Our Checkered Past

We left our hometown of Kodiak, Alaska on board Pelagic on June 23, 2007.  After sailing down the west coast of North America to La Paz, Baja California, we set out across the Pacific and reached Australia on October 22, 2008.  During the next year we sailed up and down the east coast of Australia between Townsville and Hobart.

We arrived in Hobart in January 2010, just in time for Alisa's first prenatal appointment at the Royal Hobart Hospital - she was seven and a half months pregnant with Eric.

In Hobart we sold Pelagic.  For a year we searched for the next boat and stayed busy with the addition to the family.  After a long, fruitless search for a boat in Australia that we liked and could afford, we ended up buying Galactic in Sausalito, California in January 2011.  We worked frantically on the new ride for three months and then set off across the Pacific again in May, leaving from San Diego and again ending up in Australia.  From our landfall in southern Queensland we once again made our way down to Hobart.

This time our deadline was Elias' first day in school.

And Hobart is where we plan on spending this Austral winter before moving on to New Zealand.

In these maps our travels on Pelagic are in green, and those on Galactic are in red.


  1. Hi I have just finished reading your book and loved it, my husband is now reading it we too have dream however small.........we recently became the owners of a roberts 25 sailing boat. My husband and I together with our 6 year old boy are having our own adventures.........not anywhere near as note worthy as yours but if we get in and out of our mooring succesfully, we consider that a good day!! We are enjoying learning and hopefully one day might venture further than Mooloolaba where we and the boat live, thank you for sharing. I would love to read more about cooking and storing food on the boat!! A recipe post perhaps?

  2. Hi there - so glad you enjoyed the book. Our first boat was a 25-footer, too. Alisa has talked about a storage/galley post (she's the master). I'll see if I can convince her to do one...

  3. hi I have just finished reading your book after being gifted it from my mother...she is currently living on King Island just nth of Tassy and showed the book around to the family down there with her, my sister inlaw said " I recignise that woman!!" She remembered meeting Alisa and Elias at playgroup in Illuka on the nth coast of NSW!! That little story made the words even more alive on the page...as a mother of four who never stays still long I could relate with laughter and admiration to the journey you shared with us in your wonderful book....happy days Hannah

    1. Hi Hannah - that's a great connection; playgroup at Iluka turned out to be a great travel experience for us! We might get up to the Bass Strait islands before we leave Oz, so maybe our paths will cross...

  4. Hi, nearly finished your book and loving it. Used to live on a yacht in NZ and Brisbane so it brings back great memories. We've now got two boys and I've swallowed the anchor, hopefully temporarily. I loved sailing the Pacific and remember it very fondly. Your boys look very happy, and I hope you have a good crossing here to NZ - Cheers, Chris

  5. Hey Chris - that's great, thanks for letting me know you enjoyed it. And, yeah, that swallowing the anchor stuff sounds hard - I reckon that's the most apt metaphor in English.

  6. Mike, I stumbled across your first blog, Once in a Lifetime, quite some time ago and spent an afternoon reading through it. My husband and I have been following your blog since. We just had our first child this past April and dream of doing something similar to what you're doing with your life. Your family is quite the inspiration!

    I have a question for you though - I recall reading in Once in a Lifetime about your method for securing a car seat to the boat. I couldn't find the post with a quick look through, and figured it would be easier to just ask you about it than to dig through every one of your posts!

    Thanks for keeping this blog and keep living the dream :)

    1. Hi Alexandra -

      Yep, that's been one of the big parts of our setup for sailing with someone below the age of reason - having a place belowdecks (crib and/or eating seat) and abovedecks (the car seat) where we can secure the kid and we know they'll be safe without supervision - for times when we both have to be working and can't watch the kid.

      So we just use added some tie-down points - beckets or eyestraps - in convenient spots on both boats and lashed in a car seat so that it was immovable. You can see Eric in the current version in the banner photo on the blog....

      Let me know if that answers your question!

  7. Hello. I came across your blog when searching on how to deal with nappies while at sea! Amazing and inspiring adventures with your family. We are planning to sail transatlantic and then cruise the carribean with our children who will be 4 and 2. Wondering what your top tips are for cruising with toddlers, particularly on long passages? Thanks. Alex

  8. I work at West Marine in Anchorage, AK and we're just completing your order. We cruise, too, and our boat is on Raiatea, French Polynesia, having followed your original route a bit later than you. It's West Marine to garner those discounts! Interesting to see what you bought and had shipped.

    All the best to you all. Perhaps we'll be seeing you down there. I attached a "boat card" in the invoice pocket.

    Bill http://svwings.com

    1. that's great, Bill - thanks for the card. And check out our work site at blueworldresearch.com!

      cheers, Mike

  9. Just came across your blog after hearing you on 'the sailing podcast'. Great to hear of other cruising families who have been there and done it! Very inspiring, best wishes your future adventures!

    1. thanks, Craig - been there, done that and coming back for more!

  10. Mike,

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    - Catamaran Guru: http://catamaranguru.com/lifestyle/favorite-stuff
    - BoatGear: http://www.myboatsgear.com/drsails-adhesive?a=1&c=5092

    After developing the product, we are currently focus on building up a community around DrSails by creating and sharing high quality content such as manuals and video tutorials. Please see below some examples:

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    - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7UkE4mlPtiI
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    We have been sharing this content via sailing communities such as sailnet and cruiserlog, among others. Now we would like to do so via blogs like yours. DrSails was developed by sailors for sailors and, in order to be coherent with our vision, we want to spread the word via sailors too.

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  11. Hi Mike,

    Thank you for writing such a fabulous book. I have you and my second cousin to blame for helping me purchase my first cruiser. :)

    Your book has been very hard for me to put down and for a person that finds it very difficult to become consumed in a book that is a huge achievement. I finished it in three days between work and other commitment including making my partner drive through Sydney while I read (we missed a lot of turns). Our dream is to do your trip in reverse, well Sydney to Alaska that is.

    You guys took on an amazing challenge and won. well done to you all and again thanks.


  12. Just read your article in Cruising World on Anchoring like a pro. Really informative and helpful, but above all understandable! Thanks

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