Gone Floatabout

Sailing, Photography, Wilderness


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La Paz, Mexico: Desert hiking and boat projects (Early March 2018)

La Paz is a great spot for cruising sailboats – a big anchorage, a bunch of marinas to choose from at different prices, almost any shop or service you might need, etc. As the capital of Baja California Sur, it’s actually quite an extensive city but has a low-key vibe and a lovely waterfront area.

Statue on La Paz Malecon

Statue on the La Paz Malecon

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Mexico’s Sea of Cortez, Part 1: Passage to La Paz, a family visit, and snorkeling with whale sharks! (February 2018)

Several sailors we had met in Alaska had highly recommended the Sea of Cortez, so that was our goal in Mexico. So when we left San Jose del Cabo, we pointed the bow north again. At first – when our course was really more northeast along the coast – we had beautiful sailing on a close reach, once again flying along under clear skies. Sailing fast upwind

But as the land curved more north and we altered course, the wind was right on the nose. With relatively little chop, we nonetheless made good progress, despite sailing lots of miles out of our way, as you do when you beat to windward. By evening we had reached Cabo Pulmo, a national park that was recommended in our cruising guide for having the best protected anchorage south of La Paz.  Continue reading


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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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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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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