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Archive for the ‘Hello World’ Category.

Posts to post

I’ve been blogging in my mind for the last couple of months, here’s a sample of the topics I’d like elaborate on soonish.

First, a crisis of confidence. Gosh, why blog at all? With the explosion of FB, a personal blog seems like a lot of work for friends. I intuit (perhaps fear would be more apropos) that pushing out post links via email is just going to feel like obligation to my peeps. On the other hand (maybe this is arrogance now) it’s not impossible that my ravings are a lantern in the fog. Is it encouraging to think of Dan Kelly out there somewhere, still deep into his crazy schemes? I’d like to think that Doug Michels would give an approving nod from the command pod of Bluestar and of course James Allegro here on Terra. As I’ve oft stated, blogging is performance art for my crowd of internal personas, getting it beyond my skull feels wonderfully pointless, like a SETI broadcast to the cosmos. Is anyone out there? Whatever.

“Artist house, instantiate your metameme. Standby to vortex the vagus!”


Speaking of SETI, I recently bought one of these…

It’s the Flag of Earth, the planet whose “anthem is the wind in her trees and the waves of her seas”. From flagofearth.orgThe Flag of Earth could be flown if you are conducting a project or event which benefits the Earth as a whole … not just your community or country. If that’s not Around Lake Michigan, well then heck.

Rosie the Pocket Cruiser, (25 foot Seacraft Dana clone).

I got curious about Earth flags after I acquired Rosie, my ticket to Cuba and support ship for the new ALM Hobie fleet. She deserves her very own post, but here’s a teaser – parked next to Hello World.

Rosie and Hello World apparently mouldering. Weapons to overthrow the inner oppressor, hidden in plain sight.


Creative Film Finance

I’ve been perfecting my 0 APR credit card film finance scheme. I’ve got about 60k in available credit now and my FICA score keeps rising. Decrypting the system is really fascinating. I can’t say I’m gaming it yet, but I have hopes…

Save the Hobies

What are all these vintage Hobie’s doing in the garden? Are the neighbors complaining? I like to imagine jetskiers wilting in their shorts when they drive by. These specters of the 70s, embodied energy waiting for their moment in the wind, to shine and sparkle once again. Who will crew the pirate fleet? We need more H16s!

Artifacts of a Sustainable Civilization? Not yet, but dreaming in the right direction…



Around Lake Michigan has transmogrified from the Search for Sustainable Civilizations into the People’s Inspection of Atomic Power. Hard to close your eyes and read at the same time, but savor this… Sunrise on the Big Lake. A ragtag squadron of vintage catamarans suddenly surges into view, spray spinning off dancing bows, crews in harness hanging over blurred waves. Where are they going? Ahead… pale pink beaches rising into dunes, green forest and… incomprehensible! A behemoth of the industrial age sprawls across the shore! Concrete containment, plumes of steam, high voltage electrical infrastructure, a nuclear power plant.  A mysterious and unpredictable convergence of 20th century artifacts – leaping sun powered sail boats and a brooding atomic reactor.


So what’s all this about the shack? After a year of slogging, brutal renovations by Patrick and Dan, the family’s cow farm has a maker outpost. Hungering for a more proprietary scenario to build his race car, Patrick has recently vacated. I’m finishing the mad lab by my lonesome. Where will the Hobies be reborn? How will Rosie get her groove back? The shack.


Animation Studio

Ben Woody inspired me to act on a dormant dream. I discovered Dragon Frame about a year or so ago, and have had it on the Birthday list. After my decisive move into VFX, with the nefs last year and the advent of an ambitious intern this year, I decided it was time to manifest. A little ahead of schedule but right on time, I’ve acquired a long coveted set of Dedo lights, a Canon T3i and Dragon Frame. Check some of our early tests at Ben’s YouTube channel. The garage is being converted to an animation studio where all this gear lives.

Personal Archeology

In the process of cleaning and organizing, I’ve come across a slew of old paintings, letters – my personal archeology. I’ve sort of boxed it all for the moment, but there will be a reckoning, oh yes.

James and Jeff

I seem to be spending ever more time talking with Jeff about his project Planet. Weston’s been revising the Ethiopia concept and I’ve kinda getting sucked in a bit there too. Collaborating with these two has been great, I really don’t have anyone else who is deep into projects and I didn’t realize how encouraging this comradery can be.

Ben Woody

I’m looking forward to sharing my Ben Woody boon with y’all, but for now check out his blog BenWoody.com

More boats?

Yes, Trickster Pictures is acquiring more sailboats in preparation for the post petroleum America. Mostly Hobie 16s, same as Hello World. Beyond fun!

Actually the point of this post is to see if we can re-establish our inter blog communication. Jordan Bates found me a plug-in with promise – a feed based updater. Now the question is can a Feed Word Press post trigger a Tweet?

Standby. testing, testing…

Awash in wildflowers…

…and basking in beauty, that’s the summer of 2011. Hello World has been beached (blossomed) for a solid year following her crippling injury 30 miles north of Chicago that ended our 2010 expedition.

She’s communing with the flox and vetch across the street, waiting for repairs. Patrick and I are converting a storage shed into a workshop and that’s where she’ll be before the snow flies. I’ll mend her over the winter.

Meanwhile, she’s watching over another exploration of sustainability – the Lauren di Scipio memorial vegetable garden.  I’ve followed the weed free (layer cake) method – with commercial organic soil in some beds and composted horse poop from Willy and Marijke Church in others. Unfortunately, the entire plot is shadowed by the backyard bluff and misses most of the morning sun. The corn patch is growing in a wedge shape, plants are progressively lower the closer they are to the bluff. There couldn’t be a clearer demonstration of solar power.

So what’s the prognosis for Around Lake Michigan, Search for Sustainable Civilizations? Will there be another expedition? What about posting movies from the rest of the 2010 expedition? What the hell has Dan Kelly been doing for the last year?!

After the 2010 expedition ended, I decided to leave NYC and return to Michigan full time. I enjoyed the summer on Crystal Lake, intent on posting the expedition movies and evaluating the project. The abrupt end of the sailing may have been more discouraging than I was able to admit, my passion for the project waned and… I got distracted.

In August, documentation Gertrude flowed into discussions about starting a performance company, which ultimately triggered a traumatic misunderstanding. Though our friendship has bounced back, we’ve since steered clear of any significant collaborations.

In September the lads and I joined my brother Mike for a trip down the San Juan River in Utah. My no jet travel protocol and recent ALM experience prompted me to do a little trickstery critique of James Weston’s Africa documentary in November.

Speaking of James, my experience with Mykl Werth’s partner dance methodology started an extensive exploration of how Mykl’s classroom technique could be translated to video. We started in October but by the spring of 2011, disagreements with Mykl about the business model ended the project.

Also in September, the Trickster Pictures motion graphics show reel was re-activated, featuring work by myself and the Bear Lake Kelly brothers. We posted Version 0.9 in May of 2011.

From October 2010 – March 2011, I taught Tai Chi at Studio on Main in Frankfort, which Patrick and I have since moved to the house. Joe Cissel, Patrick and I were also teaching ourselves combat mime for most of the winter.

In the spring, I conned James into forming a production affinity group, the Michigan Movie Makers. After the first meeting, James was off to film school in Montana,  but fortunately a slew of other local production VIPs have stepped into the breach. M3 had a presence at the recent Traverse City Film Festival, and I ended up volunteering for the TCFF video team and helping to edit a video for the Awards Ceremony.

The inventory of distractions wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t mention the house I’d neglected for the last 6 years. The furnace was toast, skylights leaking, etc. Still some stabilization required before real weather returns.

In summary, in the fall of 2010 I made a commitment to focus on current projects and not start any new ones. The Gertrude and Mykl dalliances were definitely new business – and they both tanked. M3 is also new business but has been justified as support for my relocated production presence. The other initiatives were arguably old business and have reached various stages of completion. However the two most important pre-existing projects – Daughter of God and Around Lake Michigan – have not been touched!

I haven’t been eating lotus only, progress has been made on various fronts and life is good. I even have a steady girlfriend and the possibility of an instant family.

But… I’m done with distractions. Now let’s be a laser beam, it’s time to make my movies. Since DOG has been on the back burner the longest, it’s first in the queue.

ALM is right after DOG. If we count the reconstruction of Hello World this fall, ALM will be happening concurrently to some degree. The next expedition of ALM will have to be re-thought if it’s going to accommodate sailing, movie making and distribution all at once. After Fukushima, I’ve been thinking about all those reactors I sailed by. What chance does a powered down civilization have surrounded by nuclear bombs? 10,000 years of toxic threat seems pretty daunting, maybe ALM needs a tighter focus.

Awash in wildflowers…

…and basking in beauty, that’s the summer of 2011. Hello World has been beached (blossomed) for a solid year following her crippling injury 30 miles north of Chicago that ended our 2010 expedition. She’s communing with the flox and vetch across the street, waiting for repairs. Patrick and I are converting a storage shed into a workshop and that’s where she’ll be before the snow flies. I’ll mend her over the winter. Meanwhile, she’s watching over another exploration of sustainability – the Lauren di Scipio memorial vegetable garden.  I’ve followed the weed free (layer cake) method – with commercial organic soil in some beds and composted horse poop from Willy and Marijke Church in others. Unfortunately, the entire plot is shadowed by the backyard bluff and misses most of the morning sun. The corn patch is growing in a wedge shape, plants are progressively lower the closer they are to the bluff. There couldn’t be a clearer demonstration of solar power. So what’s the prognosis for Around Lake Michigan, Search for Sustainable Civilizations? Will there be another expedition? What about posting movies from the rest of the 2010 expedition? What the hell has Dan Kelly been doing for the last year?! After the 2010 expedition ended, I decided to leave NYC and return to Michigan full time. I enjoyed the summer on Crystal Lake, intent on posting the expedition movies and evaluating the project. The abrupt end of the sailing may have been more discouraging than I was able to admit, my passion for the project waned and… I got distracted. In August, documentation for Gertrude flowed into discussions about starting a performance company, which ultimately triggered a traumatic misunderstanding. Though our friendship has bounced back, we’ve since steered clear of any significant collaborations. In September the lads and I joined my brother Mike for a trip down the San Juan River in Utah. My no jet travel protocol and recent ALM experience prompted me to do a little trickstery critique of James Weston’s Africa documentary in November. Speaking of James, my experience with Mykl Werth’s partner dance methodology started an extensive exploration of how Mykl’s classroom technique could be translated to video. We started in October but by the spring of 2011, disagreements with Mykl about the business model ended the project. Also in September, the Trickster Pictures motion graphics show reel was re-activated, featuring work by myself and the Bear Lake Kelly brothers. We posted Version 0.9 in May of 2011. From October 2010 – March 2011, I taught Tai Chi at Studio on Main in Frankfort, which Patrick and I have since moved to the house. Joe Cissel, Patrick and I were also teaching ourselves combat mime for most of the winter. In the spring, I conned James into forming a production affinity group, the Michigan Movie Makers. After the first meeting, James was off to film school in Montana,  but fortunately a slew of other local production VIPs have stepped into the breach. M3 had a presence at the recent Traverse City Film Festival, and I ended up volunteering for the TCFF video team and helping to edit a video for the Awards Ceremony. The inventory of distractions wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t mention the house I’d neglected for the last 6 years. The furnace was toast, skylights leaking, etc. Still some stabilization required before real weather returns. In the fall of 2010, I made a commitment to focus on current projects and not start any new ones. The Gertude and Mykl dalliances were definitely new business – and they both tanked. M3 is also new business but has been justified as support for my relocated production presence. The other initiatives were arguably old business and have reached various stages of completion. However the two most important pre-existing projects – Daughter of God and Around Lake Michigan – have not been touched! I haven’t been eating lotus only, progress has been made on various fronts and life is good. I even have a steady girlfriend and the possibility of an instant family. But… I’m done with distractions. Now let’s be a laser beam, it’s time to make my movies. Since DOG has been on the back burner the longest, it’s first in the queue. ALM is right after DOG. If we count the reconstruction of Hello World this fall, ALM will be happening concurrently to some degree. The next expedition of ALM will have to be re-thought if it’s going to accommodate sailing, movie making and distribution all at once. After Fukushima, I’ve been thinking about all those reactors I sailed by. What chance does a powered down civilization have surrounded by nuclear bombs? 10,000 years of toxic threat seems pretty daunting, maybe ALM needs a tighter focus.

Live Fully, Pay Attention, Power Down

Play movie for computer, phone or youtube

An ALM inspired public service message about giving up jet travel, whipped up in response to a regional fund raising effort that seemed inherently contradictory. The more I learned the more I felt compelled to speak out. The catalytic event was the release of a video by musicians May Erlewine and Seth Bernard on their kickstarter site.

Several aspects of their project appear problematic, but I’ve focused on the environmental impact. I’m down with Awakening the Dreamer, a movement to realize a socially just, environmentally sustainable and spiritually fulfilling human presence on the planet. These three outcomes are inherently linked, achieving one at the expense of the other two is no achievement at all.

There are certainly bigger fish to fry, why critique local activists and artists? Who elected Dan Kelly the arbiter of worthiness?

Folks disagree on how dire our environmental situation is, but it’s pretty clear we’ve got to make a change. Transparency and open communication are critical to deciding what that change should be. If we artists and activists can’t figure out how to do transparency and communication within our extended local tribe, how can we expect anyone to figure it out?

I don’t know many of the principle actors personally, but I am aware of their worthy efforts in the past. For my part, I just spent the last couple of years searching for artifacts of future sustainable civilizations. Having sailed a 16 foot catamaran 600 miles Around Lake Michigan, I’ve got some unique information to share especially with regards to travel.

I’ll be posting on youtube after a bit more polish.


I tested my PSA yesterday – me doing a talking head with ALM b-roll. It’s got potential. This morning I simplified the narration.

I am Dan Kelly

In 2008 I was invited to sail around the Hawaiian islands and make a movie about sustainability. Getting to Hawaii usually means flying – and jet flight generates lots of carbon. Documenting low impact lifestyles while having a big impact myself – that didn’t make sense. So I decided to stay home and make the movie right here, in Michigan.

sync sound
opening of ALM

In fact, I haven’t flown on a jet since. This summer I visited my brother for a trip down the San Juan river in Utah, a round trip of over 4000 miles, and it was Amtrak and cars the whole way.

river trip montage, floating

Flying on jets is probably the most environmentally damaging American behavior. If we’re concerned about climate change then jets should be the first thing we give up.

video of “on jets” calculation

I love to travel – adventure is my middle name. There’s so much to learn from other people and cultures. Maybe we can even help the folks we visit.

whoa! shots, that suckers coming right at me
http://ondesire.com/story/09-09-28_ritch_branstrom/01.html, carol

But trying to do good deeds by flying to far away places seems an obvious contradiction. We don’t need jets to have adventures or be of service. Wondrous discoveries await within 200, 20 or even 2 miles of our front door. Plenty of people need love and support in our own home towns.

(montage of more sailing, arriving on beaches, characters, town signs)

We are all responsible for each other, for our common survival. The choices we make now determine what will happen to us and to our extended family on earth. Jet travel is not a responsible choice, it messes up the global life support system we all depend on.

earth animation

let’s live fully, pay attention and power down

black with text, then “resources”


http://www.ondesire.com/ search for “jets”

Public Service Announcement

I’ve been away from ondesire.com for a couple of months, reconstructing my land based life and recovering from an NYC exit. Let’s return now to the Around Lake Michigan archives for further extraction and posting. I’m starting with a PSA exploring the ills of jet travel. ALM is a search for what’s useful, the artifacts of future sustainable civilizations. Rather than look at what is wrong and complain, ALM explores what might be right, what seems to work. Explaining why something works may require contrasting it with what doesn’t.

There’s a local effort underway to fund extensive jet travel, ostensibly for good works on the other side of the earth. Certainly the organizers mean well, but on the balance they’ll probably do way more harm than good. Having recently sailed hundreds of miles in an open catamaran, I’m in a unique position to comment, to offer some perspective on travel choices. Here’s a first draft of my narration.

Two years ago I was invited to sail around the islands of Hawaii and make a movie about sustainability. Getting to Hawaii usually means flying on a jet plane – and that’s a huge carbon footprint. Talking about the low impact lifestyle while having a big impact myself – that didn’t make sense. So I decided instead to stay home and make my movie right here, in Michigan. In fact, I decided to give up jet flight in general. This summer I visited my brother for a trip down the San Juan river in Utah, and it was Amtrak and cars the whole way.

Flying on jets is just about the biggest environmental impact we can have as Americans. Trying to do good deeds by flying to far away places is usually a contradiction. Do the ends justify the means?

I love to travel – adventure is my middle name. There’s so much to learn from other people and cultures. Maybe we can even help the folks we visit.

We don’t need to fly in jets to have adventures or be of service. Wondrous discoveries await within 200, 20 or 2 miles of our front door. There are plenty of people who need love and support in our own home towns.

If we want to help people in China or Africa, we can send checks to reputable organizations already there. If we want to make new friends on the other side of the earth, we can reach out through social networks, telephones and… wait for it… posted letters.

If we traveled around the world without taking a single jet, we would have a richer and more immediate experience, make more friends, have many more adventures and probably be a lot smarter after.

We are all responsible for each other, for our common survival. The choices we make determine what will happen to us and to our extended global family. Jet travel is not a responsible choice, it messes up the global life support system we all depend on.

live fully, go slow, power down

Day 5 – Ready to go for real

Day 5 was the second and for real launch. June 1st was the official day of getting Hello World into the Big Lake and starting to sail but the truth was we weren’t ready. A few days of puttering around in Bear Lake and Beulah and then 6.5 hours organizing and prepping on Arcadia beach got us there. This short 3:33 segment gives a taste of Day 5 and Day 6.

10-06-05 Ready to go for real, Arcadia to north of Portage Lake, Michigan (computer, phone)

Day 4 – Adjustments in Arcadia

An easy afternoon on the beach making adjustments to Hello World, mostly the straps and plates that secured the waterproof rifle cases. There’s also insights about yawning.

Behind the scene details were posted on June 6.

10-06-04 Adjustments in Arcadia, Michigan (computer, phone)

Day 2 – Elberta to Arcadia

Sailing from Elberta to Arcadia on Day 2 was much easier than getting from Point Betsie to Elberta on Day 1. In this episode, I discuss the plan to beach Hello World and run some errands while still within range of the home base, recap Day 1, ramble about where the water comes and marvel at the miracle of solar power.

10-06-02 Elberta to Arcadia, Michigan (computer, phone)

What I did with the 2nd half of July

I took advantage of the 2010 expedition’s abrupt end by soaking up the rapture oozing outta Hello World’s home base, the Artist house on Crystal Lake. Truth be told, the spring had sprung so sweetly last May that it was tough to tear myself away and start the trip. Though Hello World’s broken paw was a bummer, the prospect of staying home for the rest of the summer was decidedly excellent.

The end of the expedition wasn’t all sex on the beach, tho. Being back early made me vulnerable to wedding invitations. I loathe weddings generally and ALM was supposed to be my get out of jail free card. Now my nephew and brother-in-law’s weddings were looming, in New Hampshire and California respectively. Shit.

Having a limited supply of nephews, I decided to shag my ass out east. A visit to New Hampshire would put me within striking distance of the four 20 foot galvanized pipes I left on the roof of my alternate crib in Brooklyn, NY.

Heading to wedding in New Hampshire with an iridescent obsidian knappage by Steve in Ogden Dunes, IN.

Weddings - gak!

Family face time, my genius niece with her two main men, Gordon and my famous brother, Jim

Galvanized pipe and AIS Klamps are like Legos for big kids. Originally I had intended to use the pipes to build a fire escape for my 3rd floor apartment and facilitate direct access to the ground floor gardens. Static from the snooty french neighbor on the second floor complicated the design requirements and the 20 footers were no longer practical. The plan was to bring them back to the Artist house and build a passive solar greenhouse informed by Mike Reynold’s Earthship aesthetic.

The transport protocol involved stacking 2″ thick foam blocks on the roof of the Honda Odyssey to supplement it’s wimpy 100 lb capacity roof rack. 5 ratching cargo straps locked the load down with a couple of tee shirts around the leading straps to dampen high speed vibration. Having 1 1/2″ pipes poking 6 ft over the windshield made my POV rather like commanding a tank or missile launcher.

While packing the pipes I realized that I wasn’t excited about returning to the Brooklyn apartment in the fall. After 6 years of living between Brooklyn and Beulah, perhaps it was time to return to Michigan full time.  I let that thought settle in during the 15 hour drive back.

En route, I got a call from Gene, a fellow devotee of Swami Bua, my yoga teacher. Swamiji had died in India from complications of stroke. He was about 120 years old. Here are articles from Hinduism Today (obit) and The New Yorker (2006).

An ~80 year old Swamiji in the 1970s. I was 13 when I first met him in 1976.

A few days back in Beulah and I knew I was finished with NYC.  The Odyssey and I headed for NYC once again – on a mission to extract the last of my gear and wrap up obligations. Mission accomplished on August 1.

I plan to visit the Big Mango every other month for my Taoist check-up and After Effects New York. It feels totally right to be back in Michigan full time – consolidating my resources, building a production alliance, focusing on the local and letting Lake magic flow through me. It’s hard to describe how that works here, you’ve just got to experience it.

What does it mean when this happens?

Somehow the front aluminum pylon is sinking or twisting inside the hull. It might have happened while moored in Chicago’s Monroe Harbor, perhaps from an impact by another boat. Or it could be a sign of some internal problem that is only now showing up, like the pylon coming loose from the bottom of the hull? I did a deck job on both hulls a year ago and sailed 300 miles with no hitches. There are no fractures or cracks anywhere around the deck where the pylon emerges. There’s a ring around the pylon where the deck is now slightly concave. Any experienced Hobie sailors ever seen anything like this before?

Starboard hull outside Starboard hull inside
Port hull outside Port hull inside

This and that

Day 34

I had ambitions last night, but today just flitted away. I tinkered with the camera on the boat and made a spectacle of myself chillin’ in the tent. I got looks from tender passengers and a “love your setup” from folks on a passing big boat. Generally I think Chicago is a wash, I’m ready to sweep out of here. It’s not that there isn’t plenty of interesting things happening, but I’ve hit it wrong. The holiday extends until Monday and so there’s nobody to meet with until Tuesday and without prior arrangements it’s not a crap shoot whether anyone will be available then. It sounds so much better to just loose the lines and get out of town. There’s plenty more lake to go. Tonight there will be pretty fire in the sky and of course I’ll get some shots. They canceled last night’s show so I’m thinking, it’ll be double tonight. Maybe I’ll actually try and edit in the tent tonight, but chances are I’ll just drink my beer and pass out. This stop counts as a rest I guess.

Sleeps with the fishes

Our view tonight..

Accidental practice

Day 33

Perfection? The kingdom of god is spread upon the earth and man does not see it. Someone to tumble with in this grass would be sweet but as far as solo moments go, pretty near perfect. In tree shadow on sloping grass, facing the water and Hello World tugging on her can. So many other boats, most of them with masts! Behind me the great city yawns and rumbles with AM bustle.

Hello World is so low profile as to be nearly invisible, like a bigger boat that sank. Besides the buzzing and piping of birds, I hear hundreds of masts clanking against thier shackles, the accidental bells of an unplanned devotion. Each sail boat is a place of practice, a temple to the available free energy of wind. Hello World came right into Monroe Harbor under this energy, probably she’s the only boat who did. The rest manuevered to their cans with petrol motors. Out on the Big Lake, they sail.

All projects are test projects. I wonder about ALM, certainly a movie will emerge from this, but am I just setting the stage for a future scheme?
Much of ALM works, but I’m having problems with posting and sharing video. That’s kind of a crucial component. “Look at me I’m traveling” and “here’s what happened today” are not enough of an outcome to justify all the effort and expense. I’m living pretty minimally granted, but I want to offer more than just reporting the trivia of my admittedly unusual life.

Doing this project, I feel like an envoy of destiny, one foot stepping into an incredible possibility, an inevitable present that boggles. Are we really going there? Are we really getting in accord with the momma? I guess by dreaming it, by dedicating a summer to it, I am bringing it forth.

Yes the social aspect matters, it’s gotta make sense. Video and blogging are somehow integral, even if they are ineffective, if hardly anyone is paying attention. The ritual of outreach is what this is about, imaging the ideas flowing out and finding minds, delighting and inspiring. If I act in good faith, eventually the reality will catch up to my dreams.

Hello World is just left of center

A column of Segways passed my shade, surreal

Monroe Harbor

Day 32

Not enough sleep after dozing in the conference room while cloning drives, but me and the z-bike were on the Metra heading south by 9:00 am. When I peddled up the beach was clean, sunny and deserted. I was happy to see Hello World gently rocking at anchor protected from the south wind. I asked Jen at the life guard station about the water conditions in case there was an ecoli or medical waste situation. She was relaxed said she hadn’t heard of any problems. I asked her if the boat out there had been any trouble and told her it was mine and she said the staff had been keeping an eye on it. So cool. I thanked her and took some pictures of Hello World from the south pier, then set up the camera and made a movie of bringing her in. It wasn’t until 11:45 that we were launched and heading towards the breakwater. Tacking got us across the shipping lane, passing the lights and out into the open water. Several sails passed through ahead of us but the only one heading towards Chicago we left behind within an hour. Hello World’s a frisky boat. Our heading was 135-140, bringing us right past an odd little structure that said “restricted” and went beep. It had some dishes on it, looked like microwave to me.

I googled images of the Shed Aquarium so I could have some visuals to guide me in. I also checked and rechecked my charts to be sure I wasn’t totally confused. The skyscrapers of the city loomed large, we headed right at them. It was a perfect wind to get there, pushing the whole 8 miles north then providing plenty of power to get us west into the harbor mouth and through the chop. Looking for the O row (O for Oscar) and dropping sail after spotting it. Turns out I overshot and went to the Q row, but with a little vigorous if panicky paddling I was in the right row and hanging onto 29. I must have taken 45 minutes to tie my little anchor lines to the can in a sufficiently bulletproof configuration. I guess I was nervous. In the movie “When Worlds Collide”, the climactic scene is when the hastily constructed spaceship carrying the last survivors of earth attempts a landing on the new planet, out of fuel and coming in fast. The ship skids and bounces in the snow and when it finally stops, there’s a brief silence and then triumphant music – success! That music was playing in my head while I tied to the can. My very first broadcast on my Icom marine radio was to whistle up the harbor tender. I took the bike and a small bag with me. 6:30 pm.

Shaved and showered at the hostel and back to Flacos for enchildas and another burrito. A little more computing and then bed by 10:45 pm. Phew!

Hiding in the shade of the sail to keep from frying, he looks a little worried...

Chicago proper north

and south

Where in the world is Hello World?

Very low and stealthy. Two boats over from the red hull, foreground.

Facebook catch-up

This is for the Facebook people who’ve been missing out on recent posts due to the unpredictable behavior of the sharing application. I’ve gone back to a less fancy but very reliable solution.

Day 27

Day 28

Day 29

Day 30

Back in a big city

Day 31

It’s big city life, Chicago. Amazing how familiar it feels after days and days of waves.

Mostly I’m catching up and doing housekeeping. After breakfast I wandered over to Monroe Harbor and made arrangements to bring in Hello World. I was feeling a little apprehensive about sailing into such a busy place, but learning is what were here for. They’ll call me and let me know my “can”. Cans are floating buoys that boats can tie to, arranged in a grid so it’s something like a parking lot for boats. I did my first floating dock in Grand Haven and Chicago will be my first can.

Credit card snafu resolved thanks to competent record keeping. When you put it out there, it shows up. That’s how I found a health food store in the loop with Bronners, I needed real soap big time and most of my hygiene supplies are a 20 minute train ride and a swim away. Picked up more raw cacao nibs too.

Took CTA out to O’Hare to meet an old friend who now works for the government doing black ops, so I can’t tell you his name. It was cool seeing him even if he is an agent of oppression empire builder rat fink. Flipping this scenario so I’ll feel better about it, I’m going to say that I met my lost love at the airport and she lit up several times during our time together, forgetting her cares and worries for an hour or so over fancy food she wouldn’t eat. We kissed like a dream way too late.

Riding back I was mildly euphoric and not unsettled as if I had spent an hour with a childhood buddy turned monster baby killer. A sort of anti-matter me, I’d rub him out if he wasn’t the yin to my yang, the F.

Returning from the airport, I walked up to the Apple Store along the Miracle mile to buy another hard drive and find a replacement AquaPac. The drive they had but not the other, tho they told me on the phone they had it. Face to face, all the experts and geniuses were totally ignorant of this essential Iphone infrastructure.

Back at the hostel and an errand or two before trying the Indian Cafe around the corner. Not impressed. It seems like there’s an ethnic stealth franchise movement here in Chicago, a theme park approach to restaurants. At Flaco’s Tacos, the food is decent and there’s only Mexican folks working there but I am not sure they own it. Then there’s Joe Curry, which is an Indian spin with similar set up and the only people working there are sort of south asian looking. Meanwhile back at Cafecito a Cuban place that does sandwiches and coffee, the folks working there appear to be some flavor of latin, maybe Cubano. Now it’s not impossible that these places are owned by their respective nationalities, but they all seem to be set up in similar styles. If it’s tastes and looks ethnic, is that enough? Is this worth looking into?

I spent the rest of the evening cloning drives in the 4th floor conference room until about 2:00 am. My lips are chapped and burned, but frequent applications of Carmex are beginning to turn the tide.

My can is North Oscar 29, easy access from the main channel into the harbor. Thank goodness. Looking forward to picking up Hello World, a little worried about her all alone in Calumet Park.


Day 30

Down at the beach with Jeni and Nancy to open my wind window. Steve came jogging by and they introduced us. He’s working at the steel mill and said that before US Steel bought it and nixed everyone’s pensions, it almost became a worker cooperative. Later he returned with his wife Randy with some sweet arrowheads that he had made! He gave me the pick and I immediately snatched the rainbow obsidian, what a beaut.

I offered him one of my artifacts of the global life support system but Jeni took it instead – the polished concrete from in front of Fritz’s in Douglas.

Steve also gave me an organic PB and J, so that about wraps up his application as producer. Imagine what we could accomplish with Michael AND Steve.

Send off from the secret freak tribe at Ogden Dunes, Steve is taking the picture

Dan the other filmmaker showed up too and Nancy’s sister – we had a crowd! I was off the beach by 10:30 into a very light wind, Calumet looked very far. As usual, the gods kicked in and we were hauling ass by 2:30 roaring past the breakwaters of the point and into the harbor. I had a sketchy idea where I was going, but studying images on the net paid off. The mooring is kinda wavy, but the beach was an easy offload. We’ll probably move north soon.

Loaded up with technology and even less of a plan, (eat something) I biked off into the wilds of south Chicago. I was feeling like a bit of an idiot, where was I going? My iphone was out of power, so no helpful searching. The mural of Jake and Elwood was encouraging, I just needed to stop worrying and flow. Eventually a train station appeared and I waited on the “To Chicago” side. The conductor was very helpful and suggested I get off downtown for a Taste of Chicago. I didn’t really care about the festival, but I’d been downtown before. Why not?

Detraining at Monroe, I rode seemingly at random until I found my burrito place – small, good food, cute waitresses and one table with power to charge the iPhone – hurrah! I searched for hotels, then an inspiration… hostels! Remember hostels? The Hostel International Chicago was just a few blocks away for $30 a night. A bike room, laundry, crappy wireless and oblivious young clods – what more could I ask for? At least waves won’t be bashing my spine at 3:00 am. If I can find a solid home for HW, I’ll haunt Chicago for a few days and catch up on the project, duplicate hard drives and ship them home. Maybe within a week we can be back on schedule… Whoa!

What can I say about a night at Chicago’s Hostels International? Generally it’s fun – bunk beds and common bathrooms, padlocking gear. You’re not supposed to drink in bed, but I am constantly needing to hydrate from days in the sun so I took my water bottle up to the top bunk with me – and my laptop, camera, phone… After I nodded off I heard the my bottle slip between the bunk and wall and fell into my neighbor’s bed below. I had dreams of his bed flooding, of my camera getting wet.

Then some duffus came in, turned on his reading light and left for another two hours. I can sleep through a lot but WTF? Coming entirely awake at 3:00 am, I toyed with a scheme for hauling my water bottle back up by dropping a slip knot over it. I could clearly see it between his bed and the wall thanks to the light of the inconsiderate oaf. Problem solving is so much of my moment to moment experience now that it’s like breathing. Fishing with a slip knot in some random dude’s bed seemed fraught with peril, so I bagged the project and resigned myself to fate. Mr reading light finally returned, read for 5 minutes and turned off the light. Just then my downstairs neighbor headed for the bathroom. I pulled on some pants, jumped down and grabbed my bottle. I took it and my phone down the hall to the empty conference room for some charging and catchup time.

Too late to go back to bed – 5:00 am! 7 hours to get to O’Hare airport to meet an old pal. Around 7:00 I checked out the hearty all GMO breakfast the hostel had provided for the kids of less gullible nations and chatted with Anna from Argentina. She was a latina ringer for Sarah Eichberger-Wheeler.

Sanctuary at Ogden Dunes

Day 29

Off the New Buffalo Public Beach at 11:00 am after a quick run for groceries and one last visit to the restrooms. The wind was out of the northeast at maybe 9 knots, good for southwest course. At 12:30 I passed Michigan City, Indiana with it’s 3 mile island style cooling tower. Goodbye Michigan, Hello Indiana.

Looking back at Michigan City

Steel mill east of Ogden Dunes and Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore

The wind was a bit puffy and capricious, but it was generally one long curving tack until 2:30 pm, well near the steel mill at Burns Harbor or Port. That’s when we made a decisive turn towards shore and the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. I performed a rather clumsy landing and yanked the boat up enough to drain the starboard hull.

The first federal employee on the scene (a lifeguard) was less than welcoming – “Get off the beach,” basically. “I doubt the Gary police will let you park on the City’s beach, and Ogden Dunes has a lot of rules, you probably won’t have any luck there either.” This guy probably didn’t have anything waiting for him at home but a Swanson TV dinner and Seinfeld reruns. Life without magic, what a concept. Turning Hello World into the wind so she’d stay put, I started casting the home spell.

First I called the Gary police and asked the dispatcher to have the beach patrol call me back. Then I headed for Ogden Dunes and the masts poking out the dune grass. I started asking folks I met along the way, “I’m looking for a beach to keep my Hobie for the night.” Nancy told me about Jim, a big sailor and pointed out his house. Before i got there I saw a kid sitting on Hello World’s sister. “Hey, this your boat? Are your parents around, I’m looking for a place to park my Hobie for the night, my name’s Dan.”

His name was Zach and his friend Kyle appeared suddenly from under a kayak. Kinda reminded me of a turtle popping his head out of a shell. I told them my deal and then made my way to the next cluster of Hobie 16s and up to the house behind them.

I met Vicki at her front door and she said I was welcome to park my boat there but I might get a ticket. I thanked her and said I might to her up on the offer.

I hustled back to Hello World and called the Gary Police again just to have some options. The dispatcher wasn’t much help so I thought about calling Gary’s mayor. As his website didn’t have a phone number, I decided to go with my Ogden Dunes plan. Just as I was pushing off an actual ranger showed up. He told me the Feds had jurisdiction for the beach all the into Ogden Dunes but that he wouldn’t bust my boat unless there was a complaint. Thanking him and thouroughly confused, I dragged my baby into the waves.

As I pulled up in front of my safe house, I was greeted by Tom, Zach’s dad. Zach had told his dad and mom Jeni about this guy sailing around Lake Michigan. They invited me to stay with them for the night. How about that?

Zach, Kyle and another pal Cody and had just taken the family’s Hobie out for thier first big wind solo. They were hell bent for Chicago and looked like they might be having a little trouble turning around. Tom and I unloaded Hello World and prepared for a rescue run. By the time we were both wetsuited, harnessed and life preserved, they were heading back. Us old guys were able to stand down.

Tom and Jeni

After the three amigos flew up on the beach like total dudes, Tom took Kyle and Zach back out again while Cody watched me scarf Jeni’s cous cous and beans. Her daughter’s a vegetarian too so she gets it.

They took me home to meet the 4 dogs and grab an ecstatic hot shower. Then the old folks sipped tea and watched the lads doing phenomenal dive tricks in the backyard pool. Before enjoying the sleep of the just, i showed Tom and Jeni the ALM trailer online.

Zach and his pals reminded me of the iconic gang in Bradbury’s R is for Rocket. Made me miss my nephews!

Marooned in New Buffalo

Day 28

I woke up bright and fine after a terrific rest. Having surveyed the forest last night, I knew a nitrogen drop off was doable. The rich loamy sand of the forest floor had a dense root mat. I found a deep pocket of forest far from any trail, scrapped off the duff, opened the mat and dug a hole about 6″ deep. I emptied the poopamatic into the hole, replaced the soil, mat and lastly the duff.

Returning to the boat I crawled back into the tent until the sun climbed over the dune and made it feel like the inside of a light bulb. Before packing, repairs.

A cargo bracket had slipped out and had to be reseated. In the process of tightening I broke a buckle and had to replace it from spares. I sat down with the tiller extender in the shade and slowly worked it open. Wading into the waves with it, I coaxed it open and closed until all the sand was flushed out. Now it’s good as new.

I started getting ready and got as far as rigging the mainsail when the uphaul came untied and flew up the mast and out of reach. My options were either to shimmy up a 25 ft slick aluminum mast, drop the mast or tip the boat on it’s side. Option 3 was my choice and I eventually was able to get the needed leverage by hanging both dry bags and the anchor bags from the wire. She came over like a dream and back to upright without a hitch. By the time I was off the beach and into the big curlers it was 1:30 pm.

I has slept just a couple miles from the Cook nuclear plant, and I passed it sailing sw in a west wind. The wind tapered from a stiff blow to a whimper by 4:30, leaving me stranded in front of New Buffalo. A couple in a largish monohull helpfully told me where I was. They eventually gave up on the wind and motored in. I eventually followed powered by paddle and the occasional puff. On the way in I recovered a mighty blue plastic container which Mike and his family claimed for a recycling bin.

Sunset at New Buffalo

Friendly lighthouse at New Buffalo Public Beach

I supped at the Brewster, a stellar Italian restaurant. Before commiting to the Brewster, I confirmed my plan with the locals at the open til midnight boatshop. That’s where I bought my very own Thirsty Mate like the one Tim Cook had loaned me in Grand Haven. I still haven’t tried the sealant Mark and Marilyn gave me.

I’d like to say the evening was pleasant but I’d be lying. It was very blowy back at the boat but I pitched the tent on the tramp anyway and tried to sleep. I was up at 2:00 am and then again at 3:00 am with incredible night sweats, I think I might be getting sick. The waves were getting louder and the wind was giving the tent a fascinating geometry. I stuck my hand out and into the sand, it was wet! Waves were getting closer.

I offloaded the boat in the moonlight and dragged her to higher ground. I wrapped myself in a tarp behind the gear pile and crashed. I eventually added a sleeping bag to this arrangement to keep from freezing and enjoyed 2-3 hours of blissful unconsciousness. Now for a quick grocery run then vamos.

Short of Benton Harbor

After phone calls and goodbyes, I walked over from Fritz’s to the Schumann’s beach, turned Hello World around and ate breakfast. The wind was blowing about 15-20 mph and there was great waves for body surfing. Two kids who I assumed belonged to the Schumanns were frolicking in the water and eventually George Schumann’s son Brian came down. Barb wandered by and Ted Ring was playing around with his Hobie in the surf, obviously waiting for me to get my act together.

Marty and Roxy stopped by to find out what my deal was, and Roxy asked a great question, “Hello World, does that have something to do with Perl?” My heart went pitter pat – a geek girl!
“Well it’s common to all software languages, because typically the first computer program folks write displays the words ‘hello world’ on the screen.”
We enjoyed a silent moment of insider affinity.

Ted came in and watched me wrap up the pre-flight. He even caught me in an oversight. We yanked HW into the water with the help of Brian and then Ted jumped on his boat and escorted me out. By the time I hit the lake it was 2:00 pm, kinda late.

Passed South Haven at 4:00 and the nuke plant around 6:00. Now it’s nearly 7:00 and the wind is gone. I’m about 2 miles from shore and 10 miles from Benton Harbor. Guess I’ll try for land while the suns up.

Salute! Saugatuck (and Douglas)

Day 24

There’s steady WNW wind this morning, good for heading south. I’ve got a stop I might make along the way to Benton Harbor today. I’m looking to round out the Lake’s bottom before the month ends. What’s in Chicago? I don’t have any hookups there yet, I’m just going to wing it – maybe make a spontaneous landing north or south and introduce myself to some beachfront homeowner or find the municipal marina. Likewise, I don’t have a clear plan for Gary which I’ll be passing before Chi, but I do have a dark fantasy about a clandestine overnight somewhere in the industrial badlands. This could be the most beautiful and/or harrowing leg of the trip.

First Benton Harbor then a night somewhere in the Indiana Dunes, favored by sweet breezes. Alternate outcomes are infinite, I am open.

Yesterday I edited some of the Vince Gallant segment, pulled Hello World further up the beach and then took the Swans up on their gracious offer to share food at Tracy’s. The rye bread? Fuggedaboudit!

Thanks to Dawn and George Schummer and Fred Eagle Royce for providing power and showers, Catherine Bragdon for our interview in the park, the crew of the chain ferry who I didn’t get a chance to film cause it was closed when I went back, the Swan’s, RJ Peterson, The Oval Beach staff including Tom and especially Vicky Morales, Barb the beach glass and rust collector, Kelsey, Bruce, Tom for the sobering reminder that white supremacy skulks in these pretty little towns (some of my best friends are black people, but…), Amos Kennedy the humble negro printer, Tracy and Marcia.

Map and updated itinerary

Julie gave me a hard time about getting a map going and today I finally did all the digital magic. There’s also an updated itinerary at You are here.

Back to Saugatuck

Day 20

In Kalamazoo zoo zoo this morning with plans to see the Pekarovic’s goat ranch before jetting back to Saugatuck with Susan. 7:30 am departure turned into 9:30 am because I stayed up editing the Great Lakes Aquatics segment instead of packing. Got an interesting opening I think.

After hugging my new eastern european brothers goodbye, we made it to Wick’s Park gazebo 15 minutes early. Picked up contact info for the Schumann’ enroute, they had offered to shelter Hello World for the duration of our Saug stay.

Interviewed Catherine Bragdon until 1:00 pm and then Susan and I shared a greasy lunch at the Elbo Room.

Back to Oval Park and Saugatuck Dunes Natural Area. Hello World was off her Baolongs but otherwise perfect. Susan crashed on the trampoline as I brought the gear over from the parking lot in 3 trips. Susan split and the boat and me made the move to the Schumanns beach, about 1 mile south. They are generous folks with a lovely home (including wireless) and have offered to put me up too!

Into town for hot beverages at Uncommon Grounds. A quick conversation with Gretchen about the doings back in the hood. Returning to my suite at the Schumann’s for some editing and more lightning posts. Coincidence – our latest benefactors live on Lakeshore Drive which turns into Campbell Rd, as in Mike an Shala Campbell.

Visiting Kalamazoo

Day 15 – 16

Paused in the Pine Motel parking lot on the way back from Wallys, riding the Zilliax Miyata back to Oval beach in the rain. It was a warm rain and I wanted to add a little more to this blog entry. I stopped there for some solid wireless, dripping and pecking at the screen. I should have just checked in. I got back to Oval Beach and following through on my promise to not camp. I pushed Hello World into the surf and anchored for the night… or so I thought. Once out there snug in the tent, the wind came up and started to buffet the boat. Waves smashed the bottom of the trampoline and rolled down my spine. Backwards and forwards, up and down with Hello World creaking and complaining all the while. I eventually bit the bullet and traded my warmish sleeping bag for a wet wetsuit in preparation for an emergency beaching. The worst thing is to do have to hard manual labor after nearly falling asleep. She was secure by the time first light arrived and I got started getting her ready for a few days alone, hauling gear to the parking lot.

Day 16-19

Susan’s smiling face around 10:00 am then 45 minutes back to Kalamazoo (Kzoo, Kazoo) and Garland Gardens (Vince and Susan’s house). Trot the gear up to my garret and start charging. Quick tour of the home farm, 100+ tomato plants. Vince’s mom and Aunt Rose arrive, then Vince himself from packing his classroom, (they’re refinishing the floors at school over the summer). Pizza for dinner, then off to record Vince performing with the Kalamazoo Mandolin and Guitar Orchestra conducted by Miles Kusik and featuring Carlo Aonzo. There’s an after glow at our house where I finally break out the Larrivee and play and sing with members of KMGO. Vince fuels the evening with homebrew beer.

Since constant vigilance and top performance is not currently required, my body demands rest. I yawn and groan constantly.

Wake up on Thursday and organize the blog and posts. I am way behind and intent on catching up. Processing Vixia video with Final Cut Pro takes time, so the computer and hard drives are constantly munching. In the afternoon take the camera to a practice of Great Lake Aquatics (Akitas) the swimming club and racing team that Vince coaches. His coaching is what I’ve come to document. Use the Aquapac underwater bag for the Vixia successfully, tho it continues to be awkward. Kids are a little creeped out by guy in pool with camera. I am caught of guard when Vince introduces me after practice and do a lame job of explaining the project. Home for dinner with Susan and noodling on guitars. Blackout.

Great Lakes Aquatics Summer Solstice swim meet starts on Friday and I’m there to make movies of the Akitas racing against other clubs from around the Michigan and Canada. Catch a ride there and back with Dan from the team, a habitually happy guy. Big storm sweeps through with winds up to 70 mph on Lake Michigan. I fret for Hello World and put a call into Vicki at Oval Park and text to Dave and Allison at Saugatuck Dunes Coastal Alliance. While waiting for the pot of oopama I am making for the fam and visiting swimmers, get creamed at the card game Set by teens. Spend an hour or so interviewing Vince. Video processing is ongoing, begin to run short on hard drive space. Will have to buy additional drives eventually.

Visit the meet again on Saturday for events with Swim for Success kids. Party again at the house with the meet officials and some of the other coaches. Interesting conversation about how pool swimmers have anxiety about open water. Problematic to move pool swimmers to a wild venue (we got lakes) for promotion and expansion of swimming sports around Michigan. Vince and Susan force me to agree to visit the Ondrej, Mattej and Jan Pekarovic at their goat ranch on the way back to Saugatuck Sunday. I disappear to edit Vince’s video and blow off packing.

Where are the posts?

Watch for a flurry of blog and video posts in the next 24 hours. I’ll be in Kalamazoo with Susan and Vince until Sunday morning then heading back to Saugatuck Dunes Natural Area where Hello World is parked.

Welcome to Saugatuck?!

Day 15

So much blogging and not enough lime, I mean time. I’m in Wallys in downtown Saugatuck with minimal cell coverage. This place is brimming with hotties dressed for luau, a couple were doing a beer bong as I came in. My ALM 2010 standard issue Hawaiian print shirt is like wearing camo in this place.

I’ve secured a perch with power to feed the iPhone and bribed my server into letting me drink club soda. It’s slightly disconcerting to be blogging out flanked by raging sexy drunks.

A bit of a late start today, off the Rosy Mound beach at 11:30 am after busting a batten pocket, tangling the uphaul cables and getting clobbered by the boom while turning to meet a kayaker. I thought it might be Joan’s husband as she had also mentioned Kayaks. I think the magic Dr Suess hat protected me, my face is tender but so far no bruises.

Before the parade of snafus, Joan Wolfe showed up to enthuse about HER 16 foot Hobie Cat Survivor while the golden hound she was walking dug several joint wrenching trenches in front of Hello World’s launch vector. I told Joan to get Survivor flying and join me in Chicago, then amused myself with a little joint wrenching.

An hour and a half later we beached at Holland’s south pier to meet Blake and Dennis from the Holland Sentinel. The illustrious Mike Campbell of Grand Haven had arranged this press contact. I had invited him to help produce and he’s running with it! Here’s the article.

Dave Swan from the Saugatuck Dunes Coastal Alliance had posted on facebook.com/ondesire offering assistance just hours before. This was a connection from artist Marcia Perry who had made the hookup via Facebook sometime in April I think.

Following Dave’s guidance, we swooped to the beach in Saugatuck just north of a sign that read something like “Private Property Here to Pier”, (south). To raise my elevation for better cellphone reception, I followed a path in the dune grass inland and called Dave. No sooner had we started talking than a guy pulled up in an ATV and started hollering at me (it was sort of windy) that I was on private property.

“I’m just trying to get cell reception.” I hollered back. He looked exasperated. I told Dave to hold on and walked over to the guy.

“Your sign says private property south of the sign, I’m north of it. Where does your property end exactly?” I moved a few feet north. “Here?” I jumped a few more. “How about here, is this ok?”

“50 ft more.”

“Well, why didn’t you put your sign 50 feet further down? You’ve gotta admit your signage needs work if you’re this concerned about trespassing.”

“I guess we can’t have enough no trespassing signs so poeple will respect private property.”

“Just make it clear, I’m not trying to cause trouble.” Suddenly realizing that I might like to interview this guy, I introduced myself and told him about the project. He didn’t want to tell me his name!

“We don’t want to be in any movies, we don’t want to talk to anyone. We just want our private property. We don’t let local people come here either.”

Refusing to tell me his name tore it. “Dude, you’ve got to learn to chill out, this is Michigan,” and spun away, back to the boat.

Welcome to Saugatuck.

The revolution is here

I can’t help but feel as I kick back with my 1/2 french press and cardamom bun ($4.50!) that we truly are on the cusp of realizing sustainable civilizations. Who’d of thought that in downtown Ludington, Michigan there would be coffee shop ambiance to rival – nay – surpass the Tea Lounge in Brooklyn? Redolencia has straight up coffee so fine I can hardly concentrate to write what with the buzz I got on.  Local musician Chad Rushing has already given me multiple mini tours and he’s not even the owner. This place is clearly an incubator for local culture combined with the super friendly Michigan vibe. There are young people here, lots of them.

I just finished my first interview of 2010 with Tom of the Plaza Cafe. It’s spooky how close his story is to Chris and Tanya of Homegrown in Traverse City – it took him 10 years to shift over from conventional restaurant worker to organic evangelist but now – stand back! The Plaza has just started it’s 4th year and it’s Tom’s first business venture. His kids are slinging wraps with him too. One son is going to chef school and his 14 year old daughter can practically run the whole place solo. I had the cream of asparagus soup (organic milk AND cream) and it’s the only soup they serve that’s not gluton free.

I’m getting a little ahead of myself. Let’s jump back a day for some tedious trip details.

Being cozy in a tent when it’s raining is nearly the most romantic situation imaginable, second only to being cozy in a tent when it’s snowing, whether it’s on high altitude pass in Rockies or an illicit encampment in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. More often than not I’m alone when these situations are transpiring, more’s the pity. My next search will be for women who camp!

In spite of ideal atmospheric conditions, it wasn’t all that pleasant waking to wet after a fitful sleep and slightly disturbing dreams.

When pitching the tent it seemed like a good idea to first place a waterproof tarp over the wet horsetail and poplar shoots. The rain pitter pattered prettily against the tent all night, then oozed down to the tarp and pooled in the low spots – like under my foam bed roll. I mused on the art of site selection as I broke camp and packed the soggy gear back to the beach.

Just within the tree shadow, a stand of these stalky blooms signify fairie forest. Identification?

At 12:30 pm we pushed off into curling surf and a bit of whipping drizzle. As NOAA robots were whispering about thunder beings in the churning gray above, Hello World and I offered the ritual of jumper cable deployment.

I was disheartened at the prospect of sailing in chilly wind (mid 50s) with no warming sun. I wondered why I hadn’t just stayed home with a book and a hot bath or slumped in a rocking chair with my feet aimed at the cheery glow of a woodstove. Soon enough we were jumping south-ish in the brisk NE blow and I was competent guy, with no time for wussy old man thoughts.

The 210 course turned out to be more like 240. I was intrigued to find the new Silva compass had a frozen bezel. This had happened to another Silva in 2009, a couple of days before it blew up. Turns out the adhesive velcro I had used to mount it to the tiller was the culprit. I didn’t realize the compass bottom articulated. The old compass exploded because the velcro had formed a seal where there shouldn’t have been one.

We dashed past the break waters of Manistee and on to Big Sable Point in one long, strong tack and then turned south. Dedication paid off, a bit of blue opened to the north. Just before Big Sable, the cloud cover began rotating around us, with the southern clouds heading inland and the northern clouds moving out over the lake. Trippy. I took it as an acknowledgement of our sacred quest.

Ahead of Hello World, clouds move inland ...

... in the wake of Hello World, clouds move out over the Big Lake

Approaching Big Sable Point and Ludington State Park Sun at last Big Sable Point lighthouse


Ludington State Park was a potential landing spot, but reconnaissance proved the beaches too crowded for inconspicuous camping. We kissed beach at the remote southern tip of the park but the “no camping” signs were a deterrent.

Riding the north-ish wind we glided past the festive beachfront of Ludington, across the breakwater and on towards rugged bluffs that suggested difficult beach access for the few houses perched above. The wind had been powering up and we surfed it another couple miles right into a secret pirate cove, complete with sparkling springs and a crumbling fortress. 5:00 pm arrival, 30.5 miles in 4.5 hours on the water.

The crumbling citadel near our pirate cove

Starting to get good

Day 5 of ALM 2010. It’s raining just north of Onekema tonight. Back from the beach about a stone’s throw, nestled in low dunes is a cozy wozy tent, glowing merrily with candlelight. Inside I’m munching my third bowl of the fresh and raw vegan version of a happy meal – thick oats, goji berries, raisins, flax seeds, almonds and salt marinated in Bear Lake well water. Oowee!

On June 2 an amiable north wind pushed us from Elberta down to Arcadia. Getting Hello World up on the beach was slightly less of a struggle than Elberta had been and I managed it alone. The plan was to rendezvous with the Bear Lake support team for essential modifications, including trips to Traverse City and Crystal Lake. I slept at the team dorm that night and then got a ride back to my house the next day.

I had left the bike and some other gear behind because of the heavy wind at Point Betsie. Minimizing variables helped get us launched. A couple of days feeling the groove was enough to be ready for the full load.

Ideally all this would have been worked out prior to launch, but there are so many details to manage on this project that I’m spread pretty thin. When funds and labor are tight, everything takes more time. Fortunately I’ve got a gang of Kelly’s to whistle up in a pinch – Steve,. Jonathan, Patrick and Luke.

I frittered away much of day 4 helping Stephen Addy debug Wordbooker, his Facebook plugin for WordPress. This may not seem all that relevant to getting underway, but ALM has a decent following on facebook.com/ondesire. Posts from ondesire.com are fed with RSS and get ‘liked’ or commented on. The problem is that Facebook comments never make it back to the blog and so all this awesome interaction isn’t available to the Facebook free. Wordbooker was supposed to save the day. It has all these glowing reviews and I really wish I could write one too, but after screen captures, advanced diagnostics, SQL exports and even a special update just for me… no dice.

Giving up on Wordbooker, I drove the Odyssey over to Shop and Save. Along with some cheese and apples, i grabbed jumper cables to build a lightning deflecting Faraday cage. With a van full of booty, i jaunted down to Arcadia and Hello World to pick up the cargo plates. Thier sharp comers cpuld easily open flesh and like the bailing pins of old, the stainless steel plates might have intriguing potential for an enterprising martial artist. However, sharp corners and sailboats don’t mix generally, so I ground them off in the driveway of the dorm. I crashed in the edit room there after mandatory episodes of Invader Zim.

Signs Signs... Is it really trespassing if you have permission?

Though I got to Arcadia beach at around 8:30 am, we didn’t push off until 3:00 pm, what with all the tinkering and tweaking. We lolled Iin a fitful wind for an hour plus, then caught decent puffs east and north for about 6 miles of overall southern progress. Finding a wildish landing was almost blown when I saw how disturbed the beach sand was with prints, but they turned out to be deer prints. :) About a hundred yards down the beach a tiny cottage not yet opened for the summer nestled with an 18 foot Hobie in storage. Good omen.

Just missed the deer party North of Portage Lake

100 yards south, the neighbor cottage waits for summer

...and a Hobie 18

Two outhouses?! My kind of folks!

Got Hello World parked in 50 minutes, set up camp and took a wetsuit swim in the Big Lake. Then into the tent for that whole cozy wozy thing.

Baby flies joined me for the sail to Onekema – so cute!


I don’t want to leave the tent. 7:20 am, sore and wishing to sleep more. The waves take a little breath now – big surges with a rest in between. That’s a change from yesterday – constant roll and crash.

Finally pushed off at 5:00 pm from Point Betsie after a tedious couple of hours of preparation. The first moments in the water were a comedy teetering on tragedy as the boat lept into the big wind and ran me over. I slid under the trampoline and just caught the tiller bar as it rushed over me. Imagine a backpack laden catamaran arriving in Wisconsin all by herself… That’s the reality I might have blogged about this morning.

Instead we fought 2 hours to go 2 miles south – in a south wind. Negotiating a inexorable procession of kinesthetic questions, shining choices between staying upright and catastrophe.

Imagine ground that lifted and sank against your feet, endlessly twisting and folding into itself. If every step required tight concentration and presence, would you, could you walk?

On my first day, 2 hours was all I could handle, so the end of the day was a convenience. I slid into e beach and wrestled with Hello World in the sucking surf, eventually stabilizing her with the help of Kari who appeared all smiles and shivers.

She watched my days end ritual and gave me a bagel from Lychaim Deli, to life! Relief in realizing I wasn’t out there anymore. It was a tough start.

Kevin and Brenda built a beach fire and made me stay up until 1:00 am talking! Cool folks and local too, great to meet them and a wonderful way to bring in Wednesday.

Movie: 10-06-01 ALM 2010 Launch (computer, phone)

To the Big Lake

The illustrious James Barnes gave Hello World a lift over to Point Betsie and that’s where she camped last night. I wanted to copy a few files from the big archive before heading over. It will likely be a short day on the water as we iron out any remaining bugs before getting too far from our home port. Elberta beach is a likely first stop (4 miles) though we may try for Arcadia (15 miles) if all goes well.

A thousand words


Morning of Friday May 28, three weeks after the original launch date. If I can get on the water in the next few days, I’ll likely be sailing into late August early September. I’ve still got a 3 month window, September is an entire extra month. I may have to skip the wedding in California and cancel my summer guests though. It’s all just blow and bluster – there’s no telling what will happen.

This morning I’ll raise the mast and get her on the water, then disassemble and into / onto the van for the portage over to the big lake. Finish packing and go.

I admit to feeling a little daunted by all this. There’s nothing accidental in building up the momentum – it’s a decisive effort, a force of will. The journey could remake me, that’s really why I’m going. Dipping into my media feed to catch the news of the day, I feel the call to activate. I am ready to live my gifts, to be what the earth needs. My time has arrived.

Yet there’s the inertia of the familiar. Leaving behind what I am for a deeper experience, even a more enlivened and capable Dan Kelly – it’s scary. Also, It kinda sucks to vacate my happy little beach squat for the whole summer.

Ha! Well, there’s not going to be a terrible accident that provides an honorable retreat. Destiny is my decision.

Ready for shakedown

Oops! Rudder trouble...

Wild beach

I started the staging area in March and completed it yesterday with the help of nefs and their pa. Steve zapped the stumps from the two big poplar trees. Jonathan, Patrick and I moved the logs to the lake to create sand catching jettys and wove the branches into a Andrew Goldsworthy inspired fence. I had to explain the purpose of the fence twice… “when you bring a girl here, she’ll be more likely to take off all her clothes if she thinks the neighbors can’t see.” That’s a plan we can all get behind.

We saved as many little trees as possible, especially the dainty white pines saplings. I can transplant them later, for now they fit right under the boat.

I didn’t have a mast bearing so we didn’t get the mast up. I’m checking and packing gear today and will make a pilgrimage to Traverse City to pick up odds and ends. With luck I’ll have Hello World out for a test sail this afternoon.

White pine saplings shelter under the trampoline

The wild beach with freshly deployed poplar jettys. No sand yet...


Armor Amour – chapter 3 (bloody hell)

There’s a terrible tragedy at this end of this post, so if you’re the weepy type close your browser and check back tomorrow.

How to glue pennies to the bottom of a Hobie Cat, the completion of Hello World’s armor deployment.

Including the 8 layers of powdered aluminum running along the entire keel, I wanted plate metal to protect the hulls where they would start to run aground. Matching hull curvature with a single sheet of metal seemed daunting. I imagined a corner or an edge of a single sheet being peeled back in an impact – nearly impossible to fix in the wilds.  In contrast, if the metal sheath consisted of many small plates or tiles then an impact might tear away one or two tiles and leave the surrounding tiles intact. The tile approach was inspired by the space shuttle’s thermal protection system. I had sheets of scrap copper laying around, but I didn’t really like the idea of cutting them into little squares. Pennies are just about the right size, and they are readily available everywhere I’ll be.

The copper in US pennies comes from the Keweenaw Peninsula, which is the thumb of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. US pennies minted on or after 1982 have a zinc core coated in a thin condom of copper. Before 1982, pennies were about 95% copper. A roll of pre 1982 pennies is worth $.50 cents as coin, but the value of the copper is $1.00. In doing this project I found that about 10-30% of pennies in circulation are  pre 1982. That means that if you had $1000 worth of pennies, you’d actually have about $1100-$1300 dollars. Of course you’d have to melt and sell the older ones, which would probably get the Secret Service on your ass. It might not be a bad idea to sort and stash your pre 1982 pennies in a safe place until such time as the federal government collapses and you can melt them without fear of arrest.

A preliminary cleaning – bathing the pennies in dilute muriatic acid Rinse
Dry Remove all oxidation to attach
In formation with attach side down – these need to be flipped Tape fixes the pennies in formation. Slicing along the edge of the rows so they’ll articulate and follow the curvature of the hulls
ready for pennies West Systems 404, resin and fast hardner


The rentry system is complete. The tiles on the starboard hull had drifted off the edge slightly,  but otherwise looking good!  Hello World’s hulls were almost ready – all that remained to do on Sunday was hatch installation and caulking the pylons.

I use plywood props to support the hulls to keep them upright during hatch work. A couple of nails where the plywood meets the picnic table keep them from slipping. I had the plywood in place to support the port hull and was about to tack the last sheet down when the hull rolled away and almost fell off the table onto the concrete. Though I was able to catch it, I didn’t save the day.  It had rolled right over the claw hammer and broken the fiberglass in two spots. Fahgk!

Quel damage! The broken fiberglass removed.
The pressure from the claw almost busted the inner skin, note the slight shattering in the center At least the hatches are in


I could have fixed the holes right then and there if I had more of the magic West Systems 404 powder but West Marine had already closed. So I am off to Traverse City this morning and will walk in just as they open the doors.


Yesterday afternoon I tested both the Aquapac underwater camera solution and my Gul skin out wetsuit with a swim to the blue line.

A classic tao situation. All the cheese and yogurt I’ve been eating is starting to show – too much repair work and not enough expression of magnificent physicality. I couldn’t run yesterday morning ’cause my calf was inexplicably crampy again. I was also thinking about my Gul skin out wetsuit because Scott of Sailsport Marine scared me. Just before he sold me rivets for the jib tracks, he said “Dude, you’re crazy,” and “That water is cold.” He’s right, it is and will be for a month or two more. The prudent move would be to test my wetsuit and what better way than with a rigorous 15 minute round trip to the blue line? (computer, phone). An adventure just before sunset.

Success! It was cold certainly but I could probably last an hour in the water, plenty of time to right a flipped Hello World. Pulling off the wetsuit afterward I realized that my original justification of the need for cheese wasn’t self deceptive gluttony after all. A little extra fat might be a smart start. So the cramping calf, the cheese, the wetsuit repairs, the dire warnings of my local Hobie dealer… I just went with it all and lo – enlightenment, bliss.

I did it again just now without the camera and with Five Fingers instead of booties. Water temperature is 49F.

The cold could fire off ear infections so alcohol is a must. My hands were scary cold when I started but were buzzing with warmth at the blue line. Hallucination or superior metabolism? I’ll definitely get some gloves to complete my neoprene ensemble. I’ve also got to replace the Gul logo on my chest – maybe I can get the URL on there somehow.

Watching paint dry

That’s how much fun I’m having right now. Hello World’s first finish coat was applied this morning. Speaking of Malcolm X (today’s his birthday, he’d be 85) here’s an insidious bit of racial marketing I came across.

The VOCs from the Interlux Brightside White paint are intense!  As replacement filters for my old respirator are hard to find I decided to buy a new respirator. My local Ace Hardware stocked several models from AO Safety. They all used the same filters and ranged in price from high $20 to mid $40. The highest priced had a picture of a serious looking middle aged white male with iron gray hair. The lowest price looked like this…

Is that subtle or what? Here’s the embarrassing part – I instinctively reached for the expensive one first because I assumed it would provide better protection, until I noticed that the filters were identical. Was I choosing based on price (inference of quality), or racial affinity?

I ended up buying the brown people respirator. You know what? It pretty much sucks. After painting for couple of hours this morning I had a headache. WTF? Tell me there aren’t aliens running the planet. You can sell us the crappy respirators, but you can’t kill us.

Here’s Hugh Hamilton’s show Talk Back on WBAI FM New York for May 19, 2010, (local archive is here). There’s fundraising during the first 10 minutes or so, but after that are excerpts from some of El Hajj Malik el Shabazz’s most amazing speeches.

Armor Amour – chapter 2

Here’s the back page from the vintage Hobie Cat brochure that came with Hello World. Hobie had an intriguing angle on catamarans in 1979 – camping. Perhaps being a subsidiary of the Coleman Company had something to do with it. I don’t know whether this was a significant factor in sales back then, but this photo sure made an impression on me. Sailing Around Lake Michigan was not in my head when I bought her – so let’s hear it for the power of antique lifestyle marketing!

As the groovy copy explains, Hobie 16s can navigate very shallow water and can even be sailed right onto the beach – sandy preferably. They can go where few other boats can with minimal impact on the environment. That’s why Hello World is ideal for wilderness camping – in theory.

A spiel reminiscent of Adam Curtis's Century of the Self documentary series.

In practice, rocky shallows and sandy shores scrape away the hull bottoms. An lightly loaded Hobie bounces off rocks, deflecting the force of impact and minimizing damage. Add tents, sleeping bags and other cargo (like tripods and scuba tanks) and inertia increases, making direct impact and serious damage more likely. Landing a loaded Hobie on a rocky beach requires a slow approach. When the water is shallow enough to wade, it’s best to get off and walk her in, off load the bags, place Bao longs (solid fenders) under her hulls and then roll her up.

Even with such careful handling Hello World’s bottoms were pretty chewed up after last September’s trial run. To survive 3 months requires armor.

The highly worn areas along the bottom have already been protected with 9 layers of epoxy mixed with 10% powdered aluminum, an additive sold by West Systems for abrasion resistance.

Powdered aluminum is also a component of thermite – a steel cutting explosive used in building demolitions. Traces of thermite like residues have been detected in the dust from the Twin Towers. It took me two days to armor up the keel with the powdered aluminum, and each batch I mixed was a sort of meditation on dark history. My two beautiful fish, the feet of Hello World shod in sleek gray gloss. Perfect paradox.

Applying armor

Originally, Patrick and I had discussed installing thin steel plate along the keels. To conform to her complex curves, the plates could either be curved to match her contours or be placed as tiles, like on the space shuttle. In a worst case scenario, tiles could be torn away without taking a great chunk of hull with them.

Lining both keels with steel would have added a lot of weight – so aluminum powder was the choice. The most vulnerable section is between the bow and the mid section, the point of first impact below the water line. I repaired damage there when I bought Hello World and smashed it again myself last September.

Armor detail on port hull. Roller texture will be abraded soon enough. Port hull from inside. The most vulnerable area is defined by the width of the filing cabinets


I’m currently investigating plating the most vulnerable bow/mid section with pre 1982 pennies, which are 95% copper.

…and by the way, Happy Birthday to Me!

Armor Amour – chapter 1

When Hello World came down from the rafters I was dismayed to find she was still wet. Before lofting her last October I had drained the standing water from the hulls. Though I suspected her fiberglass / foam sandwich was still saturated, I assumed that 6 months hanging in a warm house would dry her out.

I had forgotten about the 10 lbs of sand that had washed into the port hull during the Point Betsie surprise. The water did migrate out of the sandwich but rather than evaporating it mixed with the sand and pooled. There was about a half gallon in there!

The starboard hull had been breached, probably during the emergency landing to secure Zilliax’s bike. I had drilled the damage clear so it could drain – which it did – drip, drip, drip all winter. Yet the sandwich was still saturated when I opened the hatch hole.

Removing the wet sand and facilitating evaporation required hatches to be installed in both hulls. Love suffused my methodology. Deployment of the other essential modification – keel armor – was accompanied by a melange of emotions and associations, including the events of 9/11…

Why does powdered aluminum remind me of September 11, 2001?

I know the journey has started when…

I know the journey has started when I don’t know when it’s going to start.

The moment when the handcrafted Hello World slides into surf cannot be predicted. I’ve been back in the water since the year flipped. I’ve shared my process nearly every day for the last month. Even with the dust of her body clinging to my clothes, her curves all atangle and in disarray, we search. The important part is how we start – not when. This project celebrates assembly after all,  the awakening of the way.

August 09 same thing. Time was a fiction,  deadlines a conceit. Jackie Ankerson made it plain yesterday. Do I want the sun to fly across the sky, am I in a hurry to get to my grave?

Here’s how I’m changing. No time on wind river, (computer / phone) she’s ready when she’s ready. I too may only be half baked / boiled – though last night’s tub could have been the hottest ever.

Now that we’ve settled that…

While returning from yet another pilgrimage to my local West Systems and Interlux dealer, I realized that I only had to have interesting conversations. I only have to interview people who fascinate me. Does any part of this adventure need to suck? Not on purpose!

The way to make this project (and life in general) amazing is to dare to be who I am. If this movie is going to be watchable then I have to push through to me. Naked on camera – glorious, confused, grinning, dashingly scruffy, fierce, introspective, full of shit, fabulous!

You’re either down with the Dan or not. All those Facebook scribblers – pshaw! Why, I’ve been gushing my secrets without a by-your-leave since before Mark Zuckerberg was cozying up to the shadow government or stealing his clients’ ideas. Who remembers tractor feed paper?

Look, I know nobody’s reading all this, ok? I’ve got better things to do than read my ramblings too. All this bluster is a sort of encryption. God is always in disguise, otherwise there can be no cosmic game. You get it now? If not – no worries! It’s likely the Rev. Victoria Weinstein didn’t even make it this far – and she’s a divinity professional.

-5 days – fly true

Despite precautions, when I crawl into bed I feel the prickle of tiny glass fibers on my naked skin.  I mingle with Hello World, we become one flesh.

Hello World is more than my production platform, transport and home. The ‘boat as planet’ analogy is especially relevant – if my boat’s messed up, I might die.

Do I mythologize when I say it’s a cinch for me to feel her presence?  Like me, she is made of star stuff. A lot of energy and intention went into her design and manufacture. In her 31 years of existence she’s been a facilitator of much joy and excitement for the Vigland family. She’s been cared for with pride and guiltily neglected. Now she’s collaborating with a mad genius and his wild tribe on a world saving Search for Sustainable Civilizations.

When during this sequence of events did sentience arise? Is she alive and deserving of love only because I’ll be counting on her?

It’s fun to wonder about. What I can report first hand is our rapport, especially when sailing. She moves with and speaks to me, she is aware and involved.

Mere cybernetic transference? Advanced visualization technique? Dan smiles….

What does all this have to do with today’s progress report? The fiberglass work is stretching because this boat is a being.  I have to do my best by her. Attend, please.

When hatching hulls, the standard procedure is to cut a hole and screw the hatch on. That’s not for me. The Viking hatch I bought from Murrays doesn’t mate well with the surface of the hull and removing structure compromises Hello World’s strength and integrity.

My solution is to create a ring of new structure around the hatch hole and build up the hull surface for a nearly perfect fit. This manuever made an afternoon’s project into 4 days!

Love keeps Serenity in the air says Malcolm Reynolds. I’m so down with that. Knowing I gave Hello World my best attention will keep me grinning when we’re miles from shore and a crazy wind is howling. I’ll remember that I loved her enough to take the time, and she’ll fly true.

-4 days – child’s questions

A cup of ginger tea before donning the yellow hazmat suit and starting the day’s fiberglass fun. The Brunton inverter is whirring away somewhat creakily as it charges this iPhone. Most of the gear has already been checked for solid operation, the Brunton solar power components are among the last on the list.

How am I changing? I’m preparing for nomadic life, for wandering within. It took Loreen Niewenhuis over a year to walk around the Big Lake, so the distances involved are imaginable, human. The scheduled duration of our sail Around Lake Michigan is about 3 months.

I get to go faster than Loreen because I’ve got technological infrastructure and a larger carbon footprint. Though powered by paddle and sail alone, Hello World is an industrial child. She owes her existence to oil drilling and petrochemistry, (polyester resins, dacron sails, nylon rope) not to mention mining and smelting, (aluminum frame and mast, steel fittings). Add in the filmmaking electronics we are carrying (rare earths, heavy metals) and suddenly this project isn’t quite so bright green.

The price for 3 months of environmental documentary in a romantic mileau is a diminishment of our collective destiny. I kill all of us a little by making this trip. I’m not an impact idiot either, I work to minimize the consequences of my daily actions – fairly small footprint as far as 1st world lifestyles go. Even so, the way our civilization is set up, I can’t help but hurt.

Jor-El packed his infant son into a spaceship and sent him from the doomed planet Krypton. Moses was placed in a reed basket and launched on the Nile. The stories keep coming back. We make another variation today – an artifact of industry launched to transcend industry by reminding us of what we already know. Into the shadows to search for light. I am the man who asks the child’s questions.

-3 days – soaked

Sorting and packin


Dreams of flying last night. A decisive ignorance of gravity and intense experience of remembering.  When I’d stretch into a laughing loft or a lazy backflip I’d feel a body rush / energy shiver flash from my chest. I kept thinking – I’ve done this countless times before. I’m dreaming… but this is real.

Flying is fun but what felt the most amazing was remembering. This dream came from the same place as the perfect attention / rapture vision I had with Jon and Laura. It’s the reality behind the waking state, what I’m really doing here. Transparency. I keep seeing thru – for which I am grateful.

I’m in the tub now as Tuesday fades. I’ve got the iPhone in it’s waterproof bag so as to catch up on my reports. Fiberglass repair halted yesterday when I cut the hatch hole for the port hull and found the foam sandwich soaked. Basically a winter of hanging in a warm house didn’t dry Hello World completely. Not only does extra water add weight, but the existing fiberglass structure needs to be totally dry before new glass will bond to it.

Port hull has yet to opened, starboard hull hatch ready for sanding and shaping


It’s May and all – but a snow shower is not impossible. That might be why Shop and Save is still stocking pure calcium chloride.

Calcium chloride can suck enough water out of frozen air to dissolve and form ice melting brine. I sealed 5 open ziplock bags full of calcium chloride inside the hull. In theory, the interior humidity will drop and the dry air will suck water out of the foam and fiberglass walls. I’ve checked and the walls are much drier while the plastic bags are slick with condensation. Did I mention my high school chemistry and physics grades sucked?

Port hull filled with calcium chloride


While the inexorable laws of science cranked away, I picked up my cargo plates from Chuck Hunt of Northern Welding Specialties. Although some of the plates need a little rubber mallet encouragement, they fit fine and seem to be an ideal solution.

These stainless steel plates slip under the lip of the hull… … enabling straps to cross the top of the hull and keep cargo secure.


I also bit the bullet and ordered West Systems 420 aluminum powder to armor the hull bottoms. It should arrive tomorrow afternoon from Bay City, Michigan via UPS ground. With a little luck the repairs will be wrapped by Thursday and ready for touch-up paint.

After this much needed bath I’ll be updating the inventory and taking pictures. There have been a host of minor snafus, to wit… The big tripod won’t fit in the Pelican 1720 cases unless it’s disassembled. The new dive light takes AAA batteries and not AA, which breaks my battery standard. I’ve got to return the extra iPhone bag because there’s no camera window. These are all DK errors, but I’ve aced so many other challenges I can’t complain. WordPress for the iPhone is DOA, let’s trust a reload will fix that.

The 1720 cases that will be strapped to the top of the hulls. The big tripod is to the right of the silver scuba tank.


The longer I stay the shorter my summer, so I really do have to get out of Dodge ASAP. Folks ask me – are u close to leaving? I’d like to think so, but there are more interesting questions… eg – As launch approaches, how are you changing Mr Dan Kelly? Ah! Ask me, go on… I dare ya!

The hulls upright and ready for hatch work View towards Crystal Lake
Close up on starboard hull hatch opening before sanding ready for paint and installation of the hatch
Cracking at the pylons cleared and filled with 404 Stump crack healed and ready for fairing

2 days – pushback

Are we ready? Not quite yet. Fiberglass repairs will take another few days. An ordering snafu has delayed the arrival of some gear. Chuck is fabricating cargo plates that need to be tested. This weekend’s weather forecast is not beach friendly.

It’s official! Launch has been pushed back to May 15. This Saturday’s party is canceled.

Progress is otherwise stellar. Dan Kelchak did a beautiful job on the Larrivee and It’s first coat of armor is on. The body tone still seems to be quite bright. The 1720 Pelican cases are ideal for both guitar and the new 30 cubic ft scuba tank. Winslow’s self silencing torus has arrived and it’s voice is reminiscent of indonesian gamelan and himalayan monasteries.

Here are some fiberglass components fresh from their molds. The collar is intended to reinforce the hull access ports. Note the black stitching showing through where the strips of glass cloth were sewn together – Patrick’s idea. The 5 foot strip was saturated with resin and then wrapped around a circular form to form about 1/4″ thickness. The S shaped bit is a casting of the hull lip and was passed on to Chuck to be used as a guide for the stainless steel cargo plates.

The Larrivee with armor plate. The overlapping edges have to be carefully sanded flush with the guitar’s body.

Winslow’s fabulous torus. Loud! Movie

Hello World in the rain. Not quite dry dock.

4 days

Driving in to Traverse City for another round of errands. Fiberglass repairs are in process. Could wrap primary hull repairs this evening, with fairing and paint by Wednesday (2 days). That’s when I’ll decide whether to launch as planned or push it back.

Here’s today’s to do…

West Marine – 206 hardener (just in case)
Chuck or other fabricator – build cargo plates
Dan Kelchak – Larrivee pickup
Scuba north – 30 cu tank fits Pelican 1720?
Ace Hardware on Front St – sander heads and disks
Oryana – lunch
Aluminum powder?

8 days – drydock

Yesterday Hello World had a soft landing and went into drydock. Movie!

10-04-28 Hello World soft landing and drydock variable / full screen
10-04-28 Hello World soft landing and drydock fixed size

9 days – Love!

Notice how calm I appear? Tomorrow gear should start arriving via ground shipping including the voice of Hello World, Winslow’s Torus. I’m a Taurus too!

Hello World has yet to go into the shop for fiberglass patching, but I think I’ve got everything I need to do the job. We’ll start today.

Total pre launch expenses for services, parts and materials should be under $2500. Deft deployment of the indy filmmaker’s friend – low APR credit cards – makes it possible.

We’re also enjoying amazing gifts and discounts. Patagonia has offered their corporate purchase program to the project, Dan Kelchak is giving a break on the repair of the Larrivee, Winslow is contributing a bell for Hello World, Julie continues to hook us up with pro bono social media guidance and the tribal citizens are activating their networks, both real life and virtual. I expect the generosity and collaboration will continue – it’s awesome and thrilling.

We are not doomed, my friends. Acting together we can turn this around.

Will Around Lake Michigan make it to Cannes or Sundance? It doesn’t matter. The success of a project isn’t measured by critical acclaim or money made – that’s so 20th century. It’s measured in how much hearts open and awareness expands. ALM is already blowing me away because of the resources, humor and love flowing to it.

I put myself out there as the ambassador of an idea – we can discover a sustainable civilization. It’s whacky sure, but doable. The idea basically asserts that humans are not doomed, nor are we inherently toxic. We can be a benign and eventually benevolent presence on the planet. Let’s roll up our sleeves and figure it out, let’s redefine what matters, redesign our desire.

Holy ship that’s huge! What else have you got going on today? Crazy job, messy divorce, health issues? Ok, we’ll give u a couple weeks to square away your troubles and wrap up what’s not working, then you’ve got to come out and play!

Whether or not you dig my clown pirate schtick, we can each ask ourselves what we REALLY want. If we accept suckiness as our destiny, that’s what we’ll get by default. I’ve got nephews, nieces and cool friends who are breeding. I cannot accept suck as their future. I myself want to have a good reason to dance, sing and make an utter fool of myself. “Aw, leave him alone, he saved the planet!”

Be a human for heaven’s sake. Our destiny isn’t supposed to suck!

As Jim Allegro used to say, ideas are alive. This project begins to breathe. We are all coming back to life.

10 days – errands

A day driving around and hooking up with experts.

I dropped in to see Chuck of Northern Welding Specialties first, but he wasn’t there. He told me via cell that he was teaching at the college and perhaps we could meet after 3:00. I didn’t get back to his shop until 5:30 and missed him. We talked again and agreed that I can email him some drawings of the cargo brackets I’d like him to fabricate.

Next I swung by the indy Apple store City Mac to pick up a spare power supply for the Macbook Pro. I got to see Zeb and Greg. I also got to touch an IPad. They’ve sold a couple dozen already and Apple is not able to keep them stocked, but that’s typical for new product introductions.

  1. √ Macbook Pro power supply [Apple] $80

Rolling down 31 toward town, I pulled into West Marine, a big box vendor and our local supplier of West Systems products for fiberglass repair. Bob sold me 2 x 200 feet of thin anchor line for Hello Word’s double anchors. He had given great guidance last August but I could only afford 2 x 50 feet of line then. The longer lines will allow Hello World to safely anchor in water up to 30 feet, greatly expanding our overnight options. Andy asked me about the trip as I hadn’t seen him since early September 2009. By coincidence he had moored his boat next to Hello World when she was anchored in Grand Traverse Bay. He had also recently come across a scrap of paper in his wallet with the ondesire.com url scribbled on it. A friend saw it too and assumed it was some kind of porn site.

“Hey Andy, what’s that all about, eh?” Nudge, nudge, wink wink!

“On no, it’s this guys sailing blog, honest!”

We also wondered about the guy who had been rigging a 40′ cat for kite sailing and a big ocean trip. He had eventually launched, but neither Andy nor I had heard what happened to him.

  1. √ 2 x 200 anchor rope $200

Oryana food coop was the next stop. The managers there let me buy a stack of thin plastic containers provided for bulk nut butters. These and yogurt containers are ideal for mixing fiberglass. I also bumped into Christie and invited her to the launch on May 8.

  1. √ x2 paper towels [Seventh Generation] (fiberglass)
  2. √ plastic bulk containers [Solo] (fiberglass) $5
  3. √ bandaids [All Terrain]
  4. √ non deet insect repellent, [Badger]. Green Ban is nor longer stocked.
  5. √ x2 ribbon floss [Toms]
  6. √ apples, bananas, ginger, carrots, liquid soap [Bronners], bread [Pleasanton Bakeries], cheese [Organic Valley

Down 8th Street from Oryana is Brick Wheels. They had worked on Zilliax's Miyata bicycle last September, but their mechanics were booked up until after My 8th. They recommended City Bikes, so that's where the handlebar replacement, tuning and brake work is happening. Should be ready by 5/6.

I ate some hot rice and beans from Oryana's deli on the ride over to Scuba North. Captain Jack was there, he and Charles Craw had originally certified me as a NAUI diver in the late 80's. Jack recently sold Scuba North but is continuing to work there, in his words, "Now I am making money instead of loosing it!"

My big 80 cubic foot tank is just too bulky and heavy to bring on Hello World. At Scuba North I checked two sizes of pony tanks, 19 cubic feet and 30 cubic feet.  I originally wanted to go with two 19's and Jack explored hooking them together with discontinued fittings. Twining tanks is more common in Europe these days, so there are no USA distributors for new parts. Two small tanks would be easier to fit than one big one, but to use them together during a dive I would either have to buy a 2nd regulator or twin them, European fashion. With the gear Jack had on hand both tanks would have to be empty to break them apart - not a good solution.

Jack also explained that the water accumulation would reduce the capacity of the 19 faster than the 30 and that it would be a good idea to dry the small tanks before every fill. Here's the specs...

19 cubic feet

height = 21"

diameter = 4.5"

wieght = 9 lbs

price = $125

estimated dive time at 30 feet = 19 minutes

30 cubic feet

height = 22.5"

diameter = 5.25"

wieght = 14 lbs

price = $145

estimated dive time at 30 feet = 25 minutes

With a diameter of 5.25", the 30 would just barely fit in the Pelican 1720 rifle cases - .25" to spare. This is probably the way to go, a good balance between the 19 (short dive time) and the 80 (too bulky to carry). I'm going to ponder this a few more days.

  1. √ extra backpack strap for small tank [Seaquest] $20
  2. √ shoulder pads for backpack [Dive Rite] $16
  3. √ repair kit for skin out wetsuit [Aquaseal] $20

I bought a strap to fit a smaller tank to my backpack, padding for the shoulder traps, and aquaseal kits to to fix repair the dings in the Gul skin out wetsuit.

A sweep past along east bay gave me a chance to drop off the thumb drive Jeff had loaned me and to visit Interlochen Guitar and Dan Kelchak, the project’s luthier. My Larrivee parlor guitar was stepped on at a party right after I got it -  almost broke my heart! Dan patched it up, almost good as new. Since then the Larrivee’s been west to the beaches of Hawaii, east to the canyons of NYC and even camped on North Manitou Island. To survive sailing Around Lake Michgan, the Larrivee needs love. Dan and I came up with a plan for rehabilitation. He’s going to reinforce the internal structure, securing delicate wood struts and panels that have broken loose or split. After that, I’ll sand her back and secure the vulnerable injury with fiberglass. Her sound might not be as bright, but she be solid for years to come. His part of the project will run about $200.

  1. √ repair Larrivee guitar $200

I dropped off the drowned iPhone at the UPS store for return to Apple. Out of warranty replacement is $200, I should see it this week.

  1. √ out of warranty replacement iphone returned to Apple $200

Finally I drove down to Bear Lake to borrow the grinder and fordham tool for the fiberglass repair. Me and the men spent the evening finishing the Firefly TV series on Netflix.

Take my life
Take my land
Take me where I cannot stand
I don’t care, I’m still free
You can’t take the sky from me

12 days – details

Much ordering, inspections and organization. I’m driving up to Traverse City tomorrow or Tuesday for a shopping day.

Fiberglass work has not started, I expect to prep the garage for Hello World today and maybe even get her in there. Structural damage is spread over 5 spots totaling 1 square foot in area. The hull bottoms need to be faired and all repairs painted.

Compared to last fall’s rebuild, this work should take about 5 days from prep to paint. As long as there are no surprises once repairs start, launch will be on schedule. I’ll be posting progress.

I’m introducing a new variable to the equation – saddlebags. The idea is to deploy uncrushable waterproof storage so the Larivee parlor guitar can come along. One scenario involves strapping Pelican 1720 rifle cases between the hulls and tramp. I could also keep them on “on deck” and eliminate one of the big dry bags.

The cases weigh 20 lbs each. Hello World can carry 500 lbs but I want to stay well under the max and only carry 400 lbs. I weigh about 180 lbs + 40 lbs of cases = 220 lbs total. That leaves 180 lbs for gear or the equivalent of three decent sized backpacks – 1 for wilderness camping, 1 for production / power and 1 for scuba. Don’t forget the bike. Doable.

On the Master Checklist, orange text is for items that need to be inspected, tested or acquired. Green text is for items ordered. Checked items are on hand and ready to go. Monitor our progress towards launch on the Master Checklist… like watching spring shoots poke up out the dirt!


13 days – dreams

It’s 5:15 am, a bit early for me to be up. On my way back to bed after taking a leak I knocked over a mason jar of water. Groping in the dark for some clothes, towels – anything to mop it up… remembering belatedly to snatch my phone and computer from harm’s way. Loathe to turn on the lights and spoil my natural melatonin rush. Disaster narrowly averted, except I didn’t much feel like falling asleep after. Time then for the morning post.

Dream before I kicked over the water… A friend and I were kissing, (let’s call her Eve). I said I was waiting for her to take a break so we could be together. She said she never took breaks. I know there’s something there for me.

47 is old, at least to my 17 year old self image. Back when I first discovered intimacy and connection – I guess I just got stuck there. I still feel the world with the heart of a cocky teenager, only more confidently. A sensual and intimate kid, deeply romantic, a sex god – I knew that I wasn’t destined for hearth and home. My passion wasn’t going to wear down and find a familiar groove. The way of the lone wolf was waiting.

I don’t have a steady lover – that’s the point. There’s possibilities, prospects but my attention strays. I can’t cozy down with anything less than the ultimate… so keep moving. Settling for less seems like capitulation, the end of dreams. Rather, let me howl in the desolate heath and run wild, forgotten.

What does my love status have to do with a boat ride, the earth, anything? There must be some reason (other than back story) to touch this. Standing on a whale, fishing for minnows. That’s the dream life by analogy. The big awakening is right here, yet we scramble for tiny insights. What does that dream mean?

It means get up sucker and get ready. Only 13 days until you’re married to wind.

A brief postscript.  While I was sleeping, my excellent brother became the 2nd most viewed male on a popular (and competitive) online dating site, and he’s 10 years older than me… Way to go, bro!

15 days – Making of a Saint

Getting close now. Order of operations seems to be holding together, it’s spooky that I’m mostly on schedule. Everything can go right between now and launch… it’s possible.

I am noticing more, recognizing the unfolding of a larger story. A lot of ideas to fit into a coherent movie… I guess I started this, mostly just made myself available and let the pieces fall into place. Is this what I want?

How it began… On location in 2006 shooting my first movie with a budget. For the next two years I spent most of my days free climbing the first movie learning curve. Daughter of God – http://dogthemovie.com. I kept the fridge full with freelance production work for NYC dancers.

In 2008 I spent yet another perfectly good summer sweating in a tiny apartment staring at screens. The DOG project has merit and is worth finishing, will be finished. Is anything worth giving up a whole summer of diving Crystal’s blue, of running barefoot in the forest, of waking up to waves lapping?

Here’s the deal… Daughter of God is set in a post apocalyptic world, it’s a post apocalyptic surreal romantic comedy, sinister in the sense that some humans still dream of asphalt plains resplendant with the snaking migrations of countless multi-colored cars. It’s over tho, human population has been devastated, industrial infrastructure deleted and nature is reclaiming the cities. Certainly there’s toxic aftermath, sure the survivors are traumatized, but they dress snappy!

Meanwhile, back in RL I’m listening to Democracy Now every morning on WBAI radio. Assembling a fictional apocalypse seems pretty pointless when an actual apocalypse is nigh – I can never match the Pentagon’s special fx budget, let alone Gaia herself.

I wondered… Is DOG the best use of my time right now? Wouldn’t I rather be swimming? How about that super hero correspondence course I just aced?

That’s the setup. In the autumn of 2008 Kai invited me to make a documentary about sailing in Hawaii and – of course – sustainability… ;) Well? What would Jesus do?

That was earth momma’s little joke. Come summer 2009, Kai abandoned Desire and Pele for a motor sailor… and I noticed there was a 30 year old Hobie Cat in my driveway.

Is this what I want? To act as an agent of Earth disguised as a pirate filmmaker? Hours drifting wind free followed by contact improv with Shiva? Three months of wilderness occasionally interupted with regionally brewed stouts and porters? The making of a saint?

I say, Yes.

16 days – Roman Nose

Kari was over last night for dinner and we talked about guns, earthships and vision quests. She used a big cutting board as a model of Hello World, sliding it back and forth on the counter top as if it were tossed in a slow motion tempest. She talked about her training for scuba and snorkle and how you always take a buddy on the water.

“Doing what you are about to do, alone on the water, says you are willing to die for what you are willing to live for. It’s a prayer out there.”

I mentioned that I wasn’t sure whether it was Geronimo or Crazy Horse, (it was Roman Nose) who laid down on a tiny raft and got stormed on for 4 days. After that bullets couldn’t touch him.

I never thought about this aspect of the trip. Sitting with the awareness this morning I felt reluctant to even relate our conversation – but this is an open source inspired project.

Those who are ready to read this post will. Those who are following and paying attention may share my epiphany. Wow. That about covers it.

Joe Campbell advocated following your bliss. Bliss or passion. Zeal. Zealot.

Back around again to desire. What do we want? Are we ready to have what we want, where that takes us? Each of us has a built in compass that we’ve been taught to fear. Humans are only clever animals after all, they’ll rape and murder given half a chance. Our nature is savage, red in tooth and claw. Monsters from the id, Morbius.

If we buy that, then desire is the last thing we’d ever dare to explore. Desire comes from our nature, desire = nature. See where this is going? By denying our desire we deny our nature and that’s how trivial and self destructive life ways are imposed upon us.

Ah, what a grand opera this truly is, I begin to see it now. Over and over authentic experience has been replaced with the mediocre, the slaughtered labeled savages and erased from history. That’s why we’ve got to keep digging up so called sustainability and relearn it, reimplement it, re-remember it. Taught to fear what we are.

What am I?

17 days – pronouns

You might notice an unusual use of pronouns in this project. “We” usually replaces “I” when discussing the trip. That’s because Hello World has it’s own identity and presence, it’s not just Dan Kelly sailing Around Lake Michigan, it’s Dan Kelly and Hello World. When sailing we become a cybernetic / symbiotic fusion of two sentient beings, so technically “I” would be appropriate, but we’re not always sailing. Sometimes she and I are lounging on the beach or rolling at anchor in the swells.

How can Hello World be a “she”? I mentioned our symbiotic rapport when under sail. If the wind is wild, the edges between boat and Dan blur. My senses stretch – I feel the taughtness of the sail, hear the singing of the wires – every creak and twist of the hulls are happening in my own body. Comparing it to sex is a cliche – it’s sex with deep trust on the edge of oblivion. It’s sex to stay alive.

Once initiated into this mystery, one can’t help but see the radiant goddess in curves of fiberglass, swishing nylon and aluminum arches. She too is an artifact of the industrial age – love has no limits. Americans can learn to cherish sailboats and earthships as much as they loved their hydrocarbon powered cars, maybe more. Take heart.

Another unique use of “we” and “us” is in reference to the tribe. Everyone who’s thinking about the trip, telling friends about it or helping to make it possible is traveling along with Hello World and Dan Kelly. Even without blog posts or tweets, I can feel your attention and presence. We are all doing this together.

What’s today about? The schedule is already slipping but that’s to be expected. We’ll have to make daily adjustments as launch approaches. Concentrating on core issues, getting ready to go.

The master checklist is about 90% complete and posted. It will be revised right up to launch day as I sort, verify and (if needed) repair items. Borrowed, contributed and purchased gear will be arriving next week.

The itinerary was posted yesterday, but it’s really just a sketch. Short of having Edgar Cayce or Nostradamus on the team, there’s no way to know our schedule in advance. The itinerary has two functions – to provide a rough idea of where Hello World and I need to be and when so that the trip can wrap well before the snow flies (August) AND to inspire the tribe to think about artifacts and where they may be – specific people and places. We’re getting action on that already.

Itinerary Version 1.0

Around Lake Michigan route 2010, version 1.0. Subject to change by whim, weather, clues, portents and synchronicity.


Point Betsie to Elberta Beach, Elberta, Michigan arrive 10-06-01
Arcadia Lake, Arcadia, Michigan arrive 10-06-02 depart 10-06-05
North of Portage Lake, Michigan arrive 10-06-05 depart 10-06-06
Ludington, Michigan arrive 10-06-06 depart 10-06-08
South of Big Sable Point arrive 10-06-06 depart 10-06-08
Grand Haven, Michigan arrive 10-06-12 depart 10-06-14
Holland Saugatauk Dunes Natural Area, Saugatauk, Michigan arrive 10-06-15, depart 10-06-23
Kalamazoo, Michigan arrive 10-06-16 depart 10-06-20 (side trip)

Actual daily average = 134 miles /23 days = 5.8 miles/day
Required daily average to complete trip by August 31  = (1600 miles total – 130 miles so far) / 67 days remaining as of 10-06-23 = 21 miles/day


Benton Harbor, Michigan 2 days
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore 1 day
Gary, Indiana + Industrial and Airport 2 days
Chicago, Illinois + Fermilab + Field Museum 5 days
Kenosha, Wisconsin
Milwaukee + Arkham House
Sheboygan, Wisconsin
Manitowoc, Wisconsin
Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin
Green Bay, Wisconsin
Escanaba + Little Bay Du Noc, Michigan
Big Bay du Noc + Garden Penninsula
Manistique, Michigan
Seul Choix, Michigan
Beaver Island
Naubinway, Michigan

Epoulette Bay, Michigan
West Moran Bay, Michigan
Mackinac Bridge, Michigan
Wilderness State Park, Michigan
Cross Village, Michigan
Little Traverse Bay, Michigan
Charlevoix, Michigan
Torch Lake, Michigan
East Grand Traverse Bay
West Grand Traverse Bay
Suttons Bay
North Manitou
South Manitou
Point Betsie

Toby suggested…
Betty the Stuffed Sleigh Dog:
Address: 6054 124th Ave., Fennville, MI [Show Map]
Directions: I-196 exit 34. Hwy 89 (124th Ave.) east about three miles to Crane’s Pie Pantry. On the right.
Phone: 269-561-2297

HP Lovecraft publishers
Arkham House Publishers Inc.
Placement on map is approximate
Lueders Road
Sauk City, WI 53583
Get Directions
(608) 643-4500
Will Allen
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Checklist sundries

revised 10-05-23


  1. √ flashlight [Sure Shot]
  2. √ dive flashlight [Intova]
  3. √ x4 lighter
  4. √ x3 chemical light sticks
  5. √ candle lantern
  6. √ x5 candles

Hygiene Health and First Aid

  1. √ scissor
  2. √ tweezor
  3. √ utility knife
  4. √ finger nail clipper
  5. √ bandaids
  6. √ cotton swabs
  7. √ hair ties x6
  8. √ electric razor
  9. √ floss [Toms]
  10. √ 3x toothbrush heads [Fuchs]
  11. √ toothbrush [Fuchs}

Shaman Rx

  1. aspirin
  2. √ cold sore (september)
  3. √ sunscreen [Dr Hauschka]
  4. √ x2  bug repellent (no deet) [Green Ban] (1)
  5. √ Niacinamide Gel [LifeLink]
  6. R-alpha lipoic acid [LifeLink]
  7. immune boost [Banyan botanicals immune support]
  8. √ Beta glucans [LifeLink]
  9. CoQ10 [LifeLink]
  10. melatonin [LifeLink]
  11. √ Dinindolyl methane (DIM) [LifeLink]
  12. √ Quercetin
  13. Lugal solution
  14. Steve’s skin saver
  15. B-12 [LifeLink]
  16. Zheng gu Shui (bone water)
  17. Wan hua oil (joints)
  18. Ching Wan Hung (burn medicine)
  19. oregano oil
  20. sage

Reference library

  1. √ weather [Weather 1957]
  2. √ writing [Elements of Style, Strunk and White]
  3. √ first aid [Wilderness Medicine Beyond First Aid, Forgey]
  4. √ ropes [Ropes, Knots and Slings for Climbers, Wheelock]
  5. √ scuba [NAUI Openwater I Training]
  6. √ sailing [Catamaran Sailing from Start to Finish, Phil Berman]
  7. lyrics
  8. spanish[Pimsleur]
  9. tai chi forms video [Ru]
    1. √ sword

Master Checklist ALM 2010

revised 10-05-19

This is based on the 09-08-31 Master Checklist, posted only 5 days before the September launch. We’re posting this 18 days before launch – that’s progress.

revised 10-05-31

Launching 23 days late and this will be the final review. Yikes, so much for progress.

  1. Survival
    1. warmth
      1. shelter
        1. √ tent, poles, stakes [The North Face]
          1. check
        2. √ sleeping bag [The North Face, Cats Meow 2001]
        3. √ sleeping bag [Montbel, Ultra Light Alpine Burrow bag #3 2008]
        4. √ foam roll /  yoga matte [Gaiam]
        5. √ x2 tarp 4′ x 8′
        6. 20′ rope, 30′ drawstring, 200′ twine
      2. sailing wetsuit / drysuit
        1. √ skin out wetsuit[Gul]
          1. repair
        2. √ booties
          1. replace w/warmer
        3. √ hood
        4. ASK *** drysuit
      3. clothes – link
    2. water
      1. √ water bottles x4 [Nalgene]
      2. √ ceramic filter pump [MSR]
        1. check
      3. √ dual use – see Hello World/righting/big bucket
    3. cooking
      1. √ locking pot with lid
      2. √ big family pot
      3. √ 4 x bowls
      4. √ 4 x spoons
      5. √ dish soap [Ecover]
      6. √ scrungy
      7. √ wooden spoon
      8. √ paring knife
      9. √ white gas stove [MSR Whisperlite]
        1. check
      10. √ x2 fuel bottle large [MSR]
        1. fill
    4. √ food
      1. √ grains (make link)
    5. √ sanitation
      1. √ portable composting toilet
        1. √ prep
      2. √ sawdust bag (waterproof)
    6. sundries – link
  2. Hello World [Hobie Cat]
    1. checked and repaired
      1. hull structure
        1. √ starboard bottom hole from rock impact, possibly near dune buggy blowouts UP
        2. √ starboard hull ratching hook dents under lip ~5
        3. √ port dent from stump pre 2009 launch
        4. √ ratcheting hook dents under lip ~5
        5. √ install hatches
        6. √ fair hatch surround
        7. √ reinforce inner hull under hatch
        8. √ fair and armor keels
        9. √ plate first impact
        10. safety patch
      2. inspect
        1. √ frame
        2. √ lines, shrouds
        3. √ mast
        4. √ rudders
        5. √ sails [Whirlwind]
        6. √ remove Hobie logo
        7. √ shock cord for trapeze (10-05-13)
        8. √ main traveler (10-05-13)
          1. thread lock main traveler
        9. √ big bucket righting system
          1. √ test
        10. √ ditty bag
        11. toolkit
        12. spare parts
        13. √ paddle head or new paddle (10-05-13)
        14. √ harness with back support and spreader hook [Murrays] (10-05-13)
        15. √ hull graphics
        16. √ x4 baolong fenders (10-05-13)
    2. Tools
      1. tools – link
    3. Legal
      1. √ Passport
      2. √ Hello World registration
      3. √ x4 vds – water proof flares [Orion]
      4. √ air horn with bike pump [Ecohorn]
      1. √ torus bell [Winslow]
      1. √ x2 life preservers for trapeze [Stohlquist]
      2. √ x1 white light
      3. √ x1 red/green light
      4. √ x2 light mount and safety line
      5. √ x2 anchor, 6 feet chain with buoy
      6. √ x2 200 ft of anchor line (30 ft depth x ~5-7)
      7. √ x2 45 ft of line (5-7 ft depth separate or 12-18 ft combined)
    4. Navigation
      1. √ gps and charts iPhone application [iNavX]
      2. √ x2 compass [Engineer] [something that won't explode or fog up]
    5. Production and Power
      1. production and post kit – link [Canon] [Apple]
    6. Communication
      1. √ submersible VHF – [iCom M72]
      2. ASK *** iPhone 3GS [Apple]
        1. √ dry bag [Aquapac]
      3. √ iPhone back-up [Apple]
        1. √ dry bag [Aquapac]
      4. √ Mifi [Verizon]
        1. √ Mifi interface USB
        2. ASK *** summer connection
    7. Bags and straps
      1. √  backpack – [The North Face Snow Leopard 1991]
      2. √ backpack – [The North Face Technical 1995]
        1. needs repair
      3. √ dry bag backpack x2 [Seal line 115 2009]
      4. √ fanny pack dry bag x2 [Seal Line Sealpack 2009]
      5. √ messenger bag with shoulder and waist strap [Tenba]
      6. √ compression stuff sack [Granite Gear]
      7. √ x6 large stuff sacks [Granite Gear] [Sea to Summit]
      8. √ x7 small stuff sacks [Outdoor Research] [Granite Gear]
      9. √ x2 Pelican 1720NF Long Case without Foam Black 20lbs w/foam ~$400
      10. √ x8 climbing carabiners [Black Diamond
      11. √ x4 climbing carabiners locking [Omega Pacific]
      12. √ x12 H16 cargo plates [Dan Kelly and Chuck Hunt]
    8. Scuba and Snorkle
      1. ASK *** waterproof enclosure for Vixia [Light and Sound Bluefin] [Gates]
      2. waterproof enclosure for Vixia (shallows and light duty waterproof) [Aquapac]
      3. √ pony scuba tank 30 cu ft [Luxfer]
      4. √ pressure gauge [Cessi]
      5. √ harness
        1. √ adjusted straps removed shoulder release
        2. √ compatible with dual ponys?
        3. √ padding for pec/bicep
      6. √ regulator [Seaquest]
        1. √ purchased 87 rebuilt 7/09
      7. √ mask [Mares]
      8. √ snorkel [US Divers]
      9. √ x2 fins [Mares]
      10. √ x2 weight belt
      11. √ x4 dive weights
      12. √ flag
      13. flag mount
      14. √ NAUI card
      15. √ bag for mask and snorkle
      16. √ check mask for leaks
      17. √ mesh bag for all gear
    9. Landing
      1. √ bicycle [Miyata, Steve Zilliax]
        1. needs service
        2. replace handlebars
      2. √ aircraft cable (cargo)
      3. √ ratcheting straps (square ends not hooks)
      4. √ heavy duty chain and lock [American]
      5. valve adapter
    10. Art
      1. √ jbells
      2. *** ASK soft chaulk [Prang]
      1. √ Parlor Guitar [Larrivee] 36.25 x 13.25 x 4.5
        1. needs repair [Kelchak]
        2. armor [Dan Kelly]
    11. Logistics
      1. √ trailer

19 days – Order of Operations

Time for a list of lists, a preliminary inventory. With 19 days left, we’ve got to design the optimal sequence of actions. To avoid the carbon cost of airplane flight, new gear needs to be shipped ground which means ordering within the week. Gear requests should be started first so we’ve got to decide what we want and who we are going to ask by Monday.

One of the prerequisites for asking is an effective introduction to the project. This is where the mini-movie fits in and it’s several days behind schedule. We are just going to have to make requests based on written materials with references to the long running video excerpts. There are five components to our collaboration proposal – a good idea (√), a coherent and workable plan (√), established distribution channels eg Ondesire.com, Facebook and Twitter (√), a documented mob (growing) and an articulate introduction (pending). Having a non profit umbrella would also be helpful so that contributions would be tax deductible. Since I missed my NP liaison last month, I doubt I could set this up before June 1, so I may just have to skip that. Perhaps it’s worth a phone call.

Monica Evans asked about making cash donations to the project. The trip itself is not all that expensive because it’s designed to be replicable/low budget/low impact, but post-production after the trip could cost $30k for labor and services. Asking for money doesn’t have to happen before launch, but it wouldn’t hurt to identify prospects now. I could then schedule several days during the trip to make these requests.

The origins, an overview. I’ve written deeply about the inspiration and origins of the project. Along with completing and posting the mini-movie, linking to the most articulate of these posts is vital. Methinks it might be a good idea to link first (today) and the sort out the mini-movie immediately after.

We’ve can instantly develop a starting inventory by linking to last September’s checklists, and then replace them with updates. They will also be helpful in identifying gear collaborators.

Posting our itinerary will not only trigger suggestions from the tribe about where to go and who to see, but other potential collaborators.

Finally, Hello World needs glass and rigging repair. There’s about a week worth of labor plus curing time after each patch, so this has got to begin no later than day 14 on the countdown.

So – here’s the  order of operations draft…

19 days

• inventory/checklist rebuild 4/18

• introduction with links to inspiration and origins 4/18

• inventory revised with potential collaborators identified 4/18

• mini-movie 4/18+

18 – 16 days

• asks initiated 4/19 – 4/21 + mini-movie

• itinerary posted

17 -15 days

• ordering 4/22 – 4/23 + mini-movie

14 days

• Hello World repair 4/24+

12 – 10 days

• ordering and ask follow up 4/26-4/28

9 – 8 days

• provisions 4/29-4/30

• hulls complete and float test

7 days

• preliminary pack 5/1

• trailer and transport arranged

6 – 5 days

• final orders and provisions 5/2-5/3

4 – 2 days

• complete Hello World repairs and adjustments 5/4-5/6

1 days

• final pack 5/7

0 days

• trailer to E beach, launch party, overnight 5/8


• launch 5/9

Here are the general questions which helped me to develop this post.

Who can help, what companies are already involved?

What companies could be involved?

What’s the itinerary so far?

What does Hello World need to be water ready?

What provisions and consumables are needed?

Winslow’s bell

Winslow the blacksmith has been talking about a bell for Hello World on Facebook, but I kinda hate FB’s interface so I thought it would be easier to post some illustrations here and then make some comments.

It’s important that a bell be somewhere where it can’t brain your favorite sailor in big winds. Also, it’s important that I’m able to ring it when needed and silence it completely when not. If it could be set so that wave action makes it ring, this would be handy at night and in fog. With these criteria in mind, there are two places to mount a bell, A under the bridal shroud lines (an inverted v of aircraft cable that runs from the bow of each hull and connecting just below the sail and B at the end of the main sail boom. The boom swings around a lot but the very end doesn’t ever cross the trampoline – where the sailor is stationed.

An advantage of having it at B is that it’s more accessible to the sailor. Location A might be more stylish.

Any shape of bell can be mounted at A or B. Winslow has presented a bike bell sort of design that looks interesting. He choose this primarily to minimize a tapered edge like one might find at the bottom of a bell shaped bell. Traditional bell tapers would act like a meat cleaver given a little momentum.

Since locations A and B are not near the sailor, a traditional bell would be ok. It’s really up to Winslow. Since he is offering his energy and unique vision to the project, I want to give him space to express himself. Along with the criteria mentioned above, it should be no bigger than 6-12 inches in height and not much heavier than 10 lbs.

25 days calm and serene

Calm and serene – that was the mantra of the Marietta college freshman crew team. Yeah, we were buff brothers and precisely sychronized, but coach Ralph Lindamood (1922-2001) was a savvy old coot, he knew relaxation was the third leg of the high performance tripod. He had us trained up in a sort of self hypnosis meditation tecnique. We won like crazy, our tiny Ohio College trounced team after team. It’s the tradition in crew for the loosing boats to give thier shirts to the winning boat. I didn’t need to buy a t-shirt for 10 years.

I tell this story because we can be strong and smart, but for a truly stellar outcome it helps to chill out. Get centered. I know a martial arts teacher who is exceptionally lethal and when he dances in combat he smiles. Not the manic grin of a psycho killer, but the easy smile of someone having fun – without a care in the world.

I’ve brawled as a kid, truly angry punching and grappling. What’s more stressful than fighting? What I’ve learned is that intense fear/rage is counter productive in combat. Stress makes me a casualty. It’s the same in life.

With 25 days left before launch, I could be getting worried. Three weeks may not be enough time to get everything together. Being unprepared could mean either failure to make the movie or even failure to survive. The later I leave the later my return and the colder the weather gets. I may not be looking at a balmy September like 2009.

You know what? Worrying about it won’t help. The most productive place to be in this crisis is calm, empty even. I woke up this morning feeling exceptionally relaxed and easy. It’s getting down to the wire and I’m right there, with an odd sort of smile on my kisser.

26 days

Lovely chill morning. Yesterday I surprised a fox as I came out of the house. Sienna and umber, pretty big too. He wasn’t in a huge hurry, eventually trotting off past the nitrogen accumulator (outhouse). Last Friday I passed a momma fox and her kits lounging on some cottage stairs. It’s still too early for most of the lake houses to be occupied, so the foxes have carte blanche. Never seen so many that I can recall.

Today I continue with the mini movie. I need to amp up the global life support system sequence. I think it happens after Larry does MIR the first time. Then we’ll show iconic examples of life support, balance maintained in the face of entropy. Examples from NASA, scuba and science fiction. When we play Larry the second time, we’ll be into the connection between Hello World and MIR with the rebuild and packing. The next question will be – why? Why go on this trip?

I edited a short sequence with Dick on Beaver Island, tho the sound quality isn’t stellar. He’s a mason with 68 years of experience, 40 of those working with stone. He talked about his trip to Peru and the stones there – artifacts of a technology (and perhaps even a worldview) that we moderns don’t understand.

The Peruvian stones/culture sequence leads to the trip’s premise.

“We assume that modern industrial capitalistic civilization is the pinnacle of human achievement, but if ancient people could do things that we can’t what else are we missing? If our civilization isn’t the most advanced, what does advancement look like? Certainly future civilizations must be sustainable – in accord with the planetary life support system – because we can’t stay suicidal indefinitely. We expect our kids, grandkids, nieces and nephews to have a future. Certainly to survive and even to thrive. Sustainable civilizations must emerge within the next 10-15 years. Since entire civilizations don’t just pop up overnight, they must *already* be in the process of emerging. We should be able to poke around and find evidence of future sustainable civilizations everywhere, right now. Just like the stones in Peru are artifacts of an advanced ancient civilization, so too there must be artifacts of advanced future civilizations. Can we find these artifacts and figure out what they imply, what they are pointing towards?”

“What does an artifact of a future sustainable civilization look like? How do we go about searching for them? I think it starts with asking the right questions… Listen to this talk I had with Ritch Branstrom and see if you hear any clues about the future.”

Ritch interview (already edited).

Review Ritch’s “artifacts”, bullet points.

Conclusion / credits

Inherent artifact

44 days until the scheduled launch. In 3 weeks I’ll look back wistfully and think, “I remember back when there was plenty of time.”

The logistics of sailing and camping for three months are significant. There’s the boat itself which includes spare parts and repair supplies. For those who haven’t sailed, know that it takes lots of rope, pulleys and metal doodads.

Navigation is handled mostly on the iPhone with compass and chart applications, but I’ll carry actual compasses for backup. There’s also safety equipment required by the Coast Guard like flares and lights.

Food and shelter is handled with a wilderness camping kit – backpacking tent, sleeping bags, tiny stove, pots etc. Don’t forget the CNA or Composting Nitrogen Accumulator, aka Poopomatic TM.

On top of getting around and maintaining life, remember we’re making a movie here. That means at least one camera, cables, tripod, microphones, hard drive, laptop, batteries and solar panels for charging it all.

All this stuff has to weigh less than 250 lbs and be sealed in dry bags. There’s no cabin on Hello World.

Boats, islands, spaceships and planets are related – they have finite carrying capacity, specific conditions (gear) are required for life and long term survival requires attention and careful planning. Around Lake Michigan explores this idea, it is the project’s inherent artifact.

How do we realize sustainable civilizations? We find artifacts and figure out what they imply.

Staging area

I needed a break from social phenomena this morning so I went outside and cut down some trees. How does that jive with the project ethic?

About 20 years ago I allowed the lawn around the Artist house to grow wild. The non native grass sprouted long and tufty and then native flora started to reappear, tiny conifers and the prehistoric looking dinosaur grass. The massive poplar, a landmark of the yard, surrounded itself with new saplings and then toppled into the lake. This event coincided with the first visit to Michigan of my yet to be exwife. I ignored the implications and married her anyway – but that’s another story.

Poplar trees grow fast, they probably are filling an important niche in reforesting of open land. Around the house they are vulnerable to infections that twist thier trunks and rot them out. That’s how it was with the two monsters I knocked down today. They were over 30 feet and maybe 15 years old, loosing thier core near ground level. A big storm could snap them off and then what? Maybe my or my neighbor’s house, or even me – crushed.

I dusted off the electric chainsaw and dropped them carefully, directing the thick trunks to a safe landing. Next step will be to chop them up, clear the braches and create a staging area for Hello World.

Deconstructing doom

Jonathan has been questioning the veracity of the doom assertion in the ALM / artifact premise. A premise or pitch is a shorthand introduction to a project – typically delivered in less than 15 seconds (and often in an elevator). A great pitch should distill a project and summarize it rather than simplify. Here’s the current version of the ALM pitch.

We know that a sustainable civilization is coming because if it doesn’t show up, we (human beings) are doomed. Since we all expect to survive, survivable civilization(s) must emerge within the next 10 – 15 years. That means they must be already coming together, they must be in the process of emerging right now.  We can can expect to find fragments and partially assembled components everywhere. These artifacts of future survivable civilizations can be discovered and shared, growing awareness globally. That is the objective of Around Lake Michigan.

Is this premise inherently misleading and broken? Jonathan offered some interesting insights.

Jonathan – What’s the proof that we are doomed? That reminds me of mainstream media’s fear mongering and exaggeration which makes intelligent folks allergic.

The more I think about it, the more of a core issue it seems this might be, as far as making this site truly communicate with folks.

It isn’t clear who is the source of the information, when you say that there’s dark things up ahead. Where is this prophecy coming from, you (dan kelly), the scientific community, the mainstream media, etc.? If the prophecy is coming from one of these sources, then you need to explain why the audience should be looking to themselves to answer what the solutions are, rather than this source. And that isn’t usually easy.

Example, if the scientific community is saying global warming is the problem to focus on, and people respect them and this opinion of theirs, then they’ll naturally look to the scientific community to tell them exactly what they should do about it. They won’t look to themselves for the answers, because they weren’t even capable of noticing the problem until science pointed it out to them.

Another example is 9/11. From observations and common sense people could see that it was not an accident, but not who was to blame for it. Later that same day the government/media started putting up a picture of Osama Bin Laden, explained who he was supposed to be and that he was supposed to be responsible. And so it was the government/media that folks followed to war, not their own individual pieces of knowledge or independent viewpoints.

If you want to break out of this system, of people following “leaders” or “experts”, and instead trusting in and finding solutions to problems themselves, then they have to become aware of the problem within their own experiences and minds. Otherwise it is just more blind faith. You need to show people the symptoms of a problem they can become aware of within their own life experience, independently. Ask them to confirm what you are saying within the things they have already seen.

Certainly if the artifacts of the solution are already around us, there must also be the artifacts of the problem for people to confirm what is going on for themselves.

Within the context of ALM and this website, you as the stand-in character for the everyman, the joe average, could talk about your personal experiences that made you become an environmentalist. Maybe recount how you saw certain things change over your lifetime that made you aware the present course was heading in a very dark direction.

Then recount some of the artifacts of a possible future way of life, that you experienced over your lifetime, that lead you to start this search for a sustainable way of life.

This reminder about individual experience is indeed powerful and worthy. Mass disconnection from direct experience is what makes the toxic consumption juggernaut possible. On Desire is a DIY effort, it’s about taking personal responsibility for the situation. “What situation?” Jonathan asks. What exactly is our ALM guide, Dan Kelly talking about? Let’s tease out some story from this.

A character effectively developed is believable. The audience travels with the ALM guide because they can relate to him, his struggles and aspirations have been offered and accepted by the audience. They don’t need to agree with him or even like him to go along on his journey, they just have to get him. Search the posts for “guide” for more background on this.

Andrea made the point that Dan Kelly can’t be a detached observer. Who would believe that a detached observer would fix buy a 16 foot cat and sail 1000 miles searching for artifacts of a survivable future? That sounds slightly passionate if not a obviously nuts. This character is motivated by something more compelling than reports on CNN, he is acting from his gut. He may be delusional, but his direct experience has galvanized action.

Of course the audience should look to their own experience, absolutely. That’s what makes character development possible. It’s tricky to ask for that in the premise though, there’s just not enough time. All we need to do is communicate that this is Dan Kelly’s premise, and illustrate how he acquired it.

Now the pitch starts like this… There’s this guy who believes (insert premise). Well – that’s interesting, how did he come to believe that? Cue character development.

The character development will illustrate how this guy’s direct experience – a heady brew of ecstatic physicality, presence with wilderness, speculative storytelling, an affinity for science and intuitive mysticism intoxicated him with the premise.

If the character makes a robust commit to act on his direct experience, that will be an example for others to attend to and act on theirs… and we’ve made a training film.

In conclusion, deconstructing the premise is a useful exercise. The character Dan Kelly has an epic bent. He has a strong feeling that earth and her human inhabitants are facing a crucial moment. Does he conjure the threat of annihilation to spice an otherwise dreary RL existence? Is he tilting at windmills? There’s no story without conflict, right?

Frodo lives!

Winter storage

Hello World floats above the kitchen facilitating daily communion.

Visit On Desire

Last year my documentary about sailing around the Hawaiian Islands morphed into a documentary about sailing around Lake Michigan. In September of 2009 I soloed 300 miles on the 16 foor catamaran Hello World, searching for sustainable civilizations.  The plan for 2010 is to sail the entire perimeter of Lake Michigan, over 1000 miles!

The name of the documentary is (appropriately) Around Lake Michigan, Search for Sustainable Civilizations. Here’s the pitch.


If we can’t figure out how to live in accord with the global life support system, human beings are doomed. Becoming sustainable is bigger than recycling or buying low flush toilets, it’s a reimagining of our presence on the planet.

As the operations of governments and corporations are often at odds with human survival, we can’t rely on their guidance. The adventure of survival belongs to each of us.

The fragments of a sustainable civilization already exist, we have but to gather and assemble them. All over the world folks are figuring out what it looks like, inventing and rehearsing the survivable future.

In the spring of 2010 Dan Kelly resumes his expedition aboard the 16 foot catamaran Hello World, sailing Around Lake Michigan to Search for Sustainable Civilizations. Dan picked the big lake because it’s close to home, but it doesn’t matter where we start. The answers are all around us – wherever we are.



Visit the Around Lake Michigan blog at http://ondesire.com and toss in your two cents. We’re looking for ideas – people to interview and places to check out along the shores of Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana and Illinois.  Share your clues and rumors about sustainable civilizations. Offer feedback on the video vignettes,  comment on the posts or create your own posts about relevant issues. Blogging is fun!

Lots of visitors and activity at http://ondesire will translate into contributions of equipment, expertise and funding for Around Lake Michigan this spring.

Folks always wonder what they can do beyond insulating their homes and installing compact florescent light bulbs. Flooding On Desire with your awareness sprouts the seeds of our native weeds.

Choose one…

I can toss my two cents but I’ve never visited On Desire before. Register at http://ondesire.com

I’ve already registered and ready to contribute, let’s go! Log in at http://ondesire.com

I only want to visit On Desire for now. Visit http://ondesire.com


I scanned and posted the audience feedback cards within a week of the Evening of Exploration, but over a month went by before I read and sorted them into categories. Why did it take so long? This question triggered a small crisis – Am I loosing momentum on the ALM project? Do I have a plan? What have I accomplished in the 3 months since the end of the trip?

This is one of those exciting blog moments where I have to grope around for a bit. Flashback!

October – December 2009

In early October Hello World and I returned home with about 30 hours of HD video. During the next two weeks I converted the video, shot a visual inventory and edited Evolution, the repair and packing sequence. I sorted, cleaned and stored all the gear. Hitching a ride back to Brooklyn with my brother Steve on 10/20, I settled down to catalog the video and post excerpts to the ondesire blog. Was there a feature length documentary lurking in there somewhere?  In theory, a methodical review of the raw material would allow major themes to percolate.

Watching the video and seeing all the folks who supported ALM started me fantasizing about throwing a big party. I also wanted to introduce more of my Northern Michigan tribe to the project and expand it’s audience. I imagined organizing an event around a rough cut of the movie and including structured feedback both to foster interaction and create a sense of participation. I was planning to return to to Northern Michigan for Thanksgiving anyway, maybe a month was enough time to plan an event and cut a rough…

The Evening of Exploration was born!

Turns out that 1 month was not enough time to become familiar with all the footage, edit something coherent AND organize / promote a public exhibition. I dedicated a lot of energy to getting the theater filled – repeatedly emailing the scattered tribe, blogging, creating enticing imagery and composing press releases. To expand and diversify the audience, I invited Gretchen Eichberger to present choreography and the ukulele duo Saldaje (Melonie Steffes and Shawn Anchak) to play music. The price I paid for a nearly full theater was less time for editing.

Sweating bullets that the bumpy NYC to Chicago Amtrak ride would ding the stack of sata hard drives humming at my feet, I finally found a decent introduction – only four days before the Evening. My brother and sister helped me hash out a protocol for audience feedback in the rental car from Chicago to Beulah. Over the holiday, I grappled with the stark realization that my rough cut would NOT be the kernel of a coherent structure, but rather a smorgasbord of loosely connected ideas.

The Evening was fun and I reconnected with many excellent people. My original objectives were achieved to varying degrees…

Celebrate those who helped with the project

Seeing themselves onscreen often makes folks excited. Just being invited to a special event is nice too, especially if there’s food and  interesting art. I could’ve done a better job of recognizing the collaborators if the movie had credits and / or if I mentioned specific names during my introduction. Basically, that didn’t happen because I ran out of time.

Connect regional folks to the project, build community support and awareness

It’s been over a month since the evening, so if I am planning on following up and consolidating this audience, I had better do it in the next couple of days. The evening did facilitate a productive feedback session with Steve Elrick. Also, a fantastic new friend and ally has appeared as a direct result of the Evening’s intense promotion. Andrea Maio is a film maker who missed the Evening but tracked me down after. We had a blast hanging out and she has since decided to relocate to Benzie County. I’ll be linking to her blog as soon as it’s up. Finally, Susan Koenig wrote an article about the Evening that may or may not have appeared in the Benzie Record Patriot, I’m still waiting to hear.

Get some structured feedback

I threw a variety of material at the audience, curious only to know what stood out, what made an impression. My feedback protocol wasn’t all that rigorous because the editing had barely begun. The responses were useful, the same five moments were mentioned by 52% of the audience. Several folks disregarded my instructions and offered detailed advice about editing and some even felt compelled to trot out their personal angst… awesome! I am so grateful for the responses, the only people I have a beef with are those that didn’t bother to fill out cards – like my brother and father. Geez, relatives can be a real pain.

Deadline motivates

Setting an intense deadline was both good and bad.

Rather than taking that the time to move methodically through the video, I was forced to slam together disparate fragments just to have something to show. This deferred the real edit process by a month. As the Evening got closer, I felt very scattered and struggled to let go of my expectations. I fretted that telling a disjointed story would actually deter the audience from following ALM’s progress. Key elements of the event were scaled down or abandoned because time was tight.

I am only now recovering from the trauma of promising a little too much.  Deadlines are productive only when matched to specific outcomes well within the range of the possible. Deadlines can have an element of risk, they can stretch our identity and push our personal envelope – a little. Finessing the balance between what we are and what we want to be is the art of the setting deadlines. It’s wise to take an inventory of variables first – how many new things will have happen at once? Even for a turbo charged polymath, attempting more than 2 new things is asking for trouble.

The Evening would have been a better if I had conceptualized the event as presenting ‘selected excerpts’, rather than promising a ‘rough cut’. The problem was in my own mind, most folks don’t know the difference between selected excerpts and a rough cut anyway. Crazy expectations caused me to wig out.

December 2009 – January 2o1o

I whiled away another 2 weeks in Beulah before renting a Hyundai and returning to Brooklyn. Once back, I bit the bullet and dropped $2000 on 20 x 1 TB hard drives for cloning my archive. I need about 6 drives more to finish, but at least now I can travel with ALM. I finally tallied the feedback results and posted some comments. Andrea suggested a new tack for the project that I like. I’ve been reorganizing the blogs in preparation for the next push and feel the power flowing back. So maybe I am not groping anymore.

Catagories from Evening of Exploration

I’ve finally gone through the response cards from the Evening of Exploration and tallied the results. Admittedly, asking for ‘the most memorable moment’ was not a very rigorous approach to feedback but then the Evening of Exploration was about more than feedback. The primary objective was to gather the Northern Michigan arts community together and introduce them to the project. Also, setting an intense deadline was intended to amp up my post-production process.

I’ll do a more rigorous evaluation of the Evening and it’s objectives later, but for now let’s look at the responses. Of the 86 cards, there were about 131 different moments mentioned, including advice about editing and other random critique. Let’s keep it simple and concentrate on the top 5 moments, which are mentioned in 52% of the total responses. The top five break down as follows…

  • 32% (positive) Tanya and Homegrown
  • 20% (mostly positive, several strong objections) Cherry pit spitting monolog
  • 18% (positive) Hello World repair and packing sequence
  • 15% (positive) Rich Branstrom – builds things from trash, influences others
  • 15% (positive) Ray Minervini – cities for cars, not for people


I haven’t spoken with Chris and Tanya Winkelmann of Homegrown since November and I’m excited to let Tanya know that she stole the show. Some might think that organic food is old news, but the Winkelmanns’ story illustrates that it’s not, that education about the integrity of our food supply is vital. Tanya and Chris’s story is not only about edible education, but also “action instead of just thought or talk”. Indeed. Of the top five moments, Tanya’s interview grabbed 1/3 of attention.

Cherry Pit Spitting Monolog

The cherry pit spitting monolog came in second with mixed reviews. Several folks objected (strongly) to me talking with my mouth full! Love it. My intention was to break up the heavy ponderings with a little visual comedy and emphasize rather than minimize the cherry pit spitting. For the record, I don’t think I actually thought this through on location – I was just having breakfast and doing my usual on camera update. I had happened to put some wild cherries into my porridge.

The critical feedback helped me realize that I am not communicating how much work the Search for Sustainable Civilizations was. I ate while filming because there were only so many hours in the day and finding a way to combine two activities was a boon. I have to give more context – during the cherry pit spitting breakfast I was totally worn out and sore from sailing the day before. It’s not that I want sympathy from the audience but based on the almost angry comments about proper manners folks don’t get that my choices were constrained, that I was wiped out. Most of the positive comments focused on the content of the monolog, which is encouraging.

Hello World Evolution

My new filmmaker friend Andrea described the Hello World evolution sequence as my sparkling personality showing through. I am pleased that it worked for the audience because I put some solid time into the edit – I think it reflects my pleasure as an editor. It’s got several elements that I like – maker ethic, comedy, excitement and an epic feeling thanks to Gustav Holst. I actually see it as something of a placeholder for a more polished sequence, so it’s really encouraging to know that it’s getting high marks already. As a side note, the rest of Andrea’s comment goes like this, (paraphrase)… “in contrast to the Hello World sequence, your actual on camera monologs don’t really reflect how charming and funny you are in real life.” Gotta love that gal.

Ritch Branstrom, Adhoc workshop

Ritch was actually mentioned for more than trash art, so I broke the comments referring to him into categories. He made it to the top five for all the mentions of junk artist. Some folks also wrote about his energy or how well comes across as a character. Frankly as cinematographer and editor, I’ve got to take credit for his on screen vibe… through the magic of cinema, I made him seem like an amazing guy – another triumph of art over reality. Kidding! Ritch really IS amazing, honest.

Ray Minervini

Ray Minervini made an impression on folks with his “cities are designed for cars and not for people” line. That really seemed to resonate. Ray was really able to paint a picture with words and folks got it.

healing through food, homegrown, mission, children sick, chemicals in food, action instead of just thought and talk 22
breakfast and spitting cherry pits, hate the old, fear of nature (naive I) musings reached a rhythm of their own, timelessness of wilderness, cherries “into the wild” – scared (not enjoyable to see even a handsome man with mouth full of oatmeal I) (humor overwhelms the deep point you are trying to make I) (the spitting again and again was an insult to audience I) 13
gear packing and boat repair 12
Rich Branstrom – power, builds things from trash, influences others 11
Ray Minervini cities designed for automobiles and not for people, parking lots, building permits 10
Rich Branstrom – energy is pure, like his energy, medium for power in the world (cut it I) 7
monologs, rambling went on long enough to be memorable, long winded 5
the end – poetry incarnate, laying in the grass 4
extensive and specific advice on editing 4
practical interconnectedness of all things, (men who ride moutains) 4
big wave day, totally on (men who ride moutains) 3
interviews 2
earth from space 2
dan eating 2
mir space station 2
to exist is totally up to each of us, sustainability 2
going forward or turning around, terrible accident 2
more overarching narrative, where did you go and why? 2
larry – humans are renewable resource 2
like to see route outlined, don’t expect your audience to know the geography of michigan 2
me and gwen at bird bath 2
interviews at schooner festival 1
recycling 1
opening sequence, short statements 1
water 1
need more interaction between interviewer and interviewee 1
north manitou  quiet 1
choose a design and stick to it 1
face of the horse (deer) Rich Branstrom 1
straight talk about how we live on the planet 1
dan yawns makes audience yawn 1
less eating when you film 1
find people who don’t know you and don’t smoke weed for outside perspective 1
i suggest you study documentary 1
flame fluttering 1
(offered help and collaboration on the project) 1

Homegrown Organic Eatery

A feature film in 5 days? A engaging, edifying, feature film in 5 days? How much sencha green tea will it take?

Finally, the video the network has been clamoring for! The dynamic duo of digestion, Chris and Tanya Winkelman and the origins of Homegrown. It all started with a breakfast burrito the day after arriving in Grand Traverse Bay.

09-09-13 Chris and Tanya Winkelman Homegrown (newer OS)
09-09-13 Chris and Tanya Winkelman Homegrown (older OS)

Near miss with the Manitowoc

Big boats traverse the Big Lake, and Hello World and I had a close encounter. What are the chances of getting squished by an ore carrier? Only our 5th day out already we’re having near death experiences. Fun! Lazily crossing from North Manitou to Northport, lapping up the sun and thankful for a little wind after a morning becalmed. What’s that low rumble, been hearing it for awhile now? Hey, maybe that isn’t a sailboat on the horizon, maybe that’s… a big boat. They come up pretty quick when they’re pointed right at you.

09-09-10 The Manitowoc (newer OS)
09-09-10 The Manitowoc (older OS)

North Manitou odyssey

Two – count ‘em – two new chapters are available for your viewing pleasure, both documenting my two night sojourn on North Manitou Island. Disasters and blessings interpenetrate.

09-09-09 Crescent City under Hello World (newer OS)
09-09-09 Crescent City under Hello World (older OS)

09-09-10 North Manitou Becalmed (newer OS)
09-09-10 North Manitou Becalmed (older OS)

Breakfast monolog

A sacred place on a sacred day, North Manitou Island, 09/09/09. Ponderings on turning back, being myself and ending the war against wisdom, aka consumption by becoming poetry incarnate.

09-09-09 Crescent City on North Manitou Island (newer OS)
09-09-09 Crescent City on North Manitou Island (older OS)

Invitations and press releases away!

No turning back now, the invitations and press releases for the November 28th event are public. There’s also a swell new image for my collaboration with Gretchen, check it on the ‘save the date’ page…



An evening of exploration with local artists

Explore an evening of cinema and performance with filmmaker Dan Kelly and Dancer/Choreographer Gretchen Eichberger-Kudlak at the Mills Community House Theater in Benzonia, Saturday November 28 from 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm.

The feature film Around Lake Michigan documents Kelly’s search for sustainable civilizations aboard the 16 foot sailing catamaran, Hello World. Kelly will host a pre-screening of Around Lake Michigan followed by audience feedback. This is a rare opportunity to go behind the scenes of filmmaking and participate in a work in progress.

The evening begins with Eichberger-Kudlak’s dance debut, Glorious Dawn, choreographed to John Boswell’s remix of Carl Sagan’s Cosmos television series.

This is a free event but seating is limited. Call or text 231 882-0460, or email explore@ondesire.com to get on the guest list. Doors open at 6 pm and close at 7 pm.  Late arrivals will not be admitted.

This event is made possible with generous support from the Mills Community House, John Boswell, Northwest Michigan Folklife Center, Artist house, Inc. and Apple Computer, Inc.

Sketch – Passage to North Manitou Island

Another working sketch posted, the transit from Sleeping Bear Point to North Manitou Island. The queasiness associated with exposing works in progress is becoming less of an issue. I think this sketch works and gets the idea across. There’s enough structure there to remind me where I want to go with it, and I’ve become pretty familiar with the raw content it’s extracted from. I usually fret about the soundtrack and creating a fortunate visual rhythm, but I am kinda proud that I didn’t get all precious. Cutting to music is fun stuff that I can breeze through later. So, enjoy.

Breakfast and the rough cut

I continue to slam together a rough cut for the November 28 test screening event in Benzonia, Michigan. Why have I scheduled a test screening?

Proof of concept

A little more than a month has passed since I ran Hello World up on Point Betsie beach after 300 miles of sailing and filmmaking Around Lake Michigan. An exhilarating first step, but the concept is not proven until a movie emerges. It’s not enough to know that something good is in there, the goodness must be teased out and shared.


The sooner the better. Although I am currently operating out of the United Gardens penthouse in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, the wind and water of the Big Lake are still ghosting around my guts. I’ve got to build a first draft while the feeling is fresh.

Crew / Community

Back in Michigan, the project still has residual momentum. Sharing the results right away energizes my peeps, let’s the community see what’s afoot and offers an entry point for joining in. A film maker builds a crew – folks sign on because of their affinity for the film maker, the shared aesthetic of the work and the money. Even if money was not tight, the first two attractors are more my style. Solid rapport and an inspiring vision are more likely to yield awesome movies than big budgets. More likely to yield sustainable civilizations for that matter, not to mention repair and support the global life support system.

Sharing the project energizes the community and enhances the crew. I have a hunch that for open source projects, the crew shades into the audience. The distinction between collaborator and spectator is fuzzy. When their attention is engaged, folks become involved. That’s basic marketing, but what I am trying to articulate is a transition from consumer to producer, from fans to crew. Rather than engaging attention to sell a product (movie), I want to activate consciousness. The product is the audience themselves, attending to their own experience, their collective existence. Life is good after all, struggles and woe are needed for an interesting plot. Movies are stories, and stories are oblique references to the unspeakable. On November 28, I want to remind folks of their own story, that’s as good as it gets.

Save the date – November 28, 2009

If you’ll be in or near Northern Michigan on November 28, come to the On Desire / Around Lake Michigan SPECIAL EVENT! Join the amazing folks who participated and supported the Around Lake Michigan, Search for Sustainable Civilizations project. We’ll be gathering at Benzie County’s most historic theatrical venue, TBA, (not Dan’s house). Spread the word – but space is limited! RSVP ASAP so to put you and your party on the guest list.

press release

The cost of sailing

Just before launching last month, I took some pictures of the waste generated from Hello World’s renovation. Getting her ready required power, raw material and room in the landfill. Around Lake Michigan is a search for sustainable civilizations that utilized unsustainable technologies. That’s seems contradictory, was ALM a sham?

Renovating this boat took resources, it had a footprint. Was it a large or a small footprint? Until the final budget is tallied, there’s no real data to examine. That should be ready in the next few days, but in the meantime, I’ll elaborate on the premise.

Big Bear points out that wind turbine and solar panel factories are powered by coal and nuclear plants. That’s a significant footprint. He also suggests that solar panels cannot break even, they can never generate enough electricity to pay for their cost. If one takes into account their carbon and toxic cost as well as their monetary price, he might just be right. I don’t know. Let’s just say for the sake of argument that there was such a thing as a profitable solar panel, that after 10 years of operation, it would pay it’s total cost (carbon, toxic, monetary) back twice. That would mean that the panel paid for itself and paid for a second panel. If that were possible, wouldn’t it make sense to make these panels? We would be investing energy to make more energy, rather than just burning it up.

Hello World is an experiment and a sort of calculation. I create a solar powered transportation platform (sailboat) with a finite investment of energy and materials while generating a byproduct of garbage and carbon. I then sail 300 miles making minimal additional impact, finding and documenting low impact or perhaps even sustainable technologies and strategies. What would have to happen for Around Lake Michigan to break even and pay back the inital investment? If I never sail Hello World again, if I never find anything of value or I never share the documentation, what did those 300 miles cost? How far would I have to sail to make a ‘profit’? What would I need to find?

Perhaps just the process of calculation and accountability is enough of a discovery. We tend to think that sailboats and solar panels are easy on the earth, same goes for organic food and compact florescent bulbs. We shirk our responsibility by embracing generalizations rather than actually finding out for ourselves. It’s the training we’ve been given since birth – buy stuff. That’s the plug we’ve got to pull.

Anyway, I’m going through the posts and fleshing them out. The video is fully digested and ready to edit and post. Can’t wait to see where it’s all gonna go!

Debriefing continues

Talked with two of my bio brothers yesterday about the trip.

Mike and I both have an affinity for the national parks and we discussed how I might craft a proposal based on ALM to increase access to parks without increasing impact. During the trip I made several overnight stops within the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore where camping is prohibited. I even met up with a ranger south of Esch Road, the morning after. Being on Hello World meant I had the option to anchor and sleep on the boat, so it’s not technically camping. Also, I carried a composting toilet so I never needed facilities or dug catholes on park land. In additon, since I carried my own stove, I never built fires on the beach. Mike and I discussed how a constituency could be organized around sustainable camping and presented to park adminisitrators. Beach cat sailors, kayakers and canoers with proper equipment and training could perhaps get special permits for transient camping. This would increase visitation to the park, perhaps even enabling handicap and youth access to remote areas.

Steve and I talked about techniques for making the hulls leak resistant and how to amp up traffic to the ondesire.com project.

He suggested that hulls could be pressurized and/or vacuumed to determine their structural integrity. With a threaded connector that matched the drain hole, air could be pumped in to the hull and then soapy water spread around questionable areas – wherever bubbles appear the hulls are not air tight. Another approach would be to suck air out of the hulls and wait to see if the vacuum remains or how long it takes to equalize. A flexible seal around where the pylons meet the decks is important. This area likely opens and closes a little in heavy weather, when the hulls are subject to flexing and torque.

Of course, getting on the Hobie forums, explaining my recent experience and asking for advice about leaky hulls is a given. I might even drive some traffic to ondesire.com, as folks from the forums follow links from my posts. This sort of effort could be replicated on all sorts of forums – post production forums, vixia forums, underwater, etc. I’ve got plenty of questions to ask!

What I need is a few more bodies to help me do this outreach.

On the subject of collaboration, I definitely am looking forward to doing a review of products and services. I had some stellar gear and a little crap, and I feel compelled to provide detailed reports. This will likely be helpful in facilitating future collaborations, too!

Today I’d like to take exploded view pictures of everything before stowing it away for the winter.


Phase 1 of Around Lake Michigan is complete. The overview – 300 miles of sailing in about 30 days, 50+ hours of video recorded including travel and interviews, plenty of low/no impact camping, many new friends, 20,000 hits on the blog and no arrests, tickets or injuries.

It’s a few days since my return and I’m unpacking gear, sorting out the video and deciphering my notes. In the next couple of weeks I’ll review what I’ve accomplished and learned in detail. Specifically, I want to look at equipment – what worked, what didn’t and what was missing, such as a waterproof housing for the camera with fixed mounting points for hands free recording in heavy weather.

The overall approach to documenting is worth looking at too. I’ve an enhanced appreciation for the amount of effort needed – planning and scheduling a documentary film, shooting the film, sailing between 4 – 8 hours a day, packing and unpacking a boat and blogging. That’s a lot of stuff to do. It will be fun to discuss how this all flowed.

Packing and cargo strategies are significant – where does everything go, how quickly can the boat be packed and unpacked, do items need to be dry, how can packs be shifted to balance the boat while sailing? How would cargo be recovered if the boat flipped? I often spent hours getting ready to launch in the morning, is there any way to speed this up?.

Looking over the blog, it’s fairly skeletal. It’s a little tough to follow along, a chart showing my route would have been ideal. 90% of the video has yet to be posted.

So while the computer churns away, turning Vixia video into something I can edit, there’s plenty to think about.

The Wind Blew Me Home – Chapter 2

It’s best to start the morning slowly after a 9 hour enchanted sail, to take a languid inventory of all of your parts, cozy warm in the sleeping bag. A trip down to the boat for toothbrush and iPhone charging gear, a sauntering walk in an open sunny field to brush up the teeth and make a nitrogen rich deposit, lazing in the tent with a light breakfast of cheese, raisins and sesame butter.

Atop the bluff, the wind felt stiff and westerly. I was packed and launched by 1:00 pm.


Looking back at North Manitou Island, north is to the left and south to the right. The bluff campsite above the landing is the green swath just left of south edge of the photo. Crescent City is the low lying area to the north.

After much tacking and fitful wind, I finally approached and cleared South Manitou at 5:00 pm. The wreck of the Francisco Morazan standing out in the sun was a temptation, I’d never been able to approach from the water, much less board her. That expedition would have meant another night camped and now that I was only 19 miles from my home turf I felt ready to finish, even if it meant sailing into the night again. Also, who could say what the wind and the weather would be tomorrow or the next day? Sans robot radio and cell phone connection, not me.

An ore boat on the horizon

An ore boat on the horizon

My charts gave me a heading of 193 degrees, and a half an hour later I could see some smudges on the far southern horizon, my destination. The wind was blowing me home now to the south and then eventually providing real power from the east. As Point Betsie grew, I kept looking back at South Manitou to gauge how much I had traveled. The big bluffs were still towering over the water 10 miles away. I had never realized how easily one could spot the Manitou Islands from Point Betsie. No wonder John Barnes had lusted after them. He and Joe Sturges had done the trip on their 16 foot Hobie Cat almost 20 years ago, and everyone thought them crazy kids.


I decided to head to the western most edge of the point rather than follow the bearing offered by my chart. I hadn’t been adjusting for declination on the trip and I suspected that was why the chart offered the odd bearing off to the east. There’s a reason it’s called Point Betsie – the lighthouse is at the end of the point.

There was some question whether the light in the lighthouse was actually operational. It had been years since I’d been there at night and the complex had been mostly decommissioned and sold to private parties many years ago. I spotted the Frankfort Airport light, past the bluff and behind Crystal Lake about 10 miles. Crystal Lake! The Artist house and my Benzie rook was about as close as Point Betsie now, if Hello World could go airborne.

The west was gray and overcast so the last hour of the sun’s progress was hidden. There would likely be no sunset watchers at Point Betsie to greet me. I was judging how much light I had left by the official sunset time from windfinder.com – 7:44 pm. It was just about that time when the lighthouse began flashing at me! Yee hoo!


I really felt a homecoming now, like a mariner of old returning to home port. The wind was stronger and I even got a little song out of the rudders as I flashed past the lighthouse. The moon was like a streetlight, bright and white on the beach. As I turned into the beach, the wind just shut off. I made a couple of feeble passes back and forth before finally landing with a crunch. Made it!

I threw all the bags off and dragged up Hello World, using the baolong fenders under the hulls over as usual. It was a good hour before she was 6 feet from the surf, sitting prettily on her baolongs. I repacked her for the night removing only the bike, the prepared food bag and the drybag containing the precious cargo of project hard drive and computer. I hit the road and biked the 6 or so miles back to the house. I was in the tub soaking and sipping stew by 11:00.

The next morning I started catching up on the blog. My plan was to call Patrick as if from the boat and ask him to go to my house to “look for something”. Then I’d surprise him by being there. My brother Steve called to ask where I was, I made some misleading references to Wisconsin and so forth, telling him that my actual location was secret. Patrick called me back later and told me he’d drive to my house in 45 minutes and would call me from there.

After about an hour of waiting for Patrick I got a call from Justin at the Coast Guard. Did I have a boat called Hello Kitty at Point Betsie? There was a report it was half in the surf and he wanted to know if there were people that needed searching for. I assured him that no search was needed and that I’d be picking up the boat later that day. Half in the water? I checked windfinder and sure enough, the easterly wind had picked up over 30 mph overnight, possibly blowing Hello World off the beach. Shit, where was Patrick? Icalled his cell without getting through. I then started to worry that maybe something happened to him, he was running pretty late now.

I forgot about all my clever surprise tactics and just waited for him to drive up. When he did I jumped in and said “Let’s go to Point Betsie.” Off we went.

Sure enough Hello World was being sucked into the surf, her gear hanging off precariously. The baolongs were long gone, but amazingly, everything else was there. We threw off our shoes and socks and waded into the frigid surging waves to do battle. Struggling against the sucking surf, we tossed off all her baggage and began wrestling her up. I had left one of the hull drain cocks open and water and sand had packed itself into the hull, increasing her weight. Not good.

With a few clueless tourists looking on, we eventually muscled her up high and dry. All the baggage and sails went into Patrick’s Subaru. We dropped the mast and lashed it to the roof rack. Much lightened, we were able to drag her all the way to the dune grass. While we were there John Anderson from Detroit showed up. He had phoned his brother with the project URL and they had checked out ondesire.com, got my information and phoned the Coast Guard. He had even tried to pull her up with help from some bystanders. So not all tourists are clueless, my apologies!


John Anderson, Hero


Post Point Betsie recovery - Photo by Patrick Kelly

I put a request into Jim Barnes to borrow his van. He had a catering job the next day but said he was pretty much ready and would be happy to give us a hand. We drove to his house and the three of us jumped into Jim’s van (after unhooking the catering trailer) and sped out to the property where he keeps his Hobie 16 and trailer, with only an hour until dusk. We off-loaded his Hobie and dragged the trailer over to Point Betsie where I waylaid a sunset watcher from Springfield, Illinois to help drag Hello World to the road. The four of us together huffed and puffed her up to the trailer suffering no serious injuries in the process. I thanked our friend and sent him back to the water with plenty of time to see the sun sink. Getting her up on the trailer and strapped down in a jiffy, we were off again to my place to dump Hello World gently in the driveway. Another trip back to Jim’s property where we put his Hobie back on his trailer (it was dark now) and finally returning to his house for a beer and sandwiches. Phew! Patrick and I eventually returned to the house where I taught him to smoke sage out of the old flintlock pistol.

The Wind Blew Me Home – Chapter 1

Photo by Ritch Branstrom

So Long Stonington Peninsula - Photo by Ritch Branstrom

There I was in Wisconsin waters, having just passed between Washington Island and the Door Peninsula. Twenty eight miles in 3 hours, a decent trek for one day. I’d left Ritch and Hello World’s caretakers, Bunny and Ed at noon near the limestone cliffs of the Stonington Peninsula and caught a brisk wind south. A delightful ride, save for my nearly frozen feet. Too much strolling around in the Little Bay Du Noc preparing to launch. Also, a bit of confusion along the way about which shimmering mirage was actually Washington Island. Too much western slide and I could sucked into the funnel of Green Bay.

I’d just tip toed over the shoal between Plum Island and a tiny mainland town not shown on my charts, when it happened. The wind kicked in with a magical tingle, the tiller gave a little jump and Hello World swept away from Wisconsin, back out into the open waters of Lake Michigan!

Not finding any stuck linkages in the rudders or snagged sail lines, I concluded that mystic powers were at work. Based on the SE course, the next landfall would be Point Betsie, 44 miles away! 3:00 pm was a little late to start Big Lake crossing, but the wind was a friendly NW ish at 8 knots (7 mph), the sun was shining, there was plenty of food and what the fuck.

It was a steady ride. An hour or two later I could discern a shimmering shadow on the horizon, a very prominent point or an island. Point Betsie could not be sticking out that much! Perhaps this was an enchanted island, impossible to chart and reachable only by a special boat such as the very one I was not quite sailing.


The shadow to the SE grew and darkened to a silhouette, while the sun sank towards the horizon. Time slowed and all events extended into infinity, the island (for certainly it was an island) forever getting closer, the sun ever dropping towards the waters edge… but neither did the island arrive nor the sun set. I successfully took pictures of this state of events, establishing hard evidence that reality is variable. Sailboats sailing themselves is one thing, but a deactivation of the spacetime continuum? C’mon!

Eventually the island got close enough to be identified – North Manitou! There were the great sandy bluffs north of Crescent City.  Still the sun sank ever closer to the horizon without touching it, let alone pass behind it. I could see the potholes and blowouts to the north of the island. I wondered how I could safely land without lights to guide me in, for North Manitou is a maintained in a state of wilderness, no houses and no fires. That’s when the full miracle manifested. I noticed a nearly full moon hanging over the island. When the sun passed, the moon would guide me in.


I gobbled some vegetarian heat fuel in preparation for the final approach – raisins, sesame butter and mild cheddar, all mixed up. Now that our destination was obvious, I was back in control. The wind was getting more intense now and I was on the wire, that is to say I was harnessed up and attached to the trapeze, counterbalancing the push of the wind by standing out away from the boat. A grand sight for any late season campers equipped with magnification – Hello World dashing toward them through the swells, sails ablaze with orange sunset sailed by a mad shaman, standing back and flipping perpetually overboard, sheet in one hand and tiller in the other. A grand site from my angle, no doubt!


I had switched on my little nav light for some pretense at legality, but it’s light blinded me and I missed Crescent City by 100 yards. We crashed up on wide sandy beach, clunking a few rocks at the very end. I jumped off, waded to the bow and immediately fell into the surf, the sheet line wrapped around my legs. It was now about 9 pm and I was chilled and shaky. Hello World was banging up and down in the surf, I had to get her unloaded and properly beached. I dragged packs off her in the moonlight, dropped sails and after an hour or so, had her safely up. I struggled into the camp pack and followed what I thought was a wash up the bluff, but turned out to be a trail to a idyllic campsite. Popped the tent, climbed in and fell into a coma.

Heading ESE

To Wisconsin!

Still in the UP

It’s 9:00 am at Rapid River, Michigan on the Stonington Penninsula. There’s a big wind ready to blow me south to Green Bay and beyond. Robot weather reports are out of commission as my little radio got wet on the trip across the Big Bay Du Noc. I’m relying on windfinder.com which predicted windspeeds falling to 17 mph by 10:00am. That’s my tentative launch time. Theoretically running with the wind matches boat speed to wind speed, so if I can handle the boat in this blow then I’ll make Wisconsin in an hour or two.

Launch canceled. Ritch and I drove up to the boat and it’s blowing 20 mph steady with gusts to 25-30. Chilly too. I’ll be here another day looks like. Good for a blog update!

Ritch and I discovered several additional artifacts of sustainable civilizations in our interviews.


I jettisoned the sludge around 9:00 am and headed southwest, with the intention of hyper jumping 40 miles across the UP and camping just past the Garden Peninsula on summer island. It was to be a short and very intense day.

The wind was blowing from the NE at a solid 15 – 20 mph and the swells were 10+ feet from trough to crest. The first 2 hours were some of the most exhilarating and awe inspiring I’ve ever lived.

For those of you who ski or snowboard, think about moguls. Approaching a field of moguls at speed, the mind slips into a space where evaluation and reaction blend together, we observe our decisions rather than make them. Now imagine the moguls moving, rising up and collapsing all around, rushing at you, pulling away.

A Hobie 16 has two basic controls, the tiller by which the rudders turn the boat and the sheet lines that control the tension on the main sail and the jib, which determines how fast the boat moves. When running with the wind, the jib may not be so important as it is often blocked by the main sail. On this day only the tiller (direction) and main sheet line (speed) are relevant.

Technical explanation starts…

Airplanes are sucked up into the air, not thrust up into it. Airfoils (wings) are so shaped that air traveling over the wing is moving faster than air traveling under the wing, lowering the air pressure at the top because the fast moving air thins out. Lower pressure (vacuum) at the top sucks the wing up.

A fabric sail can take a wing shaped profile too and that’s the most efficient kind of sailing, enabling boats to go faster than the wind. Instead of going up, the sailing ‘wing’ is pulled forward. When the wind is coming from directly behind the sailboat and the sheet is at right angles to the hull, the wing shape isn’t possible because the wind only has access to one side of the sail. In this situation the sail is pushed by the wind so the speed of the boat is about the same as the speed of the wind.

Loosening the sheet lines allows the sail to swing towards 90 degrees, decreasing speed. Tightening the sheet with a corresponding change of direction enables the wind to travel past both sides of the sail, increasing speed. Keep in mind that going slower doesn’t mean stopping. Running with a 15 mph wind, the boat will be traveling about 15 mph. The only way to apply brakes is to get out of the wind. Imagine a car that could only slow down only if it turned 180 degrees. Might be tough to u-turn if you are going 50 mph.

Wait a minute, 15 mph isn’t very fast! Going 15-20 mph on a 16 ft Hobie cat on big water feels like going 50 mph on a motorcycle or 90 mph in a car.  Screwing up in any case could be bad. There’s loose ropes to get tangled up in, big hunks of aluminum and fiberglass flying through the air if the hobie flips and of course plenty of water for drowning. Trust me, 15-20 mph on a Hobie cat is intense.

Technical explanation ends…

Esoteric explaination begins…

Sailing is a collaboration between the crew, the boat and the local manifestation of the universe. Think about this – the sailboat and sailor are a synergy, alone they can do nothing but together they form a unique entity, a sailing being. The sailor senses and acts with her entire body, the face and hands read the direction and speed of the invisible wind, the eyes take in sail telltales and shape, what the water is up to and where the hell she is going. The body feels the swell and drop of the boat on the water, the pitch and roll of the hulls. The ears hear how the boat frame is twisting, the song of the rudders, how the water is rushing past the hulls and the bluster of the air as it interacts with the boat. In intense wind complete body presence is required, an absolute activation of sense and ability. It’s an ecstatic state, an excellent terror.

Can a boat be conscious? I give my consciousness to the boat and integrate myself (submerge or release) into the aluminum, dacron and steel. I can think, but it’s SO not needed – and can even be a dangerous. I give my mentation to the synergy and it spreads out over the whole being, into every rope and wire. What I am has fuzzy edges, my edges don’t stop at my skin or even the hulls and sails. I am the surging water, the moving air, the warming sun or the ominous clouds – it’s all relevant. Effective action in the center of a synergy is thought free, I am not because I think, I am because I am. Once I let it out and open it up, consciousness is clearly everywhere. Getting in that space is to tap into true power.

Esoteric explaination ends…

Ok so, enough exposition, back to the story. I am on a 16 foot Hobie Cat with about 500 lbs of cargo. That’s the equivalent of 3 medium sized sailors, close to the maximum crew capacity for the Hobie 16. 330 lbs of that is dead weight, backpacks that need to be shifted and secured for proper balance. Live crew would supposedly go where they were told without pushing and prodding. I am wearing a harness hooked into a long wire attached to the mast, this let’s me shift my weight to where it’s needed to balance the boat. Left hand ready on the sheet line and right hand grabs the tiller. There’s a 15-20 mph wind behind the boat and 15 foot waves rising and collapsing all around, moving approximately in the same direction as the wind.

Here’s a taste of what inner dialog might sound like if there was time to have it. The following paragraph would take about 3 seconds in realtime and my reactions would be automatic, without deliberation.

We (me and Hello World) tighten the sheet (sheet in) and turn slightly to the left (port) to rush up the sloping back of a big wave, lining up with the wave with a slight starboard turn as we reach the tippy top.  As the wave crest white caps and curls, we teeter over the brink and hurtle down the wave’s face, dropping 15 feet over 20 feet of forward travel, immediately loosening the sheet (sheet out) and sliding over to port to keep the forward tips of our hulls from digging into the bottom of the wave’s trough. As the hulls glide into the trough we sheet in to accelerate up the next wave… but wait, the next wave is already collapsing, we’re in a wind shadow from the wave we just rode. Hard to port, sheet in and accelerate! Racing parallel to the waves, we find another wave to climb – faster! Don’t let a big wave hit us broadside and roll us over, here it comes – too late! Hard turn to starboard, ass to the wave and surf it for all it’s worth, sheet out! Turn to port, sheet in and up out of the new trough, quick!

Sheet in, sheet out, weave back and forth, climb and surf – for two hours! I felt fluid, automatic, intuitive. All the endless hours as a kid on the Hobie 14 came back to me, the tai chi like slow motion sailing in hardly a puff of wind, the hold on for dear life crazy ass blowing shouting for survival. All that time I was just playing around, thrills and fun – of no consequence, no importance… or so I thought. That experience came bubbling up to serve me in the moment. I didn’t know I knew how to sail like that. It was sublime.

After two hours the wind let up a bit and I could come off of DEFCON 5 – high alert. Though it never felt like stress or unpleasant, just scary and wonderful.

With all this heavy manuevering, Zilliax’s bike began to eat through it’s ropes. One bungie stood between me and total disaster, I had to stop for an emergency fix.  To have a frigging bicycle dragging under the boat in these conditions would be unthinkable and horrific. So it was that I crash landed on the next available spit of land. Coming in at a moderately high speed, we hit the shallow stony bottom and skidded over 50 feet with much crunching and grinding. I jumped off and secured the bike while Hello World was rocked back and forth on it’s hard perch. Getting her out of the shallows was an epic feat, but at last we were back in open water.

I knew that Summer Island was just beyond the last point on the Garden Peninsula, but point after point passed without any sign of an island. After another hour or so of hard sailing, I started thinking about taking a break. To the north, a tempting blowout beckoned. I decided to turn right and give it a rest…

1:00 pm when we landed, 4 hours total transit time, with an hour spent fixing bike ropes and sidetracking to a rest stop. 40 miles in an intense 3 hours. A personal, phew, record.

The Upper Peninsula

I saw the Upper Penninsula of Michigan pretty quick but my vector brought the coast up gradually. As the shore came into view, I could not see the rosy beige colors of friendly quartz sand beaches, but rather blue water breaking on gray shelves of stone. Not ideal for landing, but the wind was moderate. Simultaneously drawing closer and moving up the coast, the gray broke suddenly and familiar dunes and blowouts appeared. I swooped in for a landing, avoiding a cabin further north. Just as I landed I saw a flash of blue through the trees to the south – another cottage? I’d have to check this out before making camp.

Hello World was awash in thick algae as I tugged her up. It was a sort of organic sludge that I’d never seen before. I quickly bopped down the beach to check out that blue flash and found tire tracks in the sand heading that way. Turned out to be a chemical toilet at a turnaround with fire pits. I’d stumbled upon a public access – and not a soul in sight. Workable.

I trudged back to the boat and warily observed the muck, it was mostly green so how bad could that be? I dropped sail and made camp, deciding to sleep on the boat in case there was any sudden activity or vehicles from the public access. I would use the tarp rather than the tent to expedite my morning departure. I pumped the muck water and made stew which turned out to be pretty yummy.

Back in the woods behind the dunes there were signs that the property was being carved up for sale. Why does everything have to be for sale?


Bye bye Beaver

Seemed like I’d stayed for days and days, but it was only four days. Easy to get in the groove on Beaver with so many friendly folks around.  I’m off to pack the boat and launch. With luck, Naubenway today.

I bought gear and parts at Power Hardware – washers to make a new pulley to replace the one I lost on the main sheet traveler, a new compass, anchor bag… so many things vanish on the water, securing gear is an important discipline that comes from hard experience. The list of things lost is long. Not to mention things ruined – iPhone from trusting untested equipment. I mostly mourn the lost things because now they are in the lake where they just don’t belong, it’s a double badness, I loose useful stuff and the lake accumulates more crap.

I also sent rent for my Brooklyn crib to Phil Charles in Brooklyn. The post office lady gave me a free postage paid envelope ’cause I only had my ATM card and there was a minimum $10 charge. Is this a groovy place or what?

I didn’t make it off Beaver until 5:00 pm, so I popped over to Garden Island and camped, ready for an early morning depature between Whisky and Squaw Islands.

An Island called Beaver

There are disasters, problems and blessings. Any life worth living is an admixture of these. So much life in a couple of days.

First my current position. At a power enabled table in Danny Donegals Pub, Beaver Island, sipping a Oberon Beaver style, with a slice of orange. Short on paper money I am trying to stretch my $10 minimum so I can sit here for a couple of hours to charge batteries and copy memory cards. Started with an O’Hara’s Stout so I really don’t need another beer, but it’s a sacrifice I’ve got to make for the good of the project. Pam the bartender has got to be here until midnight so I coaxed her to switch off the hokey dance contest on TV and put on some music she likes – Tom Petty. She’s cleaning up and I’m making this movie.

I busted out of the anchor at Charlevoix at 8:30 am. The skipper of Pool Party yelled out as I passed,

“Where ya headed?”

“The U… P…” I shouted back.

He put his hand to his ear and I shouted again, but then one of his fishing lines tugged and he was no longer interested in my answer. The reason he didn’t hear me was because my answer was silly, I wasn’t headed for the the UP that morning, I was going for Beaver Island. I left him and grumbling cement plant behind me. It’s owned by the Brazilians I’ve since found out.


A cement plant that looks and sounds like what I imagine a nuclear reactor would.

Looking back at the compass, I noticed the needle had fallen off it’s pivot and the entire bezel was gone. This is the same bezel that had been frozen in place at the start of the trip. It would have taken some serious force to pop that bezel off, so there must have been a minor explosion from internal pressure, perhaps due to the dramatic temperature changes – from this morning’s 40 degree chill to the warmth of direct sunlight. There was a strong chemical smell from whatever liquid had been in there. I stuffed the remains into the pack. I’d have to rely on the new GPS enabled iPhone now.


Silva compass features handy exploding bezel

I skated north on southish winds for the better part of the day, coming in site of Beaver and watching her resolve from dark blobs into an actual island. The wind reports called for the blow to fade around 1:00 pm, so rather than take a lazy northerly course straight to the island, I decided to make faster vectors to the NE and NW to get close quickly. If I could get within a couple of miles of the island before the wind puttered out, I was probably good.

I made it to the southern tip and proceeded up the east coast by about 2:00 pm. The wind was indeed changing but I was within 1000 ft of shore, so I decided to anchor and take a swim. It was a perfect sandy bottom at about 30 feet of depth. The sun was shining and the water brisk, lovely. There were a couple of cottages visible on the beach with long stretches of sand between them. Why not land and reconnoiter?

The shore was unusual – polished gravel shoals or jettys running parallel to shore, sheltering deeper pools that lapped sandy beaches. The ducks and gulls watched with increasing annoyance as I approached their spots.

I pulled up Hello World and explored.  There were many signs of thriving wildlife and bright orange ribbons tied to trees as if marking a trail – the juxtaposition was kinda depressing.  I followed the ribbons and came to Donna’s Place, an empty cottage often rented, judging by the sign on the door. I headed back to the boat and made ready to launch, firing up the poopinator and debating my next move. Farther north was St James Bay and likely a decent cell signal. That seemed the best course of action.

I pushed off and moved north on an easy south wind. Sure enough, a big cell tower showed up just before St James Bay. I surprised Gretchen and then my parents by calling and reporting my location. I could imagine Gretchen telling her husband James – “Dan Kelly’s on Beaver Island!” This is the same James who bet me a dollar I couldn’t start an engine with the power of my mind. He also scared the dickens out of my dad by ranting on about how dangerous the big lake was just before I launched. Of course it’s dangerous, but my dad is already shitting bricks, he doesn’t need the husband of my producer getting him even more wound up. Actually, maybe it was good for him. It certainly made for a sweet moment – lightly tossing off my arrival at Beaver to my parents and thinking about how that might further open James to the possibilities of the universe. Gotta pay him back for all the awesome saunas he hosts!

At around 5:00pm I nosed into the bay and found the public beach just where Gretchen said it would be. My approach felt like some kind of necromancy, a perfect curving course right up to the beach that required no tacking. I was greeted by Jim, local grocery store owner. We chatted for a bit and he handed me a beer. My kind of place, Beaver Island. I asked the locals about camping under Hello World. “It’s probably illegal but no one will bother you,” was the response. Awesome.


Public beach on Beaver Island

That evening I called Gretchen’s people to schedule interviews. I ate a greasy double dinner at the Shamrock and told the Hungarian waitress that I loved her – in her native tongue. I was just kidding, I didn’t really love her but that’s the only phrase my grandmother was able to pass on to me. She was startled, the waitress that is. Afterwards we both fell back into our respective roles and nothing much else happened. I had friendly conversations with my table neighbors, charged batteries and copied files.

Dark night of Charlevoix

My iPhone had a mishap, so I am recalling events from a future perspective, having lost several posts in process. Having left Barnes Park around 10:30 am with it’s sparkling toilets, I made the dash for the end of Grand Traverse Bay and then with a little luck – Beaver Island. I got an encouraging start, then stalled out coming up to Fisherman’s Island Park. The wind was so lame I started for shore, then got encouraged by robot reports of decent south wind of 6 knots or so off Traverse light. I persisted and sure enough got a good few miles under me, getting within site of the cement plant in Charlevoix. It was big and slow to pass by, in hindsight a dark omen. With the wind blowing and my new night lights installed, I thought I could make Beaver even if I sailed into the evening hours. The forecasts were for a wind shift but then steady strong breezes that I could ride north – west or east, I can’t remember.

I started toward Beaver, putting the cement plant on my stern. It dwindled over the next few hours and off in the distance I could make out the weird shimmering phantasms that islands manifest when viewed from 15 miles away. I could see Beaver and so could use both the compass and a visual fix to navigate. Airplanes from Charlevoix flew back and forth on the Beaver run every hour or so, helping to point the way. Then 5 miles or so from Charlevoix, the wind shift began to feel more and more like wind dying. At about 7:30 pm I made the call, turn back, turn back! Becalmed in shipping lanes, with a frost advisory – not a good situation. I spun around and watched the sun drop for another hour as I fitfully creeped back toward that awful cement plant.

A rip roaring sunset with pink beams streaking across the dome of the sky. Hello World going slower, slower… stopped. It’s dusk and I’m paddling for some friendly looking dunes to the west of town about 2-3 miles away. After some confusion, my iPhone charts tell the story, the cement plant is the closest landfall. Now the ominous factor increases – didn’t Jeff mention that there was a nuclear plant up around these parts? Is that actually a nuclear power plant, are those domes containment vessels? Wouldn’t a nuclear power plant look more slick? What is homeland security going to think about a radical with an FBI record paddling a backpack ladened sailboat up to a nuclear power plant in the dead of night?

A boat approaches, cautiously. They come around in a long slow parabola, obviously casing me. Probably doing a night vision scan for weapons of mass destruction, expecting twin hulls filled with thermite or rocket launchers disguised as tripods. Whoever they are I feel unreasonably embarrassed to be naked, windless. A rakish sailboat shorn of all grace and speed, having no good reason to be out fumbling around in the deepening twilight. No I don’t want a tow, probably.

Off my stern, still a good 100 feet away, the pilot leans away from the wheel and asks,

“All good?”

Relieved and slightly sheepish I reply,

“Yeah, just waiting for some wind.”

No more questions or offers of help, he just motors off, as politely as he approached. He didn’t offer a tow. Stubborn and totally screwed to the last, that’s me.

Around 9:30 pm, a wind arrives, bringing me in, drawing me towards – the ominous complex. My destiny is to sleep next to this mighty grumbling monster, whatever it is. I drive in towards the lights of town tacking experimentally to see if I can somehow make those dunes. Nope, there’s no escape. On the last tack, I’m driving in to heaven knows what, a couple hundred yards or so from concrete towers and domes. Suddenly bumping on shallow rocks, I dive for the rudder release, the boat slews around while I’m busy and then there are huge rocks, dead ahead. I spin the boat around and away from collision more by force of will than anything, and we run gently aground. It’s not a beach, just big rocks guarding a marsh. A condo or commercial building with a few lit windows broods over the scene. The only option is to anchor and get into my sleeping bags and quick, it’s damn cold. I’ll never get the wetsuit off in time to pee, so I just let go right there. Baptism. I vow to at rinse it and me before getting into dry cloths. I jump off and drag the boat into deeper waters for anchor. The water feels toasty, a bad sign. The temperature of my extremities must be below the water temperature, 65F or so? Gotta move quick and get warm. Wish I had read Gretchen’s post about this very topic instead of just scanning it. What follows is a series of tedious but essential boat shut down proceedures, executed mostly in the dark and talking to myself encouragingly the whole time.

Finally – sails down and stowed and me on up the trampoline rinsed, dressed and ready to shut down. I get in the sleeping bags slightly damp from yesterdays dew and strip off my socks and bottoms. I have the over confident notion that I’ll keep them in the bag and dry them with my body heat, but nix that after my stone frozen feet make it clear that I’ve got to focus all my body heat on me. I close the bags’ drawskins until there’s only a snorkle opening for oxygen. It’s 11:00 pm. I drift off to the hum of american industry.

Dinner by candlelight

The candle is optimally situated. The bowl of quinoa porridge with collard greens and button mushrooms steams in the foreground, illuminated enough so that one may design a fortunate arrangement of tasty morsels on one’s spoon. In the background, in fact wrapped around and above the cozy bowl of porridge – everywhere the bowl is not – stars. I am eating at the edge of the cosmos tonight.

Polite waves lap at the sand not more than 4 feet from my booties. It’s 10:10 or rather 22:10, 2:10 utc.

My neighbors at Barnes Park campground are snug in their pop up campers or tents, each with thier own version of Hello World parked nearby. Are we sharing the same night, or am I alone in the theater of stars, gateway to the universe?

Before bed, I visit the glistening facilities at the campground. Is this cheating?

Old Mission to Barnes

Brisk north wind of 15 knots with gusts up to 25! Then there were the waves, crest to trough 4-5 ft at times. Sail up and over, big splash, do it again. After about 14 miles of tacking nw and ne to move 9 miles north, I was ready for a break and a rope check.

After running long vectors across the entire bay, I moved close to the east shore. The low dunes I’d spotted couldn’t be identified with the iPhone, but they looked remote and cottage free. As I approached I picked out sunbathers. A friendly chap named Gerry helped pull up the cat and informed me that there was a campsite above the beach, $25 for powered sites or $21 for unpowered. So much for remote.

A staff member at Barnes, Dillon, later told me I could stay on the beach as long as I wanted. I’ve decided to wait for the wind to slow and change direction from north to south as forecast. Plenty of nice folks here. Mark and Kathy of Onekema left me a care package.

Harvesting the sun to charge batteries and catch up on blogging.


Draining the hulls - a lot of water came out, maybe that's why the boat seemed sluggish in the big wind.

Fruit fly friendship

My bare back is covered with fruit flies, a delicious tingle like static electricity.

That’s this mornings update from the nitrogen accumulator, otherwise known as the dungomatic, TM. I’d anchored on a pretty wild beach and so was amazed to see them (feel them) in such profusion, but of course they have a life beyond humans. Aside from the surreal Groucho quip, this was my first positive fruit fly association. Another reason to get with nature – erotic encounters with wildlife.


Anchored on Old Mission Peninsula western edge, and a special moment on the dungomatic.

Anchored at the tip of Old Mission

After clawing my way out of Grand Traverse Bay for the better part of the afternoon, I decided to turn right and check out the tip of Old Mission Penninsula for overnight potential. It looked quite picturesque with seagulls and herons decorating verdant shoals and a white lighthouse. These are of course hints about the nature of the place as regards to sailboats, the tip of Old Mission is quite shallow and rocky. I swooped around the eastern shoal and ventured into a bay that only waterbirds and catamarans dare to enter. I bumped and clunked to the beach and landed. I didn’t much like vibe I got from the odd ducks (people)I saw pacing the beach, nor was the locale remote enough for camping. After consulting my iphone charts, (the new iphone with working GPS, yeah!), I decided to scrape and squeal back out and reconnoiter the western edge of the peninsula. I checked the western shoals on the way out, but their stony and flora entangled flanks were not ideal for pulling up a cat, though the birds seemed to dig them. Rounding them I found a very wild shore with a little island nearby, an appealing setup. It was far too shallow to land Hello World, so I opted to anchor and sleep on the trampoline, a first.


Looking north from Old Mission anchorage

Slow motion start

The bustling urban mileau fades ever so slowly into a haze of jet exhaust and wood smoke. Bows angling toward the arctic, I slither forward on an occassional puff of wind. 30+ miles before I can clear Grand Traverse Bay, with a bit more breeze I might make it before dark.



I’ve been at Jeff’s the first and last two nights with a visit to Crystal Lake in between to see the boy. When I wasn’t tuning the travel kit I was asking folks if they’d ever seen any sustainable civilizations. Busy 5 days.

I’ve got Steve Zilliax’s bike with me on the off chance I get to Canada and can give it back. It’s slung a little close to the waterline but I’ve since had a brainstorm for raising it up. I must be getting close to Hello World’s max cargo capacity.


Just before I left I visited a cwazy mofo whose refurbing a big cat (40ft?) for ocean travel, powered by kite. Seems like a lot of boat for one dude, he could have a rack of bikes!

Michigan Schooner Festival

I’d like to say that it was all part of the master plan, so maybe I will. I arrived in Traverse City just in time for the Maritime Heritage Alliance’s Michigan Schooner Festival, a (near) zero waste event. Around and about the festival I had some intriguing conversations. Future artifacts, predictions and portents.

Pete Bentley and Captain Tom Kelly of the Schoolship Inland Seas.

Ray Minervini and the Grand Traverse Commons

Back in Beulah

Caught some excellent interviews at the Schooner Festival yesterday with Tom Kelly, Master of the Inland Seas, Ray Minervinni of Grand Traverse Commons, Andy Gale from Bay Area Recycling for Charities and Tanya and Chris from Homegrown.

Hello World at anchor with majestic schooners in the background. Camera pulls back...

Hello World at anchor with majestic schooners in the background. Camera pulls back...


... and she's surrounded by smokers (motorboats). This shot is all about the ironic contrast between sail and smoke, please ignore the sunbathers - they have nothing to do with this shot... though perhaps one might find a striking resonance between svelte female anatomy and the sleek geometry of Hello World, or notice how nicely these women would both fit on the trampoline. Other than that, lounging bikini clad hotties are not relevant to this purely documentary moment illustrating an ironic contrast between a small footprint approach and... oh, whatever.

I borrowed Jeff’s car and returned to Crystal Lake last night for some quality time with Mr Boy and to pick up a few items. Heading back to Hello World tonight. Look for a Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday morning departure from Traverse City.

Jeff’s place

At the home of Jeff Gibbs, friend and advisor. Mentor even, feisty ally and occasional pain in the ass. He’s offering me a base of operations for reorganization and resupply here in Traverse City.

I’m off to the Schooner Festival to see if there is something fragment of the SC there. More soon!

Grand Traverse Bay

Stuck, stuck, stuck this morning from 10:00 am until 2:00 pm. When will I learn to turn on the radio?

Poised to enter Grand Traverse Bay after an excellent night under the clay cliffs of Northport’s big lake shores, I packed and launched. Nevermind that there was hardly a puff of wind – I had a schedule to keep. Kicking back on the trampoline, I lollygagged, loafed and waited for the wind to stir. After a couple of hours creeping north and getting some annoying texts from Jeff Gibbs in Traverse City such as…

“Are u really going to make it today?”


“From the tip of the leelanau to tc is equal to two thirds or more of the distance you’ve already sailed in six days?”

I tuned into the NOAA report and heard that there were east winds of 6 knots at Traverse light, just a couple miles north of my dead calm position. So where was MY wind? I began to paddle out of the land shadow…

Riding a northeast wind past Cat head Point, I passed Traverse light and turned south.  The rest of the afternoon and the better part of the evening was spent running with the wind, surfing.


I fired an update to Jeff predicting a landing at 8:00 pm, then at 7:00 pm moved my ETA to 9:00 pm. My actual arrival turned out to be 10:00 pm. Approaching Traverse City took forever. At sunset I still couldn’t see any landmarks, buildings even lights – just low hills funneling into haze. All the while surfing like crazy, bob sledding down trenches and half pipes of water. Finally lights appeared, but to my old flatscreen eyes they were just sodium colored star bursts in patterns that may or may not have suggested familiar features. The starbursts resolved slowly with much tacking to and fro, standing rigging clanging in the now fitful wind. To anyone watching us from shore, Hello World and I must have seemed dark specter slightly out of control in the blustery twilight.

Using the giant candy cane / fake lighthouse / massive power tower near where I believed to be second street, I landed tentatively just west of West End Beach and walked Hello World to where I saw some other boats anchored. I perched her on the beach and ran in check the proximity of the volleyball courts. I had hit it pretty nearly. I called Jeff and asked him to come for me in 30 minutes, while I offloaded and set an anchor. Took me more like 45 minutes but Jeff was a sport about it all, eventhough I had my wires crossed as to where I would meet him. We finally found each other and went back to his place for an epic bowl of pasta and sauce.

From 10:00 am – 10:00 pm, a trip and personal record of 33.95 miles.

This morning I borrowed his bike to check out the boat and scarf a breakfast burrito from the local organic food joint, just across the street from West End Beach!





It was late in the day when we approached Northport’s clay cliffs, reminiscent of crumbling citadels. Several spots looked agreeable and unpopulated from the water, but I decided to chase down a couple walking north along the beach and get the skinny. We had to tack repeatedly to catch up to them.

“Ok to camp around here?”, I shouted, after a brief introduction.

“Sure, there’s nice sand that way,” the fellow replied, pointing south.

Hello World and I spun around and found a lovely little roost, just before sunset.

northport IMG_0651

looking east

northport IMG_0652

looking west

Some images are beyond documentation. A tent glowing with a single candle under a star scattered sky. Goodnight from Northport, Michigan.

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