Gone Floatabout

Sailing, Photography, Wilderness


Worst Weather Challenges and other stories

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Recently, I’ve been writing a series of features for Ocean Navigator magazine. My series covers the toughest passages in my 50,000 miles of offshore sailing and it’s been a fun way to look back on many years of voyaging.

The first part of the series came out in the September/October edition of the magazine and is up online as well: Worst Weather Challenges. The second one is out in print in the current issue and covers our worst underway breakages. It also just came out online: Worst Breakdowns.

This current Ocean Navigator edition also has another piece I wrote, about a fascinating historical reconstruction going on in Maine – of the colonial ship Virginia, the first English ship built in North America. Last but not least, one of our photos is the cover image for the issue! (See left.) The catamaran pictured is the sleek and fast 57-foot Gunboat Vandal whose crew we met in 2018 in the South Pacific on their way to New Zealand.


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The Sea Gypsy’s Conundrum and other stories

Celeste in Kenai Fjords

When it arrived in my mailbox a couple weeks ago, I was excited to see that the most recent issue of Cruising World magazine features an article I wrote after surveying a bunch of fellow sailors: The Sea Gypsy’s Conundrum. One of the big organizational hassles for offshore sailors is what to do about a permanent address and about receiving mail while voyaging.

01 Post Office boxes

Mail is actually the easier half of this equation, as much of it can be dealt with online nowadays, but the permanent address issue – required for tax filing, applications for foreign visas, and renewals of passports, bank cards, driver’s licenses, even boat documentation – is a little harder. So I sent out my survey questions to a bunch of sailors and got about two dozen responses, all of them informative and interesting. A big thank you to all of you who contributed! Continue reading


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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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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Alaska Voyage Video 8: The Alaska Peninsula

Another episode in the Alaska video series!

The last video covered the start to our 2016 sailing season, in Dutch Harbor Alaska, in which we tackled the most necessary repairs to CELESTE following a typhoon. This episode is the start to actually sailing in the 2016 season, with the boat in seaworthy condition again. Retracing our outward (2014) route back to Washington State, we leave the Bering Sea behind and sail along the Alaska Peninsula, one of the state’s most primeval-feeling coasts. Volcanoes smoke, brown bears pace the shore, waterfalls tumble down cliffs, tides run strong, and glaciers gleam white in the sun. Hope you enjoy Episode 8!

P.S. I’ve also created a playlist for our Arctic Voyage, including Episodes 1-6 which cover our 2015 journey from Dutch Harbor to Point Barrow on the North Slope and return.


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Sea of Cortez, Part 2: Sailing, diving, and hiking (May 2018)

Sea of Cortez anchorageIt’s been a while since I wrote about our first experience sailing in Mexico’s Sea of Cortez, when we made the upwind (slog of a) passage from San Jose del Cabo to La Paz back in February of this year. So that was Part 1 and now I’m finally getting to Part 2. In between, we spent a couple of weeks in La Paztouristing and doing boat projects in early March and then provisioning and doing boat projects in early May. (In March and April we were back in the US working ashore.)

Anyhow, that’s some background to catch everyone up since I’m so behind on the blog!

So here goes!  Continue reading


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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-2

Of course it’s always fun to see my own writing in print, but what I enjoy even more is seeing what else is in the magazines. This issue was full of interesting 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 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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Thank you for your patience…

Hi everyone!

Thanks for your patience with my lack of blog posts this summer! We were off sailing and have only recently returned to the land of fast internet. Baja sunset

I have to admit that (barring frustrations with getting work sent off), I really enjoyed being so disconnected and unplugged for so long. I know it sounds ridiculously cheesy, but it allowed me to focus on “the present” in a way that just doesn’t happen when I  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 my 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 my lovely readers, and wishing you all a happy fall (or spring if you’re in the southern hemisphere!),

Ellen


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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