October 12th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

I miss dirt. On the boat, I tend to three small potted plants – aloe, basil and parsley. We have a composting toilet, and we separate our kitchen scraps for release to the wild. Its not that I have left the nutrient cycle, its that I miss dirt.

To remedy this, I subscribed to a website called Workaway.com, and began to search for opportunities to work on land. There are a lot of interesting projects out there, many DIYers in need of energetic hands.

My first pick was a APROVACA, a conservation project devoted to the protection and propagation of orchids in Panama. The facility is located in the Valle of Antón, in Cocle province. This valley is an ancient crater with rich soils, diverse agriculture, and fancy estates competing for land use.

They assigned me to the garden of medicinal plants, to clear it of weeds and start making some general order. In exchange, I was housed in their hostel on-site, treated to daily serenades by the frog chorus and fantastic downpours each afternoon onto the tin roofs of the orchid center, and invited to share lunch each day with the group of socios that work with the orchids.

The time was restorative, not just to work in the dirt, but to work with the rest of the group. Even though I wasn’t able to commit to a very long stay, the socios were nonetheless generous with their time, and I could not help but learn constantly. Just being in this space and exploring its nooks and crannies was like medicine. Pura vida.

the things i can’t describe

September 11th, 2016 § 6 comments § permalink

Some things I see on the boat, especially at night, are impossible to describe or photograph. Night plankton is one of those things. Here is my rudimentary attempt at showing what it is like to activate night plankton:


July 28th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

Whelp now we are back to the starting line for real. We sailed our 50+ year old boat from Buzzard’s Bay to St. Mary’s River, going in, out, around and through. Fixing things all the way, parts falling off (clamping them back on), chopping stuff off, glassing it over, and sanding – always sanding. Now we sailed her back up. She’s a new boat and we are new crew, somehow going backward and forward at the same time.SY Tranquility 2016Whew!

As we came up the coast, I learned of a big algae bloom that was ahead of us off the coast of NJ, and stayed on high alert for brilliant green waters. Either the bloom had cleared itself, or we transited it at night, for all I found in my tows were charismatic zooplankton:

My hopes of charging through an upwelling ribbon of plankton on my sail-chariot like a seaweed queen returning from an overseas battle were dashed. In other news, it gets weird out there without internet.

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