31 December, 2007


Happy New Years  all!!!
I hope you bring it in well.

For myself, I ran 18 holes, ate 2 giant salads, will finish whatever ice cream I can dig out of the freezer, and will sit contentedly with my book, a thing I have been needing to do for over a week.
Peace.  I will bring in the new year with peace.  Much needed 'round these parts.

22 December, 2007

Rest in Peace and Live Free in the Sky

Today my brother Heathy died after losing the last battle of an impossible war.
Today is a day of peace for him, remembrance for the family,
and love for all.

20 December, 2007

on "Zeitgeist"

A relative had this to say about "Zeitgeist":

I watched it tonight.  My mind is racing with question and thoughts.  Well put together movie, i like the historical back up, and music.
One question is on his  base principle of what money is.  In my mind money has value because people are willing to exchange it for goods and services.  It keeps the peach farmer from finding a tractor parts dealer who would be willing to trade parts for peaches.  The movie states "the only thing that gives money value is how much of it is in circulation".  And later saying the "areo'  will make dollar obsolete.  What do you think?
I like the presentation of the unconstitutionality of income tax.  I believe it too.  As well as the presentation of the educational downslide. 
Part 3 and 4 seemed to uncover the motivation of the film maker..for the viewer to hate the Bush family, and Fox TV.  I got the feeling it was made by CNN folks.  I am disappointed in in our TV media too (including Fox).  The are all the same at harping on the same stories and bringing you down.  They seem very bias and slanted in presenting stories, and in choosing stories to go with.  They seem to want to slant opinion, instead of telling the news.  I first noticed this in the mid 80's with my college roommate. 
The last part was especially good.  Empowerment of people can be amazing!!!!!  This may be the planet's  biggest untapped resource, and our brightest hope for the future.  Think of That my man!!!!

On "Sicko"

A friend had this to comment about Sicko and health car:

Although the sickening reality of the flick was just that, there is another side Michael neglected to tell and that is of responsible non-profit insurance companies; and yes, they do exist. Although I enjoy his films, he calls himself a documentarian and is not a true documentarian. Sometimes I am turned off by his style, but will still watch what he has developed.

I'm Home

Home.....at last.  Give a call.
cll 803.479-0754

Widge’s Adventure and Road Trip III


Since leaving Twin Falls and Jeremy, LeAnne, and family, I spent a few glorious days in Missoula with Jon, Corina, B., Knox, and Heidi.  Had a dinner at B's with classic conversation… long to be remembered.  Knox and I did a bit of climbing and cooking and storytelling.  Man it has been such a long time for us in this regard.

Heidi and I went dancing, which was  a thing I've long anticipated.  I love this woman!  Even with exams looming over her, she stayed out late and long past my highest hopes. (And she still managed A's…so haven't totally corrupted her.)

I saw Joanna Klink, a former teacher and really enjoyed catching up with her, though I missed Bob Baker, a shame there.


But soon I was off to Seattle to see Jer and Jamie and Widge.  Ah, but a surprise!  I had forgotten that Anne Presican had moved to Seattle as well.  So when I got into town I pulled into REI, Anne's current employer, and met up.  The next day we went out snowshoeing and had dinner that night with James and Jer.  The next morning—after Jer worked a full shift in the ER—we went up Snowqualamie and went backcountry skiing.

It was a stunning day. . . Widge, too old these days, had to wait in the truck.  But we headed up and found the conditions better than they might have been.  All the same, they were too much for me, where I haven't skied in. . . how many years?  So I made a bit of an ass of myself, but I was with friends.


The next morning I took Jamie to the airport (she headed to the farm to help her dad with the cows) and then continued on to Port Townsend.


As soon as I arrived I pulled into the old boatyard, parked and took Widge on a walk-about.  As we looped back to the car I saw a tall guy looking over at me.  I nodded my head to him and then noticed his queer grin.  It was only when I approached him did it all come together: this was Ozzie!  (Ozzie is an old friend and my crew from PT to Sausalito.)  It was hilarious to run into him so quickly, when really, I wasn't sure where he was these days.

We grabbed a cup of coffee to warm up (It was damn cold and rainy—standard PT weather) and then went to the dock and hopped on Aaron's boat, my old neighbor, Crusoe, and went for a winter sail.  She's a beautiful gaff rig cutter.  I was psyched, forget the weather.

That night I stayed with Ozzie and caught up on events.  The next day I found Ben and Moriah, Sonya, and others here and there.  We had a big dinner at Ben's mom's place and I felt the world revolving around me.  Man, I love this place, these people.  So amazing to be back in a place where I have changed so much as a result of it.


Soon then again I was on my way back to Missoula.  Said goodbye to Bethany.  Paid my great respect to SnowBowl with my teles and finally started acting like a skier again.  The snow was grand.  All though I planned on leaving the next day, I couldn't resist one more day on the hill, but this time with Heidi, Jon C., and Corina's snowboard on my feet.  Again the conditions were grand and we laughed our way around the mountain for most of the day.  This, to a large degree, was way I came so far.  This was what I have missed for so long.  The mountains, the snow, the turns, the friends.


But let me back up a day. . . and explain Widge's Great Adventure.


After skiing my first day, I met Heidi after work and we decided to walk to the gym and go climbing.  Heidi lived close by the U and we figured also that Widge could use the exercise.  And after all, he is a good dog and could wait in the foyer.  We'd even carry his mat so he wouldn't have to lie on the cold concrete.

We had a nice evening walk across campus.  Widge enjoyed himself.  We enter the foyer of the gym and I lay down Widge's bed and he sits on it questioningly.  Through the windows some climbers laugh.

As we enter the gym though, Widge of course rises from his mat to watch us and then a management guy tells me: No dogs allowed in U. buildings.  I explain that he isn't inside a university building, just almost inside.  But he wasn't having it and it wasn't the first time.  SO I walk Widge outside and around the corner of the gym and under a sort of overhang.  I explain we won't be long and he'd better remember his training.

Now remember Widge really hasn't been in my care for a while, and he ain't so young and spry and apparently obedient anymore.  Heidi hadn't really climbed before, so I showed her a few things and we traversed a bit and after a while I thought I'd have a look at the Old Man.

I think you see where this is going. . .

I looked through the window and his mat was empty.  Not to worry . . .I just figured he'd be waiting and peering through the front door.  But as I return to the front I see he isn't there either.

So I walk out the front and yell around a bit: "Widge…Widge…YEEWW!...Widge….Widge….YEW!"

Nothing.  Not in the parking lot, not across the street, not in the courtyard.  This would be where the first pang of fear strikes. . . as differentiated from irritation.  Where would he go?  It's dark, icy, cold, and he don't live no mo'.

At some point amid the yelling and walking to and fro I noticed the doggie tracks in the snow with the slightly dragging paws that encouraged me to think it was an older hound.  So I followed.  And on down the road the tracks led.  But eventually, the snow faded out and I was still in climbing shoes, and I'd abandoned Heidi to the wall.  I thought perhaps I should regroup, gather my forces, and head out in earnest in a tracking expedition.


As it turned out, the gym was closing and Heidi had already guessed the situation.  So redressed and told her about the tracks.  Out we went.  When the snow rematerialized the tracks were still there, heading straight along the sidewalk.  He was following the loop road around the back of campus.  It was fun crossing the streets and looking for the prints and eventually finding them.

It occurred to me sometime that although this certainly wasn't the route we had taken to the gym, we were heading back in the direction of Heidi's house.

"Coincidence. . . or Psychic Phenomena??"  (Sorry, I don't even remember where that line is from.)


So on we went, with a new glimmer of irrational hope.  What if??  We doubted that we could be gaining on him.  But so far the snow showed us fair.

It was only when we reached the turn that would take us to Heidi's house that we lost the trail, or it became confused.  Here were our original tracks and the tracks of numerous other dogs.

So it was time to go on faith.  Would he be waiting for us at home?  If not, we planned to take the van and tour around campus for a while, then call the radio station and pound, ect.

The prints never cleared.  We called again.  We were within a block.  Nothing.

Around the last corner. . . "Widge. . . "   Nothing.


He wasn't there.  The house was dark.  The doorstep empty and lonely.  This was a sore moment.  Heidi's roommate Victor wasn't even home to question.

As we walked up the street, more or less making for the van, trying to conjure the next move, I thought there'd be no harm in checking inside.  After all, Victor had left; therefore, he had gone through the front door.  Maybe he had seen Widge.

Why not?

So I open the door, with some difficulty.  Look in the darkness of the living room.  And from a spot near where I've often sat and read, a spot on the floor next to the couch, I hear a jingle and a rustle—a sort of raising up.  And there he was. . . sleeping warmly on the floor.  

The bastard!

How I love this dog!





04 December, 2007

Seek and Find

Unfortunately Zeitgeist isn't as factual as it could be either. Why can't anyone simply state things that are correct and not try to overbuild their case. Still, much seems accurate, but some of his "facts" on mythology are likely incorrect and invite skepticism. I have only begun to look into it, and it was Brian who brought this first to my attention. It may be a long process in identifying fact from fantasy.

I am in Missoula now visiting campus and friends. It is raining and a real bummer for skiing potential. But it is wonderful to be back. In a few days I will leave for Seattle to pick up Widge once more and see Jamie and Jeremy anyone else I can catch there (Anne??, Kathleen??...what about Margret??)/

30 November, 2007

Sicko - the saddest American movie

After watching this film, you will be left only two choices: a), pack the bags and take the kids off to Norway; and b), GET INVOLVED!
If you are serious about protecting your future and your quality of life, this issue can hardly be ignored. Expect to cry and don't expect to be the same afterwards.

"Sicko" is a documentary film about health care by Michael Moore.

29 November, 2007


I have at last changed the name of my blog.
It is now much simpler:


I said it was simple. My name plus "name". Easy.
The old address still works, but I like this one much more. (It really hasn't changed, it is just forwarded.)


This is as shocking as anything I've ever seen. See below, "Big Day." It is important and terrifying.
Click the title to view, or look on sidebar for an excerpt.

Turkey Bowl - football w/ the Swansons

Blake's "Jacob's Ladder" - one of my favorite works of art

Click on title to go to the pictures homepage

The Big Day

So much has been going on, it is hard to be sure where to start, or even where I last ended off. For the sake of expedience, I will begin where I am: I am currently sitting in a warm, wood-heated home in Twin Falls, Idaho with a mother (LeAnne) and two sick kids and a sick husband (Jeremy). I believe it is bronchitis.

If I wanted to I couldn’t leave I couldn’t. My van is still without transmission. But I don’t want to leave. Yesterday a sparkling, strange day. It was peaceful and contagious.

I awoke to go for a sub-freezing run with LeAnne, returned my rental car (which happened to be three blocks away—convenient). Since Jeremy was also feeling sick he stayed home from work, proudly donning a bathrobe all day. We kept the fire up all day, the kids coughed, LeAnne got them prescriptions, and Jeremy and I decided to watch Zeitgeist, or which we had heard whispers of.

This is where things get out of hand. First, just before the movie, Jeremy succeeded in renaming my website, something I have struggled with since 2004. And Boom! it was done. It was so easy in the end. But it mattered so much to me. At last I have a name that is easier and not silly: www.jonahmanning.name. Simple eh? Indeed. The success of it made me glow and this glow carried me right into one of the truly great shocks of my life.

The movie is called Zeitgeist, which means “spirit of the age”. I can say, unequivocally, that it is the most revealing, most illuminating—very difficult not to say most important movie I have ever, ever in my life seen. There are great movies that have talked about American culture, or the nature of human endeavor and spirituality—but these weren’t so dramatic, so shocking. I have been a better student of spirituality than world economics and power.

The Zeitgeist is about two frauds, great frauds, the Greatest Frauds. I will be hard pressed to disbelieve them. The facts seem so well ordered, the stories (there are two, and are separate) so well told, so cohesive; the author has little cause for ulterior motive (that is visible), little opportunity for gain.

In fact, he doesn’t ask for the viewer to believe him. This, he believes, is the biggest problem. Intellectual irresponsibility: people believing things without investigation, without taking the energy to seek out the truth. He is wary of lazy people, people who believe simply what they are told. He therefore wouldn’t expect his viewers to fill this paradigm. He therefore provides a full bibliography on his homepage to help anyone and everyone follow the same story he has so brilliantly delineated.

I will not go into the movie here. I strongly believe everyone in America and Europe should watch it. It is too important and there is little that will be able to stop the inevitable progression that has been long underway. It is shocking, nigh unbelievable. It is the greatest conspiracy theory of them all, and the facts are such that reality holds you mesmerized. After so much American history, the power structure of our country is finally laid bare.

Or is it?

Can you believe? Can I? I do, today, but it is a hard, hard pill to swallow. Unfortunately for us all, it is the only story today that makes sense. We are surrounded by confusion, have been for such a long time. Here is the story of our world, a cohesive—and terrifyingly logical story!—this is the frightful part: as incredible as it all will seem, it fits with everything we’ve already known about human nature, power, and history. The absurd story is in fact the most reasonable.

Are you confused or befuddled? At least curious?? Anyone who cares about this world or themselves should. Have you heard of the similarities between modernity and Orwell’s 1984 or Huxley’s Brave New World? My friend, we’ve seen nothing yet!

Be afraid, but don’t be ignorant. Watch Zeitgeist: www.zeitgeistmovie.com

And remember this:

If you don’t believe, what could the author’s ulterior motives be? Does he not first and foremost encourage honest intellectual inquiry?

And secondly, look at the world he exposes in Part II: what are the motives or these men? Power and money! Haven’t we always known that 1) Power corrupts; and, 2) Power is never surrendered by the powerful?

Then who should we believe?

This is an incredible world; incredible things happen. How shocking a thing is doesn’t determine its authenticity. This is determined by cohesion of facts and motivations.

Look closely. It is all here in Zeitgeist. And it is truly terrifying.

Road Trip II

Jason and Laurel Walsh (Thanksgiving 1).

After watching Tobin Price’s first gymnastics competition, which was something to see, I drove into downtown Denver to find J & L’s apartment. I found a good parking spot and easily determined the third story home from the smoking grill that was in use.

The place was different from any apartment I’ve seen. The walls were brilliantly colored, blue, deep red, beige, a different color for each room. Stone floors split the apartment and curved like waves with crumbled stone fringes. A bar with a keg and tap was fashioned from a real airplane wing. The kitchen sink was commercial, huge and with skin-flaying power (not to mention the hose sprayer).

Their shower was the same stone masonry with the windy stone fringing but it was infusing with a steamer, so you could have a sauna instead of a shower to start your day.

I could go on and on. They had a projector and screen and used to have regular movie nights with large attendance.

So I was awed. It was clearly a place they were passionate about and had put themselves fully into. It was currently rented to a close friend who was happy to accommodate them (us – including Mr. Widge). He lent Jason his cell phone when he went to work as well as his car, so Jason and Laurel were both in touch and mobile.

When I had talked to Jason he had said that today was ideal, in that he was throwing a bar-b-que. As the ribs slowly cooked on the grill I caught up with Jason and Laurel as their friends slowly started trickling in.

Lovely, beautiful, wonderful women. Laurel has such cool amazing fun friends. It was an easy party. Everyone treated me well and it was Widge who really stole the show. He made his rounds; he laid in the middle of the kitchen; he relished scores of belly rubs and never ran and hit from the attention. I did eventually take him away with me when I went down. He’s too old to party like that.

I loved it. It was great to see Jason and Laurel and met their friends and see their world beyond Monkey’s Business. We ate well; we drank and were and very merry.

The next day we went up to Jason’s mom’s cabin which was somewhere at 9,000ft. She had incredible glass sculptures all throughout the house, a hottub, vast windows and views of pondy pines and doug firs. No neighbors to be seen. We looked at pictures of her forthcoming catamaran and talked about pirates. We sat in a big group around the table, turkey and all the fixing. Good cheer all ‘round.

But this was not the True Thanksgiving, not Thursday. It was Sunday, but the real turkey day was approaching and I had a long way to go to make Portland on time. So Monday morning I got a good start for Twin Falls, Idaho, where I thought a good layover spot and also where LeAnne and Jeremy SasserCollins live.

It was a beautiful drive. I had never driven I-84 before and loved the new vistas. The winds were intense, as they always are in eastern Wyoming.

LeAnne and Jeremy SasserCollins

The weather was cold, good western weather. I had no idea that Twin Falls has such jewels hidden in the ground. What looks like a bare plateau from a distance obscures the fact that there is a great canyon running right through the edge of town, spanned by a great classic arch bridge. The Snake falls in great cataracts around pinnacles and columns, reminiscent of Victoria falls in it width and multiplicity.

LeAnne took me around for the afternoon showing me the various sights of the town. Her parents-in-law have a house over looking the canyon with a fine view. Alissa and Elijah were always well-behaved and respectful. They liked to play pirate and Alissa is already practicing self-defense at four years old. Pretty cool.

Wednesday morning I set out again and at last for Portland and the Swanson House. I had 550 miles to go and had the entire day. But not all was as it seemed. About five miles out on the interstate the tranny started to make a fuss. Before long I was pulled over checking what I could, but there wasn’t much to see.

And that was to be the end. She wouldn’t go back in gear.

So here started the adventure of finding a tow, a tranny shop, a quote, a plan, an eventual rental car, and a late push for Portland, which I made.

Bethany, Stu, Chelsea, and the Swanson House Thanksgiving

This is my dream. This is what I have been thinking about, hoping for, plotting for for three years and a day—ever since I left here the first time. This is not a normal Thanksgiving if there ever was such a thing. Neil and Chris have three kids: Bethany, the oldest; Ingrid, and Clay. Neil is a successful surgeon and has the means to live in a “large” house. It has become tradition to have their kids invite their friends to come along to Thanksgiving. There is room for all and food to last through the weekend. We provide kegs.

Bethany, wonderful as she is, is not an anomaly in this family. She is (almost) the norm. Ingrid is sweet and beautiful and interesting, playful, runs like a gazelle and is a complete devil on the football field. Clay is in college and takes much from his older sisters, all to the good. They may be the only “non-dysfunctional” family I know well, though I am skeptical of ever naming a family thus because in the past it has always brought the veil of doom.

Anyway . . . they are all wonderful and beautiful individually and therefore are blessed by wonderful friends in result. So, in my first trip to the Swanson’s three years ago I was so floored to be with such an interesting group with such variant interests and opinions. This year is no exception.

It is tradition to start Thanksgiving with The Turkey Bowl—the annual football game which is played on the local highschool’s field. This year set a record for participation, everyone but Chris and Chelsea—who was benched due to an injury (as a thin excuse perhaps). It was an epic game. All agree it was the finest Turkey Bowl to date. We wore flags, eight versus ten, and my team won, though Stu, who QB’ed for the “losers” who MVP. (I personally played a better game three years ago.) Clay and Ingrid played huge

for the “winners.” We won on the last play, a half-field long-bomb strike.

We sat nineteen, including Stuart and Chelsea who are now engaged. There were three couples who were engaged, including Ingrid. The turkey weighed 28 lbs. The green bean casserole was three square feet. We had at least five pies.

But it is the cheer that matters. I wore a perma-smile, as did most. Lots of strangers just happy to get to know each other. Clay has grown up a lot since I saw him last. I spent some late hours of the night talking with B’s Mom Chris about everything from stained glass, relationships, dancing, to metal working.

Really, I couldn’t be having a better time. We spent a day in Portland, ate sushi, went to REI, Patagonia, and ended in a three story bookstore called Powells that takes up a whole city block, after which we packed B’s car and headed up to their mountain house under Mt Hood. Once there I preceded to set a house record for longest time spent in the hottub, for which I show no ill effects.

And that brings me up to today. I sit by a warm fire, drinking coffee and orange juice, writing my little story, happy and relaxed after eating too many sausages for breakfast.

What next?

I have no idea, no easy answers. My van is in Twin Falls, my brother is in between, Seattle and some goals are still NW. . . no easy way get everything done. It looks like I have still a lot of driving to do.

But my god has it been worth it. The best of times, everyone and everywhere. Thank you.

Heppner – Hangin’ with Willy and Giselle

I had a brief and good time with Willy in Heppner. He showed me the old ranch he used to work. I got to meet Dixie’s puppy who is a beautiful golden color with the same athletic physique as her mother.

Willy got sick and left a great fish dinner for Giselle and myself to eat like gluttons.

Back to Twin Falls

My time back in Twin Falls will be discussed in the next entry, “Big Day”.

Last Straw

The Last Straw…

I heard today that Rupert Murdock has bought the Wall Street Journal. If this is true, it may represent the Last Straw for me as far as my support and continued legal citizenship of the US.

The irony is that RM is not even American, but Australian (though I understand he is a US citizen). What hope is left? The truth cannot come out with out the media—and RM seems to own most of it. There are blogs and independent films, but what is that?? The average person watches the news or reads the newspaper. There is still Time Magazine. I am blue, discouraged, and without much hope left.

Our country is waining; we are in the twilight, slowly fading, degrading and grinding down. Our peak is now behind us and decay lies before us. Perhaps it is inevitable. Is it our responsibility to slow the fall, do we make the most of what is left? Is our responsibility to our country or to ourselves?

I am against everything our country is becoming, though I respect what our country has been. We have been truly great, truly powerful. Our birth and inception was unprecedented, moral, and courageous. Our causes in war have been (often) just and altruistic (well…). Our thinkers have been ahead of their times, our innovations paradigm changing. It has been us, Americans, that have ushered in and dominated the modern industrial times, for better and for worse.

But as all empires we have corrupted ourselves. We will destroy from the inside what our enemies failed to destroy from without. We have grown rich, lazy, and ignorant. We no longer carry the flame that motivated and burned in the hearts of our forefathers. We quail under the same fear that lifted them to greatness.

We have forgotten what it was like to want for food, for shelter, for life. Even those who are lacking seem not to be aware of it, blind to their anemia. Our public lacks health care, education, and we are told, no, we have the very best. No, we aren’t lacking at all. No reason to become upset. That exactly.

We have become a passive people, told what to think without option, without justification; herded like cattle with fear as a prod—and always in the same direction: sedation. While slowly our freedoms are wheedled from our distracted and willing hands.

That we submit willingly is the hardest to accept and yet it is so. We have been so confounded we have turned upon ourselves, gnawing our own tail, while Prometheus laughs at his guile.

Jefferson said that, given a choice between the two, he would choose a newspaper before a government for the wellbeing of a people. We see today the wisdom of these words and consequences of their negation. Today we have no newspaper, no media free from the propaganda of the regime. It is all one story, one shabby lie, so ugly and insidious that is existence only becomes possibly without a contrary, without a mirror to represent its ugliness.

We are living in Orwell’s 1984. How can we fail to see? We fight in the name of freedom, yet each day our freedoms are taken from us, if not given up freely in the honorable name of Homeland Security or the War against Terror. We have built the walls of our own cell and we walk in of our own will. We are told it is a safer place and it is perfectly, perfectly true.

I stand against this with every fiber of my being. I smelled a rat. I am not lazy and I am not scared and I will not be told what to believe without justification and without option or alibi. I have searched and I have found alternatives to the stories we are told, and in comparison the sanctioned truth turns to dust, obvious and discernible by any application of intelligence. It is a sham, and a poor one.

And yet it prevails. We are too lazy as a people to act on our gut feeling that “something just ain’t right.” No it is not. It is not right and I know it. I can not make others know it. I cannot scream it over the rooftops of our once great nation. No one will hear. I cannot buy up all the newspapers and tv stations like Rupert Murdock.

Jefferson knew, Orwell knew. My vote will not stem the flood or brake the slide. But… but I can not participate. I can step back and no longer pay my money to wars I think unjust, money I with went to schools, health care, or our poor and elderly. I do not sanction the killing of Iraqis, Afghanis or Iranians.

But to not pay taxes is to not receive the benefits afforded to citizenship, else I would be a hypocrite. I must take what is mine and leave, find a new one, one in which I could hold some amount of faith in its policies and constitution. I would become an expatriot, an outcast from my home, from my family; I would abandon all that was good with all that has gone to rot. Could I do that? Must I do that to be true to my own principles? Is it right?

I don’t know. But I am disgusted. I have the right to. Do I have a mandate? What would Thoreau do? It is just to disobey unjust laws. What options are their in an age without the possibility of revolution?

Hermann Hesse and Thomas Mann both left Germany with the rise of the Nazi party in the 1930’s. They couldn’t beat the Nazis, but they disalign themselves; they chose not to participate in what they saw as evil. What more could they have done and what difference would have been served?

23 November, 2007


I am in Portland, Widge is on the coast, the car is in Twin Falls, Will is in Heppner, Banff Mtn Film Festival is in Tacoma, Tillicum's dad is in Victoria.  How to connect the dots. . . .

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you.

16 November, 2007

tear it up

Posted by Picasa

new picts

I just updated my photos, so there is a new album of photos from VANUATU.  Check it out.  Vanuatu is one of the most special places in the world.  (My photos are accessed by scrolling down and look on the right column and you'll see the link.)

15 November, 2007

Road Trip 1

Molly and Luke

I had such a great time. We had bonfires and just spending time acting like a kid was so rejuvenating. Their house is beautiful as well as their horses. I’ve written most of this before, but I can’t and don’t want to get over it.

Jason and Kari

I have met Tobin and Elias before, but this is my first meeting with Whitney. I think she is about eight months. The boys have grown so much. Tobin is much as I remember him but Elias was only one when I met him—now he’s four. Tobin’s seven.
I got in in the evening and we stayed up later than we should have talking. Jason and I practiced knots for a bit and Kari introduced me to a chocolate chili coffee. Wow.
Now everyone is gone and I can do a few things on the computer, clean the house up a bit for them and then devour Jason’s climbing wall he has in the back. Am I excited!
Today is Kari’s birthday. What great timing! And to top it off. Molly had baked some pies and decided that I should bring one to Kari and Jason. Voula (sp)—a birthday pie! Not bad.

Infant Swimming - Teach your Children

This is the infant swimming video. Very amazing and not just a little frightening.


12 November, 2007


I'm westward bound.  Currently, I'm with Luke and Molly, at last meeting their truly remarkable kids.  Most parents think their kids are remarkible, but I Absolutly agree with this case.  It is hard to leave.  They call me Uncle John.  And we have bonfires.  And horses.  And goats that keep getting out of there paddock, so the kids, dogs and I get to keep rounding them up.  Such fun.  And the power went out so we got to light loads of candles and eat icecream (so it wouldn't melt, you know).
Today I saw something like nothing I've ever imagined.  (Forgive me if I am simple naive.)  But there is a program that teaches childern, six months and up, how to "not drown"--it isn't swimming; it is a sort of floating.  It is absolutly shocking.  In fact last night when Molly told me about it and started to show me a video clip, I even got sort of scared.  They showed a dog push open a door of the house, and a little toddler walked out behind him, with a ball in his hand.  I knew what was next and didn't want to see it.  He walked over to the pool and then you see his ball fall in the water.  Then you see the toddler fall in after it.
At this point your heart is in your mouth.  It is a terrible thing to witness.
But then, somehow, the little kid this sort of kick and twist and before you knew what had happened he was floating on his back with his face out of the water, gently floating, not crying or flailing. . . he just floated there.  MInutes hasn't.  He'd scream out for attention, then stop.  Crying and screaming make the float more difficult.
Five minutes past.  THe kid just floated.  Then his Dad walked over to him and picked him up gently--and you wouldn't, couldn't believe the smile on the childs face.  It was a miricle.  I so expected to see fear or anger, anything. . . but the smie.  He was proud of himself.  He wasn't at all afraid.
And today I went and watched Lucas and Lily do the same thing.  They swim untill they need a breath, then roll on their backs, breath for a few moments, then flip and swim again.  They repeat the process until they reach the edge of the pool.  They theory is that young children don't have the neck strength to lift their heads to breathe.  If they are vertical they sink.  So the practice keeps them in horizontal positions: back up to swim, chest up to breathe and wait.   Amazing.  They practice five days a week for six weeks, counting on muscle memory to serve them in an emergency.
Tomorrow I head west to Denver.

Jonah Manning
S/V Araby

Online Journal -www.freejonah.blogspot.com
Email - bellyofthewhale.gmail.com

128 Holliday Rd
Columbia, South Carolina, USA

Emergency contact:  
Dibble Manning
phone:  001 - 803 - 787 - 4352  
email:cmann1960@aol.com >
also check addresss in "to" column

30 October, 2007

Home at Last – Social Euphoria

I made it…and just in time. I had about 2 hours to get ready for the rehearsal dinner. But first. . .

I found a marina; I left the next day. I flew to Seoul. 13 hour layover. Flew SeoulAtlanta, 15 hours. Many movies watched. On the flight from Atl – Columbia I sat behind my friend, eye doctor, and relative, Bud Hopkins. When I arrived I initially declined his kind offer for a ride home, then finding that my driver’s license was still safely aboard Araby, I gladly accepted, being now impossible to rent a car.

The rehearsal dinner was, bar-none, the most fun I’ve ever had socially. . . big party social anyway. It’s hard to beat a small dinner gathering with great friends, but this, a large collection of friends, many I hadn’t seen since highschool . . . wow. It was more intense than I could have imagined. I was more moved with each person, and so filled with joy to see so many loved people all together, all so happy. It was a special experience for me. And I had two nights of it. I even met some amazing people whom I hope to maintain contact with.

Least I forget the dancing. Awesome. So much and so much was great. A good friend of Charlie’s, Christine Murray, was Phenominal. Bliss. I have to tell her so. I will never forget. But I could list more… (Sally….Sutton….) I have missed it so much. Dancing is as good ‘a reason to date someone as any.

But that is over. Must move on and there is where I hit a snag. What was it I hoped to accomplish while home?? I need to sort of my mind once more, now that I am well rested for the first time in two months.

What a ride! What a fall!

22 October, 2007

Land of the Rising Sun

The Land of the Rising Sun:

3500 miles to windward– the whale song - typhoon fear and preparedness – the trap: a trick of current and wind – a highway of freight – phosphorescence in a gale – a fisherman's first words -Nagoya, the maze – coast guard, cameras, and a tow to Yokkaichi – Isewan: the end-of-the-road-marina – tea at the dock - Customs delivers – the sush - destruction of Herb, the windvane – the tears of Kato - resurrection of Herb, the windvane, and its ascension problems with the LP – a tow from Hamano and friends - Osaka bound - damned fishermen - damned freight - damned calms and current - monster jellyfish – gale - near death by collision - anchorage of a hundred barges - Osaka.

Sometimes ignorance only becomes obvious when it is overcome.

My faults now lay bare.

Little of the sailing I have done thus far prepared me for sailing in Japan. In fact, much of it gave me long habits unfit and unsafe for these waters. Everything is different except the principles and basic elements.

Do I exaggerate? Perhaps—but this is how it feels. What remains sacrosanct, and what has seen me this far, are still—Constant Vigilance, Prudence and Patience.

I've logged many miles this year and most of them upwind. This has worn on Araby a bit, and it was the last leg where I started seeing a few failures, many like the death of the VHF and the depth sounder—both are near the companionway and I feel the salt water got the best of them.

But these are things I've taken for granted, even scoffed at. I rarely use the VHF, but here in ports like Nagoya and Osaka—how do you find customs or immigration?? It is a zoo. In Nagoya I simply anchored behind the breakwater and waited for someone to come by, as the coast guard eventually did, and explained my radio was out and I had no engine—not that I knew where to go. They brought customs and immigration to me, and free of charge. This would never happen many other places. I laughed as each of them took photos of me and Araby—the perfect stereotype of the Japanese. They also explained that there were no marinas in Nagoya, that I'd have to go one city over, Yokkaichi, and they'd be happy to tow me there as there were shoals in route and they were worried for me not being familiar with the area.

And, indeed, not having a depth sounder, I was vulnerable. I've always known the depth. I took it for granted. The water is no longer crystal clear—you can't simply look down and know where the bottom is. You have to use the chart, know your position, and, like the old timers, use the lead line. (a knotted line with a bit of lead to weigh it down. When it reaches bottom you pull it up counting the knots to learn the depth.) But as a single-hander, I wait until I drop the hook for this one, so to figure scope of chain.

But it is disconcerting. And I have a friend who has never had depth sounder. He says he knows it's shallow when the centerboard bonks the bottom.

But these were failures, things that broke. This happens and is to be expected. However, there were other problems that were resultant of poor planning and lack of experience—things that shouldn't happen. Of course, I didn't plan on coming to Japan, this is my defense of the fact that I have no paper charts and no tidal data. I am safe in my backup—in that I have all the world's charts stored on my computer, but I use this information for planning, not navigation usually.

Being forced to navigate in this way I found to be unseamanlike in the foremost. I would draw sketches of Nagoya bay and harbor and use these sketches to navigate, having my waypoints marked upon them and the hazards and such.

What a fiasco, but it was fun and I've grown fond of my little yellow pictures.

And it worked well, mind you, very well, but only because my routes were rather straight forward. It was time consuming and I had had no alternatives. But never again. I would have been better served getting charts in advance in Guam .

It turns out that the cape that I have now been around twice (only once with success) is considered by some to be the most dangerous and difficult water in Japan.

Another thing I have taken for granted is the information in cruising guides. Since I've always had them, I had no idea how invaluable they were. Coming here, having no one to talk to, to ask "which bay is good, what town convenient?" has been such a frustration. I am blind. And strangely, no one in Japan speaks English. I thought it was widely spoken here, but not the spots I've been thus far. I have not met ONE person whom speaks respectable English. Nor I have I seen ONE white person. This is no exaggeration. Not ONE! It is like being in another world.

Information on sailing here has been hard to find. Only today, on making Osaka, have I at least procured charts, but I'm not sure if I will find much as far as a cruising pilot (guide)—certainly not in English. My trusty cruising community is 2000 miles to the south.

The last thing I have neglected is a bit of information that I have not needed to reference in a long time. It is information that is not noticed until it is needed, and then of great importance to safety. I am talking about Tide Tables and Current Table—those hallowed references!

I didn't have this information, did not realize how important it could be—I just hadn't thought about it in so long—but not again. I have a new list of things I will always have before venturing forth anywhere: charts, pilots, tides. These three sources of data are fundamental to the safety of the sailor and should be available to him. Like his anchor.


Why this long tirade on these things? . . . because it has been a very educational few weeks. It has been challenging, rewarding, new and refreshing, frustrating. I am twice the sailor I was when I left Vanuatu a few months ago. I have seen things I hope to never see again, and I have received some of the finest hospitality of my life. Everything has been polarities. Calms and storms.

Araby has sailed wonderfully, but it was patience that saw me through. The wind was ever on my nose, always. We'd be beating against a fierce current off a cape and then the wind would die, meaning that we would drift back all the miles we had fought so hard to earn. But so it was and there was nothing to do about it. Thus is life.

The evening I entered Osaka bay and was about 15 miles from port, the wind once again came ahead and started blowing a gale and raining. What to do? I could beat in, but what was the point? I hove-to, got some rest, drifted south, and set sail the next morning and made port with a calm head and fair skies.

And it was a good thing to. I had the nearest call I've ever had—and dare ever hope to have—with a small ship (150') crossing from my blind side. I was making through an anchorage of tankers, so I was particularly wary that traffic couldn't give way because of restricted maneuverability. I had prudence enough, that when the wind dropped a bit, I raised my jib. I didn't need more speed, but I felt I could sail more defensively—being able to tack more readily. And so it was, when I was shaking out a reef I saw a ship just off my port bow, and boy was it bearing down—right there on top of me. I couldn't believe it. I ran aft, thought about my knife, but then opted to untie the windvane lines—I had that much time at least. But she was just six boat lengths off. I brought Araby around hard, yelled some mild profanity, which I was close enough for them to hear. I sat in complete disbelief.

They must not have seen me. Why no horn?? Who can say? I would have been at fault because of the anchorage area, but it is everyone's responsibility to avoid collision however possible, and he had plenty of room to spare. No horn! And I hadn't seen them!

It was a terrible thing, and just four miles from my destination. I laughed—the hardest bit is always at the end. I had to give way once more before dropping my hook. My anchorage is much like my last passages—few of nothing but barges. Truly, I am the only boat; me and 75 barges!

In the Land of the Raising Sun!

What a trip. I've just never imagined anything like it. I was taught that a twenty minute watch was seamanlike for the single-hander, but I was coming from long open water passages. I was used to 45 minute watches. It was only after being surprised by a few freighters that I realized I had to revise my protocol. So I went to the twenty—but even then . . . it wasn't safe, it wasn't right. I was surrounded by freight, not some of the time—but all of the time. It was insane. At times I could see eight tankers around me. Twenty minutes? Bah. It seemed impossible for me to gauge there movements. Recall, if you will, that I am still blind.

It seemed so easy—I could look at their lights and their angles to me, take bearings. I understand it all, god knows I have the experience now. But somehow, I'd come up from below and there'd be a monster tanker passing on starboard—Where did he come from??? I have no answers, only failures. It shouldn't have been so. They simply come on to fast.

I went to ten minute watches. Really that was the best I could do, but it wasn't good enough either. When I had to I stayed up all night and slept more in the daylight. But I was afraid of becoming too tired and over-sleeping my alarms. And then there was the fog. Can you see how utterly untenable this situation was?

My great relief was that I figure I have the best radar reflector going. What I did was take a burlap bag and fill it with empty and crinkled tin cans, then lashed it beneath my spreader. The bent cans provide many angles of reflection and I found that traffic seemed always to be aware of me. This doesn't count fisherman who pay less attention to radar.

In short—Japan is a nightmare for a singlehander. Stay away. Even short-handed sailing (2 people) it will still be tedious—well, no matter how many people. There are so many gill netters (?)—they don't give way. You have to tack around just about everyone. And always in fear of what may be out there. And there is fog.

Yes, yes, radar would be nice. Maybe on your boat.

Avoiding so much marine traffic has been difficult and unlike anything I've experienced. Entering a pass just south of Osaka, in a fog, watching freight coming out of the north and south, waiting on my moment, then watching a current ripping off the west edge of island, having the wind luff. . . I have never needed my wits about me as then. I turned off, circled about until the wind freshened, found a gap, and then ran it.

No problem, but the stress. . . good lord.

In the times I was becalmed I got some rest, dried some clothes, played the guitar. It could be peaceful and beautiful. The weather was never terrible, just always upwind, a bit of rain and fog, some fresh breezes. The current off the south of Japan (the cape I spoke of) with a SW wind, which there was all of a 5% chance of, kept me from Osaka. I had planned my route for the Nor'easter that always blows as a rule, as it had for the last two weeks. But no. Current and wind against, I eased the sheets and made for Nagoya, a city I had never heard of.

I made it and found the people so hospitable I can't describe. I was taken out to eat by different people each day—each nearly offended when I attempted to pay. My favorite was a guy named Hamano, who was working on a boat near me. He spoke NO English. As I worked he brought me a coffee, smiled, bowed, and walked away.

Later, when the marina wanted to move my boat and subsequently wrecked my windvane, it was Hamano who helped me fix it. At first I was quasi-assumed he worked for the marina, as we were using their facilities, but then I realized he didn't. The marina staff were young and inexperienced. Me and Hamano went to work and got the job done quick—but what of his work? He spent an entire morning working with me. So I decided I would treat him to lunch. He gave the 'lets eat' sign and I nodded. We went to a joint and I made it clear I was to buy him lunch. He laughed.

He ardently refused. We ate. He bought. Actually, I was almost offended. This guy spent half his day working on my windvane and wouldn't allow me to buy his lunch. What a bastard!

He didn't even try to speak English, didn't care. I had gotten so used to using the notepad to draw pictures for people in an attempt to communicate. Hamano and I just sat. We didn't talk. It didn't matter. It was very comfortable and nice. I'd make jokes now and again to make us laugh, but really, we were often quiet.

Later when I was leaving, my friend Yokota said he should tow me back out of Yokkaichi (the town I was now in), as the marina was landlocked, I was delighted when I saw that he intended to go with Hamano and his fishing boat. As was his way, when I got to my boat he had the lines run and was ready to go. Apparently, I had no choice in the matter. Hamano smiled.

Yokota and Kato were also hard to leave. Kato actually started crying when the windvane got mangled, he was so sorry. He was 23, very nice, spoke just a little English. He would call an English-speaking friend to translate for us which helped me immensely. He informed me that the marinas in Japan are over $1000/ month. As it turns out, I think he was wrong.

This changes all of my plans. What to do with my boat?? Obviously marinas are impossible. That is 3x the US rate I am used to. (The cheap ones.)

But maybe not. I just talked to a yacht club this afternoon who offered slips for $350—that would be ideal. How is that possible? That is not anything like $1000!

It is interesting being on my own, not having Brian, Herb or Jason and Laurel just an anchor away. I have been so focused, I haven't really noticed. Funny, since turning away from Torres Strait, everything has changed, and then changed continually. Each plan fails and leads on to another. And days run by and I don't know where I am going. But somehow it is all fine, and fun, and exciting and I am forever getting closer to where it is I am going. I feel it even though I don't know what or where that is.

But it is so important what I have learned. I am so thankful that I pulled through. This is without question the most perilous sailing I've encountered. I was hardly up for it. I'm not sure I wasn't just lucky. My judgment was often suspect.

But I was vigilant. I am proud of that. I was calm and never upset. And I turned off and waited when the risk warranted caution. In these things I am proud.

Of my ability to negotiate ships I am ashamed; of my slowness in changing my watch schedule I am ashamed, of my preparedness for Japan as a whole I am ashamed, and my rush to arrive here.

Yet here I am, anchored in the most bizarre of places, surrounded by barges. People may not like it. But here I am. Yesterday I stayed aboard, drank coffee and watched dinghy races. It felt good . . .

In the Land of the Rising Sun!

13 October, 2007


I made it safe, at least.  VHF died, depth sounder died, the wind was perpetually on the nose, but it was fine.   Didn:t make Osaka, an utterly unpredictable wind shift and three knot current convenced me to change course for Nagoya.   But this won:t do so I will leave soon for the inland sea west of Osaka and look for nice bays to anchor and meet people and find a spot to hole up.
Must run.   Expensive internet.

25 September, 2007


I'm off for Japan in the morning.  It will be a two week trip.  Wish me luck.

24 September, 2007

Sailing Video

Hey I'm on the web now.  Check out my sailing video on the sidebar.   Called Caroline Island  THis was fun

Snookwis - Tilikum's Junk rigged war canoe

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Ironbark II - a Wylo II, my dream

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to japan



Guam to Japan.


So I will leave for Japan in the next few days.  Frankly, it is getting hard to pull myself away from the Seaman's Club.  Free internet on my own computer is something I haven't experienced since Mexico.  I free icetea refills.  I could get a lot done in a week here, but I'd eat too many hamburgers, with chili!


It will be a two week crossing, though I will likely draw it out by stopping  in a few islands, like Chichi-Jima or Haha-Jima, and then shoot for Osaka.  The weather patterns seem fair and the typhoon season is dwindling.  I will be on the early side, but I will risk it.  At this point I have to risk one way or the other.  I have stuck my neck out a bit.


But this plan is fair and I will be in a good position to move forward with myriad possibilities that may come in the next year.

22 September, 2007





Okay, so Port Townsend is out until next year.  That leaves Japan…AND, Hawaii, which I hadn't considered until Tilikum mentioned it.  Though it looks rough: dead upwind.  But in lieu of the PNW, perhaps I may like it.  Though marinas are horrendously expensive (but Jap.???) and there are few anchorages.

So no easy solutions.  I could sail to Hawaii and, if I could make it work, I could then sail to Japan, which would then be dead downwind, and perhaps in the right season…..But I am just thinking through my fingers.

Dead ends in a maze….


I am happy about what has transpired.  I am going the right way.  I would have loved to have made the PNW this season, but it is impossible….well…untenable.  Insane.  So I can't say I'm not tempted.  But I am moving on.


I have lived well in Guam.  It is not a good cruisers spot.  I had to borrow a bike to get from the yacht club to ANYWHERE.  No hitching here.  But there are showers in the club, and a phone so I could call home for the first time since April.  It was so great to talk to my dad.  Great.  It was September 18th and since my birthday was nigh, and 35 days at sea I was determined to celebrate.

About a mile and a half from the Club I was told that there was a United Seaman's Service… which had a restaurant and internet. 

This place is great.  Free internet, cheap food, great book exchange, bar, free pool.   A sailor's paradise of sorts.  (from a certain point-of-view)  So I've eaten well and drank cold coca-colas.  I've read emails and played some of the pool I've ever played.

For my birthday I caught a bus to a place where I could find the last Harry Potter.  For my birthday I at Chinese and read the last of a epic story.


Now that is in the ebb.  I must drag my mind back to reality and start the process of making the next plan and moving on.  Guam is not a place to stay, but it has been a nice reprieve and break from the norm and a fair change from my last birthday, which was spent in an unrelenting gale near Tonga.    Damned blocking highs!