Last year, author and sailor Nicola Rodriguez in the UK reached out to me to contribute to the second edition of her book Sail Away, a primer for starting out on long-distance voyaging. I enjoyed answering her questions and then I was excited to see her book once it came out. She used one of our pictures to lead her chapter on the high latitudes (above), which was fun to see. It’s a great book for anyone new to offshore sailing and trying to get a feel for what to expect. It’s available online, on Amazon and other places.
One of our photographs, “South Pacific Starry Night” is the double-page spread in SAIL magazine this month! I can’t publish the photo here, but here’s another one we took that same evening with a lovely palm tree growing considerately in the foreground 🙂
We had a lot of fun that evening playing around with settings on our camera and just star-gazing.
Can anyone find the Southern Cross amidst the Milky Way?? Bonus points…
I recently wrote a short “Yard News” item for Classic Boat magazine, that’s out in the July issue. It briefly covers an interesting project that’s been going on in Maine for the past few years: a reconstruction of a 17th century colonial ship, the Virginia. Seth’s dad has been part of the volunteer crew building the ship; the reconstruction has been an almost entirely volunteer endeavor. It’s also being undertaken in as historically accurate a manner as possible, except for what’s required to make her Coast Guard certified to take on passengers when she eventually launches. There’s lots of information about the project, including how to get involved if you live near Bath, Maine, on the Maine’s First Ship website.
It’s been good fun to visit the Virginia on our trips to Maine the past couple of years – it’s so impressive to see what the crew is getting done and the attention to detail with which they’re doing it. Here are a couple of photos:
Saturday (June 8) was World Oceans Day.
I didn’t actually know that until today — I’m not really plugged into all the sundry United Nations holidays out there. But I like the sentiment behind it, celebrating and protecting the world’s oceans. The ocean is obviously a source of joy for both of us — as all our readers know, we try to spend as much of our free time on or in it as possible.
And so Saturday was no exception, despite the fact that we weren’t aware at the time that we were celebrating World Oceans Day!
We tried out a new (to us) scuba diving site, accessed from shore (i.e. we waded in), and were really pleased to find a reef with healthier coral than we were expecting.
There was also a good amount of fish, many of them fairly large specimens of their species. Though we didn’t see any big marine life (rays, sharks, game fish), we were still very pleasantly surprised by the health of the reef.
Both of us are just amateur observers, not scientists, so I have no idea if our hypotheses are correct, but it seems likely that this site (which involved a 3/4-mile hike in over rocky terrain in full scuba kit) was more pristine than many we’ve dived simply because it’s less trafficked. And not just by scuba divers, but snorkelers and spear fishermen too. There was also little run-off from the land and the water temperature wasn’t too hot by tropical standards – 79 degrees F. In an effort to keep the site healthy and untrafficked, I’m not going to say where it is — sorry!
Over the years we’ve seen a pretty big variance in coral reef health, all over the world. Again, this is hardly scientific, as we’ve only gone back to exactly the same places in very few instances and haven’t done any kind of systematic studies, but it does sadly appear as if the reefs of the Pacific are not as healthy as they were a dozen years ago. Thankfully, we still run across some areas of superbly healthy reefs. And even the moderately healthy reefs, like the one we dived Saturday, give hope for conservation efforts.
In my opinion – and for me personally – there’s nothing like seeing the beautiful natural world with one’s own eyes to make a person care about protecting it. So it’s good we have days like World Oceans Day, which hopefully get more people out there to see for themselves!
Good news on the publication front: two of Seth’s images were out recently, one as a cover shot (!) and one as a double-page spread, accompanied by a short article I wrote. The cover image is above – of me tending the spinnaker at the end of a good day’s sailing across Shelikof Strait, which separates Kodiak Island and the Alaska Peninsula. As you can see, it graces last month’s cover of Ocean Navigator magazine 🙂
The double-page spread was an “under-over” (half underwater) shot of me snorkeling below CELESTE, an image we worked hard to get over the course of our last season’s sailing. My article tells the story of getting the image. It was in the January-February issue of Cruising World magazine. Here’s the PDF of it!
In a change of pace from our usual ocean/sailing theme, we wanted to celebrate our beautiful planet with some mountain shots. Here are a few of our favorite springtime photographs from when we used to live in Switzerland.
Taken on this day, exactly 5 years ago:
Beautiful spring flowers on a couple of different hikes:
And the cows out of the barns in May:
Hope everyone gets a little taste of the outdoors this Earth Day!
In our last video episode, we set sail from the Aleutian Islands heading east for the remote Alaska Peninsula. In this next one, we continue our 2016 voyage onward to Kodiak and then north to the stunning scenery of the Kenai Fjords. Sailing from tranquil coves to calving glaciers, we witness breaching humpback whales, sea otters, huge flocks of puffins, high snow-capped peaks, and deep fjord anchorages. Hope you enjoy!
P.S. You can see all the previous episodes on our new Videos page.