Telemetry 090630

I don’t think Dan’s coming to Hawaii. It seems, for ideological reasons as he won’t fly in a jet due to it’s carbon footprint. I can respect his convictions though I don’t fully adopt them as my own. He’s been trying to hitch a ride on a boat headed this way for the past couple of months. The container lines haven’t returned his call and TransPac left yesterday. My own window for sailing Desire safely back to Seattle  is closing rapidly. Dan’s bought a Hobie Cat and plans on filming while sailing around Lake Michigan this summer.

I asked John to come out to Hawaii to do some of the filming I had planned to do with Dan but it seems like more of a wank-fest at this point that anything. The On Desire project that Dan and I had been whittling, honing and distilling for the last half year or so hasn’t so much been about documenting my own exploits on the water as much as using Desire as a vehicle to get a bigger message out into the world. Namely, using the Hawaii Island chain as a metaphor to explore the questions surrounding sustainability of the planet, humanity and our collective culture as a whole.

So where does this half filled balloon of an idea leave me? Desire’s blue water integrity has been seriously compromised by the elements and by my neglect of her over the past few years. She can still be a viable boat for inter-island travel. This is the minimal state that I would need get her in to do our On Desire project.

But I am having serious doubts about her long distance capabilities. While her rigging and hull appear to be sound, her electrical and mechanical systems are in question. To get her to a state where I would trust her with my life to transverse the 3,000 mile sailing route between Kona and Seattle I would basically have to gut her internal systems and start from scratch.

I have neither the time nor resources to accomplish what is really needed. If I was bull headed enough (and some say I am) I could get her off this rock and pointed towards the Pacific Northwest with little more than sweat and a minimal amount of blood and tears. My biggest concerns are not really with Desire at all. My concerns are with my own ability to spend 35-40 days by myself in a 26 foot leaky boat.

Then there are my concerns about large moving objects. In my previous journeys I was pretty much paralleling and safely trying to offset the tracks of shipping routes. Still, with all possible diligence I nearly got run over twice by ships and once by a fishing vessel not to mention nearly T-boning a 900 foot Korean container ship, dead in the water with no signs of life 80 miles off of San Francisco. Whenever I needed to cross a shipping route I crossed it at a 90 degree angle for 5-10 miles and then continued on my course.  On the track I need to travel the 3,000 mile sailing route between Kona and Seattle I will be crossing the paths of ships going to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland and Seattle. Kind of like an armadillo crossing the interstate.

I don’t ever really have nightmares. It’s the lucid reality based wake-mares that concern me. Even with my radar, marine radar detection system, radios, lights, reflectors, all of my safety and survival gear and well honed nautical senses it’s a crap shoot at best. Ninety percent of what I need to rely on when I have to sleep are my electronics. Even if I outfit ‘Desire’ with the latest AIS system (a localized ship transponder identification system) I have to rely on Desire’s solar panels, wind generator, engine, batteries and switching system to produce, store and channel the power I need to keep her nervous system and senses alive.

In short I feel that Desire has become a very well mannered and distinguished old lady, who shouldn’t (for mercy’s sake) stray too far from the porch without major surgery.

So the working plan now is to salvage what I need from her, box that up and ship it by slow boat to Seattle. Spruce her up as best I can and put her on the market, reestablish some sort of career in Seattle and plan on the next chapter of my life, most likely involving some sort of water born activity.

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One Response to Telemetry 090630

  1. Dan says:

    > It seems, for ideological reasons as he won’t fly in a jet due to it’s carbon footprint.
    > I can respect his convictions though I don’t fully adopt them as my own.

    It’s all Jeff Gibb’s fault! Well, Al Gore too but for different reasons. I ramble about this all over the site, start with these dubious calculations…

    http://www.ondesire.com/2009/06/13/on-jets/

    At the risk of ranting, here’s my riposte. I can’t count on governments or corporations to do what’s right by me and by the earth. The only way to change anything is to get conscious and take personal responsibility for my actions. Identify my most harmful behaviors and stop doing them.

    The ends don’t justify the means. On Desire is not a worthy project if we have to act in destructive ways to accomplish it. Unless you are Kai Schwarz, getting to Hawaii sustainably ain’t easy.mYou can do it because you’ve got the skills and knowledge to get on boats or sail your own. I could probably get on boats by leveraging my production skills and starting earlier on the research.

    Granted there are cruise ships that make the passage a few months out of the year, but because there is theoretically less carbon footprint riding a cruise ship, the cash cost is higher! Most folks who want to go to Hawaii HAVE to ride jets. Hawaii’s tourist industry is a carbon factory.

    Sustainability isn’t an abstract concept.

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