Gone Floatabout

Sailing, Photography, Wilderness


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Hiking Mauna Loa

 

Mauna Loa lava flows

Mauna Loa’s lava flows clearly visible

Mauna Loa, one of the two 4000-meter peaks on the island of Hawai’i, is the largest volcano on earth, as measured by volume. It’s still active: the last flow, in 1984, came within 4 miles of the town of Hilo. Raw black lava flows mark its flanks, and sometimes you can see it smoking.

Up in the thin, dry air on Mauna Loa is a wilderness of brittle lava rock, an immense caldera, and harsh tropical sun. The temperatures are cold – it snows – and the wind howls, but the sun remains at its brutal tropical angle. Sounds like a fantastic hike, right?

Hiking up Mauna Loa

Can you find me amidst all the lava? Hiking up the first section of the trail, Maui in the far background.

You can’t not do it, though: a 4000-meter peak that’s not a technical climb is pretty much impossible for hikers like us to pass up. So Seth and I summited Mauna Loa in September 2018. After many months aboard CELESTE at sea level, it was quite the challenge….

I wrote up the story of our hike for our sponsor Katadyn on their blog. You can read it here.

Mauna Loa at sunset

Mauna Loa seen at sunset from Mauna Kea (yes, that’s snow in the foreground. Aloha!)


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Happy Earth Day!

In a change of pace from my usual ocean/sailing theme, I wanted to celebrate our beautiful planet with some mountain shots. Here are a few of my 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:

Alpage fountain

Hope everyone gets a little taste of the outdoors this Earth Day!

 

 

 


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Arctic Voyage Video 7: Repairs in Dutch Harbor, Alaska

Here (finally!) is the next episode in the Alaska video series:

My last video episode covered our passages south in autumn 2015 from the “top of America” at Point Barrow in the Arctic back to Dutch Harbor in the Aleutian Islands, once again to be CELESTE’s winter home. So this episode is the beginning of the following season (2016).

Winter 2015/16 was not nearly so kind to CELESTE as the previous winter – a typhoon from Japan hit the Aleutian Islands that year, causing severe damage throughout the town and harbor. So we return in June 2016 to find some major repairs to do. But between installing a new chain plate and readying CELESTE for sea, we also find time to observe the incredible wildlife of the area – humpback whales, sea otters, Arctic ground squirrels, and bald eagles.

Hope you enjoy this episode!


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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 my 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 Aleutians, but still a bit of work. When we returned in late January 2018, she was just as we’d left her, always a relief! Continue reading


Article in Cruising World: How to Install a Watermaker

Cruising World magazine recently ran my piece  “Banishing Water Worries: A low-draw desalinator proves easy to install and maintain”  – which is about what it says it’s about! Here is a PDF of the article, which I hope is technical enough for sailors planning a similar project but interesting enough for general readers!

Celeste among growlers

Celeste in the Arctic Ocean, August 2015. We did not fill water from shore for 7 weeks while in the Arctic, thanks to our desalinator.

Cruising World also posted our video of testing our Katadyn (now Spectra) watermaker at the polar ice edge in very cold temperatures, which puts additional strain on the desalinator’s production rate. You can see the video here – enjoy!  Continue reading


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Monterey, California, October 2017

Sailing through Golden Gate

Sailing out the Golden Gate, October 2017

Sailing out of San Francisco Bay, under the Golden Gate Bridge, was a much more relaxed experience than coming into the Bay in the fog and dark. We had sunshine, no ship traffic, and a light breeze – just enough to be able cut the engine and sail through this famous waterway.

San Francisco in our wake

Goodbye, San Francisco

The Golden Gate is an iconic strait in nautical history – it actually acquired its moniker prior to the California gold rush, because the strait was a departure (and return) point for the lucrative trade with Asia. I’d spent a fair amount of my childhood looking at it, and sailing under it, so it was a treat to sail my own boat out of it on a voyage to the South Pacific.

Trimming the jib, sailing for the Golden Gate

Trimming the jib to sail under the Golden Gate Bridge

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2017 in Photos

Happy new year, Gone Floatabout readers!

Like last year, I’ve put together a little “year in review”, with some of the highlights (or not so high lights) of 2017 aboard Celeste: Continue reading


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Work and Play in Port Angeles, WA (September 2017)

Seth hiking in the Olympics

Seth hiking in the Olympic Mountains

After a speedy Inside Passage transit coming south this year, we returned to our old haunts in Port Angeles, Washington. We’ve spent quite a bit of time there now, between outfitting CELESTE prior to our first departure for Alaska back in 2014 and then last winter living aboard and giving our floating home the TLC she needed after her journey to the far north. So it felt a little like coming home again. Seth and I caught up with some good friends and had a great party on CELESTE with them. We restocked our provisions, had dinner at our favorite Thai restaurant, and replayed two major parts of our previous Port Angeles lives: boat work and hiking. Continue reading


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Inside Passage, express style. (September 2017)

Fishing boat in Cross Sound

Fishing boat in Cross Sound, the evening we reached the Inside Passage again

After a couple days of rest upon reaching the sheltered waters of Southeast Alaska, we set off for a nearly non-stop trip south down the rest of the Inside Passage. We started on this marathon on September 9 and our goal was to be back in Port Angeles, Washington in two weeks.  Continue reading


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Return to Alaska’s Inside Passage, September 2017

After being weather-bound for two weeks in Yakutat, we were finally able to set sail on September 1st. The forecast was for 30 hours of light westerly breeze before the next southeasterly gale arrived. It was 140 nautical miles to the shelter of the Inside Passage, so we would have to average 4.67 knots to make it in time. Normally (but what’s normal in Alaska? okay, so, in a decent breeze) we average 5 to 6 knots under sail, but this forecast was for very light winds – the calm before the next storm – which meant we’d have to motor at least part of the time. But after thinking we’d be in Yakutat all winter… motoring seemed a small price to pay.

Yakutat view

A gorgeous view from Yakutat, seen on a very rare rain-less day

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