July 27, 2009

I am all at sea


My day job involves advising college students about opportunities to study in rad places, and all this week I get to give one of our programs a test run by sailing on a 134-foot ship and, literally, learning the ropes.

I’ll be sailing out in two hours, under the Golden Gate Bridge, and spending a few days on the Pacific as an active member of a working crew, seeing what students experience on their semesters on board. We dock in Monterey at the end of it all. In addition to being a classroom and lab (I keep thinking of Voyage of the Mimi), it’s also a working ship, so there will be 24-hour watch rotations. Maybe I can get the middle-of-the-night one. I could use some 2am silence on a glassy sea.

Of course, I made a mix and have been listening to it all week in preparation. It’s eerie how fitting each song is becoming for me this week, and how each one is a perfect soundtrack to my unique life right now. Enjoy in my absence…

I’m all at sea
where no one can bother me
…Just me and my thoughts
sitting far away

I sleep by myself
I drink on my own
I don’t speak to nobody
I gave away my phone

Like a warm drink it seeps into my soul
please just leave me right here on my own
later on you could spend some time with me
if you want to, all at sea

Now I need you more than ever
Do I need you more than ever now?
So come and spend some time with me
and we will spend it all at sea

All At Sea (Live at KFOG radio, SF) – Jamie Cullum
Stuck On A Boat – Port O’Brien
Girl Sailor – The Shins
The Ocean Lifts Her Dress – The Swimmers
Eager to Sail – Wine and Revolution
Lost Coastlines – Okkervil River
Sea Lion Woman – Feist
The Ragged Sea – Alexi Murdoch
The Ocean In Between – Matthew Sweet
Drowning Men (acoustic version) – Fanfarlo
Driftwood – Mark McAdam
Salt And The Sea – Gregory Alan Isakov
Momentary Drowning – Young Coyotes
Deep Blue Sea – Grizzly Bear
Swim Until You Can’t See Land (live) – Frightened Rabbit
The Sea & The Rhythm – Iron & Wine
Deckchairs and Cigarettes – The Thrills
The Waves – Princeton
Creeping Coastline of Lights – Mark Lanegan
The Ship Song (at Glastonbury) – Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds
Sail on Sailor – The Beach Boys
Winter Waves – Chris Isaak


I took this picture a few hours ago when I walked down to the dock to find the boat.


I hope I get to say things like “hoist the mainstay.”

UPDATE: I totally did.


  • Great mix, maybe a bit of Decemberists as well?

    ryan — July 27, 2009 @ 12:22 pm

  • ohh my favourite Jamie Cullum number.

    Hanan — July 27, 2009 @ 12:35 pm

  • oh nice! am looking forward to listening to this one!

    personally, I would have also added The Brent Flood’s ‘Mariner’s Tale’ to a sailing mixtape…

    Michael — July 27, 2009 @ 1:28 pm

  • *dude, you get to help with study abroad programs? LUCKY.

    jane. — July 27, 2009 @ 1:44 pm

  • Ooh, great mix- thx!

    I know there were probably countless options for you here but you might also like
    ‘There is an Ocean Between Us’ by Scott Matthew…


    MsBo — July 27, 2009 @ 3:05 pm

  • you forgot great lake swimmers

    julio — July 27, 2009 @ 4:16 pm

  • While the music is amazing, the ship is even more so! Jealous? You bet!

    ruralgurl — July 27, 2009 @ 5:18 pm

  • Gotta add:
    “Sloop John B” – Beach Boys (“see how the main sail sets!”)
    “I’m The Ocean” – Neil Young + Pearl Jam

    Love your blog – well done!

    ~Rupe — July 27, 2009 @ 6:53 pm

  • Great mix. Be-Good Tanyas’ “ship out on the sea” and jack johnson covering buffett’s ” a pirate looks at 40″ would be at the top of my list.

    Tyler — July 27, 2009 @ 7:46 pm

  • Props for the great Matthew Sweet song!

    ScottP — July 27, 2009 @ 8:48 pm

  • You forgot the best one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R7yfISlGLNU

    Justin — July 27, 2009 @ 10:29 pm

  • No “Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea” by George Harrison? It’s even in the new Funny People trailer…

    jeff — July 28, 2009 @ 6:45 am

  • Now that is just totally an awesome way to spend a few days of your summer. I am totally jealous as I sit here in a sea of cubicles…

    Michael — July 28, 2009 @ 7:30 am

  • ‘Hoist the main sail’ I think you mean. But that’s why you get to learn. :)

    Unless of course you wanted to run someone who is always around up a pole.


    Sean — July 28, 2009 @ 8:41 am

  • My son played hockey last winter with a teammate who is spending the next year studying and working on a boat as well. Are there many programs like this out there?

    jim — July 28, 2009 @ 10:47 am

  • Great mix…. but I expected at least one from Great Big Sea.

    Julie — July 28, 2009 @ 4:09 pm

  • You also forgot, Lyle Lovett’s “If I Had a Boat”

    I like Dave Matthews Version


    Andy — July 28, 2009 @ 5:23 pm

  • I was just listening to Great Big Sea a few days ago. What a great boat…amazing! Thanks again Heather.

    erik — July 29, 2009 @ 9:35 am

  • Very nice! Have a great time. If you’re feeling morbid, you could always add a little Avett, maybe Complainte D’vn Matelot Mourant from Mignonette?

    barbara — July 29, 2009 @ 2:22 pm

  • Fabulous mix, makes me want to go sail or swim in the pool if nothing else.

    SummerB — July 29, 2009 @ 3:45 pm

  • Good mix but you are missing my favorite Heartless Bastards song: “Out at Sea.” Check out the live version from Letterman.

    SeaDog — July 29, 2009 @ 7:34 pm

  • I’ll help ya out.

    The new Pearl Jam artwork is out… and if you do a simple search on the Red Mosquito forums you can get a free download of a demo from the new album for the Speed of Sound.


    Pete — July 29, 2009 @ 10:07 pm

  • On my “to the beach” mixcd lie these three consecutive songs:
    1. Walk on the Ocean – Toad The Wet Sprocket
    2. The Dark and Rolling Sea – Al Stewart
    3. Fisherman’s Friend – Colin James Hay

    Avarana — July 30, 2009 @ 7:43 am

  • My all time favorite sea/ocean inspired song:

    Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl) by Looking Glass!

    “Brandy, you’re a fine girl
    What a good wife you would be
    But my life, my lover, my lady
    Is the sea.”

    Hope you don’t run into the Dread Pirate Roberts!

    jc — July 30, 2009 @ 2:42 pm

  • you’ll probably be “schwabbing the poopdeck”"??!!

    Jeff Topping — July 31, 2009 @ 8:49 am

  • great mix!

    all you need is some comic relief with the lonely island’s “i’m on a boat”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R7yfISlGLNU

    (explicit album version)

    ag — July 31, 2009 @ 8:57 am

  • Please come back – apparently I have an addiction to your blog.

    Mike — July 31, 2009 @ 5:40 pm

  • Grrrrrrrrreat new Pearl Jam article:


    Pete — July 31, 2009 @ 7:32 pm

  • You missed Islands’ album “Back to the Sea”.

    Elliott — August 1, 2009 @ 5:03 am

  • Just came upon this site from a friend’s recommendation! So glad I did – I’ve added it to my site’s blogroll and have subscribed for updates. I’ll take some more time to look around this weekend – what a great find!

    Laura at The Journal of Cultural Conversation — August 4, 2009 @ 6:22 am

  • you should add pearl jam’s “oceans” to this mix.

    Gur — August 4, 2009 @ 3:52 pm

  • the mix is damn good, but i can’t believe no one has mentioned “the ocean” by led zeppelin. amazing song that’s better than most songs already on the there.

    tristanclopet — August 6, 2009 @ 9:02 am

  • Great idea of creating a playlist centered around the theme of the sea. I love your choices…it has definitely introduced me to new music that I would ordinarily not listen to or find at all. I love the sea too!

    Jjj — August 16, 2009 @ 11:05 pm

  • you might also want to check out “ocean” by John Butler Trio if you haven’t already…it’s amazing :)

    Jjj — August 16, 2009 @ 11:08 pm

  • Great mix.

    MAKE — August 30, 2009 @ 10:06 am

  • AH! I was so psyched to see this still up on your blog!

    I have a friend who challenged me to find as many nautically themed tracks as I could for a trip he’s taking in May.

    Corny, I know, but that’s what my fun amounts to these days.


    Clif — March 20, 2010 @ 5:34 am

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

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