Gone Floatabout

Sailing, Photography, Wilderness


Alaska Voyage Video 10: Gulf of Alaska and Inside Passage

Another video from our Alaskan voyages: This episode covers another part of our return trip in Summer 2016 from the Aleutians back to Puget Sound/Juan de Fuca Strait area. A four-day passage across the Gulf of Alaska brings CELESTE 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.

Hope you enjoy Episode 10!

 


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Book contribution

Last year, author and sailor Nicola Rodriguez in the UK reached out to me to contribute to the second edition of her book Sail Away, a primer for starting out on long-distance voyaging. I enjoyed answering her questions and then I was excited to see her book once it came out. She used one of our pictures to lead her chapter on the high latitudes (above), which was fun to see. It’s a great book for anyone new to offshore sailing and trying to get a feel for what to expect. It’s available online, on Amazon and other places.


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Another double-page spread!

One of our photographs, “South Pacific Starry Night” is the double-page spread in SAIL magazine this month! I can’t publish the photo here, but here’s another one taken that same evening with a lovely palm tree growing considerately in the foreground 🙂

I had a lot of fun that evening playing around with settings on my camera and just star-gazing.

Can anyone find the Southern Cross amidst the Milky Way?? Bonus points…

Milky Way over Palm


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An historic ship reconstruction

I recently wrote a short “Yard News” item for Classic Boat magazine, that’s out in the July issue. It briefly covers an interesting project that’s been going on in Maine for the past few years: a reconstruction of a 17th century colonial ship, the Virginia.  The reconstruction has been an almost entirely volunteer endeavor, and is being undertaken in as historically accurate a manner as possible, except for what’s required to make her Coast Guard certified to take on passengers when she eventually launches. There’s lots of information about the project, including how to get involved if you live near Bath, Maine, on the Maine’s First Ship website.

It’s so impressive to see what the crew is getting done and the attention to detail with which they’re doing it. Here are a couple of photos:


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World Oceans Day

Dolphin

Dolphin just breaks the surface off Celeste’s bow, Baja Mexico, February 2018

Saturday (June 8) was World Oceans Day.

I didn’t actually know that until today — I’m not really plugged into all the sundry United Nations holidays out there. But I like the sentiment behind it, celebrating and protecting the world’s oceans. The ocean is obviously a source of joy for me — as all my readers know, I try to spend as much free time on or in it as possible.

Under-over_Celeste and Ellen

Ellen swims under Celeste, French Polynesia, August 2018. This was the recent double-page spread in Cruising World.

And so Saturday was no exception, despite the fact that I wasn’t aware at the time that I was celebrating World Oceans Day!

I tried out a new scuba diving site, accessed from shore, and was really pleased to find a reef with healthier coral than I was expecting.

Coral reef

Healthy coral reef!

There was also a good amount of fish, many of them fairly large specimens of their species. Though I didn’t see any big marine life (rays, sharks, game fish), I was still very pleasantly surprised by the health of the reef.

Peacock grouper

Peacock grouper

I’m just an amateur observer, not a scientist, so I have no idea if my hypothesis is correct, but it seems likely that this site (which involved a 3/4-mile hike in over rocky terrain in full scuba kit) was more pristine than many I’ve dived simply because it’s less trafficked. And not just by scuba divers, but snorkelers and spear fishermen too. There was also little run-off from the land and the water temperature wasn’t too hot by tropical standards – 79 degrees F. In an effort to keep the site healthy and untrafficked, I’m not going to say where it is — sorry!

Over the years I’ve seen a pretty big variance in coral reef health, all over the world. Again, this is hardly scientific, as I’ve only been back to exactly the same places in very few instances and haven’t done any kind of systematic studies, but it does sadly appear as if the reefs of the Pacific are not as healthy as they were a dozen years ago. Thankfully, I still run across some areas of superbly healthy reefs. And even the moderately healthy reefs, like the one I dived Saturday, give hope for conservation efforts.

Reef and surgeonfish

A beautiful reef in the South Pacific, July 2018

In my opinion – and for me personally – there’s nothing like seeing the beautiful natural world with one’s own eyes to make a person care about protecting it. So it’s good we have days like World Oceans Day, which hopefully get more people out there to see for themselves!

 

 


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Photo publication news

Ocean-Navigator-March-April-2019

Seth’s photo of me on the cover of Ocean Navigator!

Good news on the publication front: two of Seth’s images were out recently, one as a cover shot (!) and one as a double-page spread, accompanied by a short article I wrote. The cover image is above – of me tending the spinnaker at the end of a good day’s sailing across Shelikof Strait, which separates Kodiak Island and the Alaska Peninsula. As you can see, it graces last month’s cover of Ocean Navigator magazine 🙂

The double-page spread was an “under-over” (half underwater) shot of me snorkeling below CELESTE, an image we worked hard to get over the course of our last season’s sailing. My article tells the story of getting the image. It was in the January-February issue of Cruising World magazine. Here’s the PDF of it!


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Happy Earth Day!

In a change of pace from my usual ocean/sailing theme, I wanted to celebrate our beautiful planet with some mountain shots. Here are a few of my favorite springtime photographs from when we used to live in Switzerland.

Taken on this day, exactly 5 years ago:

Beautiful spring flowers on a couple of different hikes:

And the cows out of the barns in May:

Alpage fountain

Hope everyone gets a little taste of the outdoors this Earth Day!

 

 

 


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Alaska Video Episode 9: Kodiak and Kenai Fjords

In our last video episode, we set sail from the Aleutian Islands heading east for the remote Alaska Peninsula. In this next one, we continue our 2016 voyage onward to Kodiak and then north to the stunning scenery of the Kenai Fjords. Sailing from tranquil coves to calving glaciers, we witness breaching humpback whales, sea otters, huge flocks of puffins, high snow-capped peaks, and deep fjord anchorages. Hope you enjoy!

 

P.S. You can see all the previous episodes on our new Videos page.


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Series in Water Craft magazine

WaterCraft Dinghy1I’m excited to have a new series of articles in Water Craft magazine. Water Craft is a British publication that comes out every two months and has some really high quality writing and photography. My series is called “Adventures with Dinghy” and chronicles just that – good explorations all around the world in the little rowboat. Some of the most fun to be had on big voyages is to jump in the dinghy once we’ve reached an anchorage and explore at an even slower(!) pace and even closer to the water, whether we’re heading up a river overhung with enormous mangroves, dodging sea ice in the Arctic Ocean, checking out a dive site in a coral lagoon, or tempting fate with the grizzly bears fishing in an Alaskan estuary.

The first of my series is out in the current issue of Water Craft – it tells the story of exploring a strange wreck in the Bahamas. Next up will be dolphins in New Zealand!


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Honored with Young Voyager Award from the Cruising Club of America

2019 CCA Young Voyager

Receiving the Young Voyager Award from CCA Commodore Brad Willauer. Photo courtesy of Dan Nerney.

Seth and I were incredibly honored to receive the Cruising Club of America’s 2018 Young Voyager Award. Recognizing “a young sailor who has made one or more exceptional voyages,” the award is relatively new among the CCA’s prestigious sailing medals. Given the two previous Young Voyager recipients, and given the club’s history of honoring truly exceptional sailors, we were bowled over to be the 2018 awardees!

2019 Young Voyager acceptance remarks

Acceptance remarks for the CCA Young Voyager Award at the ceremony in the Model Room of the New York Yacht Club. Photo courtesy of Dan Nerney.

We traveled to New York to attend the awards dinner at the New York Yacht Club on March 1st, and what a gathering it was! Continue reading