Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A New Blog for Albins

John Stokes in Georgia owns Ms Bettencourt, an Albin 25, HN 1117(Shatoosh is 1124). He has recently started a new project of fabricating a hardtop, similar to Shatoosh's. With my encouragement he has taken on the task of documenting it on his new blog. Let's stay tuned in and watch his progress.

John, thank you so much for starting up this blog, as it is important that we all share, so we can make upgrades to our Albin fleet.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Blog and Faceless Readers

The Adventures of Shatoosh and Pashmina

After cruising over 6,800nm on 70 navigable waterways in the California Delta, the Columbia, Snake and Willamette Rivers, Shatoosh, an Albin 25 HN 1124, and Pashmina, an adorable Zodiac, head north along the Pacific coastal waters of Washington and gain entrance to the great Salish Sea...the Adventures continue and Pashmina is replaced with Pashmina 2, an 8 foot Porta Bote.
I always kept a type written log of the Adventures of Shatoosh and Pashmina and inserted photos, just like I do now with the blog. I would give my crew a copy so they could have their own log and I kept a copy on board so others could read it. In July 2008 my niece showed me how to create a blog and in minutes I had it up and running. The blog and having a Verizon Broadband Netbook really changed my life on the water. I could blog anywhere I had a cell signal. This summer while on land at LaPush the signal was poor, but just offshore it was good. I didn't put a counter on the blog until Sept of 2010 and while we have not gone viral by any means, there are lots of people from around the world reading the blog, enjoying it, learning from it, motivated and inspired by it. I never would have thought my simple little blog would impact so many and be read world wide. Based on present hits, I compute about 51,000 hits since the beginning of the blog.

This summer I met so many readers while cruising in Washington state and people introduced themselves as blog readers when they saw Shatoosh tied to their local dock. I even went out of my way to meet a faceless blog reader on Lummi Island, which turned out to be a wonderful side trip.Very few people cruise to Lummi as there are no marinas, but I discovered a jewel of an anchorage in Inati Bay, which I learned the Bellingham boaters have kept a tight lip on this anchorage. It is spectacular. It has been wonderful to meet and hear from so many readers, while few people make comments in the comment section, they do email me on occasion.

To date there are over 60 countries reading or checking out the blog and while most are in the USA, I am amazed and often wonder who would be reading the blog in Bangledesh, Pakistan, Slovenia, Estonia or Nepal. Whoever you are, where ever you live, please know I am forever grateful that you are interested in my simple life on board a simple boat traveling on some, not so simple, waterways.

I send you all blessings for a good life and thank you for all your support.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

2011 Cruising Season

The Pacific north west continues to be plummeted with gale winds and flooding rain storms. My cruises have come to an end for this year and what a year it has been. 2011 has been   my most traveled year (1244 nm), since buying Shatoosh in 1999 which culminated in bringing Shatoosh and Pashmina to the Salish Sea, near my home in Puyallup,WA.

After 8 years of exploration on the Columbia, Willamette and Snake Rivers, I headed down river for my final run in May 2011. In June, Joyce, my able-bodied first mate from Arizona, and I crossed the Columbia River Bar and harbor hopped our way up the coast bringing Shatoosh and Pashmina to the Puget Sound for a
run of 470nm. With 2 months of local cruising under our keel,  I headed north in August-September for a 5 week cruise to the San Juan Islands and returning to our new home port at Zittel’s Marina in the south sound for a  run of 431nm.

It has taken me 11 years to leisurely accomplish my goal of cruising the navigable rivers on the west coast of the United States.While I know of a couple rivers I missed, I am proud to have cruised 70 of them and only bumped  Shatoosh’s bottom 4 times and ran hard aground once on the Napa river. My ole Delta buddy, Conrad departed this world this year. He planted  the seed in my spirit to move Shatoosh to the Columbia River and tutored me in the exploration  of the Columbia, Snake and Willamette River Systems. I think of him often as I look around  Shatoosh and see his footprint everywhere on my boat and in my life. He fiberglassed my hardtop, designed and installed my folding bench seat, hand-carved a small replica of Shatoosh, which sits atop my depth sounder. He knew about my big 2011 plan to cruise up the Washington coast and whole hearted gave me his stamp of approval. I am so grateful for knowing him.

I have had soooo much support from friends, family, marina owners, boat truckers, blog readers from around the world, Albin owners, Chamber of Commerce people and all my crew. I have thanked them along the way or gave them special mention in my blog. It has been a fantastic year and I look forward to more Adventures of Shatoosh and Pashmina, as we explore more of the Salish Sea in 2012. Thank you all for everything you do to support me, so I can continue to turn my dream. into reality.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Tweaking Pashmina 2's Impresa

I continue to play around with my impresa for Pashmina 2, to fine tune the elements. I sit quietly with a new, clean sheet of paper, close my eyes and open myself  for universal assistance. There needs to be clearer lines and something is missing.

It doesn't take long to capture the missing piece to the design. and to fine tune the images. While I have scanned the image, the colors are not accurate. This can all be fixed in the professional design process when the graphic is made.

Again, the elements are:

1. The waxing crescent moon brings light onto new adventures for us.
2. The orb(circle) holds the focal point of the energy of our journey as we travel through zillions of water droplets in the magical Salish Sea. We are all part of this Circle of Life.
3. Pashmina 2 offers new freedom for me to explore and the eagle represents this.
4. I needed a boat that is tough as nails and won't destruct on rough beaches...and the eagles talons are strong as nails.
5. The rings represent the great cedars and firs that we will encounter.
6. The salmon make their way from the small creeks and rivers to the ocean and return again to create new life. Pashmina 2 will carry me back and forth from sea to rivers and I will always emerge renewed, refreshed, and ready for another adventure.
7. The beautiful sand dollars that grace my favorite Island in the Sound, represent the delicate aquatic forms of life that fascinate us and create an unbelievable underwater ecosystem.

I sit back, knowing the impresa is complete. This design truly supports our exploration of the Salish Sea and know Pashmina 2 will be happy to have this grace her hull.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

What Are Orbs?

orbs, during rain, Brazil.
Taken by Hira

After posting numerous photos of orbs over my blogging years, someone has finally asked ”What are orbs”?  Thank you, Carol Warren on Slow Motion in Florida, for asking. This is a highly controversial issue and has come under more scrutiny since digital photography immerged. Most pro-orb believers think orbs are a form of consciousness gathering in areas and are captured digitally/film. The con people, of course, don’t believe anything of the sort, and say they are rain drops, dust particles, or artifacts.

Large groupings of orbs swirling in areas, are referred to “plasma” and can be found in highly energized areas, such as vortex areas, holy or sacred  places, cemeteries or in highly isolated areas. I have seen orbs/plasma  in my photos(digital and film), in day light/darkness, with or without a flash, clean or dirty lens, digital camera or 35mm Point and Shoot camera for decades. To complicate the picture, many people have seen orbs with their naked eye, and state they can communicate with them.

My g-g grandfather's grave
in central Texas on 35mm film

One single orb on galley towel
Columbia River daylight without flash

Behind Cottonwood Island, Columbia River at sunset
 without flash. Note movement of plasma on left side.

Just as I am writing this and want to tell Carol, who asked the question, she makes a comment on the blog. I am about to type: Carol, since she is such a wonderful photographer that if she went back to old photos I'm sure she would see orbs. Carol, and to answer your question, "no, you don't have to believe, to see them on  photos." 15 years ago when I took the photo of my gg grandfather's grave and saw the beam of light either going in or coming out of the grave, I remember saying," gosh, what is this?" It changed my life, by adding another dimension to it.

Take a look at this site for more information or Google for others.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Sticks and Stones

 1-3 November 2011
Jean joins me again and while I am taking her to McMicken Island, I am hoping I can pull myself away long enough to circumnavigate Harstene Island.  Morning fog breaks for us as we set off  to see my favorite island in the sound. The next day we pick up a buoy in Jarrel's Cove on the west end and for both nights and days we have the whole places to our selves. There is something to be said about fall and winter cruising; it is quiet, serene, breath taking and solitude seeps deep within our skin.

Jean picks up the buoy at McMicken
Space Between The Reflection and The Image

Stairs to Where?

Barnacles High and Dry

Clean Docking Lines

Mosaic of Stones

Big Leaf Maple

A Curve of Time

Serene Anchorage

My Lips are Sealed.

Deer Tracks

X Marks The Spot

Y Knot

Shatoosh,  Jarrel's Cove, Harstene Island

Jean and P2- Getting to Know One Another

Jean, a happy boater.

Salmon-Feta-Spinach Pin Wheels

Orbs, Jarrel's Cove

More Orbs


Morning, Jarrel's Cove

Sqauxin Island

Day 1-to McMicken

Day 2 to Jarrel's Cove

Day 3 Return to Zittel's Marina

Purple Jelly Fish Swimming Past Pashmina 2

Total Run: 26 nm

Thursday, October 27, 2011


Shatoosh's hardtop was made while she was berthed in Sausalito, California by her previous owner. The company was Dolfin Details, and is still in business. If interested in inquiring, Shatoosh's previous owner, now deceased, was Ray Sarlin and the previous name was Rayanna. Many people have commented on how they like the design and some have actually made copies of it with modifications. Harmony's previous owner copied/modified  Shatoosh's hardtop and built it in his side yard in CA. I got to witness some of the construction. Harmony is now berthed on Orcas Island, WA.

I recently got a request from another Albin 25 owner who is interested in making a hardtop for his Ms. Bettencourt. We have emailed numerous times about boat projects and I mailed him a copy of my swim platform template when he was converting a used teak platform. While he is one of those FBR(faceless blog readers), I feel that we are kindred spirits and I seem to know him on some level. Aren't all Albin owners connected by some etheric web?

Several emails have passed between us this month and I have been taking measurements and photos of detailed aspects. I have detailed invoices of materials used, and sequences of fabrication. My friends, Conrad and Juanita and I fiberglassed the hardtop in 2001 and I have all the receipts and materials used to accomplish that project. Yesterday and today I have spent lots of time making a packet of all the photos and measurements and adding comments to them. It has turned out to be  27 pages with answered emails from to him.

The newly created packet will go in the mail to Georgia today with best wishes to John on his winter project.

Let us know when it is finished, and send photos and I will be happy to post them on the blog. I know you will love having this enclosure. Here in the northwest, it is a real treat to have a hardtop, which helps extend our cruising window. However, in the south, you might need opening side windows and an opening hatch at the helm station.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

McMicken Island and Ann

25 October 2011 Tuesday
Ann joins me and the clouds, fog are lazy burning off but by the time we get to McMicken  Island, it is lovely and sunny. The tide has reached its ebb and more of the sandpit is showing itself. Ann rows us to shore and likes how P2 is performing. I bring some extra line with us but we don't have anything to tie to. I tried to move one of the smaller rocks, but it was way too heavy.
Ann gathers shells for her grand kids
 Today I want to walk the trail out to the point and see if we can see the eagle. From Shatoosh we heard them conversing and there are 2 of them, which we could see. We didn't see them while in the forest, but saw one return to the island once we had returned to Shatoosh.

Ann with bolders

I can always find trees to hug me.

We are welcomed by the cedar and the Douglas Fir.

The inner island trail is dark.
See orb on the right, it is blue.

All those tree rings

A wet mossy path.

A lush succulent meadow

We arrive back in time, but I will need to get an
anchoring stake.

Upon returning to P2, we row over to Harstene Island to see if we can find a County Park, but rather find a nice little babbling brook running into where the spit attaches to Harstene.
Babbling Brook

Nice fall colors

Hira rows Ann
We both agree P2 is a big improvement.
What a lovely day it has been. I have known Ann since the mid 60's and while we don't see much of each other on land, I do try to get her on board as much as I can. She is always fun and up for any challenge. Come again.
P2 riding well  tied to swim platform,
McMicken in the distance.

PS.. In an article by Jo Bailey in 48 Degrees North, she describes the McMicken Island sandspit as a "Tombolo".  see Wikipedia: She also speaks about the presence of great shell deposits, which she believes is an Indian Midden, or garbage pit. This is evident along the south shore. 
In the book, South Puget Sound: Afoot and Afloat, by Marge and Ted Mueller, they refer to the boulder
(noted on the chart) on the north east side as, a large, rock erratic from the Pleistocene Glacier. An erratic is defined as, a rock fragment carried by glacial ice, or floating ice, deposited at some distance from the outcrop from which it was derived. Size ranges from pebble- to house-sized block. So this answers many of my questions about the South Sound's beautiful gem of an island. I shall think of her as my Treasure Island, as she offers us so many gifts, all on such a small island (11acres).