I am writing this underway, so there wont be any edits. Pardon any grammatical errors, I am sure they happen even on the edited stuff! ( so I lied…stuff didn’t go through, and I can’t stand not editing, but only the end has changed)

This morning I set sail to meet friends at a raft up. After clearing the marina and setting a course toward my destination, I went forward to raise the  mainsail. Yes, it is a little bit of a pain to have to raise the sail from the mast, but I am finding I enjoy solo sailing , more and more, so it is a labor of love.

As I was taking up my next to last fender, I heard a Kerplop! My first thought was that it was phone. All sorts of panic raced through my system, but not for reasons you might think. I need the phone to do my job, and getting a new one before 9a on the Tuesday after a holiday weekend didnt sound like any fun.

Some habits are good and some are bad. Today my good ones were in place. Sailing alone tends to make me a little less bullet proof.  After the kerplop, I gave myself a pat down, and indeed, there was no phone on  my person. Fortunately, I made a “no phones out of the cockpit” rule after seeing a few donated to Neptune.  I didn’t remember leaving it in the cup holder, but I had. As I wondered what hit the water, I realized that it my rigging knife.

This wasn’t just any old knife, this was one given to me by Greg Norwine. I can credit Greg for being the largest influence in my sailing life.  Greg didn’t just own and manage a sailing club,  he adopted each and every one of us, and wanted us all to succeed. He was like a father to many of us, and the club became our family. Almost every good friend I have here in Seattle is because of that club, and by extention, because of Greg. Each year there is a sailing scavenger hunt and Capri racing series in his memory…The Greg Norwine Cup.

Super Greg, 2013 Greg Norwine Cup

Super Greg, 2013 Greg Norwine Cup

That knife had already saved my bacon twice and I had committed to having it on me every time I went out alone. I had meant to sew something on my PFD to make the knife more secure and accessible. So the combination of the good habit (keeping the knife on me) and the bad habit (procrastination) contributed to my donation.   I will still sew that something on my PFD once I find a new knife, which I suspect will look just like the last one. I prefer to call these things donations instead of losses, because there is a big world under there. I may have my own unit.

Mostly…I just wanted to remember Greg.


Percy and The Anemones

Percy the Spotted Shrimp

Percy the Spotted Shrimp and one of the Anemones

It’s the day before I leave Friday Harbor, WA to head back to my home base of Shilshole Bay Marina in Seattle. There are lists of things crowding my brain that I have to do before I leave (fill water tanks, water bottles, diesel tank, check oil, check strainer, take out trash and recycling, oh yeah, take a shower) and the lists make it a challenge to reminisce, so I thought I’d take a time out and write a few things down that I didn’t want to forget. Things like Percy and the Anemones.

Percy happens to be the cutest little spotted shrimp you’ve ever seen, and he lives on the pylon of G26 in Friday Harbor. There are lots of other shrimp on G28’s pylon, but Percy, he likes his space, so he hangs with The Challenger and Daisy the Dinghy, and lives in a magical wonderland of Giant White Plumed Anemones. It sounds like it should be either a Greek Tragedy or an early 60’s R&B group, but I imagine it’s the Pacific Northwest’s version of the Wizard of Oz.  Although the Anemones are alabaster white, they appear pale green in the cold salt water and tower around Percy like the Giant Redwoods soar above us.  Percy has been there every time I’ve checked in on him to say hello, and the anemones certainly aren’t going anywhere.


Giant White Plumed Anemones

I try to imagine things from Percy’s point of view and wonder what he thinks of this clumsy sailboat careening into his dock space and coming perilously close to his beloved pylon. He has seen the decent, the unfortunate, and hush hush dockings of the Challenger, but never uttered a word of criticism. He has seen friends visit and new friends made.  Percy has watched some experiments, watched me wash clothes in a bucket, and hang them to dry on the lifelines. I’m sure he has heard a variety of music through the hull and I wonder what he prefers. Both Percy and the Anemones have also patiently let me photograph them until my fingers turned blue under the water.  All in all these guys have been great neighbors.



My little trip down memory lane wouldn’t be complete without a couple of appearances from Popeye the resident seal.  She’s rather disgusted with me since I never have fish to share, and I can tell you unequivocally that she thinks potato chips are not fit for marine mammal consumption. She likes to sneak up on your while you sit in your cockpit and make her arrival known with a huge splash, then stare at you with her one good eye until you cave and share your food.  If you want to see her every day, you should probably stock up on canned Salmon. She’s pretty cute.