Gone Floatabout

Sailing, Photography, Wilderness


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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New pages on Gone Floatabout

Hi everyone,

Bear and sprayWe’ve been doing a little renovation to Gone Floatabout and added some new pages. Finally the Arctic Voyage tab now has a full account of the voyage, from our first shakedown cruise in British Columbia in 2013 to our rounding of Point Barrow and return to the Aleutians this past summer. If you’re really ambitious and or really bored, all the posts are in order now on the 2014: Alaska page and the 2015: Arctic page 🙂

Much more exciting is that we finally did something about the Photography page! It’s now under the new Media tab and has three extensive galleries: Wildlife, Nature, and Adventure & People. We had a lot of fun putting that together, so hope you enjoy it!

Finally, sorry for the last post that got sent out – it was a snafu that happened when we were editing our home page.

Hope everyone enjoys floating about the revamped site 🙂


Ellen & Seth



Fishing outside Nome, July 12, 2015

In my last post, I introduced Pat and Sue, a wonderful couple who take Arctic sailors under their wing.  Seth and I had talked (with each other) about rowing our dinghy up the Snake River that empties into Nome’s harbor, but on our very first full day, Pat and Sue took us up it in their motorboat for a fishing expedition!

Fishing outside Nome

Sue fishing on the Snake River outside Nome, Alaska

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2014 Alaska Voyage Recap

We’re back on Celeste in Dutch Harbor, Alaska, so stay tuned for updates! We’ve been pretty busy so haven’t prioritized the blog but we’ll try and catch up a bit before we set sail. In the meantime, here’s a good recap of our 2014 voyage on ZEAL Optic’s blog! They’ve chosen some of our favorite photographs, too 🙂

As the editors on OCH say, masthead spinnakers aren't often seen on the Alaska Peninsula!!

As the editors on OCH say, masthead spinnakers aren’t often seen on the Alaska Peninsula!!

A similar recap for Off Center Harbor.com members is up now too! Again, we love the photos they chose! Continue reading


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


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


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


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

Kenai Peninsula Redux

Kenai ZEAL blogCheck out the best snippets of our Kenai adventures shared on the blog of our sponsor ZEAL Optics!  There’s also a couple more photos we haven’t posted to Gone Floatabout 🙂 Enjoy!


Back to the story of the Alaska Peninsula next post!