Gone Floatabout

Sailing, Photography, Wilderness


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Hiking Mauna Loa

 

Mauna Loa lava flows

Mauna Loa’s lava flows clearly visible

Mauna Loa, one of the two 4000-meter peaks on the island of Hawai’i, is the largest volcano on earth, as measured by volume. It’s still active: the last flow, in 1984, came within 4 miles of the town of Hilo. Raw black lava flows mark its flanks, and sometimes you can see it smoking.

Up in the thin, dry air on Mauna Loa is a wilderness of brittle lava rock, an immense caldera, and harsh tropical sun. The temperatures are cold – it snows – and the wind howls, but the sun remains at its brutal tropical angle. Sounds like a fantastic hike, right?

Hiking up Mauna Loa

Can you find me amidst all the lava? Hiking up the first section of the trail, Maui in the far background.

You can’t not do it, though: a 4000-meter peak that’s not a technical climb is pretty much impossible for hikers like us to pass up. So Seth and I summited Mauna Loa last September. After many months aboard CELESTE at sea level, it was quite the challenge….

I wrote up the story of our hike for our sponsor Katadyn on their blog. You can read it here: https://outdoors.katadyn.com/blog/hiking-mauna-kea-with-ellen-and-seth

Mauna Loa at sunset

Mauna Loa seen at sunset from Mauna Kea (yes, that’s snow in the foreground. Aloha!)


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Happy Earth Day!

In a change of pace from our usual ocean/sailing theme, we wanted to celebrate our beautiful planet with some mountain shots. Here are a few of our favorite springtime photographs from when we used to live in Switzerland.

Taken on this day, exactly 5 years ago:

Beautiful spring flowers on a couple of different hikes:

And the cows out of the barns in May:

Alpage fountain

Hope everyone gets a little taste of the outdoors this Earth Day!

 

 

 


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Arctic Voyage Video 7: Repairs in Dutch Harbor, Alaska

Here (finally!) is the next episode in our video series:

Our last video episode covered our passages south from the “top of America” at Point Barrow in the Arctic back to Dutch Harbor in the Aleutian Islands, once again to be CELESTE’s winter home. So this episode is the beginning of the following season.

Winter 2015/16 was not nearly so kind to CELESTE as the previous winter – a typhoon from Japan hit the Aleutian Islands that year, causing severe damage throughout the town and harbor. So we return in June 2016 to find some major repairs to do. But between installing a new chain plate and readying CELESTE for sea, we also find time to observe the incredible wildlife of the area – humpback whales, sea otters, Arctic ground squirrels, and bald eagles.

Hope you enjoy this episode!

P.S. I’m taking a break from catching up on our Pacific voyage this year to catch up on these videos from a couple of years ago. So stay tuned for the next Arctic Voyage (really just Alaska from now on) video!


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La Paz, Mexico: Desert hiking and boat projects (Early March 2018)

La Paz is a great spot for cruising sailboats – a big anchorage, a bunch of marinas to choose from at different prices, almost any shop or service you might need, etc. As the capital of Baja California Sur, it’s actually quite an extensive city but has a low-key vibe and a lovely waterfront area.

Statue on La Paz Malecon

Statue on the La Paz Malecon

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Work and Play in Marina del Rey (January 2018)

That title rhymes… sorry… couldn’t help myself 🙂

Marina del Rey

Marina del Rey seen from northern promenade

In our last post about our current sailing voyage, we’d reached Marina del Rey, a huge marina complex just north of Los Angeles, CA, on December 12, 2017. (Sorry for being so behind on the blog, everyone!) We settled in at the California Yacht Club, thanks to very generous friends of friends, fellow Cruising Club of America members Steve and Stephanie Hathaway. The California YC members and staff made us feel very welcome and we were extremely grateful to be able to berth CELESTE there for a full six weeks.

At CYC

Settled into our slip at CYC. Photo thanks to Stephanie Hathaway.

We soon had the boat all put away for our absence over the holidays – less of a process than when we’d left her for months in the storm-tossed Aleutians, but still a bit of work. When we returned in mid-January 2018, she was just as we’d left her, always a relief!  Continue reading


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Article in Cruising World: How to Install a Watermaker

Cruising World magazine recently ran my piece  “Banishing Water Worries: A low-draw desalinator proves easy to install and maintain”  – which is about what it says it’s about! Here is a PDF of the article, which I hope is technical enough for sailors planning a similar project but interesting enough for general readers!

Celeste among growlers

Celeste in the Arctic Ocean, August 2015. We did not fill water from shore for 7 weeks while in the Arctic, thanks to our desalinator.

Cruising World also posted our video of testing our Katadyn (now Spectra) watermaker at the polar ice edge in very cold temperatures, which puts additional strain on the desalinator’s production rate. You can see the video here – enjoy!  Continue reading


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Sailing, Scuba, Hiking, and Sea Otters: Monterey, California, October 2017

Sailing through Golden Gate

Sailing out the Golden Gate, October 2017

Sailing out of San Francisco Bay, under the Golden Gate Bridge, was a much more relaxed experience than coming into the Bay in the fog and dark. We had sunshine, no ship traffic, and a lovely light breeze – just enough for us to cut the engine and truly sail through this famous waterway.

San Francisco in our wake

Goodbye, San Francisco

For some reason, our departure from San Francisco felt like a milestone for both of us. Continue reading