Gone Floatabout

Sailing, Photography, Wilderness


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Home Ashore

Many of you know that we moved to Hawaii. For those of you who don’t, I realize how unexpected that must seem, especially after so much time sailing and so much time in cold places. The reason was primarily that Seth’s workload had increased to the point where he could no longer work from the boat.

Sailing in the Marquesas

No WiFi out here… South Pacific 2018

Trying to have a career while living aboard, let alone sailing to remote (read: without internet) places, is really hard. The confined space of a sailboat must serve both for sailing and living; adding career-type work to that is tough. So a land base became necessary. Fortunately, Seth’s remote work enabled us to choose almost anywhere in American territory that had good internet: we weren’t confined to a specific region or city. Hawaii might still sound like an unexpected choice given our seeming penchant for cold places. That penchant has really been mostly mine, however, and when picking a place to live, my Alaskan suggestions were never going to beat out Hawaii’s year-round coral reef scuba diving…

Many friends in Alaska had ties to Hawaii, too, which is what first put it on our radar as a place to live. So in October 2017, when it became clear we’d need to stop sailing so much and work ashore, we flew to Hawaii to scope it out, and thereafter we only sailed for a month or two at a time, continuing our voyage south and then across the Pacific in May 2018, in stages and working in between. Life on Hawaii pretty much took over from sailing after that. The island has a lot to offer: I’m always finding new beautiful places, making new friends, and learning new things, such as outrigger canoe paddling. Here are some photos of this lovely place:

 


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Passage to San Francisco – feature article in Ocean Navigator

Passage to SF-2More publication news – my Ocean Voyaging feature article about the passage south to San Francisco appeared in the January/February issue of Ocean Navigator magazine and it’s up online now too!

This passage –  down the northwest coast – is very talked of in the West Coast sailing community. It’s a lee shore with few places to shelter, and it’s subject to volatile weather. For many Pacific Northwest sailors, it’s the first real ocean passage – one leaves behind the protected waterways of Puget Sound and the Inside Passage in favor of ocean swells. Finally, if it’s left too late in the year, this passage can deliver some really nasty conditions, so the maxim among West Coast sailors is to round Cape Flattery (the NW tip of Washington State) and be off southward before October 1st. My Ocean Navigator feature covers the major concerns and strategies regarding this passage and relates our own experience with it.  You can read the piece here.

I also wrote a blog post about it around when we actually did the passage, which is a lot less extensive, but which you can read here. Hope you enjoy!


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Not too late for summer reading!

It will probably come as no surprise that I love to read about outdoor adventures, ashore and afloat. So when we finished our summer’s sailing this year and received our big stack of waiting mail, I was excited to see the Summer issue of Misadventures magazine.

Misadventures-2

Of course it’s always fun to see my own writing in print, but what I enjoy even more is seeing what else is in the magazines. This issue was full of interesting tales of guiding on the Inca Trail, becoming a park ranger in retirement, and advocating for public lands as well as fun stuff like a recipe for campfire Bibimbap. The theme of the issue was Landfall, which is of course a central part of offshore sailing (or at least, one hopes so!) My own piece was about the magic of landfall to a seafarer, that exhilarating – and sometimes bittersweet – moment when you first sight land on the horizon after days or weeks at sea. 

Misadventures is written by all kinds of adventuresome women and I was honored to be among them this summer. The magazine was started to celebrate women and the outdoors, and while it’s certainly inspirational to women and girls, it’s also just a good read about the great outdoors and great pursuits!  The Landfall issue is still available in stores, or on the magazine’s website. And while most of the print articles aren’t online, the site has lots of other interesting stories!

 


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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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Hiking the Olympic Peninsula

lake-angelesThis fall we’ve been “stuck” on the Olympic Peninsula while repairing Celeste, but it’s been a great place to be stuck. Not only have we made some wonderful friends, but we’ve gotten to explore the peninsula quite a bit. It’s the northwesternmost part of the contiguous United States and the mountains that form its spine are the second largest range in Washington State. The highest peak is the glaciated Mt Olympus, at nearly 8,000 feet. Rainforests and lakes surround it, draining to the dramatic Pacific coastline of beaches, breakers, and rock formations. Much of it is national park land, so is beautifully wild and undeveloped and full of animals. It’s been a wonderful area to hike and explore on our days off from boat projects and work. Here are a few photos: Continue reading