Gone Floatabout

Sailing, Photography, Wilderness


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50,000 sea miles

Setting moon on Pacific crossing

Moon setting at dawn on my second Pacific crossing

So, this summer, when I was out-of-touch and offline, we were sailing across the Pacific again. This second Pacific crossing was quite different from the first one in 2007, but more on that in a later post. But en route, we realized we had sailed some 50,000 sea miles.

In that time, we’d sailed across 4 oceans, crossed the equator three times and the Arctic Circle twice, and, I’m pretty sure, had run aground in every ocean. So here’s to the sturdy little vessels that took us so far!


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Thank you for your patience…

Hi everyone!

Thanks for your patience with my lack of blog posts this summer! We were off sailing and have only recently returned to the land of fast internet. Baja sunset

I have to admit that (barring frustrations with getting work sent off), I really enjoyed being so disconnected and unplugged for so long. I know it sounds ridiculously cheesy, but it allowed me to focus on “the present” in a way that just doesn’t happen when I  have Wifi and mobile data…. So the challenge now is to maintain that mental state while also being connected again.

That said, it’s been great fun to check my email (yes, you read that right – I hadn’t checked one of my accounts in literally 4 months!) and read all the wonderful comments from my readers! Thank you all for your kind words and positive thoughts! I’ll respond to them all right after this post!

And then I hope to start writing here fairly regularly again.

Thanks again to all my lovely readers, and wishing you all a happy fall (or spring if you’re in the southern hemisphere!),

Ellen


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Mexico’s Sea of Cortez, Part 1: Passage to La Paz, a family visit, and snorkeling with whale sharks (February 2018)

Several sailors we had met in Alaska had highly recommended the Sea of Cortez, saying it was one of their all-time favorite cruising grounds, so that was our goal in Mexico. So when we left San Jose del Cabo, we pointed the bow north again. At first – when our course was really more northeast along the coast – we had beautiful sailing on a close reach, once again flying along under clear skies. Sailing fast upwind

But as the land curved more north and we altered course, the wind was right on the nose. With relatively little chop, we nonetheless made good progress, despite sailing lots of miles out of our way, as you do when you beat to windward. By evening we had reached Cabo Pulmo, a national park that was recommended in our cruising guide for having the best protected anchorage south of La Paz.  Continue reading


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The West Coast of Baja, Part 2: Whales, fish, and more good sailing (February 2018)

Good wind!

Great wind on passage to Bahia Magdalena

When we left Bahia Tortugas to continue south down the Baja peninsula, the light northerly wind we’d had on the first part of our Mexican voyage had built to a perfect 15 knots and CELESTE flew on her way. It only lasted a few hours, but it was a great start to our next two-day hop to Bahia Magdalena, a giant bay famous for the gray whales that mate and give birth there each winter.

Desert Hills and White Horses_2

Sailing off the desert hills of Baja

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The West Coast of Baja, Mexico, Part 1: Good sailing, snorkeling, sunsets, and scenery (February 2018)

Desert Hills and White Horses_2

Desert hills and white horses. Fun, fast sailing off the Baja coast

We had a good time cruising down the west coast of Baja – it’s a beautiful, wild place, and it was especially interesting and unique for us as it was the first time we have sailed off a hot desert coast. (Much of the Arctic is a desert, of course, but it’s very different from the red hills of Baja!) It made quite the change from the temperate rainforests of the Pacific Northwest that we’d grown so used to over the last few years!

 

Continue reading


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Morro Bay, California, December 2017

Sea lions, Monterey

Sea Lions on Monterey breakwater

After spending six weeks ashore in late October and November, we returned to CELESTE in the marina in Monterey, California. We arrived just in time for the Holiday Boat Parade, of sailboats and motor boats bedecked in Christmas lights.

Christmas lights in Monterey

Monterey marina ready for Christmas!

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Arctic Voyage Video 4: Arctic Circle and Bering Strait

I just uploaded our 4th episode of our Arctic Voyage video series! Hope you enjoy!

This episode covers sailing from Nome, Alaska through the Bering Strait and across the Arctic Circle to Point Hope in July 2015. We have a rather rough passage in cold fog until north winds cause an unplanned stop at the longest continuously inhabited village in North America. As so often happens, the best experiences are the unexpected ones, and here we become immersed in the subsistence culture of Alaska’s North Slope. With south winds finally in the forecast, we end the video explaining how to read sea-ice charts and weather files downloaded by satellite phone.


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Critter Post 7: Atlantic Blue Tang

A big departure from my earlier Critter Posts: this one doesn’t live in Alaska and doesn’t breathe air! The Blue Tang is a reef fish native to the tropical Atlantic, so with this Critter Post, we’re harkening back to Seth’s and my global circumnavigation aboard HERETIC, during which we snorkeled with Blue Tangs in the Caribbean on the way out (2006/7) and the way home (2010).Blue Tangs-3

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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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Arctic Voyage Video: Episode 3

A few months ago, Cruising World magazine picked up the series of videos we’d made of our 2015 voyage to the Alaskan Arctic. I also posted the first three – the “trailer” and Episodes 1 and 2 – here on this blog and on YouTube. Then we were busy sailing, so I didn’t get around to posting Episode 3 until now. But here it is! Hope you enjoy!

Pribilofs to Nome, Bering Sea, Alaska (July 2015)

Four days sailing north across the Bering Sea to reach the gold-rush town of Nome where we meet today’s miners, try to catch a salmon, spot nesting birds, and encounter herds of muskoxen – a true denizen of the Arctic.

And because it’s been so long since Episodes 1 and 2, here they are again as well: