Gone Floatabout

Sailing, Photography, Wilderness


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What a difference a day makes: Contrasting stops in Southern California (December 2017)

We said goodbye to Morro Bay, and the wonderful time we’d had there seeing the elephant seals, on December 9, 2017. Since San Francisco, we’d gotten into a habit of leaving at sunset, and we did so again as we motored across the Morro Bay bar and set sail in the wake of the beautiful tall ships, Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftain.

Leaving Morro Bay

Leaving Morro Bay in the wake of the tall ships

The light breeze we encountered at the harbor mouth soon died off to nothing, so that we started the engine again to motor through a flat calm. We had an uneventful rounding of Point Conception, a notorious bit of the California coast, in the middle of the night, and we were close enough to see the hazy red glow of the wild-fires that were engulfing that area at the time. In fact, the air was so thick with smoke that my chest felt very constricted by the end of my watch, so much so at one point that I had trouble breathing. I obviously shouldn’t have waited until then to root around for my respirator, but one’s motivation to dig around with a flashlight in the recesses of the tool lockers isn’t great by 3:30 AM after fighting sleepiness since midnight.

Ash on the ocean

Ash on the ocean during the Southern California wild-fires

When dawn came, we could see how thick the smoke really was – we even saw large patches of ash lying on the calm water. Continue reading


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Article in Cruising World: How to Install a Watermaker

Cruising World magazine recently ran my piece  “Banishing Water Worries: A low-draw desalinator proves easy to install and maintain”  – which is about what it says it’s about! Here is a PDF of the article, which I hope is technical enough for sailors planning a similar project but interesting enough for general readers!

Celeste among growlers

Celeste in the Arctic Ocean, August 2015. We did not fill water from shore for 7 weeks while in the Arctic, thanks to our desalinator.

Cruising World also posted our video of testing our Katadyn (now Spectra) watermaker at the polar ice edge in very cold temperatures, which puts additional strain on the desalinator’s production rate. You can see the video here – enjoy!  Continue reading


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An interview and an article

A couple of links for readers who are interested:

Our partner Katadyn has a new blog  and recently interviewed us by phone for it – the interview is up online here. Approaching Polar pack ice, Arctic Ocean_AlpineAire and Optimus Heat

And Classic Boat magazine just published their April issue, with my piece about sailing in the Arctic on a wooden classic as one of the cover stories! CBApril18-print-cover

I promise to catch up on our posts about the California coast soon!


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San Francisco, October 2017

Waves at Crissy Field

Apologies that it’s been so long since our post about the passage down to San Francisco. After the excitement (both good and bad – see earlier post) of coming under the Golden Gate Bridge, we enjoyed a week of being anchored off Sausalito among local live-aboard characters and fellow transient voyagers. The anchorage itself was a little rolly, exposed as it is to the whole bay across to San Francisco itself, but you can’t argue with a free place to keep a boat in California!  Continue reading


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Passage to San Francisco (October 2017)

Passage to SF-2Last winter, while we were living aboard and working on CELESTE in Port Angeles, we discovered just how frequent and how deep the low pressure systems that hit the Pacific Northwest can be. So this year, after returning to Port Angeles from our Alaskan cruising, we were determined to get south of their tracks before the winter pattern began.  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:


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Inside Passage, express style. (September 2017)

Fishing boat in Cross Sound

Fishing boat in Cross Sound, the evening we reached the Inside Passage again

After a couple days of rest upon reaching the sheltered waters of Southeast Alaska, we set off for a nearly non-stop trip south down the rest of the Inside Passage. We started on this marathon on September 9 and our goal was to be back in Port Angeles, Washington in two weeks.  Continue reading