Gone Floatabout

Sailing, Photography, Wilderness


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Not too late for summer reading!

It will probably come as no surprise that I love to read about outdoor adventures, ashore and afloat. So when we finished our summer’s sailing this year and received our big stack of waiting mail, I was excited to see the Summer issue of Misadventures magazine. Misadventures

Of course it’s always thrilling to see my own writing in print, but most of the fun is seeing what else is in there. This issue was full of fascinating tales of guiding on the Inca Trail, becoming a park ranger in retirement, and advocating for public lands as well as fun stuff like a recipe for campfire Bibimbap. The theme of the issue was Landfall, which is of course a central part of offshore sailing (or at least, one hopes so!) My own piece was about the magic of landfall to a seafarer, that exhilarating – and sometimes bittersweet – moment when you first sight land on the horizon after days or weeks at sea. Misadventures-2

Misadventures is written by all kinds of adventuresome women and I was honored to be among them this summer. The magazine was started to celebrate women and the outdoors, and while it’s certainly inspirational to women and girls, it’s also just a good read about the great outdoors and great pursuits!  The Landfall issue is still available in stores, or on the magazine’s website. And while most of the print articles aren’t online, the site has lots of other interesting stories!

 


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50,000 sea miles

Setting moon on Pacific crossing

Moon setting at dawn on our second Pacific crossing

So, to spill the beans… this summer when we were all out-of-touch and offline, we were sailing across the Pacific again. This second Pacific Ocean crossing was quite different from our first one in 2007, but more on that in a later post. I’m still processing the whole experience in my head (and in my photo file folders!), so for now this post is just a fun little look back:

  • When we crossed the Pacific this time, it had been 11 years since our first Pacific crossing.
  • It had been 8 years since we were last in the Southern Hemisphere,
  • and 7 years since we’d sailed in the Tropics.

    Dominica

    One of our last tropical ports on our circumnavigation

  • So that means we’ve now been sailing offshore for 12 years! (on and off, it hasn’t been full time all that time.) Here’s a fun little slideshow of highs and lows aboard HERETIC and CELESTE:
  • The crossing this summer was our 4th transoceanic passage. 

    Passage to Africa

    Moon on a beautiful evening en route to Africa,  towards the end of our 2nd transoceanic passage

  • We’ve also sailed across  4 seas – the Caribbean, the Coral Sea, the Arafura Sea, the Bering, and the Chukchi – and across 4 “gulfs” – the Gulf of Maine, the Gulf of Alaska, the Gulf of Panama, and the Gulf of Carpentaria.

    Cross-swell

    Waves breaking on St Paul Island, central Bering Sea

  • We’ve been 3 times across the Equator and twice across the Arctic Circle. 

    Crossing the Arctic Circle

    Across the Arctic Circle

  • And partway through this summer’s Pacific crossing, we passed 50,000 nautical miles sailed, and said a prayer of thanks to the sturdy vessels that have taken us so far.


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Thank you for your patience…

Hi everyone!

Thanks for your patience with our lack of blog posts this summer! We were (predictably) off sailing and have only just now returned to the land of fast internet. Baja sunset

I have to admit that (barring a few frustrations with getting our work sent off), we both enjoyed being so disconnected and unplugged for so long. I know it sounds ridiculously cheesy, but it really allowed us to focus on “the present” in a way that just doesn’t happen when we have Wifi and mobile data…. So the challenge now is to maintain that mental state while also being connected again.

That said, it’s been great fun to check my email (yes, you read that right – I hadn’t checked one of my accounts in literally 4 months!) and read all the wonderful comments from our readers! Thank you all for your kind words and positive thoughts! I’ll respond to them all right after this post!

And then I hope to start writing here fairly regularly again.

Thanks again to all our lovely readers, and wishing you all a happy fall (or spring if you’re in the southern hemisphere!),

Ellen & Seth


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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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