[Marxism] Sailing to Cuba
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.
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