Sunday, April 20, 2014

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E komo mai!

We are living on a sailing catamaran in Hawaii. Hana hou!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Sailing all Day in Key West!

We rented a Hobie 16 from the Sunset Watersports guys on Smathers Beach Saturday. The best deal ending up being a beach pass, which gave us unlimited access to whatever toys they have for the whole day. The guys had a hard time accepting that neither of us was interested in parasailing. They asked at least three times if we were sure we didn't want to go and each time we replied negatively, they said, "Well, you can make up your mind about it later. The last boat goes out at 4."

I think they were still shaking their heads as we walked away at 4 and headed back to town on our bikes.

The wind was great the whole time, blowing out of the North, steady 15 kts early and gusting up to 20. In the afternoon, toward the end of our second session, we got a nice sustained 20+ kt wind and we were about two inches away from flying the windward hull. Very fun, thrilling beam reach!

I can see why they are warm-weather boats, however. The water flys around and with the sun mostly hiding behind clouds, Kris was chicken-skinned from head-to-toe for most of our sailing.

I ditched my shirt and I've got a nice red-tint to my skin. Happy for a sunburn on my Willamette Valley winter skin.

We saw a trio of keelboats working West a bit outside of where we were, so we sailed right out to them and gybed onto their line. We passed all three of them in short order. They all had their Key West Race Week placards on their bows and looked to be in the 20' range. Not sure what class/boat-type, though. (Addendum: looks like they were J 80s.)

The Hobie is pretty easy to get caught in irons, we found out quickly. Tacking into the wind is a touchy business and we spent a bit of time blaming each other. Me, certain that Kris wasn't working the jib properly through the turn and Kris repeating, "What did you do?" each time we'd heave up and stall.

We gybed okay, however, so tried to approach everything that way. Which must have looked funny when we sailed back to the beach, directly into the wind, and did loops at each of our tacking points. But maybe experienced sailors thought we were just showing off ...

We will probably try it again on Monday and see if we can master the Hobie Cat tack.

We ended the day with a bottle of rum and a game of dominoes in the galley onboard Appledore. Looking forward to sailing on that boat this afternoon.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Planting Spars

The girls and I spent MLK Day planting trees with the local chapter of the Friends of Trees. Well, maybe we just spent the morning. That's not bad, though.

We put in two rhododendrons and four Ponderosas, after the girls ate a donut that looked like a battle between a bottle of Nyquil and a bottle of Pepto-Bismol had transpired on top; nuclear blue vs. I-Dream-of-Jeannie pink.

Followed it all up with a pint o' Mirror Pond and the Miss Piggy at Flying Pie Pizza. Can't go wrong with smoked ham, Italian sausage, and pepperoni all smashed together on top of a pizza.

Less than 72 hrs from now we will be landing in Key West. I expect to be working through my first half-dozen rum runners in about 72 hrs, while listening to the Race Week participants tell stories at the village on Greene St.

Sunshine, c'mon!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Abstraction Leads to Neglect

We've been making slow progress on our transition from dinghy sailors to keelboat owner/sailors. We quit the sailing club a couple of months back and have been waiting on spring to spruce up Love and Coconuts and put her up for sale.

Not a lot to talk about on the sailing front then. That, coupled with lots of job and life transitions has, um, well taking the wind out of our sailing blogs.

I could go into the boring details of finance-finagling, but suffice it to say, they ARE boring details. We move glacially toward the liveaboard boat, with our eyes on minimizing costs to get there, in hopes of maximizing our time sailing.

This is all so abstract. I'm much happier with sensation-driven writing.

Fingers crossed that more of that is coming soon.

Key West in six days!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Book Review: Always a Distant Anchorage - Hal Roth

Since I launched into this undertaking two years ago, the two cruising writers I heard most frequently mentioned were Eric Hiscock and Hal Roth. I have a set of Hiscock's books on the night table and expect to get at them this winter and I just finished my first Hal Roth book last week. Always a Distant Anchorage is the retelling of Hal's and his wife Margaret's circumnavigation from Maine, through the Panama and Suez canals onboard their yacht Whisper.

I have read a couple dozen books about people's sailing adventures. More than any other genre, it seems that sailing a long distance inspires even the most pedestrian of writers to put pen to paper (digit to digital input interface?) and tell their tale sailing. Of those, Hal stands out as a guy with the most solid of writing skills.

This guy can tell a story. I was riveted from start to finish, even taking the book along with me to work, which I don't often do. It was easy to pick up and read for a short bit, or again for longer stretches and it was loaded with both a mix of immediate and interesting adventures, reflection on the lifestyle and experiences, and background on the places and people they encountered.

This particular book also offers a nice blend of sublime moments in beautiful oceanside settings and adrenalin-inducing moments of risk and uncertain outcome, as when Hal and Margaret run up on a reef that their chart mistakenly mis-mapped.

Two thumbs up, highly recommend! Kris is reading it now.

Sunday, August 29, 2010


A former colleague and friend died this weekend. Colette was young, in her thirties, and one of the most vibrant people I know. I wasn't very close to her and her family. I would have liked to have been closer. When I worked with Colette, I always enjoyed the parts of projects where I got to work side-by-side with her.

People always talk about her positivity and her energy.

If eyes are the window to the soul, then Colette's eyes betrayed a bright, happy soul. I remember her in a little black cocktail dress, when my wife-to-be (our future together unbeknown to either of us, or at least me) and the rest of the women who worked on a floor in our office we fondly referred to as the Lido Deck, hosted a company party by outfitting the place like a swanky lounge and greeting the rest of the company in a line of similarly attired hostesses, offering silver trays of hors d'oeuvres as we entered.

She will always live in my memory as a pair of sparkling eyes.

I ran into Colette socially, on occasion, too; Portland is a small town, after all. I shared a drink with her at a housewarming party, when Kris moved into her downtown condo. I recall seeing her on fifth avenue, arm-in-arm with Michael, who I hadn't met yet, waiting for a bus. My impression was that they would have been happy if the bus never came and they would have stood there all night, canoodling each other on a beautiful Portland evening.

How do we spend our time? The minutes filled with memory and experience because we are here, now? Or does the hour-hand move too slow on our way to the next thing?

I know that, partly, that image stuck with me because I wanted that in my life. I wanted that love from a partner who wanted to meet me and be my match. Michael and Colette, in that moment, modeled that thing I knew was possible; that thing I wanted and found not too long after.

So, what do you say when a young, beautiful woman dies much too soon?

I wept a bit for her small children. I felt a hollowness for her husband, who has so passionately advocated for her over the course of fighting this disease for over a year. I felt the warmth of my wife's tears on my shoulder, as we recalled our moments with Colette over the past seven years; most of those moments piled up early on.

I don't feel like saying goodbye, because I can still feel the bright blaze behind those beautiful eyes. How about see you later? Let's catch up again, my friend.

I think I'd rather leave it somewhere like that.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Paellas, Pies, and IPAs

I won't spend too much time in the bloggers hair shirt, but I've been consumed with working two jobs lately in the hopes of shortening our timeline to get into a keel boat. So, time for blogging has been consumed by paying projects. I do want to join in on Carol Anne's food writer challenge. I have three meals I've made in the past couple of weeks that were new for me. First, I made a recipe for Fiesta Chicken out of a recent issue of Cruising magazine. Came out pretty good, but no pictures to prove it. More fun, and more interesting to me, however, I did steamed clams and a paella twice in the last week. First time around I used a nice bulk chorizo from a local grocery and it was nearly a perfect meal. The heat was not overwhelming, but it definitely inspired me to tilt the IPA bottle quicker a couple of times. The second time I made the meal, the kids were here, so had to spice it down. The grocery man had a nice Spanish chorizo that was very mild and worked well for a kiddie meal; it was in tube form, so I put the kids to work helping me peel away the casing and break up the sausage. I'm not as interested in that one, so let's get on to the one I am~ I spent my teenage years around New Orleans and love well-spiced foods. What I ate down there growing up was done nearly exactly like my paella recipe. Unfortunately, nearly everywhere outside of NOLA that I try for their Cajun or Creole recipes, substitutes well-spiced with over-spiced. Simply stomping on the chili pepper accelerator does not make something Cajun, my friends. As for the moderating part of the meal, I was trying some beer pairing. The guys I was preparing dinner for are friends with which I've been doing a meal once a month for a few years. We've gotten pretty good at sharing some great wines and have even gone in to purchase some wines together. I wanted to take a break from all of that classiness and notch it down a bit. Anybody can pair wines, or find out how to do it. My challenge was figuring out what beer paired well with each aspect of the meal. So, for the salty appetizers (thinly sliced Serrano ham and steamed clams), I chose a dry Irish stout. It was local, so not Guinness or Murphys, but probably a better choice. For the main paella course, the IPA was a perfect balance with the hoppy-ness able to cut through the heat of the chorizo and peppers. The IPAs I used were from Ninkasi (I looked them up, expecting the name to be a mashup of some sort; turns out, Ninkasi is the Greek goddess of fermentation. So, say your prayers!), a brewery in Eugene, Oregon (Track City U.S.A., if you didn't know...). I had the Spring Reign seasonal, the Double Red, and, what is currently my favorite beer, Total Domination IPA. I know that the first two don't have IPA in their names, but trust me, their IBUs were well into IPA territory. I loved making the paella. It is very close to my jambalaya recipe that I've been using for thirty years. I went and got a carbon steel paella pan that I'll keep and use often. However, I think you could probably do the whole thing in a wok just as easily. It seems the key is getting the heat evenly distributed as you work your way through the process of adding ingredients and letting them soak up the oils and saute. The final course was a raw-foods pie that my friend the doctor brought along. We had a Belgian Lambic dark cherry that had a lovely balance between the light fizzy body and the fruit flavor. I went here for my paella recipe and here for the steamed clams.