Gone Floatabout

Sailing, Photography, Wilderness


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Home Ashore

Ohia Blossom

Hawai’i, 2018.

Many of you know that Seth and I are living in Hawai’i. As a good friend of mine put it after our housewarming party, we finally set our “land anchor” after many years afloat. Of course, that isn’t the whole picture, because we haven’t really been sailing full time since our circumnavigation on our previous floating home HERETIC. We undertook our Alaskan adventures in the summers between academic years working and studying in Switzerland. But after leaving Switzerland in 2016, we did live aboard CELESTE for almost two years. Unlike our voyage around the world, however, when we only took on seasonal work during the hurricane months, aboard CELESTE we were also trying to work (career-type work, not seasonal jobs) at the same time. Continue reading


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Passage to San Francisco – feature article in Ocean Navigator

Passage to SF-2More publication news – my Ocean Voyaging feature article about the passage south to San Francisco appeared in the January/February issue of Ocean Navigator magazine and it’s up online now too!

This passage –  down the northwest coast – is very talked of, even a little feared, in the sailing community, and for good reason. It’s a rock-strewn, lee shore with few places to shelter, and it’s subject to volatile and not very pleasant weather. For many Pacific Northwest sailors, it’s the first real ocean passage, too – one leaves behind the protected waterways of Puget Sound and the Inside Passage in favor of the big ocean swells. Finally, if it’s left too late in the year, this passage can deliver some really nasty conditions, so the maxim among West Coast sailors is to round Cape Flattery (the NW tip of Washington State) and be off southward before October 1st.

My Ocean Navigator feature covers the major concerns and strategies regarding this passage and relates our own experience with it.  You can read the piece here.

I also wrote a blog post about it around when we actually did the passage, which is a lot less extensive, but which you can read here. Hope you enjoy!


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12 Tips for Wintering Aboard – feature article in Pacific Yachting Magazine

PY Feature_Dec2018

Tip 1: BEER!

Tip 2: Doughnuts!

In all seriousness, though, two winters ago (2016-17), Seth and I were living aboard CELESTE in Port Angeles, Washington, trying to stay warm and dry through one of the coldest winters to hit the Pacific Northwest in many years (old timers said anywhere between 20 and 30 years). That experience inspired my article that recently came out in Pacific Yachting magazine. Here’s a link to the preview of the December issue.

Since it’s on newsstands right now, I can’t spill the beans on our 12 tips here, but basically it came down to ways to deal with the cold, the dark and cramped space, and the mildew/mold problem. As always, it’s exciting to see my stuff in print!

If that isn’t enough winter for you, my Cruising World magazine article on prepping your boat for winter (while you escape somewhere warm and sunny! or go back to work…) is now online. You can read it here.

 


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Sea of Cortez Part 3: Return Passage to Cabo (May 2018)

Sunset Espiritu Santo

Sunset seen from CELESTE’s deck, Espiritu Santo, Sea of Cortez

It was hard to tear ourselves away from the beautiful bays and empty hills of Espiritu Santo island, but with summer (and hurricane season) approaching, it was time to sail back out of the Sea of Cortez and complete the final preparations for our Pacific Ocean crossing!

Since we’d been back in Mexico on the boat (after being away working for a few months), we had found the wind patterns pretty much the reverse of what they’d been in the winter. Back in February, we had made an upwind passage from San Jose del Cabo up to La Paz, fighting the strong north wind that prevails at that time of year. By May, we encountered frequent dead calms during the day and strong southerlies at night. This meant that we would be fighting headwinds again on our way south to Cabo (at least during the nighttime part of the passage). CELESTE sails pretty well against the wind, but headwinds make a passage longer (literally – you sail twice as many miles over ground to make the same distance good, as opposed to being able to sail straight on course with a favorable wind), so when we got a forecast for a calm day and night, we decided to swallow our sailing pride and make tracks to Cabo – we’d lingered long enough if we were going to the South Pacific that season!

Cabo Passage

Our route down Baja and up the Sea of Cortez (February) and then return to Cabo (May)

Continue reading


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Work and Play in Port Angeles, WA (September 2017)

Seth hiking in the Olympics

Seth hiking in the Olympic Mountains

After a speedy Inside Passage transit coming south this year, we returned to our old haunts in Port Angeles, Washington. We’ve spent quite a bit of time there now, between outfitting CELESTE prior to our first departure for Alaska back in 2014 and then last winter living aboard and giving our floating home the TLC she needed after her journey to the far north. So it felt a little like coming home again. Seth and I caught up with some good friends and had a great party on CELESTE with them. We restocked our provisions, had dinner at our favorite Thai restaurant, and replayed two major parts of our previous Port Angeles lives: boat work and hiking. Continue reading


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Boat Repairs, Part 3: In the Water. Plus, a quick update.

Here’s another post that I wrote months ago (literally) and never got around to posting…. my apologies, dear Readers!

Celeste received a lot of TLC this winter, both at the boatyard and once we got back in the water. winter-sailing-2

Continue reading


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Arctic Voyage Video: Episode 1

Many of you have probably already seen this either on Cruising World magazine’s site or on our YouTube channel, but here is Episode 1 of our Arctic Voyage video series!

In it, the story begins in the storm-tossed Aleutian Islands in June of 2015. The year before, we sailed Celeste from Washington State to Dutch Harbor of “Deadliest Catch” fame but sadly didn’t take any video footage. So in this video we’re back after a winter’s work to re-commission her – think scuba-diving in the Bering Sea – explore the tundra-covered mountains of the island, and get ready for the Arctic.

Stay tuned for Episode 2 on both Cruising World‘s site and on YouTube – it’ll cover our first Bering Sea passage and the wildlife-rich Pribilof Islands!