Gone Floatabout

Sailing, Photography, Wilderness


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New friends, a decision, and a compliment

Brown Bear-2Leaving behind the delta full of all the fishing bears, Seth and I rowed over to the two rafted tourist boats.  Someone was on the deck of the closest one, so we hailed him and said that Eric (the guide on the beach) had said they might have a good weather forecast and could we look at it?  Of course, came the answer, and would we like some lunch and a cup of coffee?  They were just finishing. Continue reading


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Alaskan Brown Bears, Up Close!

Bears fishing-2Our last post about Alaska left off with us joining the bear-viewing line-up of tourists/photographers and their guides.  Sitting quietly on the river bank, we unpacked our own cameras and tripod for a day of watching and shooting images.

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Weatherbound, Part Two

Play fighting bearsBack on the boat after watching the flirting bears and the people ashore next to them, Seth and I checked on Celeste‘s anchor.  It was going to be a very rough night outside and we weren’t sure how rough it would get even inside our almost landlocked bay.  We had all of our 175ft of chain out and a stout snubber line to take the shocks of Celeste moving around on it in sudden gusts.  At the moment not a ripple disturbed the water, and the chain went straight down to lie flat on the bottom, ending in our 45lbs Mantus anchor.  We thought briefly about hauling it up and replacing it with our 65lbs Mantus just in case, but decided against it.  So far we hadn’t felt a breath of wind inside despite consistent 35-40 knots outside. Continue reading


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Weather-bound in bear country

Charging bearAfter the bear’s bluff-charge, we rowed back to Celeste to weigh anchor for another try at the passage west along the Alaska Peninsula.  The day was raw and overcast, with light wind inside the bay.  But out in Shelikof Strait, we once again felt the full fury of a Gulf of Alaska low pressure.  Favorable winds, yes, but they sure hadn’t moderated!  If anything they’d increased.  So back into the anchorage for the second time. Continue reading


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Bluff-Charged by a bear!

Mom Bear and cubsBack to finishing up our posts about last summer’s Alaskan adventures!  In our last post we decided to wait for moderated weather before heading further west along the Alaska Peninsula.  The forecast predicted easing conditions in the afternoon of August 24, so we decided to watch bears from our dinghy again in the morning before leaving.  A little more exciting this time! Continue reading


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Bears, bears, and more bears!

Bathing bearOur last post had us arriving in a wide and almost landlocked bay where we were greeted by a swimming bear!  But he was only the beginning.  That afternoon we launched our dinghy to row a little closer to the head of the bay where we thought we’d seen several more brown bears.   Continue reading


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Shelikof Strait

CelesteThe sun shone and the wind slept for our first two days on the Alaska Peninsula, conditions we knew couldn’t continue.  This whole area is known for its severe weather, and Shelikof Strait—between Kodiak Island and the mainland—has a particularly vicious reputation for strong currents and the resulting steep waves.  These beautiful days could only be the calm before the storms that start up in late August and carry on all winter.  We had to keep moving or there was a real possibility that we wouldn’t reach our end destination. Continue reading


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The Wild Alaska Peninsula

Celeste under chute-2Our last post had us tacking happily to windward on a cold but sunny day as we neared our first anchorage on the Alaska Peninsula.  Turning the corner into the vast bay that was our destination shifted the wind onto Celeste‘s quarter, the perfect angle for setting her beautiful star-studded spinnaker! We glided in under a rampart of glaciated peaks, listening to the water gurgle under Celeste‘s bow and playing the ‘chute to keep it full.  The perfect end to a perfect day. Continue reading


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Passage to the Alaska Peninsula, August 19-20, 2014

August 19 GRIBJust as the NOAA radio forecasts and our OCENS WeatherNet files predicted, August 19 dawned with almost no wind under a light fog.  Of course these are not ideal seagoing conditions, especially for a sailboat!  But we figured we’d take it: we have a good radar with a chart overlay that we installed in Port Angeles; we’re pretty used to fog from sailing in Maine; and, considering we have a new and reliable engine, no wind was better than the strong contrary winds of the day we’d originally tried to depart. Continue reading