[Marxism] Sailing to Cuba

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Apr 28 07:21:43 MDT 2004


The Old Man, the Mountain and the Sea
Naturalist Has Big Plan for Sailboat
By Blaine Harden
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, April 28, 2004; Page A01

ORCAS ISLAND, Wash. -- At 85, App Applegate keeps pushing the limits of 
living off the grid.

Out here in Puget Sound, on the upper west side of the American dream, 
he lives in a shack without running water, listens to National Public 
Radio on a hand-crank radio and avoids outhouses as ecologically 
incorrect. He prefers a shovel and an open field.

Barely 5 feet tall, Applegate is a Hobbit-size pioneer among the 
counterculture cadre that has long sought soggy exile in the far corners 
of the Pacific Northwest. But Orcas Island, which Seattle millionaires 
are busily refurbishing as the Martha's Vineyard of the West, is not 
nearly far out enough for Applegate. So, for the past 15 years, he has 
been building an escape module.

It's a whopper: An 80-foot, 50-ton, three-masted sailboat. Local sailors 
say the wooden barkentine is nearly finished, solid and seaworthy, if a 
bit rough around the gunnels. Applegate built it by hand -- outdoors, 
often in miserably dank weather -- and he paid for the whole thing with 
Social Security checks. He plans to sail east around the world to dock 
in Cienfuegos Bay, Cuba. He's a fervent admirer of Fidel Castro.

There is a logistical kink. The boat sits where it was built: on the 
side of a mountain beneath towering Douglas firs, 400 feet above sea 
level, six miles from a suitable boat launch. A narrow dirt road -- 
steep, potholed and snaggled with switchbacks -- lies between 
Applegate's boat and its departure for his beloved "Coo-bah."

"We will set sail in April," he said. "I am not yet sure which April."

Before explaining how Applegate -- a retired physics professor and 
self-described atheist, socialist and radical -- intends to get himself 
and his boat off the mountain, it makes sense to examine why he went up 
there in the first place.

"I came to Orcas to sit down and read, to enjoy the ferns and moss and 
to escape the contemptibility of our politicians," he said.

full: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A47737-2004Apr27.html

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