Gone Floatabout

Sailing, Photography, Wilderness


9 Comments

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


17 Comments

Puffins and Whales en route to King Cove

Leaving Sand PointAlthough gales were still raging to the east when we left Sand Point at 04:30 on August 31, 2014 we encountered only moderate wind in our area.  We picked our way out of the boat basin in the fog and pitch dark and hoisted sail once clear of the entrance.  Celeste sailed along happily on a beam reach.  The brisk north wind coming over the Peninsula from the Bering Sea was cold and raw but not more than about 20-25 knots, great conditions to fly along at about 8-9 knots. Continue reading


7 Comments

Sand Point, Shumagin Islands

Beautiful calm, Alaska PeninsulaThe gorgeous calm sunrise that ended two days of strong winds heralded a perfect day’s sail to Sand Point.  Listening to the VHF National Weather Service forecast, we learned that those high winds had not abated in the more eastern zones we had just come through.  Nor did it sound like they were ever likely to.  But in our zone and further west, both wind and sea state were much calmer.  A breeze filled in enough for us to sail and soon we were in the bare and beautiful Shumagin Islands. Continue reading


7 Comments

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


1 Comment

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


9 Comments

Weather-bound in bear country

Charging bearAfter the bear’s bluff-charge, we rowed back to Celeste to weigh anchor for another try at the passage west along the Alaska Peninsula.  The day was raw and overcast, with light wind inside the bay.  But out in Shelikof Strait, we once again felt the full fury of a Gulf of Alaska low pressure.  Favorable winds, yes, but they sure hadn’t moderated!  If anything they’d increased.  So back into the anchorage for the second time. Continue reading


6 Comments

Passage to the Alaska Peninsula, August 19-20, 2014

August 19 GRIBJust as the NOAA radio forecasts and our OCENS WeatherNet files predicted, August 19 dawned with almost no wind under a light fog.  Of course these are not ideal seagoing conditions, especially for a sailboat!  But we figured we’d take it: we have a good radar with a chart overlay that we installed in Port Angeles; we’re pretty used to fog from sailing in Maine; and, considering we have a new and reliable engine, no wind was better than the strong contrary winds of the day we’d originally tried to depart. Continue reading


10 Comments

Fun and Bears on the Kenai Peninsula

Clearing skies in Tonsina BayFor the first time in 10 days we saw the sun on the evening of August 16th.  Anchored in our sheltered inlet at the southern end of the Kenai Peninsula, we watched the rain ease, then cease.  The clouds rose higher, then started to break up, and by late evening we were treated to a glorious sunset.  The next day would be perfect. Continue reading


6 Comments

Passage to Kenai Peninsula: August 14-15, 2014

Dock full of fishing boats hiding from the gale

Dock full of fishing boats hiding from the gale

After a rainy day anchored in Chenega Bay near the mouth of Prince William Sound while a gale raged outside, we made a break for the open sea.  As the National Weather Service had predicted, the wind moderated in the early hours of August 14, so we set off after breakfast.  It was still pouring rain, but we were pretty used to that by this point.  Continue reading