Gone Floatabout

Sailing, Photography, Wilderness


Sea Gypsy’s Conundrum article online

Celeste leaving the Alaska Peninsula for Kodiak Island

Sailing in Shelikof Strait, Alaska

My Cruising World magazine article that I mentioned in the last post is now online. You can read it here and I hope you enjoy it! Thanks again to all the sailors who contributed!

https://www.cruisingworld.com/how-to-get-mail-at-sea/

 


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The Sea Gypsy’s Conundrum and other stories

Celeste in Kenai Fjords

When it arrived in my mailbox a couple weeks ago, I was excited to see that the most recent issue of Cruising World magazine features an article I wrote after surveying a bunch of fellow sailors: The Sea Gypsy’s Conundrum. One of the big organizational hassles for offshore sailors is what to do about a permanent address and about receiving mail while voyaging.

01 Post Office boxes

Mail is actually the easier half of this equation, as much of it can be dealt with online nowadays, but the permanent address issue – required for tax filing, applications for foreign visas, and renewals of passports, bank cards, driver’s licenses, even boat documentation – is a little harder. So I sent out my survey questions to a bunch of sailors and got about two dozen responses, all of them informative and interesting. A big thank you to all of you who contributed! Continue reading


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Sea of Cortez Part 3: Return Passage to Cabo (May 2018)

Sunset Espiritu Santo

Sunset seen from CELESTE’s deck, Espiritu Santo, Sea of Cortez

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!

Cabo Passage

Our route down Baja and up the Sea of Cortez (February) and then return to Cabo (May)

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Sea of Cortez, Part 2: Sailing, diving, and hiking (May 2018)

Sea of Cortez anchorageIt’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 Paztouristing 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


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La Paz, Mexico: Preparations for the Pacific + Fun with Photography (Early May 2018)

I’m finally catching up on the blog! I left off with our time in La Paz, in Mexico’s Sea of Cortez, so that’s where I’m starting up again.

La Paz

The required photo op in La Paz

That last post ended with us leaving CELESTE in early March to go back to work for a couple of months. We returned in early May to find her almost as we’d left her, and to find Baja much, much hotter than in the winter! It was very pleasant to be able to stroll around in shirt sleeves at night, but the days were pretty awful… sweltering…made me yearn for Alaska! Continue reading


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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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La Paz, Mexico: Desert hiking and boat projects (Early March 2018)

La Paz is quite a useful spot for cruising sailboats – a big anchorage, a bunch of marinas to choose from at different prices, almost any shop or service you might need. As the capital of Baja California Sur, it’s actually quite an extensive city but has a fairly relaxed atmosphere and a lovely waterfront area.

Statue on La Paz Malecon

Statue on the La Paz Malecon

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Mexico’s Sea of Cortez, Part 1: Passage to La Paz, a family visit, and snorkeling with whale sharks (February 2018)

Several sailors we had met in Alaska had highly recommended the Sea of Cortez, saying it was one of their all-time favorite cruising grounds, so that was our goal in Mexico. So when we left San Jose del Cabo, we pointed the bow north again. At first – when our course was really more northeast along the coast – we had beautiful sailing on a close reach, once again flying along under clear skies. Sailing fast upwind

But as the land curved more north and we altered course, the wind was right on the nose. With relatively little chop, we nonetheless made good progress, despite sailing lots of miles out of our way, as you do when you beat to windward. By evening we had reached Cabo Pulmo, a national park that was recommended in our cruising guide for having the best protected anchorage south of La Paz.  Continue reading


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The West Coast of Baja, Part 2: Whales, fish, and more good sailing (February 2018)

Good wind!

Great wind on passage to Bahia Magdalena

When we left Bahia Tortugas to continue south down the Baja peninsula, the light northerly wind we’d had on the first part of our Mexican voyage had built to a perfect 15 knots and CELESTE flew on her way. It only lasted a few hours, but it was a great start to our next two-day hop to Bahia Magdalena, a giant bay famous for the gray whales that mate and give birth there each winter.

Desert Hills and White Horses_2

Sailing off the desert hills of Baja

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