Magic Harbor

There are a couple of books that have been, in part, a motivation for me to become a liveaboard. One ‘book’ is Magic Harbor by Don Berry.

Don was a writer and early adopter of the Internet and had a www-site, Berryworks, I stumbled across in the late 90s. On-line he published many things including a book about living aboard in Eagle Harbor, Bainbridge Island in the early 1990s.

Living aboard on Puget Sound has changed a lot in 30 years. Don’s writing provides a snapshot of a past time – a significant one being that it is close to impossible to anchor within Eagle Harbor as it is now full of buoys and local ordinances mean after two days you are charged to in the harbor and have a 30-day max for the year. A good portion of the harbor is also off-limits to anchoring as it is a EPA Superfund site because of contamination in the seabed.

When Don lived on his boat things were different and an interesting mix of liveaboards were present. His story provides a perspective on what it is like to live on a boat and the type of people, and craft, one meets while afloat.

Don’s www-site is gone though it is somewhat preserved on the Internet Archive. I’ve preserved Don’s liveaboard tale Magic Harbor as a PDF that you can download here –

8 thoughts on “Magic Harbor

  1. I just started reading Magic Harbor and is wonderful! Thanks for sharing it and for your own blog. Of course I have to admit to being a power boater. In my defense I will say my wife and I built our own boat, a Devlin design Black Crown here in Bellingham, and she is slow. Semi-displacement speed of 7-8 knots. But from now on I promise to be extra cautious around all sailboats! Keep up the fine writing. Gary

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  2. We sailors Gary consider 7-8 knots pretty darn fast for a boat! On a sailboat, moving along at 7-8 knots, that’s called “flying” and you’re pretty much hanging on for dear life. Congrats on your Devlin build, and hope you’re able to be out enjoying her this summer.

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      1. Yes, I was referring to the preceding commenter Gary Hall’s reference to his “Devlin-designed Black Crown”, presuming that he had built it as well.

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  3. Magic Harbor is some great writing. Thanks! Here’s a line near the beginning that cracked me up: “The final straw broke on September 11th of my 56th year, when the ceiling of my apartment collapsed, depositing half a ton of rubble on the bed where I had been sitting a moment before.”

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  4. Don Berry’s novel Moontrap was nominated for the National Book Award in 1962. The Wikipedia description of his life growing up in Oregon is intriguing. His larger than life stories of folks like Big Al, Wild Woman, Prince Oie – causes me to wonder if in your travels while boat-living, have you had like experiences?

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