Gone Floatabout

Sailing, Photography, Wilderness


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The West Coast of Baja, Part 2: Whales, fish, and more great sailing (February 2018)

Good wind!

Great wind on passage to Bahia Magdalena

When we left Bahia Tortugas to continue south down the Baja peninsula, the light northerly wind we’d had on the first part of our Mexican voyage had built to a perfect 15-20 knots and CELESTE positively flew on her way! It only lasted a few hours, but it was a great start to our next two-day passage to Bahia Magdalena, a giant bay famous for the gray whales that mate and give birth there each winter.

Desert Hills and White Horses_2

Sailing off the desert hills of Baja

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Stories in Print Around the World!

It’s been great to see my sailing articles in magazines all around the world this spring! Starting over in Great Britain, my piece about voyaging to the Alaskan Arctic in a wooden (cold-molded) boat was featured in the beautiful publication Classic Boat! Here is a PDF of the article which appeared in the April edition.

cropped-celeste-and-tidewater-glacier.jpg

Across the Pond, in New England, Ocean Navigator featured my article “A Penchant for the Primitive” about our twelve years voyaging aboard rather primitive boats! (I’ll preempt the obvious comment that our boats have been primitive by modern standards, not by, say, the standards of Captain Cook or the Spanish Armada…). Here is a PDF of the article which appeared in the May/June issue.

 

Seth navigating

Seth navigating. No, nautical charts aren’t just décor for seaside B&Bs…

Also on the East Coast, Cruising World magazine’s April issue published one of my shots as their “Big Photo”, alongside a short piece I wrote about a magical encounter with orca whales in Alaska. The piece is now online here.

Orca

Orca surfacing off Kodiak Island (this was not the “big photo” in the magazine – you’ll have to click on the link above for that! 🙂

Jumping all the way across the Pacific to Australia, I was most honored to be asked to be one of the contributors to the very first edition of Sister Ship magazine, celebrating women sailors! As I’ve been so excited about our new-to-us stacking dinghy this year, I decided to write a piece entitled “My Perfect Dinghy”. You can buy the digital magazine here and I’ll let you know when I have a PDF to share! Congratulations to Jackie and Shelley and everyone who has made this magazine become a reality! Here’s to many more issues! cropped-kelp-and-dinghy.jpg


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The West Coast of Baja, Mexico, Part 1: Great sailing, snorkeling, sunsets, and scenery! (February 2018)

Desert Hills and White Horses_2

Desert hills and white horses! Fun, fast sailing off the Baja coast

We had a wonderful time cruising down the west coast of Baja – it’s a beautiful, wild place, and it was especially interesting and unique for us as it was the first time we have sailed off a hot desert coast. (Much of the Arctic is a desert, of course, but it’s very different from the red hills of Baja!) It made quite the change from the temperate rainforests of the Pacific Northwest that we’d grown so used to over the last few years!

 

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Stunning sunsets, a different country, and a total eclipse of the moon: Passage to Ensenada, Mexico (January 2018)

Super Moon

Super Moon rising just after our departure

We left off the log of our current voyage with departing from Marina del Rey, California on January 30, 2018. Since it was getting late in the season (most sailors bound for Mexico try to head out in October as soon as hurricane season is over), we decided to make a nonstop overnight passage to Ensenada, the northern port of entry on the Baja Peninsula. We had a dead calm for the whole 28 hours of the passage, but the spectacular clear skies and the total eclipse of the super moon made up for it!  Continue reading


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Arctic Voyage Video 6: Three Weeks at Sea from the Arctic to the Aleutians

Here is the 6th episode of our Arctic Voyage video series!

The Arctic Ocean and the Bering Sea are in their stormy autumn moods as we sail back to Dutch Harbor from Point Barrow (71.4°N) in September 2015. We encounter 900 nautical miles of rough weather to Nunivak Island where even worse weather demands anchor watches. Then another 450 miles to Dutch Harbor… but we make it, spotting fin whales along the way and witnessing the salmon run on Unalaska Island before returning to work for the winter.

This is our last video from the Arctic, and from the 2015 sailing season. More to come (eventually!) from the following year when we sailed back to Washington State from Dutch Harbor! Hope you enjoy!

If you haven’t already seen the earlier episodes and would like to, here they are: Continue reading


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All Blue Water Boats Should Steer Themselves

So says Yves Gélinas, the incredibly accomplished and innovative sailor who invented the Cape Horn wind vane, and Seth and I agree wholeheartedly!Strong SE wind

Twelve years ago, Seth and I and two friends set off on our circumnavigation aboard Heretic with no self-steering gear at all. No electronic autopilot and no mechanical wind vane. We both came from racing (round-the-buoys) backgrounds and were used to hand-steering boats to get the best out of them at each and every moment. With four people taking turns at the helm, it was possible to make ocean passages like that, but it wasn’t much fun and it wasn’t very sustainable (in the most literal sense of that word, as in, able to continue indefinitely) for longer passages.

Cold sailing

Hand-steering Heretic off Rhode Island in November 2006. Me on the left, one of our friends – John – at the helm.

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Work and Play in Marina del Rey (January 2018)

That title rhymes… sorry… couldn’t help myself 🙂

Marina del Rey

Marina del Rey seen from northern promenade

In our last post about our current sailing voyage, we’d reached Marina del Rey, a huge marina complex just north of Los Angeles, CA, on December 12, 2017. (Sorry for being so behind on the blog, everyone!) We settled in at the California Yacht Club, thanks to very generous friends of friends, fellow Cruising Club of America members Steve and Stephanie Hathaway. The California YC members and staff made us feel very welcome and we were extremely grateful to be able to berth CELESTE there for a full six weeks.

At CYC

Settled into our slip at CYC. Photo thanks to Stephanie Hathaway.

We soon had the boat all put away for our absence over the holidays – less of a process than when we’d left her for months in the storm-tossed Aleutians, but still a bit of work. When we returned in mid-January 2018, she was just as we’d left her, always a relief!  Continue reading