"The Music Is The Way"

I am still holding to my "big Plan" to reduce performing and travelling to a minimum to focus on completing big projects that have been delayed for many years. This year I wrap up stage one, the major repairs to my ma's house, 1213 Shenandoah Rd, and move into the second stage, the music projects. These include setting up the studio in a backroom of ma's house to record in over the next couple years, and putting out new CDs, moving forward on dulcimer building, both completing the electronic side of the my first full scale electric dulcimer and building the first "production" models of it, rewriting and expanding the website and re-evaluating and updating my entire web presence in light of the latest developments. I'll move back into performing, but will be looking for new outlets, to "do more" with the music, tour to new places and larger venues, and internationally, using the new audio and video I'll be producing. This will take two or three years to realize, and part of the whole model is trying to make it a coordinated effort, where all the parts support and connect to each other, a single wave. Though the first step is the major efforts in dulcibuilding, recording and audio/video production that form the foundation for the new efforts at promotion and web presence, which will lead to the new performance routine and circuit. I'm not sure how all the pieces will fall into place, a lot depends on chance and circumstance. This year I am even just making the transition to working on the music, though I hope to make some major progress this year, now that the music is my biggest priority at last.

After New Years, I got back to work on the house. I was in the final stages of the job, but there was still a lot to do. I was continuing on with all the details to complete the work in the kitchen-dining room, more or less, and moving on to the livingroom area where I was establishing an office space for ma. This was generally an easier job, since I didn't do much more than paint and lay down new carpet and route the new communication lines. I still had to remove everything and clean it all first, then treat the old plywood flooring. Luckily, there was no rot to deal with in this section. I won't actually finish the house for a few years, but the plan was to get the major repair/renovation done and get it all set up and working, even if there remained details to complete or figure out, and other, smaller repairs and renovations to do to the house all together.

By late Spring, I was well along in the house job and started making the shift to the next stage, the music projects. I got a black backcloth and started taking headshots to use on the new website and for promotional material in general. I decided to start out with a new pick-up winder so I could get that project moving, since it might involve a long process of experimentation till I got a working machine and the first prototypes. Also, the first stage involved research on pick-ups, which was something I could do at night after the work on the house was done for the day.

All I need to say here is that I got it done, and managed to get the first set of experimental prototype coils wound. The whole story of the Simple Pickup Winding Machine is part of a new section devoted to the whole project of building Pickups for The Electric Dulcimer. The result was I got a set of coils wound to take south to Florida with me to work on while I was visiting my Dad.

My cousin was also planning to meet me in Alaska in the summer so I could take him on a tour of the state and look at my best choices of available land, with an eye towards making a purchase in the Fall. So I was spending a bit of time researching land, corresponding with him to answer questions and try to understand what he was looking for, as well as develop a multi-year plan to do it. I had to explain to him that I was already solidly committ3ed for a couple years to other projects. But I thought that it was still possible to get the project rolling, find and purchase a property, in this first year. This would help since the location of the property would matter a lot to the plan for building on it. I was also quite aware that the real estate market bubble was starting to collapse, and was trying to explain that while I could support his long term plans to get a place in Alaska, I couldn't with clear concioence recommend it to his friends looking for some sort of "quick turn-around" real estate investment. Also, I just wasn't into that kind of a deal, myself. I was willing to put my time and energy into helping my cousin find a homestead in Alaska to use as a vacation spot (he is an avid outdoorsman) and as a long-term homestead or investment for his son, but I wasn't really interested in getting involved in or spending my limited time helping people just looking for speculative profits.

It was getting late in the Spring. I had to get cleaned up and packed up to head for Florida if I wanted to another major step forward there as well before I ran out of time. This was the final stage of the boat trip I had begun six years before, when I decided to keep the boats (since I couldn't sell them, even cheap) and fix them up instead. The whole story is covered in the archives, year by year, as I moved the boats north from the keys, found a boatyard, did the major repairs, then anchored the boats near the yard, intending to move north the following winter to somewhere nearer my Dad's place in Gainesville. I wanted to spend more time with him, and be more available to help out as well. But then ma got sick, and then the Hurley got rammed and sunk, and four years have past while Dueodde just sat where I'd moored her when I left the yard. Now I hoped to finally leave that place and move north to Green Cove Springs. It was one of my original possible destinations, years back. At this point, it seemed the best choice, relatively close to Gainesville and close enough to the coast where I could perform during the season. I could split my time between Gainesville and recording projects there, and working the tourist season along the coast from Jacksonville to St. Augustine, as well as the general north/central Florida festival scene. In the larger picture, it was about getting my life back into a pattern, a real pattern, not one dictated by just reacting to emergencies and disasters. Everything got dropped at one point and the recent history is all about the process of getting everything back "on-line" again. Finally getting Dueodde back in process is placing one major wheel back in motion. So I get ready for another major effort, like so many other.

I arrive in Florida at my Dad's house and continue the work there. I start removing the coils from the bobbins, losing some in the process. The wire is thin as hair and as easy to break. The epoxy I had sealed them in back at 1213 was too cold and thick and didn't penetrate all the way. When I got the bobbins apart, I had to carefully slip twist-ties in and bind the loose wire in place to keep it from exploding out everywhere. Then I thinned epoxy with alcohol and saturated the coils slowly but surely. Now I had what I needed to start, coils strong enough to handle and experiment with, though I didn't have time to continue right then.

I added a thin piece of wood to the top and bottom of the dulcimer for several reasons. The original plank had been just a little small, so I had to leave off a couple strings, even though I extended the strings to the very edge of the plank. Consequently, the pickups, which would have to extend past the strings, would extend off the sides of the dulcimer, exposed to easy and probably unavoidable damage. I also had always planned to have a specific place to hang all the tokens people tie to the dulcimer. I'd also always planned to build another one, but it seemed I needed to do what I could with what I had for th moment.
Once this was done, I set up my black cloth again and took some more headshots and a set of shots of the dulcimer as well. Small steps, but each one is important and nescessary to the big picture. I took the outboard and tried to get it running. It had gotten pretty bashed up, but I replaced the smashed electronics, and got it going, only to find out that it had a crack in the case spraying water. I cleaned it and sealed it with epoxy JB weld. It started and ran, and I packed to go.

I also got out to Tim and Terry's to the jam session there. I usually had a good time there, though I never expect too much, so the negatives and bad moments I can take in stride. Still, I met a lot of cool musicians there, and met more every time I went. It kept up my feelings that Gainesville will be a good place to work on the recordings, finding other musicians to work with as well. It also happens once again, I meet a girl who haunts me. Or in this case, two girls. One has a great energy, though she isn't a singer, and so I just am not so moved, though it is good to meet her, another strong spirit. The other is a singer, and we meet a few times in the music, though we never meet. It is the unspoken awareness of another presence, and the fact that people like me, and her, well, often have a hard time tuning into the world outside the music. Still, it is just the shock when we meet, even more when we sing for a moment together. It is something I recognize, though at this point, older and wiser, I also recognize how hopeless it really is. I am on a road, living a life, and am only passing through wherever I am at. Because I am always in the music, following the music, following an energy that is always moving, and I must move to stay within it. I recall so clearly, the night before I had to go and head for the boat, I was at the jam, parked in a corner, standng behind the dulcimer, playing when people wanted to, gathering a small crowd there. During the evening I saw one of them, talking with someone, someone she didn't particularly want to talk to it seemed. Still, she never saw me, caught there in the quiet shadows, behind the dulcimer, behind the crowd, inside the music, unable to leave my place because it is my place. That is what I am, and where anyone who really wants to be with me, really knows me, will know where to find me. As I was on my way she caught my hand and tried to hold me there, but it was time for me to go. All I could tell her was in all sincerity how I wished that it was different, but "my life is not my own." It belongs to the music, to the dulcimer, to the People, and the Way, the road I'm on, this life I chose to live. Perhaps there is a place for someone with me on that road, but there is no way I can leave it. So it goes. And then I was gone.

"Dueodde Sails Again"

I arrived down at Stuart and got to work. I worked hard and got the boat openned up, and everything moved out from the van to the boat in a few days. Things were pretty weird there, so much politics. Someone with time to fight had anchored right next to the Stuart mooring field and forced a court case. It went to the supreme court and the constitution won. Stuart's million-dollar mooring field boondoggle sat empty, the boating crowd so alienated no one would stay there a lot of bad feelings everywhere. I just wanted to go. Though I was able to meet up with my few local friends there, which was great, since I don't know when or if I'll ever be back. Most likely I won't, unless I am on my way somewhere else. I can't help but think a lot about why I am doing this, but there is no time to do anything but what I am doing, so I press ahead. I leave my cat, Sienna, on the boat and head north to Dad's in the van, catching the greyhound south that night, arriving in Ft Pierce at about 5 am, and waiting a couple hours till the local county buses start running. I am able to catch one to into town and catch the main line down to Stuart. I have an inflatable kayak in a suitcase. I stuff my gear in a garbage bag, inflate the kayak, and paddle across the river to my boat.

I start getting the boat ready to go. I am focused on getting north quick, but it still takes a week. The boat is literally jammed with stuff, thrown in when I left the boatyard. There is no interior, I stripped it out to weld the new keel into the hull years ago. Everything that used to be the interior is just stacked in there, and jammed in tight so it wouldn't shift. I cleared enough room to crawl in and sleep, everything else I did on deck. The big job is pulling my mooring anchors, so deeply set by several hurricanes that I have to use barrels and air to get them up. I also pull up several more anchors tangled around my chains in the process, anchors too small to hold their boats, so they dragged till they hung up on mine, remnants of other people's lack of ability and responsibility. I rig the outboard on the back. Finally, early one morning I head out. I make it out to the channel when a big powerboat rips by, swamping the outboard, in a moment I go from a triumphant beginning to disaster. I am just by a channel marker and the tide sweeps me into it. Lucky I have a steelboat. I leap forward and fend the boat so it pivots off, only smashing the 2x4 I have bolted along the rail as a bulwark. The tide is still ripping me towards the wrong places, I leap in the rowboat, tie off to the front, and guide the boat into the empty mooring field, scramble on deck and throw the anchor. Made it, once again. I have to sit and calm down for a while. All day I try to get the engine to run again, but it won't. It sucked in a lot of water. I managed to get it to barely run, but not past idle. And it was no longer passing exhaust water. I know at sunset the wind will calm and the tide will be coming in easy, I can try to make it back across the river to where I was anchored before. I head out with the engine at idle, just barely pushing the boat, ready to jump out and tow with the rowboat if it fails, but I make it. Now I have to figure out what to do next.

I look at the engine the next day and there is a piece the size of my thumb cracked out of the case. Did it crack when it was swamped, cold water on hot metal? Did it just not hold? I go ahead and JB Weld it back together again, but I know I can't depend on it any more. I go across to my friend's boat and ask if he knows anyone with an engine to sell. I row in and get the paper and look to see what is there. It is a setback. I spent a lot trying to fix the engine, and I could have just bought a used one to begin with, and considered it. But so it goes, I don't worry too much about these types of setbacks, I know I'll figure something out. It may cost a bit more, but that is all it is, and I still have time. I've learned that you can lose things that money can't buy, I save my grief for them. Every day a big thunderstorm rolls in by afternoon, slowing the whole process. It is almost June, and this is the pattern of summer weather here. It may be beautiful in the morning, but the storms build through the day and start sweeping across in the afternoon. It can go from near calm to a full gale in minutes.

That evening I am suddenly inspired by a thought, this is a sailboat and I am a sailor. I have crossed blue water without engines, in fact, have sailed most of my life without an engine. Though my mast is broken in half, I look it over and decide I could still raise it, rig it, and sail north. I have a lot of sails and stuff from years of salvaging. I can make it work somehow. I am so excited by the idea that when I hear my friends returning to their boat in the darkness, I row over to tell them. When I get them, Arno tells me that he's decided to sell me his old engine if I want it. He bought a smaller, lighter one, and had been holding on to the old one for no good reason. It seemed like a good thing to pass it on to me, if I wanted it for $500, a good price for a working outboard. I told them about my idea, but that I would be practical and take him up on his offer. Even though I was sad to lose the idea of jury rigging the boat and sailing up, that had romance and adventure, compared to just motoring up with an outboard. But I am practical. The next day I got the money, bought the outboard, and got ready to go. Six days later, but it is better it failed here and I was able to get another engine.

It is a small engine, but it pushes the boat and we (me, my cat, Sienna, and the boat, "Dueodde") head out the next morning, May 23rd, riding the tide since I can't fight it, when it turns against me, I'll have to stop. If the wind gets up in open water it pushes up waves and the engine won't stay in the water and I'll have to stop. I live in fear of being swamped again by the big powerboats that roar along, oblivious of the danger they pose to other boats with their wakes. I try to stay out of the channel as much as I can. Its an ugly place, Stuart, full of inconsiderate people with money for big boats and no knowledge of boats or the sea. I make it out of the river and reach the inlet, turning north up the Indian River and Intercoastal Waterway. I am making a couple knots at best, but I am moving. I only go a mile or so from the turn and clear the flats around the inlet, passing to a wider area with a small island behind the last extention of the bar. Storms has been building out of the southwest all day. It is the season of storms, and now one is coming that looks like a doozy. It is only afternoon, but I turn back, head out of the channel and toss an anchor by the next small island. The storm looks even worse, so I pull the anchor and head back to the better shelter behind the bar and the first island, Pea Island, tossing the anchors just before the storm hits with a fury. I am glad I moved. I am still so happy to be out of the dark dirty water of the river and back in clear, clean water sweeping in from the sea, and on our way at last. I'd actually thought of stopping here to scub the weed off the bottom of the boat, so I do, as the rain falls. We stay till the next day, as the storms disperse in the night.

The next day we head out but are hit by two extreme storms, one where I run for the shelter of shore, but end up throwing the anchor in the middle of a big bay, riding out huge waves in 12' of water., glad I use a big anchor even for daily use. The waves are so big the end of the mast lashed on the cabintop is dipping in the water and tangling with the dingy rope, threatening to either drag it under or pluck it into the air, or break something, the boat or the rope as the dingy fills with water and gets heavy. In pouring rain and screaming wind I climb out to the end of the mast, alternately flung in the air and dipped in the water, to untangle the rope and tie it to a longer piece. The I go back and rig some shelter to make coffee.

The storm passes and the engine starts! I run north again in the relative calm between storms. When the next one comes I turn off into a marked side channel early, but the chart is old and the channel marked but silted in and I run aground. I run ut anchors with the rowboat and manage to get her turned into the storm before it hits. As it rages, I make dinner under my improvised shelter on deck. Asfter dark, the tide lifts the boat free, and I haul up anchors and head north again, running through the night to make time while I can, as the wind slowly rises and the waves build, finally anchoring at 12:30 to sleep in the middle of a bay. I'm up and moving at 5:45 am, not wanting to be trapped out in the open again if the wind rises more. It does, but slowly, and I barely manage the 20 miles to the Ft. Pierce inlet, just slipping into the shelter of shoals as the waves start to get too big to handle. , The only way I can cross is to reach the inlet at ebb tide or I either won't be able to fight the incoming tide to get to it, or I'll be unable to get past it and be sucked out if I don't anchor. I am lucky I timed it right, because when I am barely across the openning, the engine drops to a bare idle, luckily just short of the local anchorage I'd been thinking of as a good place to stop for water and supplies. It takes an hour to creep the last 50 yards, barely making it as the tide starts to move again.

I spent a couple days, got supplies, and cleaned a bunch of junk out of the carburator bowl. It was a pretty good spot all told. Some places are more friendly than others, and this wasn't bad. I headed out again, he engine running good now. Too good as it turned out. I made a great run through a nice calm day, in fact, so good I tried to run on through the narrows at night, use this dead calm while it lasts. I was entering a section of mansions backed onto the water, and I wanted to both use the calm and get on to undeveloped areas. On the chart I saw a dredge pile a few miles beyond the bridge and the town, halfway to Sebastian, with 9 feet of water.

I am nearly through the cut when the engine suddenly screams into the high rpms, something seriously wrong. I leap to shut it off, then get and anchor out before I go aground. I have to use another anchor to draw myself out past the edge of the channel. In the morning I am trying to figure it out. The engine has slipped out of gear and won't go back in, just races in neutral. Then the local cops come by in a boat. You see, I am anchored out back of the mansions, and here, the cops don't enforce the law, in fact, they don't even know the law when it comes to boats. They are just the gestapo, goons sent out to threaten and harrass me, tell me that if I don't move by tomoorow "there'll be trouble". Who cares about my rights, or the law, that never seems to be the issue with these types. I can't get it to work, so I mount the old outboard. It will run, but won't pass cooling water, so overheats to the point of stalling in about 12 minutes. Other than that I am down to riding the tide while guiding Dueodde with the rowboat, and anchor at the ready. Any wind and I won't be able to control her. A storm rolls in during the afternoon, but as it gets dark, the wind drops and though I can't see, it feels like I have a chance, so I pull the anchors. Even if I move just around the bend I'll be out of site. So I do. Though I run aground there, I manage to kedge off, at 1:30 I get to sleep. At 6:40 in the morning I am up to catch the tide, trying to make it through the bridge and out into the open. The engine gets me through and stalls just beyond the bridge. Lucky I have looked at the charts well, and know there is apatch of deep water past the bridge and I coast into it. I make some oatmeal, but decide that the wind is barely blowing and behind me, and the tide is still right, and I want to be away from these people. So I weigh anchor again and start the engine, eating as I go. I get 12 minutes, then I drop into the rowboat and start towing. That isand with the 9 feet of water is onlt a mile and a half on, so I row. It is strange, people go by in their motor boats, and one couple even stops to ask if they can take a picture, but no one asks if I need a tow.
Though I guess the truth is that I don't, I can make it and I do, throwing my anchors in the 9 foot by this little island, far from town to have some privavcy. I am edgeing into my place, the wild, and am happy to be there. I feel the sharp divide between me, at one with nature, and them, the culture of of the greed people with their gestapo and their mansions, the unatural destroyers of nature. I take Sienna to he little dredge pile, reclaimed by nature, and take a short walk, then I get to work. I wish I'd asked them to e-mail a picture to my ma.

I spend several days here. I take apart the lower unit of the engine. I can't explain it to you without a diagram, but essentially, the engine is old, and once I cleaned the carb and got more power, it would overpower the retaining spring, pop out of gear, and then the pin would fall out, and the gear was loose. I put it back together and it ran fine, but I knew I couldn't trust it. I also tried to fix the old engine one more time as well, but that was useless. In the end, it still wouldn't pass cooling water, too much stuff had broken off inside I think, so while it ran fine when I first fixed it, and the patch held, it just had clogged up tight in the end. Maybe I could clear it, but not with the tools I had here. The cops came out and circled me a couple times but didn't stop and I ignored them.

So I decided to sail. I spent the next couple days cutting the broken mast in half, making a headblock out of an old 2x4, finding rigging and fittings down below. Amazingly enough, everything fell into place, it was so much like the Way, where once I chose this route, luck, or coincidence, worked for me. I was able to fond everything I needed below. Old wire shrouds became fore and back stays, an old sunfish mainsail for a genoa, a boom I'd found tangled in the anchor chains when I raised the Hurley fit well enough to work> I wrapped and old small mainsail around the boom like roller reefing till I had a bit of mainsail, taking slide from my old main and wiring them to this one with siezing wire. It was a true jury rig. But it worked.

The next morning, June 2nd, I finished rigging everything, pulled the anchors, raised the sails and she moved right out. This is the first time that Dueodde has sailed since I took all the rigging down to rebuild her in 1994, 12 years ago. It is a moment to remember. I can't explain what it means to me to be sailing. I live in the energy, and the energy of sailing is a whole different world, it awakens a lifetime of memories, it connects me to nature in a way engines seperate me, even as I appreciate and use them. This is pure though. I am feeling alive again. As the wind freshens, I check my speed. I am going as fast as I did with the engine. I only make it the three miles to Sebastian before a storm is bearing down on us, and but I make it to good shelter behind a long barrier island that is little more than a sand bar where I anchor, but good shelter. It is nearing sunset anyway. I am feeling great to be sailing, and I know I can make it, now. Though I worry about the narrows, and the drawbridges, and I still can't bust the tide, but I don't mind. I'm figuring the engine will still work for me if I don't force it too hard, which means I'll be still be able to ride the tide when it is calm. When the wind blows, I can sail.

Sienna was really sick when I got back from Alaska. She'd been seriously injured by something big biting her, and it took several months of antibiotics and nursing till she recovered. But not totally. Her hind legs were crippled up it seemed like, she could barely support her own weight. But now, the boat was acting like physical and mental therapy for her. This was her home, a place she knew well, bith the boat and the sea. She felt safe here, too. Physically, her interest got her out of hiding and moving, and the motion forced her to use her legs, and they started to strengthen again slowly. There at the small island she'd gone ashore with me to explore, in Ft Pierce she went off on a little island by herself to explore, and her in Sebastion, she took a walk down the island with me, though I carried her back. It was great to see her getting better. She may never recover totally, but she is finally making great progress to a real recovery.

The next morning I head out in the calm of ealy morning at 7:30, using the outboard. But the wind starts up and within an hour I have raised the sails and turned off the outboard. I run under some good wind, racing waves I couldn't have managed with the engine. I reach the addison Bridge by 10:30 pm, and anchor, unsure whether I can pass with the bridge down and unwilling to try in the dark. The water shines with phosphorescence when I cast the anchor. I've run 35 miles that day under the jury-rigged sails, the best day yet. Not bad, not bad at all.

I awake at sunrise to a near calm. The engine won't start, but I feel a breath of air, so I raise he sails and the anchor and begin ghosting towards the bridge. Lucky there isn't much traffic, and the wind is rising as I finally reach the bridge, I walk through slow, running wing and wing. Beyond the bridge I am surrounded by dolphins, as the wind continues to build. By the time I reach Titusville Bridge it is blowing stiff, and I am in trouble. With the jury rig, I can't really make well to windward, I don't have enough sail to overpower the force of the wind on the hull itself. Everyone is waiting for the bridge to open when I arrive, but I have to turn up to wait, and drop sail, anchor ready. When it opens, I raise everything and run for it, but the bridgetender is already closing before I can get there. I am barely able to turn off and get aside and anchor again. I talk to the bridge-tender and explain that I am running without motor and jury-rigged and can't fight to windward. At this point, if I head into the bridge, I can get back out. He understands and we time it together, he tells me when to start, startes to open as I approach, flying downwind wing and wing. I slip through just as it finishes openning and I am heading for the Titusville anchorage.

Titusville is a great place, the most boater-friendly spot I found along the way. They give you several days free dingy-docking at the city marina. I stay and try to make a permanent repair to the outboard, I figure I need either a new gear (if the teeth are so worn it is slipping out) or a new retaining spring (if it has weakened over time). The local folk tell me of a cool outboard mechanic, Roger's Marine, so I break the outboard down and take the part in. He tells me that instead of getting a new gear, I could just slip the gear off, reverse it, and it would have the relatively unworn side (used in reverse) for the forward gears. It might slip in reverse, but if that was ok it would save me money. That is ok with me. I head back and oddly, stop at the Sunrise cafe for an expresso, and remember it as a place I stopped once years before when I was driving down route one south. It was a cool bakery/cafe then, too.

In this trip, I must admit, nothing came easy. When I try to drive out the pin to release the gear, it is so old it bends instead. So the next day I am back to the shop to see if he can remove it. He says if he can try, no charge, when he has time, if I can wait, and it will take a 3-5 days to get a replacement pin. The next day, I decide I can't wait, it is June 6, and I can't wait. I should just keep trying, so I go back for the part, but he's off to sell a boat and do a mechanic job, I understand, paid work comes first. But these people are cool, really. They tell me to head back to the marina, since he may go there to show a boat. I go back, and though he's doesn't come there, they get in touch with him, find the part I dropped off, and drive down to the marina and deliver it to me. Cool. I head back to the boat and manage to carefully drill the pin out and I replace it with a stainless bolt out of my parts-box. Then a wake hits me as I am reassemling the engine, the wrench slips, and I bust the aluminum mounting ear off the lower unit. Crazy. It is Saturday, things will be closed tomorrow. I row in, then run a couple miles up the highway to an autoparts shop to buy more JB Weld, making it just in time. I walk back. Then I epoxy the ear back together.

As I am doing this I see an odd sight. A whole bunch of people coming out of the marina in dingys. They head out in the river and drift along towards shore in a big raft-up, finally anchoring. When I am done, I grab my guitar, jump in my dingy and head over. Sure enough, it is a "dingy-drift" party. I play and lead some sing-alongs, the folksinger again, and a great time is had by all. As the sun sets, we head in, and I meet then all on the dock to continue the party till midnight.

Another day and three coats of JB Weld later I am ready to go. More important, while the epoxy set, I stretched out an ols sail and cut it down for a real job, glueing up all the edges and corner with contact cement. This will hold it together well enough for me to bundle it up below and sew it up bit by bit whenever I have to wait. Then I am ready if the ther sail fails. I motor out in the dead calm of morning, heading for a big bay I need to cross to reach a canal that leads to Mosquito Lagoon. I am behind Cape Canaveral now, and Mosquito Lagoon is a wildlife sanctuary. I've camped there before with my dad in years past. I am getting into familiar territory for the first time. But the wind comes up dead ahead, from the east, and soon I am struggling. Halfway across the engine kicks out again, all that work and it still doesn't work. The effort of trying to push the big boat is just too much for the retention spring. I toss the anchor, and someone actually comes by and offers to tow me aside before I have a chance to start kedging off myself. I anchor there and settle in for the night, taking the engine apart and reassembling it so I have a working engine, even if it only works if I don't push it. When I wake at sunrise, the wind is now out of the west. I am raising the sails even as I boil water for coffee and head for the canal. It is a slow struggle as the wind slowly clocks around then nearly dies, and the tide is beginning to run against me, and storms are boiling up out of the south. But I manage to get into the mouth of the canal with the engine, and pull myself almost right against the bank. When the storm hits I am snug and protected. But we are lucky and when the storms have passed, the tide turns and the wind is starting up out of the south. I start the engine and head up the canal, through the drawbridge and out the end. It is a little dicy as I head out into the wind and wave, but the sails are able to pull me out and soon I am running north again. I manage just a few miles when the wind shifts again, dead on, and I anchor up for the night. It is beautiful, wild, peaceful, and quiet, no lights anywhere, just as it must have been long ago all along this coast. I look up at the stars, make dinner, play my guitar, and go to sleep. It is great.

I can't hope to tell you the entire story, it is like writing a book I don't have time to write just now. That's why I keep a journal, its like writing a book as it happens, in installments. This can only be a small piece of that work, a few snapshots, compared to the whole movie. In fact, I videoed the whole trip, as I have been documenting my life since I first started in 2000. Maybe I can put that together. Interesting, because I was os focused on the videocam, I didn't think to pull out the still camera and take many photos. But I'll try and tap out a few more highlights from the journey for you, pulled from my journals and memories.

I'm almost to New Smyrna Inlet. I've just struggled through a big dog-leg in the waterway, a terrible thing when you are sailing, putting me into the wind, and I make it barely, motor-sailing, under a highway bridge and through a narrow and crowded area, wondering what I'll do if the engine fails right now. I make it through, but the next bridge only opens on the half-hour and I have to wait while the tide starts to run against me. When it opens I have to creep through and I struggle out and ahead. I reach the first turn and am able to turn and catch the fluky wind, but the tide is running and I am barely making headway. The wind picks up and steadys, but the tide is starting to rip and for a long while I wonder if I can make it, I am balanced against the tide, but not moving. Then the wind notches up and I strat to creep forward, foot by foot, making for a place just 50 yards ahead where I can round a point and shoot off into a lagoon and anchorage. Whle I am fighting forward, another sailor comes running up in his dingy, says he saw me fighting it out of the tide rip and saw I was jury-rigged and had to come see, and offered to help. I figured it probably wouldn't be enough, but he could try, and it was right. Hids dingy was not able to add anything, at this point I had good wind, though the tide was ripping I was fighting my way up as the channel openned wider. More important, he did show me a serious danger not on the chart, a sunken pipe from a dredging operation I would have run aground on, if he hadn't shown me where I had to fight up another 25 yards before I could turn. But I made it, and flew down with the tide to anchor. The sailor was another musician, Bob of "Equinox" and after I was set, I headed over there and we spent the afternoon jamming. He had a little recording rig on board and was heading out to the Tortugas to get some quiet to record before he headed back to St. Augstine to work again. Good times, once again.

After I pass the drawbridge, the wind shifts more and more ahead, and I fight forward against the tide, sails and engine, trying to get out of the shallows and up to a wide spot with some deeper water charted outside of the channel, just before the river narrows and drops the last 10 miles to the St.Augustine inlet. The wind keeps dropping but the tide is slowing tooI make it up to the marker and drop an anchor, then sound with my weighted line. Only 6 feet of water, not much, not enough if the tide is high now. I row off a bit, and it is even less. So I row over the area on the chart and find an amazing hole, 15 feet of water, so go back and get the boat. The wind has dropped and I am going across the tide, so the motor takes me over and I anchor. In the morning I head out at near high tide, but I can't find a way out. Either I slipped through a narrow gap in the bank or the morning tide is lower than last nights, which happens. The worst thought is that it might be a moon tide and I won't be able to get out till the next moon tide, say two weeks. I've hit the mud at the edge of the bank, so I jump in the rowboat and run out an anchor to pull myself back into deeper water to wait. Unfortunately, another huge powerboat comes plowing down the channel pushing a 6 foot wake. It lifts the boat up and drops it on the hard sand of the bank, in a foot less water. I am not coming off now. I'm worried now. The boat is designed right, built for the north sea and 40 foot tides. It should be abe to dry out on the sand and float again with the tide. unless this bank I'm on is too steep and I end up falling off it upside down. Maybe it would still float then, maybe not. I run out anchors to try and keep the boat upright as the water continues to drop, but a second big powerboat plows by and smacks me with a huge wake broadside and over she goes. Now all there is to do is wait.

The tide keeps going out. Most of this trip there's only a foot of tide or less, but here there is about 4 feet of tide. I'm stacking stuff up on the highside so if a big wake comes it won't wash up over the generator or sweep things away, and securing things so they won't just tumble off the boat and into the water. I go and row out to take some pictures, then find I might as well walk. I go ahead and scrub the bottom of the boat while its high and dry, a handy bit of work. Then I kck back on the sideways boat and wite in my journal then read a book, waiting for the tide to rise.