Gone Floatabout

Sailing, Photography, Wilderness


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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

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Boat Repairs, Part 2: At the Boatyard (Sept – Nov 2016)

I started writing this post after we launched (12/5/2016) but didn’t get around to finishing it until now – sorry! So with that in mind, here goes:

celeste-in-snow Celeste is back in the water! Yes, it’s cold and snowy (update 2017: it’s still cold and snowy!), but it’s wonderful to have her floating and feeling like a real boat again!

We stepped our mast and got the rigging all put in place on Friday 12/2/2016 and launched on Monday 12/5/16. It was so exciting to be back in the marina and nearly finished with our major repairs! Continue reading


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Back in Dutch Harbor/Unalaska

 

In my last post I mentioned that we were back on board Celeste in Alaska’s Aleutian Islands. So here’s what we’ve been up to:

Fishing boats tied up near Celeste

Bering Sea fishing boats moored near Celeste

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End of the 2015 Voyage: Decommissioning, Salmon, and Aurora Borealis

Our last post, recounting our rather difficult 3-week passage from Point Barrow, ended with just one day to go to Dutch Harbor and with the highest mountains of the Aleutian Islands (namely Shishaldin Volcano, 75 miles away) just in sight. That final day was overcast and a little foggy, but the sea conditions were happily just as kindly as they had been the day before, when the fin whales had paid us a visit.

Ellen reading on passage

Ellen in the companionway on our last passage day  (no more wool hats – amazing!)

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Busy days and awesome people on Unalaska

UnalaskaUnalaska returned to its more normal state of cold, wind, and clouds after our hike and we went to work on the boat in earnest.  Andy and Daneen had very nicely offered to store all our junk in their attic, so we took everything off the boat.  The point of this on the inside was mostly to prevent mold from growing on the cushions, sails, books, woodwork, etc. and to keep stuff from freezing that probably shouldn’t freeze (like my dad’s Mason jars of soup, pasta sauces, etc.).  The point on deck was to prevent loose stuff from blowing away or getting stolen (like our Mantus anchors and extra propane cylinder).  This took a couple days and more than a couple truck loads. Continue reading


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King Cove, Part 2: Sighting the Aleutians

Amazingly enough, the forecast for the next few days following our arrival in King Cove and late night with our new friends on the fishing boat was for clear skies and “light and variable” winds.  We could even take a day to explore the place before sailing the following morning (September 2) around 4AM.  That would time us perfectly for the tidal current in Akutan Pass, the pass into the Bering Sea which Francisco had recommended.

Walking around King Cove

Walking around King Cove

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King Cove, Part 1: New Friends

Humpback whale breaching, Deer PassageOur passage to King Cove had seen fog, strong winds, light winds, sun, a big volcano, islands, birds, and whales—a wonderful 75 miles!  The sea and air were pretty calm as we watched the whales breach in Deer Passage, but then as we turned the corner into King Cove itself the wind began to strengthen, and right from the direction in which we were headed. Continue reading


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All kinds of weather on the Alaska Peninsula

Making dinner: spaghetti and homemade meatballs!

Making dinner: spaghetti and homemade meatballs!

The hours seemed to fly by as we talked with John (the captain of Kittiwake—see last post) and we only realized the time when it got dark and a light rain started to fall.  John had to get going.  He wanted to get Kittiwake to her next anchorage before the SE winds and waves came: he didn’t want to waste fuel by bucking into headwinds and headseas if he didn’t have to.  The southeasterly would come early in the morning and would be favorable for us, so after dinner we made everything shipshape on Celeste and then lingered in the cockpit, watching the bears once more. We’d seen all sorts of behavior by the bears during our time in the little bay: cubs playing, mothers corralling cubs, bears fishing, the bear that bluff-charged us, young bears play-fighting and flirting. But that night we saw one more and it seemed so sweet: a mother-daughter clamming expedition! A mother and her yearling cub – who was almost as big as she was – were on the beach nearest Celeste digging in the mud, swiping up clams in their claws, and eating them. We watched them until it got too dark to see (it was already too dark for photos) and then finally went to bed. Continue reading


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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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Articles and photos update

HeritageIn a change of pace from blogs about Alaska, we have some recent articles and a photo gallery to share!  The April issue of Classic Boat magazine (just out!) has an article about cruising the Maine coast aboard a beautiful Herreshoff ketch we briefly owned called Nahma.  Sailing in Maine will have any classic boat lover salivating: on almost every tack you’ll see yet another historic wooden beauty.  To accompany the article Classic Boat has just uploaded a large photo gallery!  Check it out here!

Schooners under Nahma's lee Continue reading