Make New Friends, and Set Your Brain on Fire

This weekend we did the unthinkable: we went to Friday Harbor and back in one day. A trip that takes us three days on Moonrise took us 3 hours or so on the Victoria Clipper, a boat that is the marine equivalent of a South African taxi. It’s really fast,  not particularly comfortable and lots of people are crammed onto it, but it gets you where you are going and the scenery can be pretty. Plus, in the case of the Clipper, there is unlimited free coffee and tea, and the coffee is actually not bad. Bring your own food. Just saying.

Bye bye, Seattle.

We went to Friday Harbor to meet up with Steven Roberts of Nomadness fame. Steven, who refers to himself as a ‘technomad’, is the inventor of the Microship and has spent his life inventing geeky things and playing with interesting integrated systems of all kinds. He owns an Amazon 44, a steel sailboat which is a pretty dreamy boat. I’ll be writing a review of the boat for Three Sheets Northwest and he is considering putting his boat up for sale. For now, just know that this boat could take someone literally anywhere they wanted to sail in safety and in style.

I’ve been a fan of Steven’s website for a couple of years now. He has many cool ‘boat hacking’ kinds of ideas that he shares with people, such as holding curtains to your boat ports with earth magnets for a clean and easy look, and a portable boat seat that attaches to the steps of the companionway. I’m saving those posts for later because, hey, the rain is here which means that boat season is pretty much over and I’m going to be scrounging for copy.

S/V Nomadness at her great dock location in Friday Harbor.

But I know that you are dying to find out how our brains got set on fire; why we could literally feel the heat as our neurons made new connections in uncharted territory. It all happened because of our new friend Steven’s forward rowing system on his sailing dinghy. You know how it’s impossible to see where you are going when you row a little boat the normal way? I hate that and many is the time that I turn around and row backwards, bow first, which is not a particularly efficient way to row. (Plus, people look at you like you don’t know what you are doing, and certain types of men try to correct you.)

I managed to NOT hit the pilings behind me. This was encouraging.

So Steven just couldn’t let us get away without letting us try rowing his sailing dinghy with the special forward rowing system. We’re game to be laughed at, so we both said , ‘Sure! We will set our brains on fire for other people’s amusement! No problem!’. And so it came to pass. I went first, managing to get the boat out from the dock, row around, and come back without actually crashing into anything. Oh, the hilarity! Then it was Mike’s turn. He is left handed in a big way. I don’t know if that matters, but perhaps it does. All I know is that if you think it is easy, you try it.  He may have taken photos of me, but I VIDEO taped him! Enjoy! (And just ignore that conversation Steven and I are having. I don’t know how to remove it.)

After a great visit with Steven and Nomadness, we had a couple of hours to ‘do’ Friday Harbor. What we ‘did’ was eat lunch at Pablito’s Taqueria: Mexican food meets Pacific Northwest.  I’m not particularly a ‘foodie’, but the Coffee Braised Pork Taco made a party in my mouth. Yum and Yum! I would take the Clipper back to Friday Harbor just so I could order those tacos again. Forget the rice and beans and whatever else was on my plate.  Give me the taco and a good beer and I’ll be happy. If you go to Friday Harbor, go get some of these pork tacos. You won’t be disappointed.

I care nothing about any of these other foods. I am all over those coffee braised pork tacos.


11 thoughts on “Make New Friends, and Set Your Brain on Fire

    • I’ve thought about using a rear view mirror. I don’t think Steven created this, but it appeals to his geek side. You can find other videos on You tube for the forward facing rowing.

  1. Hi from Nomadness! I really enjoyed your visit, and the post…

    Regarding the forward rowing system… indeed, that was not my design; it is from these folks:

    I got it as an option on my Gig Harbor 10′ Navigator (and love it… makes all the difference in the world with my funky back, not to mention the pure geeky pleasure of the contraption!).


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  3. Funny, small world. A dear friend of ours used to know Steve Roberts, and I think even participated in some seriously geeky work parties back, oh, 10 years ago or more.

    I think we still have his books from his earlier land-based bicycling adventures as well. We might have even met him at some event , but I don’t remember for sure… (That’s getting into my secretly semi-uber geeky past, a world collision probably best avoided.) It’s great to know he’s still out there doing neat stuff!

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