Sunday, November 25, 2012


It's been a while. Here is a video I made.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Remember to look through the archives on the right side of the page. It goes back to 2006. It's been quite a while since our last update. We are back in our one bedroom house in Carrboro, NC. It was a rough transition for me, but Piper had no problem being in her house with her family close by. I guess I should pick up where we left off. Here are few pics of West End, Bahamas. I also have since taken a still shot from video of the shark we encountered off Hopetown. West End was really a perfect place to wait for weather.

The 6 foot shark with teeth at the barrier reef off Hopetown. This was taken from video. The only shark with big teeth we saw while snorkeling.

Reef from the dingy.

Hope Town Light from the coffee shop.

Sometimes, before you see land, you see smoke from the diesel power plants. Every power plant in the Bahamas is diesel. Kind of a shame in a solar haven. I spoke with a local at the fuel dock that said it is illegal to use solar or wind. The people are told it is a safety concern.

We wanted to take advantage of the Gulf Stream waters of West End to clean the bottom of Delphine. It was beautiful and the current was very strong. At one point three very large rays passed us during the process. We saw a big silver snapper hanging out with us. So I swam to the dingy and got the spear and camera for Piper. But my shot was weak and it bounced off him.

The Yacht Club at West End is an excellent place. We ate at two great restaurants. We fueled up here as well. They made arrangements for a cab ride to the airport for Marantha. We were anchored just offshore of the resort.

We crossed the gulf stream with fair winds from the east. We arrived late and the sun had already gone down. We discussed the possibility of entering Ft. Pierce inlet at night. It is a class A inlet. We had never used the inlet before, but had used another class A inlet, Lake Worth. We decided to attempt the inlet at night despite knowing it is not a smart thing to do. We just had a hunch that we could follow other powerboats in that were used to the inlet. We passed a sailboat that had anchored just off shore on our way in. It looked like it was going to be a rough night for those poor people, rocking and rolling in the surf all night. Sure enough, as we started passing through the buoys, boats began to pass us and lead us in. It is difficult to tell which lights you are looking at. They blend in with the city lights and sometimes it looked like blinking christmas tree lights. However, it wasn't too bad really. We found our anchorage and called Piper's parents to let them know we were alright.

The next day we had to clear customs. Despite this being one of Florida's main ports of entry, the only customs office is out at the airport. We rented a cab to go to the airport and show them our passports. The man behind the glass glanced at our passports, stamped them and we were done. Took about thirty seconds. What a joke. We could have smuggled anything in. An ex military friend told me they know exactly who's coming and going, but I find it really hard to believe. Although, there are spy blimps up and down the coastline. We then started our way up the ICW. We made Vero Beach and stayed at the only cheap dock in Florida, Jones Fruit Dock for $10 per night.

The next day was Melbourne. We didn't stay at Delphine's former spot this time because we couldn't reach Bill and Kitty on the phone. We had a feeling they were cruising and opted for the downtown anchorage. It was sad to miss them. It may very well be the last time Delphine visits them. Though I'm sure we'll drive to Key West and visit all our friends along the way by car soon.

Writing about this now, three months later, is a bit painful. It seems like a part of my life that was only a dream. I wonder if I'll hang out with all the friends we made again. Reality has a way of biting. Before we moved onto the boat, my friend Chris asked me if I really wanted to leave all my friends behind. I told him that I needed something out there. I went home that night and wrote a song. I noticed that in many songs I had written in the past, I had written my future. The process is like mixing a magic potion.

I keep thinking about you
And what you're going through
Here on the other side of the world
I've got my own mess all around me
I'm not exactly free
And I've been diving for pearls
For the girls
I can't escape it

All I can think about are my friends
So far away
And if we'll ever hang
I feel so bent
I've gotta get back to you
And you've gotta do alright
Cuz you're one of the crew

When we arrived in Key West, we made many friends. It was so special there. The bonfire parties on Christmas Tree Island, the artists on every corner and at Mallory Pier, and the musicians in every nook and cranny all seeming to break me out of my shell and forcing me to have fun. It was just what the Dr. ordered. I didn't have to go to Costa Rica, the south pacific or New Zealand. This was where I was meant to go. It made me very proud to be an American. One night at an Island Party, I sang that song to my new friends and wrote the second verse freestyle:

When I ride the wind
We'll still be friends
I hope I see you again
With good luck we met
I hope I don't regret
Headin' outa this place
It's gonna be alright
Put your fears aside
By the firelight
We'll all sing a song
Cause it won't be long
Before we leave behind these days
For just a wee bit.

I keep wondering if there's more to this song.

I miss everyone very much. Here is a clip from Youtube of Toko Irie at a party on Christmas Tree. I play the video on my Touch while biking to Johnny's for coffee. I have speakers on the handle bars of a 1976 Schwinn 3sp Krate girls bike. I love the ending.

We kept moving up the coast, trying to make it back by Piper's Family beach trip. She has never missed one in thirty-three years. I don't want to be the one to break that kind of cycle. We were pretty sure at this point that she was a few weeks pregnant.

In Daytona, we visited more friends, Todd, Kim and Maria. Todd fed us his Kimchi. We were his first friends to like it apparently. We like spicy food. Todd is a vast reference of DIY badassness. I learned a lot from him. He is terribly funny as well. He really needed to clean his prop in that nasty river. He was kinda scared of getting in the murky Daytona ICW, and so I offered to sacrifice my body to the sharks while he scraped the prop and rudder during a thunderstorm. Oh man... good times. Unfortunately, every time we see them, we are passing through and are very much so in a rush to get done with the ICW. They felt the same when they passed through NC and I drove down to Belhaven to check on Delphine and see them on their way through. It was a cold Thanksgiving weekend then. He had built a wood stove on their boat and attached it to the bulkhead with a chimney through a port. It was incredible. It was so toasty. Every morning they would stop to walk their three dogs and gather firewood in a burlap sack. That night when I went back to Delphine, I almost slipped and fell in the water because there was a light frosty snow on deck. After a couple days in Daytona, we left Todd, Kim and Maria knowing that our next friend we would visit was in St. Augustine.

When we sailed into St. Augustine, I called Greg Travous. Greg and Karl were our only friends left in St. Aug. Though we spent our first five months on the boat here and made many friends in the plaza while selling art, everyone seemed to be gone. Curtis, closed his woodworking shop and moved his boat up to Virginia Beach. God knows what happened to Kelly and Tim. We know they split up. I still carry the black tourmaline she gave me to ward off bad energy while selling art on the street. I also still have the sand dollar bird necklace that Tim gave me, although Piper wears it more than I. How I long for another one of Kelly's massage hugs. We still have David the Trinketman's butterfly hanging out on Delphine.

Once the city kicked all the artists and vendors off the street (just after Christmas), everyone just kinda left out of disgust, except Greg and a few other brave souls. Piper and I left for Key West, a safe haven for street artists. It was his mission to continue the battle with the city. When we finally met up with Greg in front of the Casa Monica Coffee Shop, he slapped the daily paper down on the table. Lo and behold on the front page THAT DAY, The federal court had ruled against the city the day before and the artists were allowed back on the street immediately without fear of being arrested. Art conveys a message and the sale of that message keeps that message coming. Free Speech Art is alive and kicking in St. Augustine, FL. It is the single most important art movement of the century. A picture is indeed worth a thousand words. What a beautiful thing it is to pass through town this way and share that day with such an inspiring friend. The first day I arrived in the plaza to sell my art, this man greeted me and let me know what to expect. We laughed about how the city wasn't sure if sculpture was considered art. I had to schedule a meeting with the city attorney before selling my art in the plaza. He was not at all concerned about having to compete for sales with me. He wanted to create a thriving outdoor art market full of color, philosophy, humor, charm, character, friendship and a sense of community. He waded through the rising waters of greed with an unrelenting determination to reach higher ground. His blog is a great resource for any artist. It is full of artists stories, philosophy, history, pictures of art, artists, etc. Please check it out. His story is part of ours.

We left Florida and passed through Georgia's marshes at a snails pace. It's very quiet there. We met a couple just south of Savannah that was stranded. Their engine drained it's oil and burnt out a crankshaft bearing. They had a beautiful canoe hull sailboat. They were a little younger than us. They were trying to make it to Maine to work in an orchard for the summer. We knew they weren't going anywhere and assured them that Savannah was a great place to live for a while until they could get their boat fixed. It's so nice meeting other boaters our age. I wanted to help them somehow, but the only advice I could come up with was either get a job in Savannah or sail and ride the tide to Beaufort, SC. I wonder what happened to them. I bet they figured it out. At least they had a good couple of months in the Bahamas before this. We had them over for dinner and shared stories that night.

We passed through the first bridge at Charleston and the bridge operator told us that we would be stuck in town for a day or two due to high winds that forced the north swing bridge to not open. When we finally made it through the bridge, we heard the bridge operator reporting that the winds were picking up again. We made it through the only open that day. Way lucky. We don't like Charleston much. They have an outdoor art market there. The story is that the family that used to own it, gave it to the city under the condition that people could come and sell there goods there free of charge. The city broke its promise. That's the kind of place it is. It is interesting how different cities have different styles of basket weaving. Basket weavers in Charleston all have the same style it seems. Charleston baskets. The Savannah baskets are similar. Key West baskets are totally different.

In Beaufort, SC, we had dreary weather. We anchored right downtown. I went for coffee and internet. I returned to the boat and tried to get some sleep. At about 2 am, I heard two guys yelling at each other on shore. They were so loud. F this, f that, F U! It went on for about an hour but I had managed to fall asleep. Piper doesn't let anything interfere with her sleep. I awoke again to more yelling. This time it was a frightened anxious yelling at each other.
"Hurry Up , Man! Come ON! The tide is turning man! HURRY UP!
I peered my head out of the hatch and saw two silhouettes swimming towards the boat next to me. This river has a ripping current in it at Beaufort, SC. These guys were obviously scared and drunk. I wasn't sure if they were going to board the boat or just rest on its anchor line and swim to another boat. I was positive if they came to my boat I'd beat the piss out of them with my Mickey Mantle. I wasn't about to ask them if they were alright. Freakin Idiots! It made me nauseous just looking at them. I watched their silhouettes try to pull the swim ladder down. It was bungied up on deck. The fat one started to pull on it. It was stretching the bungy cord and the ladder was now at a 45 degree angle pointing to the stars. The fat one then starts to climb up it at that angle.
"You're gonna break it, man! I don't think that's gonna work", his buddy said. He looked ridiculous hanging by the ladder at 45 degrees completely out of the water.
SNAP! SpLASH! It kinda worked.
They slowly climbed up the rudder and the remainder of the swim ladder.
"It's broken, when did that happen?"
Complete morons.
Once on board they were shivering a little. "Oh man, I hope it's not locked. F!" Son of a#&^%(@! Oh wait maybe the other hatch!....Yes!"
"I can't find the lights, hang on a sec."
I went to sleep. At the crack-o-dawn I was up. And so were they. They had already hauled anchor and were leaving headed north. To this day, I don't know if they stole that boat or what. That was just creepy and makes me cringe every time I think about him yelling, "THE TIDE'S TURNING, HURRY UP!"

One night we paid to tie up at Barefoot Landing at Myrtle Beach, SC. We saw these turtles and ducks there. It was nice to walk around a bit. The next day we had to pass through the rockpile. It's a couple miles of the ICW that was blasted and had rock ledges under the black water.

Within a day, we reached Ocean Isle and brought Delphine into the canal behind our beach house at high tide. This was our second time here with Delphine. We knew she would settle in the mud nicely at low tide. It was awesome seeing family again and just relaxing. We spent a week with our family here and then moved our boat to Bayside Marina in Belhaven, NC. Pipers parents came and picked us up with a van. We moved most of our life off Delphine and began sleeping in our house in Carrboro again. It turns out our tenant who had been living in our home since February of 2006 had found a new home to live in and was moving out just days before we returned to Carrboro, NC.

Above is a pic of Santa on a surfboard in the sound at Wrightsville Beach at 7am. I had just woken up and kept rubbing my eyes. There were also people skiing. They love their watersports in NC. I think it's like a bike ride before work for them.

Being back in Carrboro was culture shock for me. The roadkill thing for one. As I chronic bicyclist, I am appalled by the destruction of life by the motor vehicle. I got a good long whiff of it at the end of my driveway. Welcome back to roadkill country. I didn't know what to do with myself. We had a busy summer of weddings and trips to visit old friends. I spent several days riding my new bike around town. Everything had changed quite a bit back home. People dressed completely different in Carrboro. It seemed to be more liberal than ever. Chickens were at Johnny's coffee shop which used to be an old bait and tackle shop. Carrboro had just passed a law allowing residences to have up to 25 chickens or ducks. Roosters are not allowed. When will sexual discrimination end?

Our friend Piilani talks to Piper's pregnant belly.

Used Haro BMX with One Human Family sticker.

My friend, Chris, has chickens as well. He was one of the first people I bumped into at Johnny's. He had obviously read the blog often. He began talking about it right away. We met at Open Eye Coffee shop years ago, but hadn't really hung out any where else but there. I put him on my email list before we left. It's funny. We began hanging out quite a bit once I returned. We had a lot to talk about at Johnny's. Chris introduced me to his sailing friends whom all hang out at Johnny's. We have quite a sailing click here in Carrboro. Chris has since founded the Carrboro Yacht Club. We are looking for a puddle to sail. If you know of one in Carrboro let us know. Chris and Jen keep their boat in Maine and fly up to hop islands quite a bit. They have met some interesting people on their travels as well.

I built a new display designed especially for Carrboro and Chapel Hill.

Piper is very pregnant. Our baby girl is due January 9th.

Chris introduced me to Eric. Eric had just purchased a 24 foot Columbia and wants to sail to Key West. We hit it off right away. I mentioned to him that we were going on a trip to Ocracoke at the end of August and that he was welcome to come along.
So he and his 14 yr. old son came with our mutual friend, Jason on a trip to Ocracoke and then to our haul out yard in Washington, NC. . This was our last trip aboard Delphine for the year. We overcame the minor obstacles that Delphine and Mother Nature threw in our way and had a great time.

My new display trailer converts to this trailer. I modified it.

Living back on land has been fun. Our town has changed a lot and so have we. I know that I have to get back into my art. We have a baby on the way and I want to get back into the festival circuit and work at home. I have been setting up my welding shed and selling art in public. I set up on the corner in downtown Carrboro for a month and made a decent amount of money to survive. However, during the Carrboro Music Festival, a police officer approached me and asked if I had a "privilege license" to sell my art in public. I told him I was protected by the First Ammendment to sell art in public. He was adamant that this was not the case and said I needed to leave.
As the officer crossed the street, I heard a man in a golf cart say,"Did you tell him he could get a permit for next year?" He was the event organizer.
I applied for permit the following week. They said it would take ten days. After a couple weeks, I went into the office and asked what the delay was about. The clerk said they were waiting to hear from the inspections and zoning department.
I asked, "What are they going to inspect? My easel? My bicycle? There's nothing to inspect. Maybe I should speak to someone else?"
They sent me to the inspector. He was out. The receptionist asked me if she could help and I replied," I don't even think I need this license. I was reading the ordinance and it refers to an NC state document for definitions of a peddler. There is an exemption for crafts made by hand from raw materials as well as an exemption for farmers selling produce." She began looking it up at once and was very helpful.
According to the town's accounting officer, I am exempt as a peddler that sells crafts made by hand. The town recognizes that the event organizer and the officer did not realize I have the right to be there. I realize it was an honest mistake.
The town of Carrboro recognizes that I need a piece of paper to show an officer that I have the right to be there. They are currently putting together an "Honorary Privilege Permit". This is good news for me, but somehow I know this probably won't be the end of it.

As an artist that researches these laws, I know that the sale of art is protected by the First Ammendment. Bery vs. New York is the perfect example. The artists won against mayor Guiliani at the state level. The Supreme Court would not hear Guiliani's appeal. Also, under NC law, a peddler of crafts made by hand from raw materials does not need a privilege permit to operate in NC.

Two new designs; Spider and Snake.

Piper has been getting really good frog shots lately.

Below is Johnny's Coffee Shop. It is the meeting place for the Carrboro Yacht Club. It's fun to see all the activities that come through this place. It has given West Carrboro a community center for whatever you can think of. Just ask. I sell my art here with my display cart.

So that's what I have been doing. Piper has been working creatively as well. She answered an ad on Craigslist about a sewing job. It has become a big project. The man she met with is starting a business recycling old billboard vinyl into bags. He found out she has a design degree and access to an industrial sewing machine and is paying her to make the line. It's been very challenging to work with vinyl. She's happy to be getting paid for gaining sewing experience, but looks forward to getting back to working with nice fabrics.

There will be more updates how we are doing. However, we probably won't be sailing for a year or two. The site name will probably shorten or change. We'll keep you posted. Check out friends links and see what they are up too. Peace.