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.