Nomadness in Montague Harbor

We are now in Deer Harbor on Orcas Island, back in the US after 2 convoluted weeks in the Gulf Islands of Canada. This photo is from Montague Harbour on Galiano Island… we were hiking among the glacier-worn rocks, shell middens, and ancient madrona trees of Gray Peninsula, and Sky snapped this candid moment with Nomadness in the background.

That idyllic scene already seems impossibly far away; tomorrow will see the cutting of a large hole in my steel deck for the Little Cod wood stove, along with the corresponding substantial change in the ship’s interior. Among other things, we’ll need to modify the engine access panels and add grab rails to minimize the potential for stumbling into a hot stovepipe. This is a critical life-support component… being able to scrounge heat without being dependent on diesel fuel is as essential as the solar panels and watermaker. A wood stove is cozy, too.

Canada was relaxed and almost dreamlike, though perhaps that feeling is partly a by-product of my own current perception of initiating a mode-shift into facilities-dependent complexity in a time of massive economic and political absurdity. Frankly, I’d prefer to just keep meandering around in my favorite traveling style of avoiding straight lines, as revealed in this GPS track of the past couple weeks:

Gulf Islands Nomadness track – 2008

As to the upcoming geek overload, all is not lost! My old friend Tim Nolan, who built the Microship’s peak power tracker as well as a number of other interesting devices, is planning to come visit to take on a project or two. I welcome other techies to participate, and I keep a public project list (now inactive) here on the site as a sort of menu of gonzo engineering and gizmological goodness. I love company, as well as the stimulating synergy of building toys with kindred spirits.

It’s quiet at anchor tonight, but tomorrow the steel chips will fly!

(PS: Sky just did an excellent blog posting about self-sufficiency, with another take on the projects that are getting underway.)


  1. Jonathan on September 29, 2008 at 2:34 pm

    Hi Steve. All sounds great — especially the addition of the wood stove. If possible, my wife Michelle and I would enjoy making a visit to meet / connect on your return to Camano Isle. I am an eager-to-learn techie, so a visit to see microship, shacktopuss and other techievements would be fun. BTW, is Behemoth at home as well? Also, I am working on a project which may be of interest and I would enjoy bouncing ideas around with you. If possible, send me an email and I’ll reply with a short project summary. All for now. 73. de KK7PW

  2. Steve Roberts on September 29, 2008 at 4:18 pm

    Hi Jonathan… a visit would be delightful! I don’t have your email (it’s not revealed by the comment system) – drop me a line at and we’ll chat.

    73 de N4RVE

  3. Pete McGill on November 26, 2008 at 3:04 pm

    Hello Steve;
    I’ve been reading your blog with interest but not being a techi much of the electronics has gone right over my head. However I did understand the installation of the wood burning stove and the reason for it. Has to be a nice cozy source of heat in a fairly cold area.
    One thing that struck me was the three “techi’s” that it took to install the thing.I don’t think I’ve ever seen a stove pipe that had so much brainpower working on it’s installation at one time. Ha! Most of the pipes I’ve seen are hanging on by a piece of bailing wire but that’s not the case with yours. Good job with the stove and with your yacht in general. She’s a beautiful way to travel and I hope you enjoy many peaceful and uneventful trips with her. Pete McGill,Bonita Springs,Fl.

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