Long-time readers of this blog know why I haven’t posted in a while… it’s annoying to archive months of hand-wringing and analysis over what to next. I’ve spent a few months juggling the trade-offs of a variety of facilities including a row of shipping containers, modified semi-trailers, a thorough revamping of my moldy lab in the forest, a new sunny shop stylistically consistent with the house, and a grandiose 5,000 square foot building with multi-source hydronic heat and a boat bay that can hold the trailered Nomadness.

Somewhere along the way the facilities obsession started to feel like a bit of a distraction from the real point of all this, which, as I recall, had something to do with getting my sedentary butt (before it’s too old to get in gear) back onto a boat where it belongs.

So I shelved the building issue and spent a few weeks engaging in what they call “soul searching” but is really a sloppy mish-mash of wall-staring, list-making, ear-bending, book-reading, and truth-admitting. And ya know what? I don’t have the right boat.

Before you roll your eyes and mutter, “oh, jeez, here we go again,” consider: once I accepted that the mission profile had evolved in 15 years to the point where tiny Microships were no longer my substrate of choice for full-time adventure, the whole technomadic landscape changed. Last year, in a rather abrupt reversal from the course of ship-questing that included such expensive near-misses as the massive project boat and corresponding education in the wiles of (some) yacht brokers, I bought this exquisite Corsair 36 trimaran and instantly took off for a month of single-handed adventure. And man, was it sweet…

So I returned with a big list of projects and set about trying to figure out how to wrap a lab around 50 feet of folded beauty, as winter settled in and relentlessly hammered the island with the worst windstorms and snow in a decade. I started learning to play the piano, set up a studio, went through a major relationship change, switched kayaks to something that would fit on the Corsair net, created an intermediate set of Shacktopus design objectives called Kayaktopus, and kept drawing pole buildings as the world again turned green and the water beckoned.

Oh. Right.

My intent, in a nutshell, is to conjure a self-sufficient nautical escape pod that has the capability of supporting full-time global voyaging (though there is no particular travel plan). There are lots of reasons for this, but that’s not the point at the moment. The fact of the matter is that I’m a 6’4″ guy with lower back problems and lots of gizmology (purists might dismiss the latter and say “just keep it simple and go, you idiot” but it’s the geeky integration that makes this fun for me… so the on-board lab is non-negotiable). As much as I love this sexy trimaran parked in my yard (and as capable as it is compared to a Microship), it’s just not big enough for my current and anticipated needs. Nomadness is a sleek and fast racer-cruiser, highly effective adrenaline generator, head-turner, and agile explorer… but I could never truly live aboard year-round, and building systems to do so would only be postponing the inevitable.

So yes, here we go again. She is for sale, and the ship quest has resumed. I’m also not going to put up any new buildings (just improve the old one as needed to make it more usable, rentable, or saleable).

One very nice side effect of all this is that the vast pile of stuff no longer floats among a bunch of ambiguous categories like “might need if I build a new lab” and “better keep in case I ever really settle down.” Now it’s just: home base, boatable, or unnecessary.

Funny how this whole Camano Island interlude is now closing in on the ten-year mark; I came here at the beginning of 1998 to finish the Microships and get moving. William Least Heat-Moon was right. The wanderer’s danger is to find comfort.

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