Gone Floatabout

Sailing, Photography, Wilderness


Prince William Sound and Kenai Fjords, Alaska, June 2017

Whale in Prince William SoundWe left the Inside Passage behind for our third Gulf of Alaska crossing on June 9, 2017 and had an easy passage except that first I, and then Seth, came down with some sort of flu. I think we may have caught it from a few people who were sick at Baranof Warm Springs. It didn’t manifest itself until the second day – the first day was very pleasant sailing with a moderate south swell and light south wind. We were sailing a close reach because the apparent wind was so much further forward (due to Celeste‘s speed) than the true wind. On the second day, the sailing was still good, with the wind up and down in strength but steady in direction from the south. By the afternoon, though, I had started to develop a headache and fever that persisted almost until we raised the islands off Prince William Sound. It was made rather worse on Day 3 by the wind dying but the swell increasing – a nauseating combination. Seth came down with the bad headache/fever as well on that day. Fortunately the sailing/motoring was easy, so we didn’t have to work too hard while we were ill. We both recovered on Day 4 and¬†by evening we came into Prince William Sound and anchored a few hours later in a lovely, deserted spot on Knight Island. Continue reading


New pages on Gone Floatabout

Hi everyone,

Bear and sprayWe’ve been doing a little renovation to Gone Floatabout and added some new pages. Finally the Arctic Voyage tab now has a full account of the voyage, from our first shakedown cruise in British Columbia in 2013 to our rounding of Point Barrow and return to the Aleutians this past summer. If you’re really ambitious and or really bored, all the posts are in order now on the 2014: Alaska page and the 2015: Arctic page ūüôā

Much more exciting is that we finally did something about the Photography page! It’s now under the new Media tab and has three extensive galleries: Wildlife, Nature, and Adventure & People. We had a lot of fun putting that together, so hope you enjoy it!

Finally, sorry for the last post that got sent out – it was a snafu that happened when we were editing our home page.

Hope everyone enjoys floating about the revamped site ūüôā


Ellen & Seth



Alaska articles

ON Cover, May 2015I’m always so honored to be able to share my experiences and photography in print.¬† Recently I’ve had a lot come out and it’s all been super exciting!¬† First off, my photo of Seth is on the cover of the May/June Ocean Navigator!¬† He’s flaking our staysail after it had finally dried out following the gale we weathered entering Prince William Sound. (Post about that here.) Continue reading


Articles and photos update

HeritageIn a change of pace from blogs about Alaska, we have some recent articles and a photo gallery to share!¬† The April issue of Classic Boat magazine (just out!) has an article about cruising the Maine coast aboard a beautiful Herreshoff ketch we briefly owned called Nahma.¬† Sailing in Maine will have any classic boat lover salivating: on almost every tack you’ll see yet another historic wooden beauty.¬† To accompany the article Classic Boat has just uploaded a large photo gallery!¬† Check it out here!

Schooners under Nahma's lee Continue reading

Kenai Peninsula Redux

Kenai ZEAL blogCheck out the best snippets of our Kenai adventures shared on the blog of our sponsor ZEAL Optics!¬† There’s also a couple more photos we haven’t posted to Gone Floatabout ūüôā Enjoy!


Back to the story of the Alaska Peninsula next post!


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


Escape from Whittier: August 11, 2014

Rain was still pouring in Whittier when we returned through the tunnel from sunny Turnagain Arm where we’d seen the belugas.¬† Wind was still whipping through the marina, pushing Celeste against her fenders.¬† The storm showed no signs of abating: if we were ever going to leave Whittier, we would just have to grin, raise sail, and bear it. Continue reading


Critter encounters on our temporary release from Whittier


Whittier seen through a rare break in the rain…

We had arrived in Whittier, one of the strangest and wettest places I’ve ever been, on August 7 meaning to wait out a storm and do chores.¬† Among those chores was renewing our Swiss residency permits pending our return to work in the fall.¬† It’s not an involved process, but we had to mail some forms to our cantonal (state) office.¬† So we swung by the Whittier post office.¬† They don’t sell stamps.¬† But you’re a post office!¬† How can you not sell stamps!¬†¬†The paid employee, who¬†for no¬†apparent expense to the US Government could have sold us postage if she’d had any, informed us that the¬†Postal Service¬†was cutting down on expenses by no longer selling stamps at marginal offices like Whittier. (?!?)¬† We could buy¬†a stamp online.¬† Predictably, the US Postal Service website didn’t function—all 20 different times we tried.¬† So we had to rent a car and drive to Anchorage. Continue reading


Wetter in Whittier: Where’s my upside-down snorkel??

PWS map

Our route around Prince William Sound – coming in from the SE up to Snug Corner Cove, north to Columbia Glacier and Glacier Island, west to Papoose Cove, and further west to Whittier before coming south out to the Kenai Peninsula

In my last post about Prince William Sound, I wrote about the benefits of sailing without cruising guides: wonderful unexpected places and experiences.  But you also run the risk that the unexpected might turn out badly, as I hinted was the case for us in Whittier.  We found out later that the locals call it Shittier. . . . Continue reading


Stunning Anchorages in Prince William Sound

Glacier Island anchorageIt was mid-afternoon when we left Columbia Glacier, so instead of trying to make any progress westward we decided to anchor in a cove on nearby Glacier Island.¬† The island had been recommended by Arctic voyager and fellow Blue Water Sailing contributor Claudia (s/y Belle Epoque) though she hadn’t given any details about why it was one of her favorites.¬† That was just fine, since it makes everything more of a discovery and more unexpected—the same reason we don’t always carry cruising guides. Continue reading