As soon as Trevor Gordon moved onto a sailboat in 2014, we started scheming about sailing to Baja. These loose plans turned into hard dates in the summer of 2015 for a month long trip that fall. In order to take a long trip to a remote area, Trevor and his wife's 36-foot Catalina, the Brisa, needed some upgrades and maintenance. Working throughout the summer, he redid the rigging, ordered new sails, rewired the electronics and spit-shined the engine.
Other than a few jaunts out from Santa Barbara to the Channel Islands, I hadn't really spent much time on the boat and I had no real idea what to expect. My only hope was that I didn't get food poisoning. With four guys on a thirty-five foot Catalina, space was limited. I packed a minimal amount of camera gear, Sony A7s II, Sony A7 II, Sony Rx100 IV and two Blackmagic Pocket Cameras, three changes of clothes, some sunglasses and a bunch of downloaded audio books.
On October 10th, I flew down from Portland on a one way ticket with the loose plan of being home before Thanksgiving. After a week of prep we set sail headed for Central Baja. From the onset, I planned on making a short film about the trip but had no real idea about structure or story. As the trip developed and the landscape became increasingly more foreign, we jokingly started calling the video Waves on Mars as an ode to the Bowie song.
The trip was certainly one of a lifetime. Here is a collection of some of my favorite photos from the trip.
Spencer reading anchored at the San Benitos Islands.
A fisherman's art in Central Baja.
Erin Fienblatt and his dog Kai watching for waves and checking out the Brisa. For a week of the trip, I followed along with Erin filming surf and the Brisa from shore.
Making landfall on Isla De Cedros after a 90 mile crossing.
Traveling under sail at 5-7 knots, fishing is one of the only ways to keep sanity. It was also our main source of protein on the trip.
Getting underway before sunrise.
Found these stacked on the beach on an island off the coast of Central Baja. I had just finished reading No Country for Old Men. No we did not take any. PS I was too sketched out to take this photo so Lando did.
After a month at sea and just over 1000 nautical miles, we pulled back into customs in the San Diego harbor. I was eager to get back to the treehouses and start editing the video with Jess Gibson. From early on in the trip I knew I wanted to use the Future Islands song Lighthouse in the video, and immediately started trying to get ahold of the band. If you haven't listened to their music before, check them out. The are amazing. I knew I wanted the video to feel like a science fiction film and started working in December with the multitalented Matthew Emmons on tracks. I'm super happy with how it turned out and hope you enjoy it!
Here are some more links,
Sorry for the lack of updates, I've been preparing for my next project, working on getting this book finished and shipping and just returned from a month long sailing trip to Mexico. In a blink of an eyes, and August was December. Anyways, here's the first run of The Cinder Cone Book.
"We'll do it live, FUCK IT," is a reference to one of my favorite youtube clips of dickhead talk show host, Bill O'Reilly. If you have watched, it its well worth it. Through out the build, we joking referred to this video when unsure of what we were doing.
Tucker sketching ideas and scheming for the build. At this point, the project was 5 months away from starting. My aim for the book was to document a process with hope of giving people that read the book ideas and inspiration to take on a project of their own.
The book follows the arc of the project from musings and ideas to more focused drawings, lists and photos of specific parts of the project. As a kid, I ordered plans from Popular Mechanic Magazines and studied sketches in the American Boys Handy Book. I always felt that theses books and plans fell short of removing some of the intimidation of the building process.
Parts list for the wood burning hot tub we built. It's one of my favorite things I've ever used and I highly recommend building one, you won't regret it.
I'm really pleased with how the book turned out and flattered with how it's being received. The Kickstarter books shipped out in early November and since then we've (my mom handles the shipping) been sending out wholesale orders and direct sales from my webstore. Roughly 1/3 of the first editions are left, order a copy here before they are gone. For reference, Here's the The Cinder Cone next to Home Is Where You Park It (PS the 3rd Edition of Home Is Where You Park It is back in stock and I'm doing a combo deal on both books for 80$ + shipping). Thanks so much supporting the book and making things like this possible!
Here are some more links,
The west wind hissed through the countless branches of the Old Growth Douglas Firs above me. Laying in a hammock connecting two of the six firs on top of the hill, I rocked slowly. A subtle cloak of haze obscured the horizon in every direction, giving the otherwise eventless sky a pink cast. It was hot by Pacific North West standards, but compared to an early summer run of weeks of triple digit temperatures, the mid 70s evening felt fall like.
Glancing west, I closed one eye, held my arm out, forming a line of a protractor with suns trajectory towards the hills behind Portland. The Suns path was an entire valley to the south of its solstice high-water mark behind the foothills of the Cascades. The area's long summer days were careening towards the fall equinox, shedding three minutes per day. Like watching a gas tank shrink towards empty on a remote highway, these slight differences in length of day, indistinguishable when viewed day to day, but substantial when observed weekly instilled a sense of scarcity.
The unescapable smell carried by the summers wind and conceived by the blossoms and subsequent blackberries, that for a few weeks each year excuse the existence of the brambles that cover so much of the West Coast, had given way to the dull smell of drought and dust. With a sense of urgency, an hours work and a healthy thorn tolerance, enough cups of the black fruit to make a cobbler could be appropriated.
"Shit," I announced to anyone that would answer, breaking the silence observed in that half an hour before sunset spent laying in a hammock. "We kinda blew it on not making a blackberry cobbler."
"Fuck," Tim responded after a distracted pause from a nearby hammock, humoring my disappointment and concern about the cobbler, but by no means indicating enough enthusiasm to suggest breaking the bonds of a hammock in favor of picking blackberries.