The Ides Of Marches

On the road to Tonopah Arizona. I wonder how the weather is there today.

Well there’s my tired clichė about the beginning of March. It can go right on the shelf beside the lamb and the lion, and oh yeah, the groundhog. Spring must be coming. Herds of dock inspectors roamed the marina yesterday, peeking into windows, thumping hulls and scanning boat rigs. After empty docks all winter, they’re back. It is nice way to spend some time on a sunny day, drifting and dreaming. Despite my despondency about parting with my boat, I too savoured the warm sunny day and I tried to see the world through the eyes of a landlubber. Like the rest of the Northern Hemisphere, winter still holds Vancouver Island in its icy grip. We do spells of clear skies, there is a little snow melting during the day and I did see some snow drops growing among the bushes. Other years there have been daffodils at the end of January. Both scenarios have the doom-gloomers declaring clear evidence of global warming. I’ll leave them to sort it out. And yes, I am aware of all the gasoline I burned on my recent trip.

There will be an incredible flower show in the desert in a few more weeks. I want to be there.

Of doom and gloom, the final transaction for the sale of ‘Seafire’ is a week away. I have spent days unloading the boat, one groaning, squeaking wagon-load at a time all the long way up the dock and ramp. Every time I have moved off of a boat I have been amazed at the “Stuff” a person accumulates. Now I’m giving my beloved her final scrub, removing winter’s grunge. And we all know that the deal is never done until it is done. The suspense is killing me. Oddly, there are two new inquiries, one of which involves delivering her to San Francisco, but truth be told, I am beseeching the gods for a last minute miracle which will allow me to keep my wonderful boat and travelling companion of so many miles. We have endured a lot together and I shall sorely miss her, and the whole idea of her, when the final day comes.

I have also decided to sell my old van. Wanna buy a camper van? It is a faithful little old bus but I know what I need now so I may as well clear the table and start over. I see other people settling into a comfortable retirement and the notion of a new beginning seems odd at my age but life is an adventure. I remind myself of Francis Chichester, who well into his seventies, and fighting cancer, set sail alone on an incredibly difficult-to-manage yawl ‘Gypsy Moth IV’, travelled around the world and then wrote his memoirs. Then a dark monkey on my shoulder asks, “So what’s your point?”

It can certainly be tough to stay positive and buoyant. On occasion I’ve let it slip that I have lived with clinical depression of all my life. I’m not complaining, just explaining. It has certainly been no sleigh ride and there are times when enduring another dreary day seems absolutely pointless. Being a blue-collar character I have lived in a world where such a thing is never admitted or discussed. That I live into “full maturity” (how’s that for a positive spin on ‘pre-geriatric’?) is, I think, a positive and happy story. On my recent trip I met inspiring people who deal with many challenges which would shatter others. Their life-force is a positive radiation and a wonderful influence which helps inspire their fellows forward. I consider how folks live elsewhere and marvel often at the obvious poverty and dreariness and wonder how people live a life which, to me, appears unbearable. There are secrets and courage which I do not begin to understand. As bleak as I’m feeling these days, I am struggling to finish reading a book called “The Bookseller of Kabul” by Asne Seierstad. It is an amazing inside look at the everyday lives of Afghani people, incredibly well-written and depressing as hell. The normal life of these people, especially the women, could make a stone weep. Their lives can only be endurable because they know nothing else. Are our expectations the root of our unhappiness?

I may be a creature of the sea but I left a piece of my heart at Baboquivari and in the desert . I will return.
I think I left a wrench here. I’m going back to find it.

I also marvel at the new things I see. In the desert, with the eyes of a newcomer, and a sailor, I saw flora and fauna which survive and thrive in incredibly harsh conditions. There is a reason for life to go on against massive odds beyond my comprehension. A joy which helps life make sense and have purpose is seeing those things and realizing that we too have a place in those circles, even if we don’t understand the total sum of the all the parts.

Stuff! It’s all just stuff. As much a personal temple as ‘Seafire’ has been, it is just stuff and there will be new pleasures in the future. The trick is finding joy in the moment. Belongings should never be a measure of who we are.
This delightful image was made and provided by my dear friend Kerry.

Giving up my boat is a step forward. While it feels like an ending, I know it shall be the beginning of a whole new set of adventures. Seafire Chronicles will continue to be posted under the same name. Comments from readers tell me there is value in what I do and in response, the sense of mission that I am afforded, in part, by this blog helps carry me forward. To give is to receive. Thank you. I often use the Lord Nelson quote, “Ships and men rot in port.” Staying busy keeps me alive; I subscribe to the mantra of “use it or lose it.” Some of my busyness will be to continue to hone my video-making skills. The first video from my trip is now posted on YouTube. It is a simple short clip made with my cell phone and a very good essay on the winter we’ve had. Here’s the link See ya in the movies.

A storm always ends. Enjoy it while it lasts.

Remember that happiness is a way of travel, not a destination.”

Roy Goodman

Author: Fred Bailey

Fred is a slightly-past middle age sailor / writer / photographer with plenty of eclectic hands-on skills and experiences. Some would describe him as the old hippy who doesn't know the war is over. He is certainly reluctant to grow up and readily admits to being the eternal dreamer. He has written several books including two novels, 'The Keeper' and 'Storm Ecstasy,' as well as 'The Water Rushing By', 'Sins Of The Fathers', 'The Magic Stick', as well as an extensive inventory of poetry, essays, short stories, anecdotes and photographs. His first passion is the ocean, sailboats, voyaging and all those people who are similarly drawn to the sea. He lives aboard 'Seafire' the boat he is refitting to go voyaging, exploring new horizons both inner and outer. This blog is about that voyage and the preparations for it. In spite of the odds against it, the plan is to sail away this fall and lay a course southward. If you follow this blog your interest may provide some of the energy that helps fuel the journey. Namaste Contact him at

11 thoughts on “The Ides Of Marches”

  1. Ahoy there Fred. Your blog reads that it’s being written by a very wise man. I enjoyed reading this post, and look forward to reading about many more of your new & exciting adventures. You’ve even become a brave soul and ventured forth to producing video on You Tube. Super fantastic!

    Oh and, I think you should frame (if not already done), and hang the lovely image of Sea Fire you were gifted. It’s nice, and a great memory to continue viewing on purpose.

    1. Hello!
      Thank you for your kind remarks, your comment means a lot.. There are lot’s of interesting bits in the archives of previous blogs and I hope to produce many more in the future. I do have every intention of framing that image…and hanging it on the bulkhead of my next boat. Namaste.

  2. Hi Fred, I’ve been following your blog for a long time and enjoy it immensely. Giving up Sea Fire is hard, we will be giving up Dots Wake too and like you, hope to be exploring desert, canyons and rocks in the States. Maybe we will run into each other along the way. By the way, you are not alone, I too suffer from clinical depression and have on and off ever since I can remember, you are not alone. Be well, Karen & Ole

  3. Hi Fred, thank you for all your wonderful blogs, I’ve enjoyed it immensely. Ole and I too will be saying good bye to Dot’s Wake, not an easy thing to do. We look forward to new adventures travelling the Blue Highways of the States (ala William Least Heat Moon) enjoying desert, canyons and rocks. I too have suffered Clinical Depression all my life, you are not alone. Be well.

  4. Hey Fred, thought I’d say that I really appreciate your blog. Your views are similar to mine in terms of boat design, seeing the beauty of the west coast, and seeking new adventures..and raw log exports. Haha. I think the dream of sailing offshore is more about finding inner peace. I’m also a marine mechanic and see how things break on boats…Some dreams should be kept as dreams… for the best. Thats my excuse anyways. J

  5. Have you sold ‘Dot’s Wake’ yet? Have fun on your travels, yerp, we may well run into each other. i love it down there, especially now that I’ve discovered life goes on, even without a boat.

    1. Not yet Fred. We’re wondering if you went through a broker or sold it yourself?? online?? This is the next stage we’re figuring out. Ole wants to paint the outside first and we’re going back to SW for another season in May. Ole’s also busy looking at RV’s, big question “What do we want???”. Nothing big!! Happy Trails.
      Karen & Ole

  6. I still think you ought to write a book about your travels … on water, on land … especially this last trip which you documented with posts filled with pictures – you’ve got most of the book within your blog. Sorry you had no alternative for “Seafire” … I know it was an important part of your life and not just “stuff”.

  7. Hi Linda:

    Don’t be sorry about Seafire. There are both things, and people, who I thought I could not live without. Now I can hardly remember what/who they were! Life goes on and I have a feeling that this rite of passage will lead me to a higher life….with the stuff, and people I need. Thanks for your words.

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