A Generation of Lost Opportunity!

Vancouver is a big city with an aggressively progressive plan to transform itself in a sustainable direction in response to the climate change problem. They want to become the greenest city in the world by 2020.  British Columbia has implemented a very successful carbon tax that has shifted incentives in a favorable direction, business favors it, and Washington State will get a chance to vote on I-732 this fall to implement a similar scheme (please support it!).

So today on a sunny Sunday I was feeling optimistic. We worked on the system that allows our boat’s solar panels to charge the batteries and then we rowed our dinghy ashore for a 15 mile urban wander about. We saw a huge number of people on bikes as well as thousands of pedestrians. The very young were out in strollers, the old were out as well. People of all races and cultures were getting around enjoying the turn in the weather. The non-car infrastructure was amazing as those who have visited Vancouver know.

Along English Bay
Bike & Ped paths along English Bay towards Stanley Park.
makes sense, bikes separate from peds
It makes sense, bikes separated from pedestrians (and from cars).


We visited Granville Market, the Maritime Museum and  made our way around Stanley Park back to Coal Harbour where we stopped at a cool spot to grab a beer. I wanted to sit at the bar that had like 40 taps of beers but Karen wanted and table and so it happened that we were seated in what I would call their library section; one whole wall was covered in books. Awesome, I love used books as everyone knows. You never know what you’re going to get. Then a certain book caught my eye.


I Spy a book titled “Climate Crisis”, I rose from our table and plucked it from the stack. It appears to be a very well-done book providing the basics of science education relating to the Greenhouse Effect and the threat of runaway Global Warming. It was geared to a younger audience and when I turned to the inside page there, next to the library checkout card, it said this book had been discarded by the Gilpin Elementary School in Burnaby. I thought this was ironic given that Portland School District has just recently ordered the removal of  curriculum that confuse on the sources of climate change (this is considered progressive today.) Obviously we need to educate our kids on the dangerous direction the world is taking.

The Thing is, sadly, that the copyright of the “discarded” book was 1989. As in 27 years ago. 1989! We knew back then. We knew.

What happened? Well, politics happened. Corporate lobbying happened. Reagan and anti-government attitude happened. Republicans especially but also neoliberal democrats altered course to the right. Faux news started in the 1990’s and stink tanks and money from Charles Koch and his ilk began to exert strategic influence. Exxon buried what they knew (as surely did many other fossil fuel companies) in order to earn profit. And we engaged in denial about the science and ignored the corruption of our democracy. That’s what fucking happened!

Wonder not that greed itself can bring down an empire no matter how mighty or widespread.

I sat back and started to consider all this as I sipped that beer (Fat Tug, great IPA) and I once again felt sad about what we’ve allowed to happen. If we had started a generation ago transitioning away from fossil fuel energy, if we had educated our kids, if we had faced facts, if we had been doing more of what Vancouver is doing today back then well maybe, just maybe…

This generation of lost opportunity is something that deserves examination. Our kids and grandkids will want to know what were we thinking, this won’t be easy an easy conversation. Meanwhile, the sun’s setting, its time to finish that beer, figure out where we left our dinghy and row back to the boat.

Tarani at anchor Vancouver BC, May 2016



Country Mouse in the Big City

Tarani of Vancouver, WA visits Vancouver, not WA. We’re just country hicks from Cluck County, Vantucky. Vancouver, BC is like whole other country.

Early chilly start departing Blaine.DSC00482 But fun sailing upwind!

Then a mariner’s challenge sailing a small vessel, invisible to the big guys, past Tsawassen ferry terminal and the port for the cargo vessels and the coal (its gotta be on the way out!) terminal. We were using eyeballs, brains (hah, just kidding!), Victoria Traffic on channel 11, AIS on the chartplotter and the trusty iPad with iNavx and CHS charts running. Pretty busy place, running up the east side of Strait of Georgia. At one time we called a vessel that was being turned by tugs heading out from Deltaport attempting bridge-to-bridge communications to figure out if we could maintain our course since we were not sure which course he would assume once clear of his tugs. He never answered but Victoria Traffic advised that we were the “give way” vessel and should alter course as appropriate. Well, duh!

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After that it was a nice sunny day. At least until a vessel came on the radio declaring Mayday! A 35′ trawler with an engine room fire that was uncontrolled by the fire extinguisher, crew was abandoning ship into their dinghy. The situation was well-handled by the vessel captain as well as Victoria Coast Guard radio, I thought. A CCG-generated, automated MMSI emergency alert came across theVHF that gave a position over one hour away from us, near Porlier Pass in the Gulf Islands so we did not divert to help. Although I really wanted to put my VFD retirement fire axe to work! (chop that boat up like a truckie, instead of just using it to chop firewood)  Other vessels did come to his aid but it sounded like the fire went out more or less on its own. The CCG (Côte Garde) also sent out their amazing hovercraft that we saw from a distance. I think its based at the Vancouver airport where it can travel over the mudflats better than any other type of vessel. Here’s a pic I got of that boat (?) from last year when it responded to a vessel collision near Ganges. It flies over the water!

Something wicked this way comes!

After that it was easy sailing. Until the tug and log raft decided to turn towards us. Then stop. OK, OK, no problem. Whatever log master.

Eventually we rounded Point Grey and headed into English Bay and into False Creek.


at the Fisherman’s Wharf Customs dock

We had obtained a (free) permit for anchorage in False Creek while en route and found a decent place. Settled in and got the sailcover on just before a downpour. This should be fun. We plan to dinghy in and wander around and explore the City tomorrow. Meanwhile enjoying the sights and sounds of urbanized humanity.




Visiting Jeremiah

Like many people who consider retiring to their boats and cruising around there is a narrow window of opportunity.

You have to wait until your kids are old enough to be out on their own and self-sufficient.  You want to do your best to help them out through college, etc., right But, you can’t want to wait too long because our bones and joints and general health start to deteriorate and sailing can be a physically demanding activity at times. Also at some point your kids figure out how to have their own kids and that means you will probably experience a grandparent’s desire to be with them as often as possible. They are so cute and its so fun to watch them grow and develop. Also, many of us have aging parents who begin to develop health issues like Alzheimers dementia that require support. This can be a wonderful time to demonstrate and payback the love that your parents provided to you when you were growing up. You want to be there for that.


So, what to do, what to do? Well, you do your best, that’s what. You try to find a balance. You get out as soon as you can and don’t beat yourself up with too much guilt.

We stopped by Bellingham to visit Derek and Katie and our grandson Jeremiah one last time before we are gone for 3 months. He is changing so fast and smiles so much, he is a joy to be around. It was fun but also a little bittersweet knowing we won’t see him until he’s like 8 months old. He’ll be almost a big boy by then! Take care, little guy. Don’t grow up too fast!

Katie & Jeremiah
Katie & Jeremiah


Derek & his son 1 month ago


So, yes, a wonderful visit but now its time to move on dot org. Today we left Bellingham behind on a chilly cloudy day and sailed out of Bellingham Bay, turned north up Hale Passage and up to Blaine. We had 10-15 knots of wind behind us from the south helping us along on a broad reach. Karen spent most of her time at the helm while I fiddled around with different arrangements on the preventer, the extra line that helps prevent a troublesome accidental jibe from causing damage to the rigging.

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The sun comes out in Blaine Harbor! About 1/2 mile from the border.





Definition of cruising

There are multiple ways to describe to friends what cruising is all about. One of the best definitions is that cruising means working on your boat in exotic locations. Well, our exotic locations only include Anacortes and Bellingham so far but when we arrived at each location we found the boat work was there waiting for us. Amazing. How cool is that?

At Anacortes for example I had another look at the prop zinc. This is the little sacrificial piece that protects your propeller and drive shaft from electrolytic corrosion. I thought it looked okay but something was off. I had to mostly submerge in the chilly water to do the job but I’m glad I did. Plus I found out that after about 10 minutes in the water my hands and fingers don’t work so good.


Old one on the left, new one on the right.Lessons learned: 1) Objects in water may be smaller than they appear, and 2) when in doubt, swap it out.

Next project was done in Bellingham. After only one night living off the grid and despite using very few lights or other energy consumers our 8 year old  batteries could barely turn over the engine. Uh-oh, could be a safety problem here. So, did my research, shopped the local marine supply stores and “pulled the trigger”. Marine AGM batteries are expensive little units ($300 each). Each 12 volt, 115 Amp Hour battery weighs 72 pounds so they must have a lot of stuff in there. We are now all set with our energy needs. All we need is some sun to keep them charged via our solar panels.

Here are the new batts, nice and cozy in their little box. I still need to clean up the wiring a little.



And So It Begins!

19 May 2016
19 May 2016 Port Townsend Shipyard

Red Sky at Night Sailor’s Delight!

Evening before our departure from PT we were invited to a shrimp oyster clam feast with the Anderson brothers. and old friend Rich Jones at their place on the Duckabush River in Brinnon. Thank you boys!  When we got home the sun was dropping below the dark rain clouds and lighting up a complete rainbow circle, it looked like a force field dome over our vessel, the good Tarani. Surely a good omen.

Port Townsend Point Hudson

Farewell Port Townsend, if only for a little while!

Had a wonderful motor/sail up Rosario Strait to Anacortes. Turns out it was Trawler Fest weekend. Amazing expensive yachts. After changing fuel filters and getting settled we made it to the Brown Lantern Ale House in time for happy hummus plate. Definitely one of the best we’ve ever had. Try ’em out if you’re in this town.

Met darling daughter Dena and manfriend Andrew at the Lantern but then moved next door to Frida’s Gourmet Mexican for dinner. Incredible restaurant! Large portraits of Frida Kahlo and all sorts of tributes to her honor bedecking the atmosphere. If you’re appreciative of amazing service AND amazing food, come have a cerveza de los muertos with these good folks.




Saturday’s early morning departure from Anacortes was tolerable thanks to Karen’s blueberry pancakes. Nothing says lovin’ like blueberry pancakes with maple syrup!


Crew decision was to make for Canada as soon as possible to explore opportunities for escape should Donald Trump (the fascist racist reality TV clown mortherforker) ever win elected office.

DSC00315When crossing Boundary Pass near Turn Point monitor and be ready to communicate on Victoria Traffic Channel, VHF 11. Closest Point of Approach with this loaded vessel outbound for Japan was less than one mile. Since our course was crossing his bow we called the vessel, provided our course and speed, and asked for approval of our plan to cross his path. (Objects in picture may actually be much bigger than they seem to appear to be, even when they appear to be humongous.)

Sailing out of Bedwell Harbour



Weather was a bit rough to sit on the public dock at Ganges but it was tolerable with enough fenders and lines. And it settled down after sunset. Beautiful scenes as the finishers of the round-Saltspring sail race were coming home, flying spinnakers in 20 knot wind and lit up by the setting sun. Hand-cranked margaritas and truly scrumptious (remember Truly Scrumptious?) vegan tacos capped off the evening in a nice way.

This trip’s off to a nice start.


Cancer Magister’s bad acid trip

Troubling news from Seattle researchers indicates Dungeness crab larvae don’t do so well in seawater that is acidifying due to the excess CO2 in the atmosphere from human activities. I plan to conduct some personal research into this matter but need to buy a new crab pot first.




Today we had beautiful weather in Port Townsend! So, no excuses but to take on Karen’s priority project which was to refresh the Cetol coating on our brightwork (the wood trim on our old classic.) 90% of the work was dusty, dirty and dull. We had to connect vacuum to sander and rig an over-the-side tarp to prevent any scrapings from getting into the water. But finally got her done.


Meanwhile, our neighbors on “Alcyone” were doing the same. Although their task was larger given the awesomeness of their vintage wooden vessel. However,once they left for the day Karen asked what flag they were flying from their stern.


For a closer look at the diagonal red over yellow flag, scroll up to see the pic in the logo section:

What does it mean, mariners? (A possible hint, this is the “O” – Oscar flag) Why are they flying it?

2nd hint: Its a trick question!

Reply with your comments. Or, answers to follow in tomorrow.

Peace Out!


A: The “O” flag when flown alone signals Man Overboard. It would not be expected from a vessel tied to a dock in a marina, that’s the tricky part. If you remember the owners were working on Alcyone’s brightwork and so they moved the man overboard float from its customary horizontal storage position near the rail. Tricky false flag.

Asian Paella

Each Monday is a good day to cook meatless. Besides being good for your health it helps save our human environment from the incredibly high carbon emissions of meat production. The main thing is the incredible tastes you get from vegetarian cultures around the world. I’m one of those people that sometimes has a hard time deciding what to cook for dinner. Hmmm, should I go Asian tonight or a Spanish rice dish? The clear answer here is “yes!”


Shipboard Asian “paella”

This is a one dish recipe I prepare using spanish paella technique with asian  ingredients and spices.

Start by heating some sesame oil in a flat large skillet or pan. Brown tofu in oil. Add chopped onion, garlic, ginger and chilis. Once these are softened add chopped bok choy and saute until just soft.

Add rice, your choice (long grain, medium grain, arborio) about 1/2 cup per person and saute for a few minutes. Next add vegetable stock, (1 cup for each 1/2 cup rice you used) and a teaspoon of soy sauce or liquid aminos. From here on do NOT stir. Turn heat down to medium-low and loosely cover with a lid or with aluminum foil. Allow to cook for about 20 minutes. Remove cover and check whether the liquid is absorbed and the bottom layer of the rice is starting to brown. If not turn up the heat a little and carefully watch it. You are trying for a tasty caramelized layer on the bottom but don’t want it to burn. Garnish with chopped cilantro, tomatoes, or whatever looks good to you.

Serve with extra chili paste and soy. Pairs nicely with a cold beer (but what doesn’t?) Enjoy!

The State of State-level Climate Action

A lot of the practical action to mitigate and adapt to the climate crisis happens at the state (and local) level. The Center for American Progress has prepared an analysis of how many states still have governors or attorneys general that are not on board. In fact some 173 million people in the USA are represented by leaders who are part of the problem. Perhaps this fall people will send a message by voting against climate deniers and electing leaders who will be part of the solution.