This year I was honored to receive the David Wallis Literary Award from the Ocean Cruising Club. It was for an article I wrote for the club’s biannual journal Flying Fish, recounting spending my twenties at sea, including the circumnavigation Seth and I made aboard our rudimentary, even primitive, boat HERETIC. It was very flattering to be singled out, especially as the articles in Flying Fish tend to be of quite high quality, in terms of the content (some very exceptional voyages recounted!) and the writing and photography. I was also excited to receive my copy of Flying Fish and see dear old CELESTE on the cover!
Another video from our Alaskan voyages: This episode covers another part of our return trip in Summer 2016 from the Aleutians back to Puget Sound/Juan de Fuca Strait area. A four-day passage across the Gulf of Alaska brings CELESTE to Peril Strait, the aptly named entrance to Southeast Alaska’s inside channels. Here we explore forested islands, deserted coves, hot springs, and lagoons accessible only by dinghy before transiting Wrangell Narrows, another tight waterway with fast-running tides.
Hope you enjoy Episode 10!
Last year, author and sailor Nicola Rodriguez in the UK reached out to me to contribute to the second edition of her book Sail Away, a primer for starting out on long-distance voyaging. I enjoyed answering her questions and then I was excited to see her book once it came out. She used one of our pictures to lead her chapter on the high latitudes (above), which was fun to see. It’s a great book for anyone new to offshore sailing and trying to get a feel for what to expect. It’s available online, on Amazon and other places.
In our last video episode, we set sail from the Aleutian Islands heading east for the remote Alaska Peninsula. In this next one, we continue our 2016 voyage onward to Kodiak and then north to the stunning scenery of the Kenai Fjords. Sailing from tranquil coves to calving glaciers, we witness breaching humpback whales, sea otters, huge flocks of puffins, high snow-capped peaks, and deep fjord anchorages. Hope you enjoy!
P.S. You can see all the previous episodes on our new Videos page.
Seth and I were incredibly honored to receive the Cruising Club of America’s 2018 Young Voyager Award. Recognizing “a young sailor who has made one or more exceptional voyages,” the award is relatively new among the CCA’s prestigious sailing medals. Given the two previous Young Voyager recipients, and given the club’s history of honoring truly exceptional sailors, we were bowled over to be the 2018 awardees!
We traveled to New York to attend the awards dinner at the New York Yacht Club on March 1st, and what a gathering it was! Continue reading
More 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!
Another episode in the Alaska video series!
The last video covered the start to our 2016 sailing season, in Dutch Harbor Alaska, in which we tackled the most necessary repairs to CELESTE following a typhoon. This episode is the start to actually sailing in the 2016 season, with the boat in seaworthy condition again. Retracing our outward (2014) route back to Washington State, we leave the Bering Sea behind and sail along the Alaska Peninsula, one of the state’s most primeval-feeling coasts. Volcanoes smoke, brown bears pace the shore, waterfalls tumble down cliffs, tides run strong, and glaciers gleam white in the sun. Hope you enjoy Episode 8!
P.S. I’ve also created a playlist for our Arctic Voyage, including Episodes 1-6 which cover our 2015 journey from Dutch Harbor to Point Barrow on the North Slope and return.
Here (finally!) is the next episode in the Alaska video series:
My last video episode covered our passages south in autumn 2015 from the “top of America” at Point Barrow in the Arctic back to Dutch Harbor in the Aleutian Islands, once again to be CELESTE’s winter home. So this episode is the beginning of the following season (2016).
Winter 2015/16 was not nearly so kind to CELESTE as the previous winter – a typhoon from Japan hit the Aleutian Islands that year, causing severe damage throughout the town and harbor. So we return in June 2016 to find some major repairs to do. But between installing a new chain plate and readying CELESTE for sea, we also find time to observe the incredible wildlife of the area – humpback whales, sea otters, Arctic ground squirrels, and bald eagles.
Hope you enjoy this episode!
It was hard to leave the beautiful bays and empty hills of Espiritu Santo island, but with summer (and hurricane season) approaching, it was time to sail back out of the Sea of Cortez and complete the final preparations for the Pacific crossing.
Since we’d been back in Mexico on the boat (after being away working for a few months), we had found the wind patterns to be the reverse of what they’d been in the winter. Back in February, we had made an upwind passage from San Jose del Cabo up to La Paz, fighting the strong north wind that prevails at that time of year. By May, we encountered frequent dead calms during the day and strong southerlies at night. This meant that we would be fighting headwinds again on our way south to Cabo (at least during the nighttime part of the passage). CELESTE sails pretty well against the wind, but headwinds make a passage longer (literally – you sail a lot more miles over ground to make good the same distance, as opposed to being able to sail straight on course with a favorable wind), so when we got a forecast for a calm day and night, we decided to swallow our sailing pride and make tracks to Cabo – we’d lingered long enough if we were going to the South Pacific that season!
It’s been a while since I wrote about our first experience sailing in Mexico’s Sea of Cortez, when we made the upwind (slog of a) passage from San Jose del Cabo to La Paz back in February of this year. So that was Part 1 and now I’m finally getting to Part 2. In between, we spent a couple of weeks in La Paz – touristing and doing boat projects in early March and then provisioning and doing boat projects in early May. (In March and April we were back in the US working ashore.)
Anyhow, that’s some background to catch everyone up since I’m so behind on the blog!
So here goes! Continue reading