Gone Floatabout

Lucky to live on a boat!

2014: Alaska

Washington State to the Aleutian Islands

Celeste with icebergOur 2014 voyage from Washington State to the Aleutian Islands proved as full of challenges, hardships, delights, and inspiring experiences as we could have hoped for!  Over the 3,500 nautical miles from Port Angeles, Washington to Dutch Harbor, we learned how Celeste handles in everything from calms to Force 10 on the Beaufort Scale, and we know her inside and out after long weeks of refitting in May/June and then two and a half more months of hard sailing.  We had confidence in her even before her refit, when we’d taken her on almost 500 miles of sea-trials around British Columbia, and now we know her even better!

Strong SE wind

Not only did we have some exciting (occasionally too exciting!) sailing, but we also met some wonderful people, saw stunning land- and seascapes, and had incredible encounters with wildlife!  We nosed up to a glacier, moored just yards from a thundering waterfall, watched whales dive on one side of the boat and surface on the other, and were even bluff-charged by a grizzly bear!  One of our most memorable experiences was watching a brown bear fish for salmon just a yard away!


Of course, the voyage wasn’t without obstacles and difficulties. Heading north and west, we were going against the fair-weather winds, so often had to sail in low pressure systems which meant strong winds and rough sea conditions. We encountered quite a few gales, especially towards the end of the voyage, out by the Aleutian Islands, and during one of these (in Prince William Sound) our jib track actually started to pull out of the deck, the force on it was so strong! We also had to contend with a few repairs/trouble-shooting issues: old and fraying sails, magnetic interference with the autopilot, issues with the wind vane.

If you’re really interested and ambitious, you can read about the whole voyage in these blog posts (each one is quite short), listed in chronological order under categories Washington State, British Columbia, Southeast Alaska, Prince William Sound, Kenai Peninsula, Alaska Peninsula, and Aleutian Islands:

Washington State

Securing the Rolls batteries


Vancouver Island and Haida Gwaii, British Columbia

Bald Eagle-2


Southeast Alaska’s Inside Passage

Diving Flukes


Gulf of Alaska and Prince William Sound

Columbia icebergs


Kenai Peninsula

Beating to windward


Alaska Peninsula

Brown bear and cubs


Aleutian Islands

King Crab traps

Route map

All text and photographs © Ellen Massey Leonard and Seton Leonard, 2016, All Rights Reserved.