Gone Floatabout

Sailing, Photography, Wilderness


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Return to Alaska’s Inside Passage, September 2017

After being weather-bound for two weeks in Yakutat, we were finally able to set sail on September 1st. The forecast was for 30 hours of light westerly breeze before the next southeasterly gale arrived. It was 140 nautical miles to the shelter of the Inside Passage, so we would have to average 4.67 knots to make it in time. Normally (but what’s normal in Alaska? okay, so, in a decent breeze) we average 5 to 6 knots under sail, but this forecast was for very light winds – the calm before the next storm – which meant we’d have to motor at least part of the time. But after thinking we’d be in Yakutat all winter… motoring seemed a small price to pay.

Yakutat view

A gorgeous view from Yakutat, seen on a very rare rain-less day

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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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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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Critter Post 2: American Black Bear

Fishing black bearWe saw our first black bear of the 2017 summer on the shore of Wrangell Narrows as we passed through on our way to Petersburg, Alaska. So I decided to make the American Black Bear the subject of Critter Post No. 2. (For those of you who didn’t see Critter Post 1, the inspiration for this series came from fellow blogger, sailor, and birder who writes a regular Bird Photography Challenge post on her site s/v Take It Easy.) Continue reading


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Inside Channels to Open Ocean: Ketchikan, Alaska to Juan de Fuca Strait, Washington, August 2016

brown-bear-fishing-alaska

Brown bear fishing for salmon, Southeast Alaska

Our last post ended in Southeast Alaska, where we’d encountered a whole range of sailing conditions, revisited places we’d enjoyed in 2014, and discovered new places including a river where both black and brown bears fished for salmon.

Upon leaving the touristic town of Ketchikan, we once again entered deserted channels between forested islands. Our last stop in Alaska was a little cove just a mile or two north of the Canadian border, and then we set off to Prince Rupert to clear Customs into Canada.

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Glaciers, bears, and crossing the Gulf of Alaska: Kodiak to Ketchikan, July 2016

Sunset on Kodiak IslandWe wrote our last post from Kodiak, a wonderful town where we met a lot of very friendly people. As well as completing necessary chores like laundry, internet, fuel, and groceries, we had fun hiking the hill behind town. We really fell in love with the island of Kodiak, though, when we left town to sail to a deserted bay. Deserted, that is, except for humpback whales, sea otters with babies, and hundreds of puffins and auklets! Continue reading


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Dutch Harbor to Kodiak: Great sailing and great wildlife!

Sea Otter, Unalaska Island

Sea otter, Unalaska Island

With repairs complete, we departed Dutch Harbor/Unalaska on June 26 for the big, beautiful Alaska Peninsula. The first challenge was to sail between the Aleutians out from the Bering Sea and back into the Pacific. The passes between the islands are notoriously rough, with tidal currents running strong. On our way into the Bering in 2014 we had used Akutan Pass and had encountered a 3-knot favorable current at the supposed slack tide. We’d had bumpy conditions (contrary wind – wind against current) but nothing bad, and the 3-knot boost made it fast. This time things went even better! We chose the smaller Unalga Pass and had glassy calm seas despite a 2-knot current with us. There was thick fog, but otherwise it was very pleasant.

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