Gone Floatabout

Sailing, Photography, Wilderness


Passage to Nome, Alaska, July 7-11, 2015

With the forecasts predicting moderating SE winds, it was time to leave St Paul Island and head out once more into the Bering Sea.  So after saying goodbye to all our new friends, we prepared Celeste for departure and cast off the docklines.

Red-legged kittiwake

Red-legged Kittiwakes on the dock, St Paul Island

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Wind, Foxes, and Birds on St Paul Island, July 5-6, 2015

A huge thank-you to all of you who donated to Seth’s cancer fund-raising campaign at http://mobro.co/sethleonard!  We really appreciate your support!

Back to catching up on the blog!


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Birds and Fur Seals on the Pribilof Islands, July 3, 2015

St Paul signMorning dawned with even thicker fog than at our arrival the night before. But we were determined to find as many birds as possible – one of the three reasons for stopping here (the other two being the fur seals and that the island was on our way north). St Paul is known for its many unique sea- and shorebirds that aren’t easy to spot elsewhere. It’s famed in bird-nerd circles (a term I use affectionately!) for red-legged kittiwakes, crested auklets, least auklets, parakeet auklets, horned and tufted puffins, etc. Bird nerds come from all over the world and brave the long toilet-less flight from Anchorage – and they bear with Spartan accommodations and cold and wind and fog – just to spot these little feathery friends. So Seth and I were most definitely going to find the famed birds, too! Continue reading


Summer Sailing Articles

Ellen's photo on the cover!

Ellen’s photo on the cover!

For those of you looking for relaxing reading about some incredible sailing destinations, this summer’s issues of Cruising World (USA), and Sailing Today (UK) have two of my features coming out.  So for a change of pace from watermakers, diesel engines, and AGM batteries, you can check out idyllic North Haven, Maine in the pages of Cruising World‘s July issue and British Columbia’s incredible mountains and fjords up the Inside Passage in the October issue of Sailing Today.  The July issue of Canada’s Pacific Yachting also has a short article I wrote about a couple of beautiful anchorages on Cortes Island near Desolation Sound.  Finally, one of my photos is going to grace the cover of Cruising World!


Inspired by the Ocean

Sunset, South Pacific

When preparing for voyaging to the Arctic, it’s easy to think only of the logistics—safety equipment, installing a heater, satellite communications, a desalinator, provisions—to the point where, when someone asks you why you’re doing it, you don’t have the answer ready.  That’s too bad, because an expedition like this is fairly unusual and can be difficult to explain to those who are not themselves bitten by the adventure (or armchair adventure) bug.  So I was glad to have the opportunity to write it up from the beginning for Zeal Optics.  Posted just yesterday, “Inspired by the Ocean” can be read here on Zeal’s blog!  Enjoy 🙂



Exploring the Arctic through ZEAL lenses!

Zeal Optics

NB: After 33,000 nautical miles our sunglasses were a bit worn, so we approached Zeal for sponsorship, being drawn to their sustainable manufacturing. 

So we’re stoked to be joining up with ZEAL Optics, creators of unique and sustainable eyewear born out of the need for adventure and exploration.  While voyaging, Seth and I pretty much live outdoors, which means we’re constantly exposed to sunlight, glare off the water, and wind.  Standing watch means—among other things—searching the horizon for hazards like ships, driftwood, submerged containers, or even whales, and it would take a toll on our retinas if we weren’t protected with durable and polarized shades.  In the Arctic, with 24-hour daylight and glare off ice as well as ocean, this will be especially important.  On calmer, warmer days we’ll be sporting our sunglasses, and when it gets rough and the salt spray starts to sting (or even freeze!) we’ll be digging out our ski goggles.  These are polarized too, giving us a good chance of discerning whitecaps from sea ice and allowing us to see rocks and shoals when nosing into a cove or picking our way along the shallow Arctic coastline.  Continue reading