We Four

So this would be us.  Alisa and I grew up 20 minutes from each other, in the suburbs of Cleveland, Ohio, but we didn't meet until we were both at the University of Alaska.  Our courtship involved lots of winter camping in Alaska.  When I realized how much Alisa enjoyed that, I knew that she would be game for living on a sailboat full-time.

Elias was born on Kodiak Island, and Eric was born in Tasmania.  I keep telling Alisa that if our third child is born on Easter Island, we'll have a set of island kids from all three corners of the Pacific.

I don't think she's buying it.

So here she is - the Morale Officer on Galactic.  I like to say that you could sail the world without my wife on board... but I wouldn't recommend it!

You wouldn't guess it now, but Alisa used to take time off from college in Ohio to follow the Grateful Dead on tour.  She played ice hockey when she was in grad school in Alaska, and can still skate circles around me.  Oh, and - she is a totally bitchin' fisheries oceanographer.  Check out her publication record.

I'm a writer (South From Alaska) and a marine biologist, and I'm keeping my research life simmering away about half-time during our sailing years - mostly with research on Alaskan ecosystems.  Check out my publication record - and notice how many of my papers have a certain A. Abookire as co-author!

I used to be a very enthusiastic, though moderately talented, mountain climber in Alaska. I always dreamed of sailing long distances in a boat of my own. But I never dreamed I'd be doing it with toddlers.


  1. Beautiful to see you and your family now.

    From an old acquaintance.

  2. Hello Alisa and Mike - I have just started following your blog and love it. In part I feel like we are living parallel lives. We are also just setting out on 2nd "once in a lifetime" cruise. Our first was on a 34 foot cutter between San Francisco and the Chilean Fjords by way of the Galapagos and Easter Island. I also spent years at sea on various ocenographic vessels, although only at the rank of technician. Coincidentally our new home is a 42 foot Hallberg Rassy named, wait for it…..Pelagic. We will be cruising this time our three children; 11, 9 and 4 and will not claim to have ever wanted to take a baby cruising. You are certainly badass in my book! Oh, and did I mention I spent the first 20 years of my life in Fairbanks, Alaska. If we dug deeper I'm sure we have a UAF connection somewhere. Anyway, we are headed off in the next few weeks from our home in Portland towards Mexico and points south. Maybe we will see you out there one day and in the meantime I will continue to enjoy following your blog.

  3. Way to inspire and keep up the morale! We just saw your article in Cruising World- great job! I am also a biologist and remember Alisa from when I was at the Kachemak Bay NERR, setting research priorities. I now live in Charleston. We've cruised with our two kids, ages 8 and 11 on our Cal 29, and look forward to more fun on the water once we restore our Soverel 37. Where are you now?

  4. Hi Mike, just reading your book and now up to Mexico. It takes the romantic notion away and leaves me with a heavy dose of reality. We are looking at leaving Sydney on a catamaran 1/6/17 (decided to put a date on it). My question is what have you found to be the difference between those that stuck it out and those that threw it in?
    All the best on your travels from
    Daniel, Wendy, 2 kids and 2 dogs.

  5. Would love to know what kind of camera you use...in need of a new one for similar round-the-world sailing adventures with a tot in tow!

  6. Hi Alisa. Thanks for giving me the address of your blog. It has been very inspiring to scroll through and see the photos and read about your adventures thus far. Great to see the sailing life the boys are having and put it into the context of their schooling. Regards, Tanya

  7. Hi Mike and Alisa. So fun to read your story. Thanks for sharing. Interested in how you keep up your research and publications while aboard. Are you affiliated with a research institute or University where you work part time? Are you gathering data on your voyages?

  8. Hola, Galactic crew! We were just thinking of you and wondering where you were. Looks like we're on opposite sides of the same country! We're in Bocas del Toro. Drop me a line from Taketwosailing.com. I'd love to keep in touch.

    Tanya on Take Two

  9. Read your book.enjoyed it very much.found your website yesterday..neat. I am visiting my daughter and son in law at Kodiak Baptist mission...hope your research is going well. Wouldn't happen to be writing a sequel would you?

  10. Loved "South from Alaska" .When is the next book coming about the years from arriving in Australia to returning to Kodiak?