i_id: (Here's Matt!)
Today came with an unexpected amount of progress on Gandalf! Dad, apparently, woke up with a bug in his ear about it, and so he provided the motivation I was missing to just Get To Work. Together, we pulled out the entire port bunk and the shelf behind it, cut, pried, and unscrewed the v-berth locker from the main cabin bulkhead, and worked the entire port side of the main bulkhead loose. In the process, we found many dead wasps's nests, both of the mud and paper varieties, wet and dry, and a few strange surprises in Gandalf's anatomy. We now think, but aren't sure, that it was once ducted to use the engine's heat to warm the for'ard cabin. Neat, though not something I'll be recreating. Albin Vegas are built in Sweden, so maybe it makes sense that they plan for sub-zero cruising.

With the current fervor between the two of us, Dad and I hope to have the main bulkheads out by May. There are a few steps between us and that point, but not so many as it seemed. Unfortunately, the next one is the grossest: the head and all of its plumbing have to come out. This is a 39 year-old toilet, with a tank of unknown age... and fluid. Not even speculating as to the composition of that. But out it must come and so it shall be.

Also, I found what might be the first difficult-to-repair structural damage: Under one of my life-line stanchions, someone has jury-rigged a repair with some aluminum plates to shore up two serious-looking cracks in the fiberglass, near the hull-deck joint. I need to be able to trust every one of my life-line stanchions, so I have to figure out a solid, lasting repair for this.

Right now, below-decks looks a bit like chaos as things come apart. There are loose bolts and nuts and bits of trim scattered everywhere. But this is major progress. Things are finally moving again.
i_id: (Default)
I don't plan to disappear.

I have a life, here on solid land. Well, mostly on the internet. A pretty solid social life, good relationships with a few tight friends and a few dozen amicable aquaintences. The people I interact with every day.

(Though I wonder, because we all do, how long it would take them to notice if I stopped turning up. A few days, at least. A month, at most? But that's not the type of disappearance I'm talking about.)

I can't take the internet with me on my Cruise. Oh, it's possible, thank the technology race. There's satellite internet and a host of other options. Expensive options. Options that cost more than my little boat, more than my college tuition. So no, I will not be dragging this series of tubes with me across the wide empty expanses of ocean. For months at a time, this Cruise, this choice, will cut me off.

But I refuse to be invisible. Every port, I will bring updates and pictures and a hundred new little stories. Expect tales of sea turtles and visiting birds, of passing strange debris and chance encounters with other trekkers like myself. Even the daily minutia of a logbook, if anyone cares to read it.

June 7, 2014, 1325 || 0 0' 0.0" N / 147 40' 59" W || Wind WNW ~20kts Gusty swells and slight chop. Unlimited visability. || Crossing the equator at last! I threw myself a party and ate the last orange from Hilo, 1400 miles ago. I'll never complain about the weather back home again. I think I am going to melt to the deck. Saw one bird today. No clouds. Tomorrow will maybe be laundry day if the wind dies down. Kind of roaring along right now.

October 1, 2016, 0721 || 35 59' 31" N / 5 41' 22" W || Wind nonexistant, big queasy swells moving west, fog/rain, visib ~100yds || Think I saw Gibralter, but the rain closed in on me again. Everything's gray and wet. I just want to spend tonight in a hotel in Spain, but the wind may not get me there until tomorrow. One liter of fuel in the tank won't get me there. Sounding the horn every 3 minutes, no sleep. I think I'm on the edge of the shipping lane.

And those would be the exciting days.

I expect to write. All alone, with only my reflection and my boat to listen to the stories I know I can tell. I'll bring fiction ashore with me too. I expect stories about the end of the world to come as naturally as autobiographical fragments, made-up histories of everything I pass. It will all pass from my boat to the internet until I am trailing a flotsom raft of communication, a big banner of 'Listen to me! I still exist!' to wave proudly whenever I meet another human being out there in the blue.

I'm not going out there to disappear.

I'm going out there to write my way around the whole damn world.

Reader Participation
If you were following my blog while I sail around the world, what would you like to read?

  • Log entries, like the ones above, full of trivial data and on-the-spot remarks?
  • Narrative, memoir-style entries?
  • Simply accountings of daily life at sea?
  • Fictionalized, sensational narrative entries that make the months at sea much more exciting than they really are? (Zombies! Pirates! Sea monsters!)
  • Just the highlights?
  • Internal reflection a la Walden?
  • Other, which you will expand upon in the comments?

[This entry was written for [livejournal.com profile] therealljidol, a livejournal-based write-off competition. Voting is up, so read everyone's entries here and vote for me your favorites!
i_id: (Default)
[This entry is nonfiction, but not an accounting of a true event. It is a mashup of the conversations I’ve had with various people since I began declaring my intent to sail around the world.]


I'm going alone. )


This entry was written for [livejournal.com profile] therealljidol, a Survivor-style LJ write-off. Voting starts tomorrow and will be a weekly thing until there is Only One. Wish me luck.


Aug. 30th, 2011 10:01 am
i_id: (Dad)
The Canals of France.

This is mostly for me. Here's hoping none silt up too badly in the next few years. Gandalf draws 1.2m in salt water, a little more in fresh.

Maps under here )

Med to Lux = ~ 956km, or 594 miles
Lux to the Atlantic via Paris = ~ 900km, or 560 miles
i_id: (Dad)
This list is by no means complete, and will continue to evolve.

In no particular order: )


May. 14th, 2011 03:34 am
i_id: (Voyager)
So, April 30th, I happened to be checking my bank account and browsing craigslist at the same time. "Huh," I said to myself, seeing the price of the most recent listing in one window, and my balance in the other. "These numbers just about match." And then I saw what that price was attached to.

A 1974 Albin Vega 27.

A sturdy little blue-water boat already famous for being a handy circumnavigator the perfect size for a single sailor. In sailable condition. For less than $3500. The listing was barely an hour old, and I leapt on it. Called the man and left a message. He called me back, and after some scheduling mishaps, I arranged to come out and see the boat the next day. It was in Deming, a little town some miles Northeast of Bellingham.

I may be ambitious, but I'm still pretty much a boat novice, so I took Dad up with me to see this too-good-to-be-true boat, trying to rein in my hopes. I needn't have bothered. Despite having been up on sticks for somewhere between three and seven years, and lived aboard by a nonsailing family of three before that, the boat was in better shape than I could have hoped. Save one strange through-hole on the transom, I could stick her in the water today and sail her around, if the rigging is as sound as it all appears to be. She even comes with three usable sails, and an engine that turns over, which means it's repairable. The original 1974 engine, I think. The owner, an older man with a jack-of-all-trades sort of demeanor (thoroughly supported by the massive workshop on his property, the barn, the co-op school, and the 40' wooden sloop being used as a playhouse) even had all of her original paperwork, including manuals for both ship and engine. Honestly, my biggest complaint about the Vega is that wasps have moved in and eaten a great deal of the interior woodwork, which I would have been likely to replace anyway.

So I bought the boat. Not quite on the spot; he gave me a night to think it over (a night in which he received three other offers. I'm so very glad I put down my earnest money first), and I brought him a check the next day. He's been kind enough to let me keep the boat on her sticks at his place while I track down a place to keep her while I work on her, which I hope to do in the next few days. I like him. He's a little crazy, but he loves boats and keeps goats.

Her name is Gandalf. I'm not sure I'll change it. The dinghy will probably have to be named after a hobbit.

Pictures beneath the cut.  )
i_id: (Here's Matt!)
Dear world.

There are a lot of things to be afraid of right now. The entire Middle East is boiling, like ant-hives poured one into another, and it's spreading at an alarming rate. Iran has warships in the Suez Canal. As of today, the Somali pirates are holding at least 33 ships and 712 hostages. Last year, they collected ransoms for more than a thousand, the country's only income. TSA, the folk responsible for keeping our airways safe, are being shown up as frauds and thieves every day. Gas prices in the US will hit four dollars a gallon again this summer. Unemployment in the US is recovering, but the dollar is not. It is now a lie to call our President the leader of the free world. That same President has made no move to repeal the abominable Patriot Act. A state in the Union is about to pass a revision to a law that would, in effect, make it legal to kill a doctor who performs abortions. A huge number of American citizens don't have the right to marry who they love, adopt children with that loved one, or hold them as they die. A celebrity who tortured dogs to death and another who raped a young woman are being paid thousands of times more than any teacher just to catch a ball.

It is so hard, right now, to be only one person when you ache to rouse those around you, all of them, to these outrages.

I meant to finish this post with the beautiful things, the things that make this world still worth living in, but it felt like an insult. I can't point to one good, beautiful thing and say, 'This. This weighs against rape or murder or corruption in the karmic balance of the world.' But they add up. They do not erase the bad. But they are the reasons why we have to fight the bad. "To take arms against a sea of trouble, and by opposing end them," to take one of those good, beautiful things out of context.

So here are a few of those beautiful things after all. )

One voice.
i_id: (Default)
Leave a comment saying, "IT’S TASTING TIME!" and I will give you five words I associate with you. Then post about what they mean to you, along with this, at your journal.

Pur gave me these five words: Scarves, hats, Hats, grues, OCEAN! So here goes!

Five Prompts. )
i_id: (Default)
Go sit inside a minivan. Take the seats out of their places, line them along the sides. Build a counter, a cabinet, a bed in the back. A bathroom the size of a washing machine. Cover the windows with duct-tape, except for narrow spaces at the top. Climb in and out through the sun roof. Now you have a model of the inside of a small sailboat.

Bring in your food. Enough for two months with no ice or electricity. Canned goods, rice, beans by the bag. Become friends with tuna, with Spam. Fresh fruits and vegetables for the few days they'll last, just enough for one person. All the onions you can stand to keep up your health, and vitamins for when they run out. Eggs coated with oil so they don't need kept cold. Water, forty gallons of it at the very least. Find places to put it all.

Bring in everything you need for three years. Bring your clothes, your tools, your books, your life. Pare it down until it fits, and then eliminate more until you have space to breathe. Remember to worry about weight.

Bring a spare of everything important. Don't forget four spare tires, an extra steering wheel, an extra radio and axles and an alternator. A whole spare engine, if there's room. Where you're going, you will be the only mechanic, and there will be no stores. You'll be as far off-road as it is humanly possible to get. Be prepared for everything you can imagine, and then read disaster books so you can imagine more.

Do you feel ready? You're not. But it's time to go. It's time to sail around the world.

This is my entry for LJ Idol Week 06 - Not of Your World. All of my competitors' entries can be found here; please do go and read them. This entry is inspired by my oncoming trip, sailing around the world in a 25-30' sailboat. Con-crit is always welcome, and I hope to answer further questions about this cruise in upcoming idol entries. Thank you for reading!
i_id: (Default)
I had a good job, in North Carolina. Well, it was a reliable job. It might have become a good job in another three years, four, five. I was being groomed to become assistant manager, given the long shifts, the late shifts, put in charge of the store's yearly Inventory. It was heady responsibility, really.

I took my lunch breaks alone. There were never enough of us there to have more than one person in the back room at a time, nor was there really room. It was a tiny place, a closet behind the stock room with a broken TV on a shelf, an unclaimed box of pizza rolls in the freezer that no one dared touch, a filthy microwave and a table with a rickety top. The chairs were all various faded shades of orange and had stuffing poking out of them.

I brought books to read each day, for that precious thirty minutes. Feeding my imagination was more important than feeding my stomach. For two weeks, it was House of Leaves, and I scared myself silly. For another week, it was Wicked. And then it was Maiden Voyage.

Maiden Voyage is a book about Tania, an aimless girl in her late teens who is given a choice by her frustrated father; go to university, or take the tuition money and sail around the world. The book reduced me to tears. Here I was, earning easy money telling teenagers they can't buy beer with fake ids and old women they can't buy perfume with food stamps, earnestly looking into moving up the ladder, out of the store and into the corporation, and this book, this travelogue of a scared young woman sailing alone (save a cat) across the Equator and into adulthood made me a sobbing wreck in my own break-room.

I was late getting back to work that day. I spent an evening doing the math. And twenty days later, I quit. I quit and moved across the country, out of my the apartment that sucked my paychecks dry and back in with my parents. Since then, jobs have been scarce. I made the decision to escape a career right at the ultimate downturn of the economy, and since then, I have worked perhaps eleven months out of twenty-five, two of that for room and board and sailing experience alone.

I scour the want-ads, looking for a boat. I need one sturdy and small, with a narrow full keel, a full-stepped mast, and a stern-mounted rudder. I need a steering vane and a storm jib, vaccinations and visas, a life raft and an EPIRB. I need charts and a compass and a nest egg large enough to fly me home if I destroy it all on a reef in Tonga, distracted by blue whales and a storm. I will risk my life, and live in a space smaller than most minivans for three years or so.

When I get back, maybe I'll think about a career again. But it won't be selling beer and perfume.

Links are for those who do not know what these parts of a boat are, as I know I have some landlubbers on my flist.

This is my entry for LJ Idol - 05 Afterthought. Thanks for reading, and remember to vote on Saturday!.

Away I go!

Nov. 4th, 2009 12:53 am
i_id: (Here's Matt!)
Hiatus time, oh god! November 5th through December 21st, 2009.

The thing is, I am moving out to sea. Not The Cruise, but certainly a cruise. I've been granted a position on the Lady Washington, Official Tall Ship of Washington State, there to be a seagoing bookkeeper and wrangler of tourists. I get to wear a great costume, learn sea shanties, scramble around in real rope rigging, and once and for all eradicate any fear of heights. I also will be learning tons of stuff for The Cruise, like navigating by sextant and splicing rope and handling a ship (though the LW is many orders of magnitude larger than any boat I will ever own) in open waters. Good practice, good experience, good opportunity all around.

Downside! This is a period sailing vessel. Her rigging is tarred manila rope, her sails are canvas, her hull is wood, and the only thing wireless aboard her is... everything. You think they used wires in 1730? No internet. While we're on the Columbia, I maaaay have coverage on my aging uberphone, which means I'll have AIM for my downtime. Keeping my fingers crossed here. Otherwise... Ya'll will hear from me sporadically.  The ship's schedule is here, if anyone wonders just where I am.

The best way to get in touch with me is my phone's email addy, which is ockette AT tmail .com and you all know how email works. AIM is the same as it's always been.

I'm also doing NaNoWriMo. 6500 words and counting. I hope to reach 12000 before I reach the boat, which will be very close to the farthest I've ever gotten on NaNo. You NaNoers can find me on that website as TheHats, where I'll be updating whenever I can make it ashore to a hotspot.

Anyway, I'm going to have an awesome time. I'll miss the interwebs, but you know I'll be back.


Clair has figured out that the werecurse ended with Halloween, through she still has dead samples of the werepathogen in her blood. So she's come home. They will keep her busy for some time, as she tries to figure out if they can be used as a vector-virus to carry her drugs. She will share her findings with Otto, of course, and Eiko. And to a lesser extent with Doctor Grey.

Clair[fused] will be staying at home, having finally convinced her Norman to take a break from the corporate-political world. They're doing fine, and her shoulder is healing nicely.

Some, having gotten himself exorcised from the ghost world, is staying home to get over that particular trauma, and is fully occupied in cleaning up after Halloween, taking his sons to school, eying Nyoka's magical experiments nervously, the last of the harvest with Jon, and conducting a fuller exploration of the world on which he lives. Maybe he'll find fire lizards.

Doctor Cockroach is... I'm very sorry, Eek, I've dropped the ball. He's going to have to go back to Bikini or something for the time being.

Narrows pups over here.

I think that's it. Any questions, email at the above addy will get to me faster than commenting here. I'll post about the trip and nano and everything when I can, and we'll see how it goes.


Aug. 4th, 2009 01:42 pm
i_id: (Breakdance)
What I'd really like to learn to play is the violin. And this one would be up to the rigors of the cruise.

But $130 is far too much for an impulse buy. Perhaps I'd just be better to find a very used traditional one on Craigslist and resign myself to destroying it with tropical humidity.


i_id: (Default)
I visualize, and listmake, and obsess. Bear with me. There are a lot of links below, and a lot of everything.

Places )
i_id: (Voyager)
Cape Flattery, WA > San Francisco ~ 800 miles (coastal)
San Francisco > Hawaii ~ 2400 (open)       
Hawaii > Marquesas ~ 2400 (open)   
Marquesas > Tahiti ~ 850 (island hopping)   
Tahiti > Roratonga ~ 720 (island hopping)   
Roratonga > Samoa ~ 950 (island hopping)   
Samoa > Fiji ~ 700 (island hopping)   
Fiji > Tonga ~ 450 (island hopping)     
9270 (9270)

Tonga > New Zealand ~ 1200 (open)       
New Zealand > Tasmania ~ 1400 (open)       
Tasmania > Sidney ~ 800 (coastal)       
Sidney > Western Australia ~ 4100 (coastal)         
7500 (16770)

Western Australia > Keeling Islands ~ 1350 (open)       
Keeling Islands > Maldives ~ 2000 (open)       
Maldives > Aden ~ 2200 (open)         
5550 (22320)

Aden > Suez ~ 1400 (open/coastal)   
Suez Canal ~ 100 (canal)       
Egypt > Cyprus ~ 240 (open)       
Cyprus > Crete ~ 400 (open)       
Crete > Greece    ~ 400 (island hopping)   
Greece > Sicily ~ 300 (open)       
Italian Coast ~ 700 (coastal)       
French Coast ~ 300 (coastal)       
Andora/Spanish Coast ~ 800 (coastal)         
4640 (26960)

Portugese Coast ~ 100 (coastal)       
Portagal > Azores ~ 1100 (open)       
Azores > Bermuda ~ 2100 (open)       
Bermuda > NYC ~ 800 (open)       
US Coast ~ 1100 (coastal)         
5200 (32160)

Florida > Bermuda ~ 600 (island hopping)   
Bermuda > Dominican Republic ~ 500 (island hopping)   
Dom. Rep > Fort de France ~ 700 (island hopping)   
Fort de France > Panama ~ 1400 (open)       
Panama Canal ~ 50 (canal)         
3250 (35410)

Panama > Galapagos ~ 1150 (open)       
Galapagos > Baha ~ 2010 (open)       
Baha > Cape Flattery, WA ~ 2100 (coastal)         
5260 (40670)


In open water, I can expect to make between up to 120 miles per day (sailing 24 hours a day) under ideal conditions.
In coastal waters or island hopping, there's no predicting speed as it depends too much on local conditions and oceanography.
i_id: (Earth Logic!)
So much more work than the trite little list I've always made for New Years Resolutions, but I have a feeling this is going to be more than worth it.

This is going to be a challenge, to get all of these done by September 30th, 2011. I look forward to crossing them off, one by one.

So here goes. )

Last updated 5/18/09 (138/1001)


i_id: (Default)

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