Gone Floatabout

Sailing, Photography, Wilderness


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Kodiak to Seward, Alaska

Glacier, islands, fog

At the end of July (2017 – I’m less behind on the blog this year!), we returned to the town of Kodiak after a great cruise. We had chores and work to do – articles for me and statistical programming for Seth – but we also had some fun, mostly because we met a really great sailing family on their capable and beautifully maintained steel boat Galactic. Continue reading


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Critter Post 5: Snowy Owl

Snowy Owl on whaleboneAll my critter posts so far have focused on mammals, but we see so many interesting birds while sailing that I thought it was time for an avian critter post. Two years ago, on the Alaskan North Slope, we were lucky enough to see a snowy owl. We watched him for hours as he swept low over the tundra and perched on whalebones. Since it was summer in the Arctic, he was hunting in full daylight (even though it was close on midnight), and the low angle of the sun made for lovely light for photography. Continue reading


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Kodiak, Alaska, July 2017

Successful salmon fishingKodiak Island was our aim for this summer’s Alaskan voyage, so we’ve spent pretty much all of July here. About half that time has been spent in town for Seth to do his consulting work and for me to do my writing, and the other half we’ve spent sailing. It’s been great to have a chance to explore more of this beautiful place, especially as we only got a tiny taste of it (just 4 days) last year. Continue reading


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Articles in Cruising World and Classic Boat

Celeste among growlersSome publication news for the summer! In the June/July issue, Cruising World magazine came out with my feature article about our 2015 voyage to the Alaskan Arctic. As usual, it was good fun to see it in print, and now it’s online on Cruising World‘s site. Our partner ZEAL Optics is also sharing a taste of it on their blog here. Hope you enjoy!

Also this summer, Classic Boat magazine in the UK ran a piece I wrote about the historic steamboats of Lake Geneva in Switzerland. The article is also now online, here. These 100-year-old (and older) paddle-wheel boats still ply the lake throughout summer and fall, taking passengers from one city to another, or on dinner or lunch cruises. The boats have a long, varied history, including the assassination of Empress Elisabeth of Austria and use by spies in World War I. If any of my readers plan to visit Geneva, a ticket on one of these gems is only a few francs and well worth it!

00 Savoie in Geneva - small

SS Savoie coming into Geneva

 

 

19 The author with Simplon's steam engine - small

Me on assignment for Classic Boat – in SS Simplon’s engine room

 

 

18 Telegraph in the engine room of Simplon - small

Simplon’s telegraph

 

 


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Prince William Sound and Kenai Fjords, Alaska, June 2017

Whale in Prince William SoundWe left the Inside Passage behind for our third Gulf of Alaska crossing on June 9, 2017 and had an easy passage except that first I, and then Seth, came down with some sort of flu. I think we may have caught it from a few people who were sick at Baranof Warm Springs. It didn’t manifest itself until the second day – the first day was very pleasant sailing with a moderate south swell and light south wind. We were sailing a close reach because the apparent wind was so much further forward (due to Celeste‘s speed) than the true wind. On the second day, the sailing was still good, with the wind up and down in strength but steady in direction from the south. By the afternoon, though, I had started to develop a headache and fever that persisted almost until we raised the islands off Prince William Sound. It was made rather worse on Day 3 by the wind dying but the swell increasing – a nauseating combination. Seth came down with the bad headache/fever as well on that day. Fortunately the sailing/motoring was easy, so we didn’t have to work too hard while we were ill. We both recovered on Day 4 and by evening we came into Prince William Sound and anchored a few hours later in a lovely, deserted spot on Knight Island. Continue reading


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Southeast Alaska, May-June 2017

Whale flukesIn my last post about this summer’s sailing (Back to Alaska), I mentioned that we were in Petersburg awaiting parts for our engine. Well, that ended up dragging on for over two weeks! We thought we’d have them in just a few days, but it turned out that they didn’t actually get shipped from the place we’d ordered them until 11 days after we’d placed the order!!  Continue reading