Gone Floatabout

Sailing, Photography, Wilderness


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Cover girl Celeste

Flying Fish 2019 coverToday when I opened my post box, what did I see but lovely CELESTE on another cover! In the photo she’s rollicking along before a strong northwest wind en route to San Francisco from Cape Flattery, Washington a few years ago. Flying Fish, the biannual journal of the Ocean Cruising Club, also ran my story of the passage, including many more photographs that didn’t make it into the first version of the story, which ran in Ocean Navigator magazine. Here’s the cover (above) and some of these new/extra photos:

Plus one of my favorites, that I got from the 7-foot rowing dinghy on a windy day in Southeast Alaska:

Sailing past waterfall


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Passage to San Francisco – feature article in Ocean Navigator

Passage to SF-2More publication news – my Ocean Voyaging feature article about the passage south to San Francisco appeared in the January/February issue of Ocean Navigator magazine and it’s up online now too!

This passage –  down the northwest coast – is very talked of in the West Coast sailing community. It’s a lee shore with few places to shelter, and it’s subject to volatile weather. For many Pacific Northwest sailors, it’s the first real ocean passage – one leaves behind the protected waterways of Puget Sound and the Inside Passage in favor of ocean swells. Finally, if it’s left too late in the year, this passage can deliver some really nasty conditions, so the maxim among West Coast sailors is to round Cape Flattery (the NW tip of Washington State) and be off southward before October 1st. My Ocean Navigator feature covers the major concerns and strategies regarding this passage and relates our own experience with it.  You can read the piece here.

I also wrote a blog post about it around when we actually did the passage, which is a lot less extensive, but which you can read here. Hope you enjoy!


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Passage to Ensenada, Mexico (January 2018)

Super Moon

Super Moon rising just after our departure

I 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 hop 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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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


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What a difference a day makes: Contrasting stops in Southern California (December 2017)

We said goodbye to Morro Bay, and the great time we’d had there seeing the elephant seals, on December 9, 2017. Since San Francisco, we’d gotten into a habit of leaving at sunset, and we did so again as we motored across the Morro Bay bar and set sail in the wake of the tall ships Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftain.

Leaving Morro Bay

Leaving Morro Bay in the wake of the tall ships

The light breeze we encountered at the harbor mouth soon died off to nothing, so that we started the engine again to motor through a flat calm. We had an uneventful rounding of Point Conception, a notorious bit of the California coast, in the middle of the night, and we were close enough to see the hazy red glow of the wild-fires that were engulfing that area at the time. In fact, the air was so thick with smoke that my chest felt very constricted by the end of my watch, so much so at one point that I had trouble breathing. I obviously shouldn’t have waited until then to root around for my respirator, but one’s motivation to dig around with a flashlight in the recesses of the tool lockers isn’t great by 3:30 AM after fighting sleepiness since midnight.

Ash on the ocean

Ash on the ocean during the Southern California wild-fires

When dawn came, I could see how thick the smoke really was – we even saw large patches of ash lying on the calm water. Continue reading


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Morro Bay, California, December 2017

Sea lions, Monterey

Sea Lions on Monterey breakwater

After spending six weeks ashore in late October and November, we returned to CELESTE in the marina in Monterey, California. We arrived just in time for the Holiday Boat Parade, of sailboats and motor boats bedecked in Christmas lights.

Christmas lights in Monterey

Monterey marina ready for Christmas!

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

Continue reading


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San Francisco, October 2017

Waves at Crissy Field

Apologies that it’s been so long since my post about the passage down to San Francisco. After the excitement (both good and bad – see earlier post) of coming under the Golden Gate Bridge, we enjoyed a week of being anchored off Sausalito among local live-aboard characters and fellow transient voyagers. The anchorage itself was a little rolly, exposed as it is to the whole bay across to San Francisco, but you can’t argue with a free place to keep a boat in California. Continue reading


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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