Purpose Statement

Exploration -> Experience -> Feeling -> Awareness -> Understanding -> Transformation -> Liberation

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year

Happy new year. Fair winds and calm seas to us all in 2015. It shall certainly be a new beginning for me in multiple ways. Brisbane 445 miles and 4 days away.

Scott Horton sent this message from:
Lat -31.191892 Lon 159.033665

This message was sent to you using the DeLorme inReach two-way satellite communicator with GPS. To learn more, visit http://www.delorme.com/inReach/

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from the Tasman Sea.

Scott Horton sent this message from:
Lat -33.696442 Lon 172.520478

This message was sent to you using the DeLorme inReach two-way satellite communicator with GPS. To learn more, visit http://www.delorme.com/inReach/

Monday, December 22, 2014

Dolphin and Pilot Whales

Dolphin and pilot whales around the boat at dawn this morning. Favorable winds today. Headwind all day yesterday.

Scott Horton sent this message from:
Lat -36.73149 Lon 176.211798

This message was sent to you using the DeLorme inReach two-way satellite communicator with GPS. To learn more, visit http://www.delorme.com/inReach/

Sunday, December 21, 2014

A Penguin Just Swam By

We are underway. Penguins swimming alongside the boat.

Scott Horton sent this message from:
Lat -37.589883 Lon 176.171543

This message was sent to you using the DeLorme inReach two-way satellite communicator with GPS. To learn more, visit http://www.delorme.com/inReach/

Saturday, December 20, 2014

We sail tomorrow AM

Last minute projects and provisioning today. Went to the Mount Maunganui farmers market and solidified my estimation that Mom would love it here. Except they drive on the wrong side of the road and there are no Cadillacs.

We are almost out of here. NZ Customs is scheduled to check us out at 9AM tomorrow morning. As soon as we are processed, we sail north along the east coast of NZ until we clear the cape, then we head for Brisbane. As soon as we are under sail, I will start posting our position here every 10 minutes.

NZ seagulls are colored different than North American seagulls and have a different call, but they are flying scavengers just like their North American cousins. Every small thing not attached to the boat gets taste tested by a seagull.

If everything goes to hell - like if Catnip sinks - we have a small dingy with a small sail (that I have named our Shackleton Escape Pod), hand held radios, signal flares, a hand-pump desalinator, an EPIRB, my satellite communicator, ...

And we can always row to Australia.

I may get a post and a few emails off tomorrow AM, but otherwise will be incommunicado for 2 weeks or so.

Friday, December 19, 2014

High Perspective

Went to the top of the mast today ...
To inspect all the rigging and repair the running lights ...
Got a nice view of Catnip ...
From the boatswain's chair ...
I obviously lived to tell the tale ...

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Not exactly shipshape ... yet

The cold and the rain have moved on and now it is paradise - perfect weather.

We ventured out yesterday to run a few errands. Tauranga may be the most ideallic place I have ever been, nicer than Kahala, nicer than La Jolla. Mom would love it here.

The wind forecast has us planning to depart on Monday, so we have three more days to make Catnip shipshape. She presently looks like a bomb went off because of all the projects we are doing, but we'll have her put back together shortly.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Kia Ora

New Zealand is absolutely lovely. Beautiful, green country. The people are shockingly polite and friendly and helpful. I'm told that the weather is lovely, though it has been cold and rainy since I arrived.

I did my best to sleep on the flight, but it was mostly an eyes-closed 13 hour contortion. Who designs airline chairs? There is no possible position where the body is adequately supported and comfortable enough to sleep. So I arrived very tired and sore. They served us breakfast 2 hours out from Auckland, so I watched the movie Gravity at the end of the flight. Great movie. I love the George Clooney character - confident, not-attached, very present in the here and now, observant and appreciative of this present moment. It was a good reminder at the start of my adventure.

On arrival, I caught a city bus to downtown Auckland, waited 2 hours, then boarded a bus to Tauranga. It was raining pretty good and the bus' windshield wipers stopped working, so we were delayed quite a bit stopping in each little town to try and get the wipers repaired. There was a soggy German fellow that boarded the bus with a bicycle in one of the little towns that sat next to me. Every winter, he takes 6 weeks off from work (as an architect in Germany) and solo rides a bicycle in a foreign country, this year New Zealand, last year Cuba, the year before that Thailand. I admire his spirit and wish him drier weather for the remainder of his holiday.

We finally arrived Tauranga in a downpour, so I put on my foulies (foul weather clothing for sailing) and walked a mile or two through the rain to arrive at Dwight's boat, Catnip. It is quite remarkable how easy it was to rendezvous with Dwight on minimal information. Dwight had sent me an email not much more elaborate than "walk to the water front, turn left, go over the bridge, I'm in slip F43" and after traveling halfway around the earth, I walked directly to his boat. The marina is very nice, much nicer than the marinas in Hawaii, and the marina restaurant is apparently owned by the drummer for AC/DC.

So I arrived soggy and cold and exhausted and my priority was to eat a hot meal, take a hot shower, and go to sleep flat on my back. Dwight steamed some broccoli and cauliflower for me, the showers in the marina were plenty hot, and I slept like a stone for 9 or 10 hours.

What day is it, anyway? I think it is Thursday as I write this, though it is Wednesday in the US. Crossing the international date line is a difficult thing to get your head around. We spent Thursday AM doing projects on Catnip - cleaning, sanding, painting, caulking - and we have a few more projects to make Catnip shipshape. We studied the wind forecast and it looks like Monday is the day to depart and head north, so we will provision up tomorrow, Friday, and maybe run around and catch a few local sites. Apparently Hobbiton is nearby. The water temperature is 65 degrees and it is still overcast, though it is no longer raining, so it is too cold for swimming, surfing, even paddle-boarding, though there are plenty of surfers out.

The plan is to disembark on Monday, sail north up the east coast of New Zealand, around the north cape, and then head for Brisbane and the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef. We'll make Brisbane in 2 weeks or so and re-provision, then head out into the Great Barrier Reef.

I am charging batteries as I type, so I'll start taking and posting photos. I'll lose internet for a few weeks on Monday when we set sail, so I'll get some pics posted before then.

Monday, December 15, 2014

And so it begins

The last few days were frantic, frenetic, and even now, sitting in LAX, I am tying up loose ends. WiFi is a blessing and a curse. But the trip has begun. Dear friend Angela Wakeham, bless her, is house and dog sitting, and she gave me a ride to the airport this afternoon.

And so, decked out in tres chic haute couture, I venture forth. As silly as I look, I hardly turn heads in the Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX. The LAX renovation is turning out fantastic, at least the international terminal, though it pains my bourgeois sensibilities to pay $16 for a soupçon of vegetables.

I'll be in Auckland in 17 hours. Then a 2 hour bus ride, a 1 mile walk, and reunion with Brother Dwight and Catnip.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Audentis Fortuna iuvat

I define love thus: The will to extend one's self for the purpose of nurturing one's own or another's spiritual growth.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Where on earth am I

I am carrying a small GPS that supposedly communicates with Iridium satellites and regularly posts my location here. (The password to view the map is FootFinAndFeather.) It also gives me the ability to send and receive text messages and an SOS distress signal, though there is a charge for every communication, so I suspect I'll do most of my emailing and posting from coffee shops during shore leave. Feel free to ping my location, but please be judicious sending me messages - emergency use only.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Wisdom comes with age and experience, right?

I did the Tucson Marathon back in 2006 and reported my experience here. Eight years later I returned, so much wiser and more experienced. Not.

I had a few months of really good training under my belt when I signed up for the race, but I spent the last 6 weeks on the road, working in Kingman, Springerville, Elko, etc., so I had not run in 6 weeks. Wisely, I planned to do a 26.2 mile low stress jog. I wish I had read my 2006 race report to reinforce that prudent plan.

I was at the start on time this year, but intentionally was the last person to cross the starting line since I was just out for a leisurely jog. But right away, I got excited. I was passing the slow starters and I felt great. I was clipping off 7 minute miles and I could not slow down. A couple of miles in, I caught the 3:40 pacer and I thought, "This is where I need to be. I'll hang with the 3:40 group." There was a little hottie - blond pony tail out the back of her running cap, narrow hips, athletic legs - holding 8 minute miles and I thought I could run behind her all the way to the finish. But half way in, 13 miles, the course climbs some tough hills. I hung with the 8 minute/mile hottie, but those hills hurt me. And then I slowly unraveled and imploded.

I felt fantastic for the first half of the race that I covered in 1:46. From 15 miles to 20 miles, my fatigue slowed me down and at 22 miles we hit a ferocious hill and I blew up. The last 4 miles were a miserable walk of shame. The second half of the race took me 2:53. So I went from thinking I was going to run a 3:40 to actually turning in a 4:39.

I would have been better off jogging for 5 hours.

Post race banana and orange carnage in the beautiful Tucson winter weather. My running costume, mostly the hat, earned many comments, but a few people remarked on my sandals.

Photos of my race are here.

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Brother Dwight's Adventure

When I moved to Honolulu in 2006, one of my first professional and social connections was with Dwight Streamfellow, an eco/enviro/green construction contractor with a 34' catamaran, S.V. Catnip. Dwight's dream was to cruise - to travel the world, specifically the south Pacific, in his sailboat - and hopefully share the experience with his youngest daughter, Sienna. Sienna was 12 years old in 2006.

Dwight and Sienna cruised the south Pacific for seven months last year and 19 year old Sienna recorded her experience here. They left Catnip in New Zealand and returned to "normal" life. Sienna went off to Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo to study agricultural and environmental plant sciences. The student newspaper did a nice article on her adventure.

I will be joining Dwight next week in New Zealand to help him sail Catnip across the Tasman Sea and up the Great Barrier Reef.

But more immediately, I am running the Tucson Marathon tomorrow. I was training really well up until 6 weeks ago when I began a non-stop out-of-town field-work marathon. I haven't really run in 6 weeks, so my strategy for tomorrow is to have a pleasant 5 hour jog with nice breaks at the aid stations.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

The dissolution of a persona

December 15, Fly Tucson – LAX – Auckland, New Zealand. Catch a bus to Tauranga, connect with Brother Dwight and CatNip. Sail across the Tasman Sea and up the east coast of Australia, along the Great Barrier Reef. I’ll be gone at least a month. I may not come back.

And so it begins.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Wednesday, November 26, 2014


I am most grateful for Bindi and April.

Bindi and April are most grateful that I do not impose my vegan diet on them.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Sun Spots

The Sun Spots recorded in my eclipse video are apparently quite large and impressive and are getting a lot of attention from the science community. Here is a NASA image:

I don't have magnification power to rival NASA, but I can get to 4064mm f20, so we'll see what kind of detail I can resolve of this record breaking Sun Spot on Monday when I hope to photograph comet Siding Spring with Mars, the Lagoon Nebula, the Trifid Nebula, and the Moon.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

While we had our heads down ...

I was hoping to record today's eclipse in high fidelity, but wound up barely getting it documented in the midst of my normal multitasking. Here is what happened in the heavens today while we all had our heads down, servicing the bureaucracy that makes the world go round.

It is very subtle, but I can actually see the reduction in the output of my roof mounted solar panels:

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Nectar is Everywhere

Leptonycteris yerbabuenae licking nectar from agave flowers near Elephant Head, Amado, AZ.
Nikon D800E, Nikon 70-200mm, f16, PhotoTrap, three Vivitar strobes

I spent a few hours last night with Bill Forbes, the inventor of the PhotoTrap, at his property at the base of Elephant Head near Amado, AZ. Bill gave me a private lesson on how to use the PhotoTrap and how to set up shots like the one above. We sat in lawn chairs and visited while bats zoomed all around us and the PhotoTrap did all the work.

I take possession of my PhotoTrap next week.

Bill's pet turkey spent the evening on top of my truck.

Monday, September 01, 2014

Sacred Datura

Five hour time lapse of Sacred Datura night blooming in my backyard.

The flash at the end of the video is a sphinx moth.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Georgia O'Keeffe is my lover

Sacred datura bloomed in my backyard tonight. Hopefully moths will come pollenate the flowers tonight, because the delicate flowers will wilt in tomorrows heat.

I shot with a Nikon D800E, 60mm macro lens, off camera flash and diffuser.

Georgia O'Keeffe painted this "Jimson Weed" in 1932.

Datura contains atropinehyoscyamine and scopolamine. In low doses, these chemicals are helpful in suppressing seasickness and asthma. If you take moderate doses, you can talk to God, but just a little too much and you're dead.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Desert

It is my favorite time of the year in Tucson - Monsoon season.

I did a 12 mile run this morning in the desert behind my house, in the foothills of the Tucson Mountains. At 6AM, I was the only person on the trails and the sun was just above the horizon, illuminating the Tucson Mountains with that magical low angle warm light. As I trotted along in my minimalist sandals, the only sounds I could hear were my own footsteps and my breathing. About three and a half miles in, I came upon a good sized buck with 18" antlers all in velvet. He bounded away through the scrub as I continued running up the trail. In the moment, what struck me as remarkable was how silent was his bounding. All I could hear were my own footsteps and breathing, even as he effortlessly, gracefully, bounded through the brush. Usually when I flush a deer, I can hear their hooves thumping the ground, but this guy was so quiet, it gave a surreal quality to the experience, as though it wasn't real.

The clouds developed late in the day and it finally started raining after 5PM. For years I have been hoping to catch a monsoon sunset at Signal Hill, with the sun illuminating the bottom of the clouds from below the horizon. Today's sunset wasn't quite what I had in mind, but it was beautiful. There was some spectacular lightning, but I only managed to catch these two bolts on the horizon just above the spiral petroglyph.

It seems if one really wants to do nature photography, one has to arrange to be out in nature for most every sunrise and sunset. Not a bad arrangement.

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

As impressive as an iguana. Maybe not.

I find myself frequently searching for these quotations.

A Reading from The Food Revolution by John Robbins

Maybe we aren't on a one-way road to oblivion. Maybe we're standing at a crossroad, facing what may be the most important choice human beings have ever faced, a choice between two directions. In one direction is what we will have if we do nothing to alter our present course. By doing nothing, we are choosing a world of pollution and extinctions, of widening chasms and deepening despair, a world where humanity moves ever farther from achieving its highest aspirations and ever nearer to living its darkest fears.
Our other choice is to actively engage with the living world. On this path we work responsibly and joyfully to make our lives, and our societies, into expressions of our love for ourselves, for each other, and for the living Earth. In this direction we honor our longing to give our children, and all children, a world with clean air and water, with blue skies and abundant wildlife, with a stable climate and a healthy environment.
If you live with fear for our future, you are not alone.
If you live with dreams of a better world, you are not alone.
We all live, now, with both the pain and the possibility we carry in our hearts, both the despair and the hope that we may yet learn to live in harmony with our precious and endangered Earth. There is not a person alive today who does not, at some level, know we are facing these two directions, and understand how much is at stake.
I am aware how strong are the forces of ignorance, greed, and denial in our society. I know it is possible that we won't make it.
But I am also aware of how strong is the longing and the love of life in the human heart. And so I know it is possible that we will make it, that we will create a sustainable economy that protects the living systems of the Earth, that we will come to be part of the world's repair. The power of darkness in our world is great, but it is not as great as the power of the human spirit. We can learn to provide for our needs and limit our numbers while cherishing this beautiful planet and its creatures. It is in our nature to honor the sacredness of life.
What is at stake today is enormous; it is the destiny of life on Earth. At such a time, walking a path of honoring ourselves and the living planet is our responsibility as citizens of the planet, but it is something more, as well.
It is also a joy, and a privilege.

A Reading from Lynn Margulis and Dorion Sagan

It is an illuminating peculiarity of the microcosm that explosive geological events in the past have never led to the total destruction of the biosphere. Indeed, like an artist whose misery catalyzes beautiful works of art, extensive catastrophe seems to have immediately preceded major evolutionary innovations.

With each crisis the biosphere seems to take one step backwards and two steps forward - the two steps forward being an evolutionary solution that surmounts the boundaries of the original problem. Not only meeting but going beyond challenges confirms that the biosphere is extremely resilient, that it recovers from tremors with renewed vigor. Nuclear conflagration in the northern hemisphere would kill hundreds of millions of human beings. But it would not be the end of life on Earth, and, as heartless as it sounds, a human Armageddon might prepare the biosphere for less self-centered forms of life. As different from us as we are from dinosaurs, such future beings may have evolved through matter, life, and consciousness to a new superordinate stage of organization, and in doing so, consider human beings as impressive as we do iguanas.