin Headlands. The sky over the Bay and over Sausalito was blue and the water was silver-tipped. The Bay was filled with windsurfers and kite surfers, sailboats, motorboats, and everything in between. It was a veritable playground.
We found our way into Richardson Bay and onto our anchor without incident or problem. The trip was done. Twelve days—it was now Sunday. To our sadness though, we couldn’t find Hubris, our brothers, whom we wanted to hug and commiserate with. We scanned the boats and couldn’t make them out.

Yet we had some other cravings that needed to be filled: showers, pizza and ice cream among them. The day was still young after all. The boat was in order and the dinghy inflated and we were ready for shore by five.
We rowed ashore and found our way to a pay phone. We wanted to contact Dan and Sonya, friends of friends from Port Townsend. Dan had sailed his boat down last year (not without much difficulty). As we reached the phone, only then did we realize that I thought Ozzie had the number, and he thought I had it. We were a bit crossed obviously. We had to find it. How? Dan and Sonya were our only contacts in Sausalito. Who else would have it?
We were very short in that regard, but as fate would guide us, as bizarre as it was, as we struggled to find the number, as I talked to my friend Heath in Port Townsend, hearing of all the concern over our absence and delay, I saw a girl walk up to Ozzie. It was Sonya! What odds! She was just grabbing something from the store and recognized Ozzie’s shirt of all things. (Ozzie is a hard guy to miss: 6’4”, long hair, funny clothes that he didn’t buy.)

We got more than just our shower—which I could write an entire story on—if delight could be made into words, but we got the stories that had been taking place around us.
It had happened that Hubris had heard of the storm on the VHF and had decided to run for it. They had a two day head start and made it into safe harbor in Washington. From there they had to wait for a fair weather window. All in all they had been gone far longer than expected and Phil and Katie had to leave Ben and Moriah and head back to Port Townsend for work. This left Ben and Moriah the task of managing their boat alone and they decided to gunkhole, or make their way slowly along the coast going harbor to harbor. They had much fog and foul weather, tough bar crossings and some illness to boot. So as we arrived in San Fran expecting them in front of us, we learned that they were still in Eureka, California, still several hundred miles to the north.
This was surprising news, but not the greater part. The storm that they avoided had raised great concern for us. In that same storm the Golden Rose had met such strong wind and waves, the crew became so overcome with sickness and fear, that they had called the Coast Guard for a rescue. A helicopter came and airlifted them from their boat. The crew made it safely ashore and today the Golden Rose is still un-recovered and lost. It was last seen floating south of Cape Mendocino by a passing freighter.
With the loss of the Golden Rose, the question of our safety was exacerbated. How far apart could we have been? Ben called in a pan-pan, a “be-on-the-lookout” report to the Coast Guard. All vessels in the area were told to be on the lookout for a white vessel (my boat is blue) sailing from Port Angeles (we left from Port Townsend), bound for San Francisco (we went to Sausalito). The ineptitude of the reporting by the Coast Guard left much wanting.
So many in Port Townsend were relieved by our safe arrival. I notified the Coast Guard of our safety. The guardsmen told me, which he hadn’t shared with Ben, that the helicopter had actually seen us as he flew to rescue the crew of the Golden Rose. This may or may not have been the case.

That night we went to a bar and ordered a pizza to celebrate our success.

It wasn’t for another week that Ben and Moriah arrived. Their trip lasted twenty-two days. The Golden Rose is still missing.


Okay, that is the best I can do for the time being.

Sausalito is great. Things are coming together. Ozzie left yesterday. He'll be missed. Having Ben and Moriah is a joy. We've made some good friends and have made contacts for work.

It is expensive here, food-wise, our only real expense.

All is well. Take care and thank you so much for the concern and the thought as we traveled. It meant a lot.


12 September, 2005


I gave in at last.
A new phone, $40 at Best Buy.  No plan, just buy minutes.  It seems cheap and easy.  The phone has good reception.
Let's see how it goes.
So here's da new numerals:
Jonah Manning
General Delivery 
Sausalito Ca, 94965

08 September, 2005

new blogging trick

Tonight a bar-b-que.   Yeehaw
It is all slowly coming together.
BEN AND MARIAH are finally in town. Such fun we’ve had being all back together again. Jodi (a local) had a bunch of friends out on his boat and came and rafted up with us as we finished dinner on “Hubris”, Ben’s boat.
It feels too me like we are all old friends simply reacquainting ourselves with each other. Socially I feel so much more comfortable here. Dan, Sonya, Oscar, Jodi, Anton. Even just now a guy who works at a flower store, who used to live on his anchor, offered me his phone number if I ever needed somewhere to grab a shower. (He now lives in a marina and therefore has access to the marina facilities, facilities that they won’t let me use because I am not a tenant.)

I am finding more and more every day. I hope to secure a job soon. I am thinking of getting a phone—it is hard to acquire boatyard work without a contact number.
Things are coming along. I am happy and more relaxed than I have been in some time. I’m not being so hard on myself; I’m letting things happen at their own pace.
Which is good.

06 September, 2005


After a week of venturing about, finding the library, food stores, laundry mats, parks, possible jobs, friendly contacts, ect, I can’t say I have any complaints. Sausalito is fun, quaint, pretty, and convenient. It is Cali so it is somewhat expensive. But I like where my boat is—it is an easy row to shore. I have garbage facilities and everything is close. What I am lacking is a good bathroom where I can shower and shave. I may have to pay a marina for a key to one of theirs.
I acquired a bike from a friend but just found out that the bike she lent me wasn’t hers, but her roommates. Oops. She clearly didn’t ride it often.
The weather seems to be constantly breezy. Good for sailing, but makes for rather cool days. When the sun is out it is gorgeous. The lights from the city at night shine like jewels when I row home. All is splendid.

29 August, 2005


After calms and storms, plenty of clouds, and lots of idle time spent reading or sleeping, Ozzie and I made it under the Golden Gate Sunday afternoon. As we entered San Francisco Bay, the sun came out, the wind picked up and the bay seemed like a playground full of windsurfers, kite-sailors, sail boats, ect.
We sailed into Sausalito under full sail on a beam reach, toerails skipping on the waves.

We had our share of adventure. We spent two nights hove-to in a gail (?). It wasn’t much—the seas weren’t breaking, ten-foot swells or so, forty-knot winds. We set the sea anchor seeing as we kept sailing forward as we were hove-to.
During the lull of the storm, the sailing was excellent; running under storm jib and trysail, trailing a wharp, long gentle swells straight off the stern, no breaking seas, only slight occasional broaches.
I’d never done any sailing like it.
Unfortunately we had several calm spells that lasted a total of nearly three days. This stretched the trip out to eleven and a half days, a bit longer than expected.

One of the real exciting points of the trip was our success with using sheet to tiller steering. We worked it out rather simply and it kept a great course in a light swell, so long as it wasn’t overpowered.
It would never jibe, seeing as we used the jib sheet to run it. This was really cool.

We did have all sorts of problems. The list is long. Somehow the solar panels quit, due to the voltage regulator, so our power was at nothing pulling in. We almost couldn’t start the engine. (Why I didn’t use the genny to charge is a different story.)
My radar reflector got partially ripped from its seizing during the gale and the next morning I had to be hoisted up the mast in 25 KNOT WINDS.
This was by far the hairiest part of the trip. I felt like one of those flags attached outside the window of some hick truck going down the interstate. It was rough.
Other than my jaunt up the mast, the only intensities were when we hove-to to reef sail.
Because we were running with the wind, we were always a little tardy in this. When turned up into a hove-to position, the boat would heal over so violently that the windows were more like aquarium glass: there would be half-a-foot of green water flowing over the deck.
I’d tie myself on a short tether and ease the main halyard and the boat would stand up tall again, no problem. But it was intense all the same.

I’ll write a more proper story later.
But suffice it to say that we made it. We are happy and whole. I really really appreciate all the care and concern. It helped us through.

13 August, 2005


On Tuesday or Wednesday I'm leaving Port Townsend for San Francisco. I've got crew. The boat is in good shape.
The 'to do' list is getting shorter. In fact, if me crew could, I'd try and leave tomorrow. ---really I couldn't, but that is how I feel.
All of the toil of the last eleven months has all built up to this. This is the first open-water passage, the first jaunt into ocean swells.

We will sail out to the very tip of western Washington and anchor there in Neah Bay. If the weather holds, as it looks like it will, then we will head west from there.
The idea is to go far out, a hundred miles. There the wind is more consistent and a great storm can't blow us ashore.
Once away from land, we follow the wind south. It is a five to ten day trip. I hope for good winds and good weather.

When we reach San Francisco we'll pull into Sausalito Bay and anchor there and sleep for a few days.
My friends Ben, Miriah (sp-sorry), Phil and Katy left on Friday with the same itinerary. I hope we can catch then in San Fran before they head farther south for San Diego.

finally I'm leaving. It seems like it has been a long, long time coming. I needed the time to learn what I needed.
I am strangely relaxed.
When I was leaving South Carolina I had the distinct feeling that I would return there.
Wish me luck.
I'll write again as soon as I find another public library.

09 August, 2005


All is underway. I can see the end. Soon I will be heading out into the open water, the North Pacific.
Under the circumstances I am rather calm. I've been nervious enough in the last few months to sufice. Now I am just anxious to go. My last bits of work are getting solved.
The only major hurdle is the fact that my one crewmate went to jail a couple of days ago. Now she's out on bail, so I doubt she will be leaving the state. Some how, I find this ironic and funny.
So I have a week to get some crew lined up and on the boat.

03 August, 2005


The break is over. Six days home. Lots of eating. Good visits with family. Not enough sleep, perhaps.
Still, all the conversations were wonderful. The last night home we got all my dad's children together, and all the nieces and nephews, and had a big meal. So much laughter. Everyone is growing up so fast. It meant a lot to me to spend some good time with them.

So now I am back in Seattle. When Jamie gets out of class she will take me down to the ferry where I will get a lift to the Olympic Peninsula and hop a bus for home. I hope everything is as I left it.

I feel the clock ticking and everything is still so up in the air. Something is squeezing around my stomach. But leaving home, I had the clear sensation that I would return there. So I am full of confidence in that regard.
It has been frustrating not being in touch with the person who is crewing for me. Very foreboding. It is driving me crazy frankly, but at the moment there is nothing I can do about it.

Everyone pray for me.

25 July, 2005


Ah, some quality days with Jamie and old Widge. I swear, he gets younger and younger. He hasn't aged a day since Jamie's had him. In fact, he seems younger! Wonderful, I guess. He certainly can run much longer than he could a few years ago--he'd get tired running with me. Jamie runs twice as long as I do.
I think the trick is that when he was living with me he would go everywhere. He'd wake up in the morning, run to school, hang around, chase squirrels or the frisbee, run home, go for a run, ect. In short, he was awake most of the day. With Jamie being in a competitive nursing program, he stays at home or in the truck most days and simply sleeps.
Jamie thinks that he sometimes sleeps upwards of eighteen hours,, maybe twenty hours a day. This sleep allows him to run much harder and stay a bit younger, or at least that is my theory. I don't think he ever slept near so much when he was with me.

Yesterday we went for a great big run in the SW Olympics. Beautiful big old growth tress. Lots of solitude. We camped out - the first time for me in ages. I feel so fortunate to have Jamie and Widge so close. It has been years and years since I've seen Jamie on anything more than an annual or biannual basis.
Today is a limbo day..
I fly out tomorrow. Jamie is in class all day. I'd like tofind Margaret Richard, but I don't know how to get a hold of her.. (She lives in seattle and is an old friend from Sewanee.) Widge is shedding like mad so I think I will clean out Jamie's truck and some of her house. Cleaning always makes me feel productive.

I am very excited to be home. I think it will be a great time. See some faces. Eat some food. Reevaluate things. The deep breath before the plunge.

20 July, 2005

port townsend

I am overdue.
I know, and this is not the time.
I am back. I made it, by god, by the skin of my sails. What a time.

Soon I will be back in SC for a week with family and food. I am STOKED .........
about the food.


I read the new Harry Potter and it knocked me out.
I can never remember being so "affected" by a book. It was a good book, maybe great. Not the best HP, but up there. But something unimaginable happened......I could never have guessed it.....someone died and I wasn't ready.
Somehow, this death has really hurt me deeply, more so than actual people I know that have died. This troubles me a bit, but I think I understand why.
These stories are the fundation of my life.
MY RELIGION IS MYTHOLOGY. I now understand this. These stories: Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Dune, and Harry Potter - these are my scriptures, these dictate to me Truth.
Something so powerful happened in this book that I have been all but incapacitated for nearly two days.
I had to go for a long run and try to wear myself out. It half worked.
Then I went back and reread the ending because I could not stop thinking of it.
Rowling, the author, did something incredible with a character, something I've never noticed any author do before.
As a reader, you always knew, I think that Iago was evil. Iago, being the great evil character. But Rowling created a character, that by every aspect you knew him to be evil; he was evil through and through, BUT - they greatest wizard believed in him, said he was a good guy.
Rowling took what seemed obiously to be a bad guy, made him a goodguy, and created an amazing tention: Which one is he really? Is he good or bad.
This book reveals EXPLOSIVELY where he truly is.
It was crushing, tragic, painful--not at all what I have come to expect from these books, always so fun and happy.
But they are Truth to me, remember.

Anyway, I was hit hard in a way a book has never ever hit me before.
This book did not make me happy, but the story is not over. This was the "Empire Strikes Back" episode, or the "Two Towers"--the Inferno.

13 July, 2005


Back again. Saw lots of good weather.
Good sailing. More to come.
Sucia Island Cruising Email

Howdy all.

Things are certainly changing around these parts. Flip-flops and shirtless afternoons. Yet the nice thing about the northwest is the coolness of the evenings and mornings. It never gets scorching hot.
I am finally reaching a place I have been striving for since April. I am finally “cruising”. That is, I am living onboard, sailing from bay to cove to harbour to sound, from island to island.
Look on a map: between Vancouver Island and the mainland of Washington are hundreds of islands, some American (called the San Juans), some Canadian. They are a perfect cruising ground. They are lush, sometimes mountainous, mostly unpopulated. There are no bridges, only ferries commercially access the islands. Boats and planes are the only access available to them.
From Port Townsend I left in early June and headed north for Orcas, a northerly island in the San Juans. I got stuck there for a bit. I had a part time job. I needed some time to get re-centered and balanced. The spring was a hard time for me and I haven’t been as healthy as I should have been.
While on Orcas, I fasted for four days and that really helped me get back on track. But weeks went by where I didn’t sail at all. I felt the time was near, and as I was trying to think up a destination for my escape, Jamie Blythe wrote me and asked if I wanted to go running with here up near Mt Baker.
This was perfect. It was a long day’s sail from Bellingham, the logical place for us to meet to go to Mt Baker. I headed out with the tide in the early afternoon and planned on anchoring somewhere in between, maybe Doe Island.
As I rounded the southern arm of Orcas, I saw a beautiful crag of rock far to the east and thought how nice it would be to stand up there watching the sun set over the San Juans. Sure enough, there was a fair little cove beneath it and a calm evening. I dropped anchor there at five-thirty.
I rowed ashore just after breakfast and found that the island, Cypress Island, was actually a nature preserve—I wouldn’t have to bushwhack—there were marked, maintained trails. The cliff I wanted to climb was off limits, though, due to falcon and eagle breeding.
I spent the morning walking the island and was back to my boat by lunchtime. I ate my peanut butter and honey sandwiches on the beach watching fisherman motor by. I weighed anchor and set off around the island toward Bellingham Bay.
It was blowing hard by the afternoon and I was discouraged to see that the bay offered no protected anchorage. There wasn’t one anchored boat in sight and I didn’t wish to be the first. I called up the harbor master on the VHF and asked for directions to the visitor’s dock. When I tied up, it was about six pm.
Jamie met me the next day with Widge and we spent a good afternoon buying some food supplies I needed and walking around town. The next day we went for a good long run through some spectacular forest up in the Cascades. It has been far too long since the last time I played in those mountains. We could see the snow still glistening on Mt Baker as we ran around Mt Baker Lake.
After Jamie left the morning of the 4th of July, I stayed for the fireworks and left on the fifth. On leaving, I felt a tinge of excitement: this was it. At last. I’m heading out with nothing to hold me back. Soon I would be in Canadian waters.
The plan was to head west around Lummi Island, across to Sucia, and then farther west into the Canadian Islands.

The first day I didn’t make it far. The wind was deep ahead. I like to anchor during daylight so I stopped at Lummi and spent a rolling night there. The next morning with a brisk southerly breeze I made Sucia Island by one. I planned on just stopping for lunch and some time to plot my further course, but Sucia is a state park. I decided to row ashore and hike the island. The bays are packed with boats of all kinds. Since I’m alone, I don’t so much mind having people around.
The island looks like a horseshoe opening to the east, but with a few additional fingers about the southern spit. It is beautiful that way. The northern spit of land fosters a marvelous Madrone forest. This is the western version of a sycamore tree with orange bark instead of the smooth, white bark of the sycamore. The growth form is low and gnarled. It is a forest you could imagine fairies and gnomes inhabiting and inchanting.
So I stopped for the day.
And this should be the speed of things for a few weeks. Island to island. Go with the weather. Row ashore and investigate the land or the culture. I would like to do some biking but my bike got “borrowed” by a stranger on Orcas the night before I left. Hopefully the police will find it abandoned somewhere. I miss it badly.

I am finally where I want to be, mentally and physically. My mind is back on the right course. I am healthy again and gaining motivation. The next month will be spent gaining experience for the months to come. August will be my work month, preparation and fine tuning. Everything has to be ready to go by the end of the August.
September I sail for Baja via San Francisco and San Diego. I am nervous and excited, but in a way I am too situated in the moment to think much about it. There is too much going on. Everything is still a challenge. Sailing alone is a deal of work. I learn more each day.
I am learning my limitations and those of my boat. We are both adapting.

At present I am sitting at anchor in Fossil Bay, Sucia Island. The sun is setting; I am tired. I have no idea when this letter will reach anyone. Oh well.
Everything has changed yet again. I am still used to my daily trips to the library.


Since writing this, a week has passed. I’ve seen many sunny days and hoped about on light breezes. I am, as of this morning, the 13th, back on Orcas.
I feel great. All is peaceful. I haven’t had any strong breezes to challenge me, just light airs with the warmth of a bright sky above.
I’ve seen more islands like Sucia and Cypress, some great trails, went to a folk festival in Victoria, fixed my head gasket problem at last in Sydney. I made Canada.
Lots of good things.
Hope all is well with you too.

It looks as if I will be in S.C. in a couple of weeks, perhaps the last week of July. If you are there, get in touch.
Maybe I’ll see ya.
There are many faces I’d like to see.

05 July, 2005


Spent the weekend of the 4th in Bellingham with Jamie and Widge. We went for a big run along Mt Baker Lake. Widge and Jamie ran for three and a half hours! Out of control!
Widge is younger now than he was at eight. (He is now 10 1/2.) They are both powerhouses. They amaze me.

Watched the fireworks over Bellingham Bay from the boat. Now I am getting a few remaining groceries and heading to some northerly islands: Sucia, Saturna, Pender, ect. Hopefully I will reach some Canadian soil at last.
I am pretty stoked about everything. I stocked up heavily on oats, rice, pasta, beans - in all over a months worth of supplies for $40. I still need the veggies, but I am encouraged for sure. The weather is great. My spirits good.
Time for a good long sail...

02 July, 2005


I sailed out of Orcas and made Cypress Island, which, as it turns out, is a natural suncuary of some kind. I wanted to climb up a mountain there, but it was off limits because of peregrine falcon breeding.
Beautiful place. Nice trails. The night was calm and I slept well.


The next afternoon I made Bellingham in some strong wind, light seas though. I had to take a slip as there is no protected spot to anchor in the Bay. I'm gonna look into it more, but today Jamie and Widge get to town.
Tomorrow, Sunday, we'll head up to Mt Baker for a run around Mt Baker Lake. It is supposed to be awesome.
Monday there is a free bluegrass concert on the water all day before the fireworks show.
Tuesday I want to hit the water again and start cruising around the north of Orcas to Vancouver Island. But I'll write again before then.

And everyone say a prayer for the safe return of my beloved bicycle wheich was "borrowed" without permisson the night before I left Orcas. He is missed.

30 June, 2005

Leaving Orcas today.
Heading to Bellingham to meet Widge and Jamie for a little trip into the mountains.
Can't wait.

My bike was "accidently", "borrowed without permission" by "persons unknown" last night.
Let us pray for its speedy and safe return.
And I hope it bore its rider safely and to good fortune. (though, not monetarily, I hope)

It is missed. We have bonded recently. We had an understanding.
What will be will be.

27 June, 2005

Still dragging myself out of my little pit.
It feels slow.
I still read a lot. I am always on my ass, reading, writing, or / and constantly eating.
I think I am addicted to food. I eat for pleasure, not necessarily for appetite. Something I need to deal with I reckon.

I am now exercising daily. I ride my bike up and down, up and down. Two days ago I rode up Mt Constitution. It took about 1:45 to get to the top.
It felt great to really work for something, really push.
The downhill was spectacular. Glad to have a helmet.

I am really alone here.
I am really ready to leave. My nose is fine. A few errands and a change in weather and I will be gone.
Such a nice place though, so sleepy. I think it may have done me a great service.

Tomorrow, I hope to wake up and ride to Doe Bay, about 16 miles. Take a sauna, shower, relax a little, then ride home.
That will be my last real affair on the island.

Then where to? Roche Harbor I guess. Or Friday Harbor.
Something like this. Away......

25 June, 2005

Is my journal messed up, or is it just me????

All is great, but I busted a huge whoopping hole in my nose practicing Capuera, a Brazilian mix of fighting and dancing.
It bled for 6 HOURS !! The bastard! I could probably use a couple of stitches, but I'd have to take the ferry over to Anacortes to get them.
I think it will be fine. A little iodine can fix anything.

23 June, 2005

I have lost all track of what has and has not been written, what has been published or otherwise, but I have had a remarkable week. Peace.
Finally I have taken the time to sleep, read, and recover. I am a new man.

I fasted for four days. No food. Only water. I found the clarity to work out my problems.
My goodness, I feel so good. I just started taking food again today. It will take another day before my body is really feeling energized, but my spirit has been soaring the whole time.
Strange that hunger was never a real issue, only fatigue.

I am re-centered again. I figure now that I’ve been off since this Christmas, a slow slide. I was only partly aware of how “not happy” I really was. It wasn’t so bad, but not my normal self.

Now I feel so lucky that I have been so happy so long. This time really offers me perspective.
I wouldn’t go so far as to say I was depressed, but now I know how lack of discipline can effect daily routines, how these routines promote health. When these get disturbed, you get lazy and routine becomes more and more difficult, until everything becomes difficult. This is being de-centered. All of a sudden you are looking outward for support, and not inward. Outer validation and not inner.
It’s a mess.
More learning for me, indeed.
This week has been very important. Hopefully now I will be able to do the work that is coming.
I hope to leave Orcas soon, as soon as my strength is back and the wind is right.
Then explore.
A Political-Global Rant on Negative Realities

The globe is heating up, hotter and hotter by the day.
The seas are rising.
The icecaps melting, islands shrinking.

Diseases spread; we name new disorders by the day and prescribe new treatments,
With little talk or thought as to the cause.
Our elderly take dozens of pills, struggling both to afford them and to organize them.

Our homes are breaking apart due to divorce and inattention.
People growing apart; people becoming bored, screwing a stranger for the thrill of the forbidden. Where else is there a possibility of excitement??

Men’s penises are shrinking, the sperm counts dropping, as much as 50% in the past four generations.
Soon, natural conception will start to decrease.

Our country is tearing apart, first fraying at the edges, and now ripping through at the seams.
Our government has been corrupted.
Our democracy aborted.
The media bought, and the propaganda believed.

We, the nation of consumers, are we consuming our own death?
We seem to be sipping the poison that we have ourselves brewed.
It is no mere metaphor.

Our diets of processed, denatured foods have weakened our bodies’ systems.
Our mass production and manufacturing have poisoned our environment, which then grows and nurtures the food we consume.
The same pollutants with which we fill the environment, we fill ourselves.
Many of these toxins resemble estrogen, and attach themselves to the male reproductive system, shrinking penis size and reducing sperm counts.
Others promote cancers and disease, such as the proliferation of asthma.

Our lack of diet consiousness has led our nation, headlong into obeisity, hypoglycemia, diabetes, even alcoholism (also related to protein-sugar imbalance.)

We are out of balance; we are off center.
We have been lulled into a laziness on all levels by opulence and excess, convenience and wealth.

The world, as we have long known it is coming to an end.
The foundation of our present capitalistic system, namely oil, will be depleted soon. The prices have already risen, will not fall again, but will rise continually.
How is our economy to adapt??
The American government will itself not recover from the neoconservative coup of the 2000 election.
It is now the siphon of the rich and powerful, sucking what wealth they can from the world while they have the armed forces to defend them.

China will rise, as will India. They are the hungry ones, as we were during the wars. They are still willing to work, willing to pay attention to what is going on, see it, listen and smell.
They still are willing to work for something better. We prefer the status-quo, which is a shame and itself crumbling. And we work damn hard for it.
Over the last thirty years the wealthy have increased in wealth many times over, while the average American has simply maintained—meanwhile the cost of living has risen around him.
What happened to the old American Ideal of the wage-earner and the stay-at-home-mom?
Forget feminism, it is no longer a fiscal posibility.

The planet’s systems are changing to the new climate, but can we change as well?
We have artificial insemination—so hopefully we won’t go extinct.
Can technology re-invent the wheel, the car wheel, the SUV wheel?

Soon, America will be a poor, or atleast averagely wealthy country again.
In many ways we already are. We buy our luxuries at an incredible price:
We work all the time.
We are unhealthy due to stress, dissatisfaction, no exercise, and terrible diet.
Our marriages are failing, our homes breaking.
Our country is splitting, our armies stretched thin with our children fighting for causes that they cannot discern.
Patriotism has become akin to faith in god invisible but fearful.
We have forgotten what it means to be alive.

Haven’t we all read the novels: Orwell’s 1984, Animal House, Fahrenheit 451, Huxley’s A Brave New World, Lowry’s The Giver??
Isn’t there an eerie reality behind all this fiction?
Can’t we draw the parallels, then jolt back, shocked at the face we find in the mirror—
It is our face, our world—not some fancy.
They have manifested. The authors, like oracles, divined the direction of the future.
It was then already clear. And yet, today, people can not see it just in front of their noses.

What of our children, for those of us who can still have children?
We are bringing them into a world polluted, with polluted fragile bodies themselves.
The world is divided along religious lines, the extremists on both side mirroring the other, blind to their similarities.
America’s youth are becoming a cult of video games, fast food, designer drugs, and porn.
They have no parents and no role models.
The likelihood of building a healthy life in America is fading.

If ever the time was now! It is NOW!
Forget saving the world and save yourself.

There are still bastions of health out there. I found one in Port Townsend.
People share a dialogue on health. They know what it means to eat good food.
They eat organic, vegetarian, and local. –this of course, may mean nothing to you.
They value community and ACT on it.
They disallow national chain stores.
They nurture community festivals, events and the farmer’s market.
The government still responds to and represents the people.
People ride their bikes. There are nature trails for exercise and solitude.

People share.
They don’t buy into the consumerism and greed of our pop culture.
We don’t care about nice cars here, but big vegetables.
People share land, share lawnmowers, washing machines, saunas.
Things become more affordable when shared, less money is required to live happily,
Less money less work, less work more time with family or friends or travel or whateverthehell makes you happy.
Isn’t this what we all are supposedly doing??

We have gotten lost.
By doing so we have endangered all of our race.
Global environmental problems are not a national matter.
Coca-Cola and McDonalds and western lifestyle have spread and encouraged every corner of the world.
We are not the only people who seek luxury after all, we simply are the ones who found it.
And we are therefore responsible for the results.
It is our government staining the sand with blood.
It is our consumption of fossil fuels which is depleting the wells.
It is our fertilizers and pesticides which are toxifying our foods.
And on and on.

It is over for us. Invest in China.
Find a more innocent place. That is, if you understand. Most of us don’t.
Most of us are hobbits, disbelievers: “It couldn’t happen to us, only ‘the other guy’”
That is a cult of ignorance. We always are the “other guy” as much as we are ourselves.
OUR government is becoming fascist.
OUR economy is in trouble.
OUR bodies are sick…………………on and on.

How will you take it?
How do we proceed?

I am taking, for me, a convenient course of action: Exile.
I refuse to pay money to a government getting rich by war, deceit, and pollution.
I can’t support something I don’t believe in.
Being a sailor, it is not a difficult decision, so I won’t make a point of it. It was much more becoming of Thoreau when he went to jail for a bit for his “Civil Disobedience”.
I am not so fortunate, or unfortunate.
But, all the same, I remain true to my ethics and that is the important thing.

I do not buy bad food.
I eat local.
I support local businesses. I don’t create excessive waste. I use a minimum of fossil fuels.
I have no car. I sail, row, walk, or bike. (I have a diesel engine and a dinghy outboard, but us neither unless necessary.)

I consume air and food.
I can serve and participate in a community through teaching and sharing.
I am coming closer to a balance.
As for now, I am still dependant of American dollars in an American bank.
I don’t know if I shall ever break free—or whether I should.
I am an American. I always will be.
But right now I oppose my government and I lament our collective inability to effect change.
In this, I am disheartened and disillusioned.