The sun rises on a brand new year…

First light over the Atlantic Ocean

To the New Year

by W.S. Merwin

With what stillness at last
you appear in the valley
your first sunlight reaching down
to touch the tips of a few
high leaves that do not stir
as though they had not noticed
and did not know you at all
then the voice of a dove calls
from far away in itself
to the hush of the morning
so this is the sound of you
here and now whether or not
anyone hears it this is
where we have come with our age
our knowledge such as it is
and our hopes such as they are
invisible before us
untouched and still possible

I leave you with this poem as we move toward yet another new year. Every new year is a chance to begin again and make a fresh start. But so is every new sunrise and every new moment, as we take each new breath and each new step with a clear beginner’s mind.

I’ll be taking a bit of a blogging break over the next while, but before I go, I want to share a wish with anyone whose eyes land here and all  those who have generously encouraged, supported and inspired me as part of my journey of late. I feel a kinship and connection with you from which I draw much strength, and for which I am deeply grateful .

Let 2014 be a year in which we all do more of what brings us joy, lights us up, and makes us come alive in deep acceptance of who we are, so that we then spill over with energy, love and compassion for all creatures and all creation.

Happy New Year!

Simple sailboat fare…No. 26

We all love seafood and Christmas Eve dinner started with Beirong sauteeing some fresh shrimp with onion and garlic as appetizers.

David and Beirong prepared a fabulous Thai shrimp curry for Christmas Eve dinner. Beirong’s iphone shot shows David and me about to dig in.

For Christmas dinner we barbecued fresh mahi mahi and veggie packets. We added some saffron rice topped with green onions.

Christmas trifle was a tropical take on the old favorite with fresh pineapple and strawberries along with the traditional cake, custard, rum and whipped cream. Oh yes, I added Key Lime curd because after all, we are in Florida.

Our tree may be tiny but it casts a magical light…


A simple sailboat Christmas, No. 24 and 25

sunrise long

We are thrilled to host some friends on the sailboat this Christmas, and we all decided to watch the sun rise from Hutchinson Island…None of us had ever seen this incredible funnel shaped light before. How glorious!

David and Beirong love photography as much as I do!

Beirong in action!


David in action!

Beirong caught this one of Bob and Charles on her cell phone.


Wishing everybody a season full of light and love.

A Simple Sailboat Christmas…No.22

tiny tree2-

What could be simpler than a two-foot Christmas tree hung with six decorations? It’s tiny, but that’s what you need on a sailboat.

We’ve talked for many years about getting back to basics with Christmas — and this year we are closer than ever…

It’s winter solstice today — the longest night of the year in this hemisphere and we are reminded that the Christmas tradition of evergreen trees can be traced back to the Druids — the priests of the ancient Celts — who worshipped the earth as sacred. Something we could stand to emulate more here and now…

Here are some lovely apt verses for this time of year from Lord of the Dance…

I danced in the morning when the world was begun
I danced in the moon and the stars and the sun;
I was called from the darkness by the song of the earth,
I joined in the singing and she gave me birth.

The sun is in the south and the days lengthen fast,
And soon we’ll sing for the winter that is past,
Now we light the candles and rejoice as they burn,
and dance the dance of the sun’s return.

The moon in her phases and the tides of the sea,
the movement of Earth, and the seasons that will be
Are rhythm for the dancing and a promise through the years —
The dance goes on through joy and tears.

Happy solstice to one and all!

The Simplicity Project, Nos.19, 20 and 21

morning in the pocket

Not our boat! This is a neighbouring boat. I love the way the sun glints off it in the morning.

We’re living on our sailboat now, in a lovely intimate marina in the Manatee Pocket, at the mouth of the St.Lucie Inlet in Florida.

This is the same place as we were last year, and it was so heart-warming to be welcomed back by many friends we made during our stay then.

Our original plan was to head to the Bahamas after the Christmas holidays, but the best laid plans….as you know…

It turns out we have to replace our mast and rigging before we sail anywhere — no need to go into the whys and wherefores here — and we just have to accept that that will take some time.

I’m still doing my Simplicity Project so the next two images will reflect that.

four winds3

This is the hull of the boat of the couple slipped next to us. I loved the way the sunlight divides the water into triangles at one certain point in the morning.

The couple in the boat next to us have sailed and lived aboard their sailboat since 1986. They have helped to develop the charts for cruising the Bahamas and authored articles on sailing topics. They really know what it means to be sailors! People on boats make friends fast and help each other out all the time. To me that’s one of the great attractions of this kind of life.


It takes big lines to tie up a big boat! We have boats — both power and sail — of all sizes here.

These last three images may not quite fit the simplicity brief but they do show a glimpse of life on our mastless sailing vessel.

sailboat without mast

Bob ties us up at the dock.

I’ve circled where the mast is supposed to be.


Breakfast on the boat. We have one burner and I don’t need more than that!

bob and charles

Bob and Charles enjoy a quiet moment in the cockpit just before dinner.

The Simplicity Project, Nos. 17 and 18

Christmas is not as much about opening our presents as opening our hearts.

 Janice Maeditere

snake lights

We have a very simple Christmas here on the sailboat. Our little tree is up (and I mean little!) and our small candles are out (thanks, Elena and Stan) and we’re about to put our twinkle lights on the lifelines…


So in the spirit of using what you have, I created this Christmas image with one of the candles and some Photoshop brushes that Kim Klassen kindly shared with her friends. Hope you are all approaching the “BIG DAY” with a heart full of joy and peace.


The Simplicity Project, Nos. 12, 13 and 14

abstract orange blue

Boat bottom abstract #1

Abstraction generally involves implication, suggestion and mystery, rather than obvious description.

Robert Genn

If I were a painter, I’d want to be an abstract painter. Well, that won’t happen in this lifetime, but I can make abstract images using my camera.

Hanging around a boatyard this last while, getting our sailboat ready to launch, and doing my Simplicity Project at the same time, I’ve come to appreciate the exquisite beauty of deteriorating bottom paint on boats.

red abstract

Boat bottom abstract #2

A lot of boats have a build up of bottom paint that hasn’t been removed. Most bottom paint is like a bar of soap. As the boat moves through the water the paint dissolves. And every year or two a new layer is put on that may be a different colour. By changing the colour the owner of the boat can tell when the bottom of the boat needs to be repainted. The particular accumulation over time can become visually arresting.  Some boats with iron keels have rust spots too.

So in the spirit of “use what you have” and “appreciate what’s around you,” I’m taking advantage of the startlingly lovely patterns and colours that I used to look right past to make images that intrigue me.


Boat bottom abstract #3

We’ll be busy launching the boat over the next few days, so I’m grouping three days of my project together in this post since they’re all related “boat bottom abstracts.”

For many splendid images of simplicity, visit the Flickr group, Photographic Simplicity. Inspired by Kim Manley Ort.