Encouraged by some of our fellow sailor and photographer friends, we started playing with video on our voyage to the Arctic. We really enjoyed it, so now we’ve produced video episodes from the Arctic, the rest of Alaska, and the Pacific Northwest, and we’re working on some from our most recent voyage to Mexico and across the Pacific to the South Seas Islands. Hope you enjoy!
Alaskan Arctic (Summer 2015)
Episode 1: Dutch Harbor: Our videos begin in the storm-tossed Aleutian Islands. In 2014 we sailed CELESTE from Washington State to Dutch Harbor of “Deadliest Catch” fame; here we’re back after a winter away working. We recommission CELESTE– think scuba-diving in the Bering Sea! – explore the island’s tundra-covered mountains, and get ready for the Arctic.
Episode 2: Aleutians to Pribilofs, Bering Sea: We sail north in the Bering Sea to the windswept but wildlife-rich Pribilof Islands. Puffins, fur seals, and Fourth of July in what’s got to be one of the world’s coldest ball-fields!
Episode 3: Pribilofs to Nome, Bering Sea: Four days sailing north brings us to the gold-rush town of Nome where we meet today’s miners, try to catch a salmon, spot nesting birds, and encounter herds of muskoxen – a true denizen of the Arctic.
Episode 4: Arctic Circle and Bering Strait: Through the Bering Strait and across the Arctic Circle: a rough passage in cold fog until north winds cause an unplanned stop at the longest continuously inhabited village in North America. The best experiences are often the unexpected ones, and here we become immersed in the subsistence culture of Alaska’s North Slope. With south winds finally in the forecast, we end the video explaining how to read sea-ice charts and weather files downloaded by satellite phone.
Episode 5: Atop America, Point Hope to Point Barrow: High wind and seas – and nowhere to hide! – on the way to Point Barrow, northernmost tip of the United States at 71.4 degrees North. We explore Barrow and the Arctic Ocean: visiting a climate scientist on his lonely islet, accompanying Barrow’s last sled dog team on their summer exercises, and sailing amidst brash ice at the edge of the polar ice cap.
Episode 6: Three Weeks at Sea: The Arctic Ocean and the Bering Sea are in their stormy autumn moods as we sail back to Dutch Harbor from Point Barrow at 71.4° N. After 900 miles of rough weather, we shelter off Nunivak Island where even worse weather demands anchor watches. Then another 450 miles to Dutch Harbor… but we make it, spotting fin whales along the way and witnessing the salmon run on Unalaska Island before returning to work for the winter.
Aleutian Islands to Puget Sound (Summer 2016)
Episode 7: Repairs in Dutch Harbor, Alaska: A typhoon from Japan hits the Aleutian Islands in Winter 2015/16, causing severe damage in Dutch Harbor. We return to CELESTE in June 2016 to find some major repairs to do. But between installing a new chain plate and getting ready for sea, we find time to observe the incredible wildlife of the area – humpback whales, sea otters, Arctic ground squirrels, and bald eagles.
Episode 8: Sailing the Alaska Peninsula: Leaving the Bering Sea behind at the end of June 2016, we sail along one of Alaska’s most primeval and least known coasts. Volcanoes smoke, brown bears pace the shore, waterfalls tumble down cliffs, tides run strong, and glaciers gleam white in the sun.
Episode 9: Kodiak and Kenai Fjords, Alaska: Going ‘floatabout’ through Alaska’s most stunning scenery! From tranquil coves on Kodiak Island to calving glaciers in the Kenai Fjords, we witness breaching humpback whales, sea otters, huge flocks of puffins, high snow-capped peaks, and deep fjord anchorages.
Episode 10: Gulf of Alaska and Inside Passage: Four days of sailing across the Gulf of Alaska in July 2016 brings us to Peril Strait, the aptly named entrance to Southeast Alaska’s inside channels. Here we explore forested islands, deserted coves, hot springs, and lagoons accessible only by dinghy before transiting Wrangell Narrows, another tight waterway with fast-running tides.
Episode 11: Alaska’s Inside Passage: Twisting through channels between the islands of Southeast Alaska, we find deserted anchorages and a wilderness river teeming with bears and salmon before reaching the busy town of Ketchikan, our last Alaskan port before heading south to Canada. (July-August 2016)
To be continued….