Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Day 517 & 518 Dodged the bullet.

Tuesday dawned with the hint of fog and stayed overcast for some of the morning before the Sun broke through.  With Puff(our dingy) already in the water, we took off for shore to explore the section of Santa Cruz we were allowed on.  With 70% of the island a nature conservancy(seen with a permit) we were left with the last 30% to see.  Still a large area to hike.  

We picked up papers once ashore telling us of where to hike and where not to and set off up the road to see what we could see from the hills(pictures later).  The water was a beautiful shade of blue from on high.  The boat that brings hikers showed up and let off a group to take pictures and see the sights.  We headed back for Zephyr to shut off our Honda generator before taking off for Potato Cove  several miles to the east.  Once back aboard Zephyr, the weather and winds changed in just a matter of minutes from lovely to cloudy and 15-20 knots of wind.  We decided(wisely) to stay right where we were as the wind continued to build through the afternoon.

About 1600, I turned on the VHF radio for a weather update from the National Weather Service and found that a Santa Ana wind was beginning to built over the mainland and was expected to hit the Santa Barbara coast and the islands later that night and through out Wednesday and into Thursday.  Just before this, another sailboat showed up and dropped his anchor.  Actually, he dropped two of them and snugged them into the bottom.  He then took off in a kayak to visit the island.  Hearing that big winds were coming, we dug out our back up anchor(same as our normal anchor)from down in the bilge.  We stored lots of bottles of wine around it(with bubble wrap for protection of course-never waste wine silly)so it took a while to get it out and put together as we stow it in parts for easier storage.

Next, we dug out the spare anchor line in the bow locker as well as the extra chain from beside the engine(where previous owner Bill had stowed it) and started getting ready to take it out in the dingy for deployment.  Only problem was that we couldn't find a shackle that fit over the end of the anchor to attach to chain to.  I finally "jury rigged" an attachment and I was set to take it out and drop it over the side of our dingy.  Tracy handed me each piece of the gear down the stern ladder and fed me the line from the bow so I could attach it to the chain after pulling Puff around to the front.  Once that was done, I took off in Puff and once at the end of the anchor line, dropped it over the side.  Tracy pulled in on the end of the line till the line went firm and we were set.

Once back on board, we rechecked the forecast and found that they were now expecting gusts of up to 50 miles per hour by midnight with more scheduled for Wednesday afternoon.  It was going to be a long night.  Oh, I forgot to add in that they were also talking about the tsunami that was due to hit the Santa Barbara coast shortly after 2100.  This was the remnants of the tsunami that hit the Samoa Island chain earlier in the day.  So here we are, in this beautiful harbor with gust of 50 miles per hour expected and the NOAA was throwing in swells of unknown height from a tsunami at the same time.  We were just waiting for the forecast for locusts, plagues, and dust storms to announced.  Wherever we go, strange weather is sure to follow. 

By 2100, the winds were up in the mid 20 knot range but no tsunami swells other than those the wind was creating were felt throughout the rest of the evening.  It was a Y2K event all over again.  We listened on the AM radio as announcers were interviewing folks down on the beach as to what they were expecting.   As it turns out, nothing.  We on the other hand were about to experience a long night in the cockpit.  With the big winds still to come, I turned on a alarm that is built into our Garmin GPS to tell me if Zephyr changes her position.  I can set the distance so simply swinging at anchor won't set it off.  With the alarm set at 100 feet, I settled in for the night.  About 2200, man on the only other boat in the anchorage(the one that dropped two anchors) came on deck to check his position with a flashlight and went below for a good night sleep.  Tracy went below for a restless night of trying to sleep and I stayed in the cockpit just waiting for the alarm to go off.  I poked my head up regularly to see how we were doing and laid back down for a while.  The winds never got about 33 knots.  With two anchors out, we were just fine.  Our primary anchor did most of the work by never slipping one inch.  We have a CQR anchor and she has proven herself to be a champ every time we have used her.

I finally got up at 0630 and watched the sunrise.  According to our GPS, we had traveled over two miles during the night.  It was somewhat cloudy but a beautiful morning knowing that we had come through the night without any harm befalling Zephyr.  I'd hate to loose our home after we have done so much to her.  By 0730, Tracy was up after getting about an  hour of sleep and we stowed Puff back on board.  We'd loaded Dragon(our outboard motor) the night before thinking that Puff might flip if the wind got too big.  Even with no motor to hold her down, Puff came through the night just fine. 

With Puff was back on board, we started raising our second anchor.  I took off our primary anchor off the windlass at the bow and tied it to a cleat to hold Zephyr in place.  We then put the second anchors line on the windlass and started pulling it in.  Zephyr swung in position as tension was put on the line and the second anchor came right on up.  Amazingly, the chain was all tied in knots around the anchor yet it held us in place and kept us from swinging.  I lifted it up over the life lines as Tracy coiled the line and piled up the chain.  Once done, we started the engine and took off after the primary anchor that had done such a great job for us.  With my foot on the switch, up she came and we were off for Ventura to stay at a marina till the Santa Ana winds passed.  

As we got closer, I called one of the marinas in Ventura to make a reservation and was told that the fee for staying there was $1.50 per foot per night.  For us, that puts the fee at $69.00 per night.  By far the most expensive marina we've ever been in.  We changed course for Santa Barbara.  They are only .90 per foot per night.  Lots cheaper.  An extra 11 miles longer, but much cheaper.  It would give us a place to hide out from the up coming Santa Ana winds the National Weather Service was call for.  Hey, guess what?  They never showed up!!!  The big blow was to be here by this evening and it's dead calm out side!!!  Gee, the National Weather Service getting a forecast wrong?  What are the chances of that?  If we had known it was to be nice and calm like this, we would have stayed at Santa Cruz for a while longer.  But hey, now we have a chance to get the laundry done and do some more shopping for supplies and food that we forgot.  A two edged sword.

We'll be here till Friday and then head back to Santa Cruz Island.  With luck, our permit to actually visit the island will be here by then.  It should have been emailed to us a few days ago.  Tonight, we will both catch up on some missed sleep.   Yeah!! 

Day 515 & 516 Over to Santa Cruz Island.

We upped the anchor about 1130 and left Santa Barbara for Santa Cruz Island to be precise. Our permit to land on the Nature Conservancy hadn't come through yet but we just wanted to get out of the rolly Santa Barbara Harbor and get to some place that might be easier at night. Santa Barbara Harbor, at night, looses it wind and so the swells take over and we roll from side to side all night long until the wind comes up in the morning. It makes for a disturbed night sleep.

It has been absolutely beautiful weather till we planned on setting out. Then the fog and grey set in and there has been little Sun ever since. There was very little wind so the engine came back into play and pushed us along nicely. In all, the crossing took about 5 hours and we pulled in about 1630 and dropped the anchor in Prisoner's Cove(34 01.298N 119 41.152W). A trip of just 24 miles. Wind finally cropped up about an hour out of the cove but since we were so close, we just finished motoring in. There were five other boats already at anchor in the cove so we were forced to drop our anchor a little closer than we would have liked but sometimes you have to do that. There were two power boats(including a trawler made in 1918) and three sailboats riding nicely at anchor. We wedged ourselves behind most of them nearer the shore. The newer power boat upped his anchor and took off about 1830 leaving just the five of us for the night. We were in for a quiet night at anchor.

Monday dawned cloudy and overcast and cooler. The 1918 trawler upped his anchor about 0730 and took off. About three hours later, one of the sailboats took off. The Sun kept trying to peak out of the clouds through out most of the day. About 1000, a large motor launch carrying supplies for the park rangers showed up and pulled ashore to drop off a trailer load of stuff. Their launch looked like an old World War II LST with a drop down front. The rangers had been down at the "beach" smoothing out the shore line for them to land. One of the last things I had expected to hear was the sounds of a bull dozer running up and down the beach. The launch came in and a tractor trailer rig backed on to it and pulled off the trailer. The launch then backed away from the shore and sat waiting for the trailer to be returned a few hours later. Once the trailer returned, the launch came back ashore and loaded it and off they went. By lunch time, we launched Puff and stuck on Dragon for a ride over to Pelican Cove about a mile west of Prisoner's Cove. We wanted to see what it looked like before we stopped by to anchor there later. A lovely little cove that was apparently the sight of a hotel back in the 1920s. Concrete steps still lead up from the water to the top of the hillside.

As we were leaving Pelican in the dingy, we saw another sailboat heading for Prisoner's Cove. We wanted to move the anchor to allow for more swing room between the remaining boats so we took off Zephyr. When the new sailboat saw the three of us left in the cove, it turned around and headed back for Pelican Cove for the night. We upped the anchor and positioned ourselves in a better place, farther from the other boats. The Sun came out and it was a lovely afternoon.

We started the generator as we'd used a good bit of amps over the previous night and they needed replacing. The folks on the closest boat(a 36 foot Beneteau)were off in their dingy exploring so we were not disturbing them. A while later, they were ferried back to their boat by another power boat. I'd guess that their engine died while out touring the North side of the island. They quickly put their dingy on board and took off for the mainland. Now we were down to just the two of us. Lots of room in the anchorage. The Sun came and went throughout the rest of the day. We were finally in swim suits sitting in the cockpit enjoying the warmth of the afternoon. Later in the afternoon, another boat came by the pier and picked up about a half dozen campers from the island. Apparently there is a company that sets up campers to visit and stay on the islands and ferries them from one to another. They loaded backpacks and kayaks along with a lot of other gear and a couple of park rangers to boot.

I'd defrosted some steaks for dinner and the barbecue was set to cook them. Add in some green beans cooked in a broth of onions and bacon and a great dinner was set. The clouds came and went through the evening and are back in full force this morning but with luck will burn off later this morning for a nice day. With no phone or internet service, we are forced to rely on AM radio for a weather forecast on the mainland(Santa Barbara area). They are calling for a partly cloudy day so we will see what today brings. We'll be off in the dingy later this morning when the Sun comes out to explore farther east along the coast. The final boat in the anchorage left about an hour ago so we have the place to ourselves.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Day 514 More errands and some rest.

We took off this morning for the marina in Puff with Dragon pushing us along just great.  We had trash to take in to drop off as we expect to be off for the Channel Islands on Sunday.  We also had a car to return and some more grocery shopping to do.

George and Celeste off Nereid came along as they had errands to do also and heck, they were paying for half the car rental.  Off the the veggie stand--lots of organic veggies and then down the Trader Joe's for a few things.  Next, the Post Office as George and Celeste were expecting their mail to finally come in.  We dropped Tracy off at Ralph's Market while we took off for a market that specializes in natural foods and meats.  Back to pick up Tracy and off to Enterprise to return the car with two minutes to spare.  They took us back to the marina where we took off for Zephyr while George and Celeste went to their boat and moved it out of the marina and on to their anchor for the night.  We spent the day resting and stowing the goods we had picked up over the last two days and making plans to head out to the islands Sunday--permit or not.

It requires a permit to land on parts of Santa Cruz Island and it hasn't come through yet so we will just anchor in one of their coves and wait for it without going ashore.  Hopefully, there will be cell phone service out there so I can get on the internet to download the permit once it arrives.  If not, then we will have to up the anchor and come back till we can get on the internet and download it in a few days.

If you don't see any updates for a few days, it's because there is no cell phone service at the islands, but have no fear---I'll post as soon as I can get back on line.


Friday, September 25, 2009

Day 512 & 513 What a difference a few miles make!

The wharf at Avila Beach.  We tied our dingy up under it and walked up the stairs to the deck.
Looking toward the beach from the wharf.
Other boats anchored  in the harbor at Port San Luis(just to the west of Avila Beach.
The south point of Avila Beach.
The south end of the beach.  The surf rolls in and there are kids out with their boogy boards.
Looking back out at the anchorage from the beach.
Lots of swimmers and sun bathers.
Finally Point Conception is getting passed!!  That's the light house on the cliffs.

We took off for Santa Barbara on Thursday late morning.  We finally upped the anchor about 1030 and took off following Nereid as we headed east.  Yes, that's right--East!!!  We will start heading south in a while but for now, we were heading east to  Santa Barbara.

Being south of Point Conception, everything has changed.  Suddenly the winds are calmer and the seas are flatter.  The forecast for the future is for winds of about 6 to 10 knots and sea swells of 2 to 3 feet--not meters every 18 seconds instead of every 8 seconds.  It's almost flat out there.  I don't know what or why it happens once you get south of Point Conception, but it does.  We had to motor all the way to Santa Barbara since there was just about no wind.  We were surprised how much oil we saw just floating along in the water.  We remembered seeing it over 20 years ago as we played in the water while we drove up the shore along Highway 1.   The temperature was down right balmy--shorts were the order of the day.  No longer in three layers of clothes.  We're free!!!  

We dropped anchor to the right side of the Stearns Wharf (34 24.569N  119 40.618W just after 1700 in choppy swells.   The harbor is divided into sections.  To the west is the marina(Nereid spent the night there).  Then comes Stearn's Wharf jutting out into the bay.  Next, 300 feet of "free" space.  No one is allowed to anchor there.  To the east of that is fair game.  Anchor where ever you want and lots of boats do.  It's free and unregulated.  Most of the boats look like they have been here for years with no one ever coming on board to check them.  One has even lost his mast over the side.  It is just dangling in the water with the boom still attached!  To the east of that are boats on moorings and that finishes out the harbor.  The marina is loaded with hundreds of boats both commercial as well as pleasure craft(sail and power).

Thursday night was pure madness.  Once the winds dropped, the swells took over the harbor and we rocked and rolled all night long.  We finally changed position in bed and slept 90 degrees off from what we normally do so we didn't get thrown around.  Our heads were at the stern instead of the starboard side.  Our feet dangled over the edge of the mattress, but at least we got some(though not much) sleep.

Today, we rented another car from Enterprise and with George and Celeste from Nereid, we took off on another mini economic stimulus for Santa Barbara.  West Marine--replacement parts and supplies.  Petco-- the kids need some food.  Costco--of course and the Home Depot for some "Cable Cuffs".  These are like large(comes in three sizes) zip ties except that they are made of plastic and can be reused.   Neat gadget to have on board for long electric cords or hoses that need tying.  We will be hitting the grocery store tomorrow before returning the car.

Our next stop is the Channel Island.  Santa Cruz in particular.  We found out Thursday that a permit is needed to land and walk through the Nature Conservancy District.  I filled in the application form but was advised that it takes up to ten days to get the permit.  The Nature Conservancy District controls about 70% of the island so we may be limited to that area until the permit arrives.  I told them to email it to us since we don't have a convenient mailing address.  If we have to stay on board, that's no problem either.  It will be nice to just stop for a while and recoup.  I still need to change the oil before we set out.

Another problem has resurfaced.  The "new" transmission has started leaking fluid again as it did a few weeks ago.  This is the "new" transmission that Sea Marine re-installed after ripping it out and sending it back to the factory to have it rebuild back in March.  Remember the propeller shaft would never stop turning episode in our journey?.  The pads I put under it are now pink with the transmission fluid.  I haven't figured out exactly where it is coming from but the hoses don't appear to be leaking.  The only thing we can guess is that the forward seal where it goes into the engine has a leak and is throwing fluid into the bell housing(where the transmission goes into the engine) and it is leaking out around the joints onto the floor of the engine compartment.  I started calling Great Lakes Power who build the unit on Monday and finally got a call back today.  They gave me a name of a company out side of Los Angeles that can come to Zephyr and report back to them as to exactly what the problem is.  Tomorrow, I will be putting new pads under the transmission and looking in as the engine runs to see if I can see any fluid spraying out of any of the fittings.  So far, I have not.  With luck, they will stand behind their product and we won't be out more thousands of dollars getting it fixed again.  I'll be back in touch with them next week to let them know our schedule as to where and when we will be there.  I assured them that I check the fluid before I ever start the engine and top it off as necessary.  I don't want it burning out on us.

So far, the weather has been great since we rounded Point Conception with temps in the low 80's for a change.  We are finally in southern California.  We're less than 150 miles from San Diego!

I checked with the company that insures Zephyr and they won't cover us once we get down into Mexico so I will be looking for another company.  If anyone has any suggestions, we'd love to hear them.

We had a question posted on the "comments" section a day or two ago.  As to exercise while we are out.   While out sailing, we are moving around quite a bit and get exercise pulling on lines and adjusting hardware and fittings.  We get more exercise when we are on shore walking, walking, walking to see the sights.  No we don't have a regular exercise program though we do have those rubbery exercise resistance bands to use if we wanted to.  As to our age--both Tracy and I are middle aged.  That is to say we are in our late 50's.  Age is after all a state of mind.   If you have any other questions you would like answers to, just post them in the "comments" section and I'll get back with you. 

If we get all our projects done, we may be off for the islands tomorrow though Sunday seems more likely.  Remember, if you click on the pictures, they get bigger and easier to see.

More to come!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Day 511 Into Cojo Anchorage

We are now officially in southern California!!!

We upped the anchor at 0610 and set off in the dark. The fog didn't set in for almost an hour after we left but stayed throughout the rest of the trip till we were just about past Point Conception. It was another grey and cream day out on the water. While we were only 5 miles or so from shore, we saw none of it. Just creamy fog.

By 1000, we had enough wind to raise the sails and did just that. It was time to get some sailing in. We'd motored enough. Up went the main followed by the big Genoa at the bow and off we went. Now the winds weren't from the best angle--to the left of the stern or off the port quarter as sailors say. Blowing at 15 to 18 knots, we moved right along. I set the auto pilot and we were set to go. The wind kept changing and the auto pilot kept complaining each time it changed. I'd have to reset its course. After a while, we jibbed. That's when you change course by changing the way the wind hits you at the stern. Instead of coming up into the wind and changing course, you take the stern through the eye of the wind. We rolled up the Genoa and pulled in the main sail until the winds at the stern were from the opposite side and then let out the main sail and rolled out the Genoa and off we went. The winds continued to build as we got closer to Point Arguello, just west of Cape Conception. Once we hit 30 knots, we took in the Genoa and dropped the main. There was no way to control Zephyr with only the main up and it just kept getting windier.

On went the engine and off we went. We'd been sailing for almost 5 hours. Our friends--George and Celeste from Nereid were right beside us as we started the engine. Less than a half mile to our port and we couldn't see them because of the fog. They had left about 2.5 hours after us but had motored down the coast just to make sure they got past Cape Conception in the day light. Our visibility was down to less than 1/4 mile. I radioed them to let them know where we were. They have an AIS beacon on their boat that tells me where they are, but we don't. We also have radar and they don't so there was no way for them to "see" us.

On we both went, rounding Cape Conception and into Cojo Anchorage(34 26.841N 120 26.513 W) and dropped the anchor at 1715. Cojo Anchorage is located about 1.5 miles east of Cape Conception and while it has the same winds as the cape, it doesn't have the swells the cape has so it's a decent anchorage for the night. Our 57 mile trip turned into a 65.8 mile trip with all the sailing we did. It never ends up in a straight line when you sail. With the swells, we hit a max speed of 10.2 when we were surfing the waves. We also dropped to 4.3 when going up the other side of the waves so it all evens out. We've now covered 1238 miles since we left Port Townsend.

Tomorrow, into Santa Barbara for a few days. Shopping for fresh food and veggies. I made reservations with Enterprise Rent a Car once we dropped anchor here for Friday. George and Celeste will be there with us so it will work out just fine for everyone.

It was actually warm enough for us to lay out on the stern deck and look up at the stars this evening. What a delightful change. A warm evening!!

I've done this blog on Mars Edit so sorry, no photos till once we are in Santa Barbara.

Day 510 Oil and touristing.

This will be short as internet isn't too fast out here in the Pacific.  We left at 0610 for Point Conception and should be around it by just after 1500 if we are lucky.

Yesterday, I changed the oil again for the diesel injector pump.  At every 50 hours, I get to change it a lot.  Once that was done, we headed for shore and who did we see but Cetus, another boat we have been "talking" to since we were in the San Juan Islands but never met.  They were always ahead of us down the coast.  We finally passed them at Monterey and they came into Port San Luis so we finally got to meet.  They've been out sailing for a long time including sailing to Tahiti and back so they have a good bit of water under their keel.  It was great to finally meet them.  

We headed into town to drop off our trash(got to do it when the opportunity arises) and play tourist.  We had a great lunch at Mission Pizza  just off the main drag.  If you ever get to Port San Luis--or Avila Beach as they call it, stop in.  Great sandwiches.  We strolled along the beach and sat and watched the waves come in.  We're trying to learn wave patterns so we will be better prepared for when we have to beach our dingy without smashing into the surf and over turning it.  So far, all we've been having is the rocky coast of farther north but not the sandy beaches we are now finding.  Now we have to learn how to do it when the surf is running.  Plus, learn on how to get back off the shore once we get there.  One of the last things I want to do is over turn our dingy and motor.

I'll post the pictures when we get a better internet connection.  Hope fully later today.

A quiet evening aboard stowing what we had taken out when we came in and up by 0530 and out by 0610 for the 57 mile trip past Point Conception.  That is one of the final milestones of the trip south.  Once past it, we might actually be able to put on a swim suit and work on our tans.  The water is still too cold for swimming--56 degrees, but the tan sounds good.

We're almost to the land of "milk and honey".  Each day a little closer.  Tonight, Cojo Anchorage just around the corner from Point Conception and then on to Santa Barbara to restock on veggies.  We've just about run out and there were no grocery stores on Avila Beach.

Stay tuned.  More to come.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Day 509 Amazing day!

San Simeon in the morning.  The fog lay just off shore waiting for us.
Small houses along the shore.
The fog just south of us.
As we left, the fog was all ready for us.
The west point of San Simeon Cove.  The swells still roll right around it and make the anchorage very rolly for the night.
Into Port San Luis.  The wall of white on the horizon was the fog we finally broke free of as we entered the harbor.
Avila Beach and the long wharf beside it.  We'll be taking our dingy there to get ashore.
Another picture of the wharf.  The dingy dock is out near the end on the far side.
Another picture of Avila Beach.
The wall of fog sitting just off shore.

We opted out of going into San Simeon since there was no place to safely dock the dingy without getting soaked pulling it up on the beach.  Instead we decided to take off for Port San Luis about 35 miles south.

We upped the anchor and set off about 1000 and took off in(of course) cloudy, foggy weather.  And that was the way it stayed all the rest of the way to Port San Luis(just west of San Luis Obispo).  We fired up the radar again just for safety and had a watch on our AIS(Automatic Identification System) on the computer screen.  There are (sometimes) lots of boats out there and we really want to avoid them.  

One thing we didn't avoid was an incredible pod of dolphins heading north.  They came at us out of nowhere.  HUNDREDS of them.  Wave after wave all heading north.  Many got sidetracked by Zephyr and came over to play in the wake of our bow.  Each wave of them sent 6 to 10 over to play for a few minutes.  We've never seen so many in one area at one time.  It was an incredible sight to see.  They kept pace with us and squeeked and squacked talking between themselves as they surfaced beside the bow.  Over and over the waves of dolphins just kept coming.  It's sights like this that make the trip so worth while.  Tracy had earlier seen a large whale tail break the surface a ways behind us and go down for a deep dive.  We never saw him come back up.

As we headed south, I called George and Celeste from Nereid to see if they were in Port San Luis.  Yes, they were having gotten in the day before.  They filled us in on the place with the best places to anchor and what to see and where to take the dingy to get ashore.  A few minutes later, we were getting approached by a large power boat(Terrie O) that had showed up on my AIS.  I called him on our VHF radio to see what his speed was as I was reading him at only 3.5 knots and he was passing us and we were doing 6.5.  His actual speed was  over 15 knots.  It confirms that I have a problem with my AIS.  George has a transmitter on his boat and I have never been able to read his speed at more than 2.2 knots.  I sent an email to the company that sold us the unit asking for help.  We'll see what they say.  

The folks on Terrie O asked if I had any information about Port San Luis so I filled them in on what George had said.  They particularly asked about fuel.  About a hour later, George called me back to tell me that Port San Luis had run out of fuel and wouldn't have more till later in the day.  He was at their fuel docks trying to get filled up.  I put in another VHF call to Terrie O to let him know and he immediately changed course for Morro Bay to get fuel there.  He thanked me for the call.  He filled up and later passed us as we continued south.

As we neared Port San Luis, the fog got heavier and thicker with visibility down to under a 1/4 mile at best.  Suddenly, it was all gone just as we entered the harbor.  It was a vast wall of white right behind us.  Port San Luis was in brilliant sunshine.  What a change!  We motored over to where George had suggested and  dropped the anchor(35 10.492N  120 44.312 W) about 1635 and she set at the first pull on the chain in about 25 feet of water.  The anchor set really well in the soft bottom of the harbor.  We were in for the night and will be spending the next day here for a few tasks(change the oil in the diesel injectors again) and some sight seeing ashore.  They have a dingy dock here.

We called George and Celeste to let them know we were in and it turns out that they had watched us come in from ashore.  We invited them over for dinner and that is how we finished the day.  

Now on to projects and some relaxation.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Day 508 A LONG day!!

We were up at 0530 to be on our way by 0600 for the 75 mile trip south to San Simeon.  It was to be one of the longest days since we left Newport, OR.  

Up came the anchor at 0600 and out we went in the dark.  I'd left the tracking data on our Gramin chartplotter so all we had to do was follow the blue line back out.  One of the nice things about our Garmin is that it leaves a blue line showing where we have gone on the electronic chart.  If you get into a sticky situation, you can simply reverse the track and find your way back out--even in the dark, which is what we did.  Good bye Pebble Peach Country Club.

It was grey and overcast as we took off and stayed that way all day.  Fog surrounded us but stayed away from us.  You could see its band all the way around us.  Even though we were just a few miles from shoreline, you could not see it.   Down the coast we went.  The engine just humming away as there was no wind again or darn little of it.  Hour after hour seeing nothing but a few birds.  Shadow stayed below with Blue and Snowshoe was right beside us in the cockpit.  He wasn't about to leave our side.

Being up so early, lunch was about 1100.  Dinty Moore beef stew.  Not bad really.  With the engine running, we could use the microwave to heat it.  If the engines not running, that little machine chews up the amps like it's in love with them.

We "saw" a few boats on our computer screen when we were in the AIS mode as they passed a few miles away, but never actually saw another boat.  Well, we did see one other boat early in the morning as it passed us heading out for some fishing, but that was all for the day.   

After a long--13.5 hour day, we pulled into San Simeon Bay(35 38.354N 121 11.380W) at 1930 in the twilight as the Sun had set just after 1910.  It turned into an 83.5 mile trip since we had to zig and zag down the coast again as the swells kept pushing us around.  There was again, like in the previous days trips, no continuity to them.  The swells came from the west and from the north west at mixed intervals, so we either surfed up and down the waves or got pushed back and forth side to side by them and that makes for a very uncomfortable ride.  We'd do one course for a few miles and then change 90 degrees to a different course to get a better angle on the swells all the way down the coast.  

It took three tries to get the anchor to set.  We tried one spot to the left of a fishing boat that was already at anchor with no luck and then moved to the right side and it still took two more tries before we got it to grab the bottom.  We were in 19 feet of water and I'd let our over 100 feet of chain.  It is supposed to have a sandy bottom but either we missed it, or our anchor didn't like it at all.  It finally grabbed and we settled in.  We're protected from the north and west but even with the protection the bay gives us, we rolled for the rest of the right.  Side to side.   Over and over for most of the night.  It would roll back and forth about a dozen times and the Zephyr would sit still for 30+ seconds and then start all over again.  It made for an interesting night sleep.  Since we sleep sideways in the boat, your head was up one minute and down the next.  As of this morning, it much less rolly.  We'll see what the day brings.

We plan on staying here for today and (if we can) go ashore and visit Hearst Castle.  There is no dock to tie the dingy to and I'm not sure how we will get ashore without getting soaked.  The fog has settle in again with visibility of less than 1/4 mile.  Worse than last night.  The forecast is for a sunny day.  Yeah sure.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Day 507 Into Still Water Cove at Pebble Beach.

All three sails up and flying.  The Genoa(reefed in) on the left, the forestaysail in the middle and the main on the right.  We were flying along just fine.
The Garmin at the top shows our course while the screen at the bottom left shows the wind information from the masthead unit.  The bottom right screen shows the autopilot at work steering us at the proper angle.
When we got into the cove, this is what we found on the end of the DuoGen.  Actually, this is only about half of what was on it.  I'd cut some off before I took the picture.  I'll have to check it more frequently in the future.
Into Still Water Cove at Pebble Beach Country Club.  That's the club house and wharf.
The famous cypress tree at Pebble Beach.
More big houses at Pebble Beach.  I can't imagine what they cost. 
Another boat at a mooring buoy in the harbor.  (don't forget, you can click on the pictures and see them larger)

We upped the anchor this morning at 1100.  As we headed out the clouds began to break and the Sun began to shine.  Of course by mid afternoon, it had clouded in again and the clouds had begun to drop.  We were in a small patch of sunshine.

By 1300, the winds had begun to increase to the 15+ knot range and were finally from a direction that would speed us on our way.  So out I went on deck and got the sails ready for flying.  Up went the mainsail.  Then the Genoa at the bow.  Off we went well into the 6+ knot range.  We started heeling over until the rail on the port side was just below the water line.  Into the 7 knot range and climbing.  I put the DuoGen in the water behind the boat.  This is our electrical generator that drags in the water behind the boat.  Next, we engaged the Robertson Autopilot.  This is our main autopilot that controls the boat as we motor along.  It can be changed over to "wind mode" since I had wired in the information stream from our wind indicator at the top of the mast. 

All the work that we've done was coming into play.  The DuoGen was making all the power we needed to run all the electronics--depth sounder, knot log, wind indicator, autopilot, Garmin Chart Plotter and the two computers we run when we are out that have our navigation programs on them.  The wiring of the wind instrument into the autopilot and the setting up the autopilot to use that info to steer the boat.  Zephyr was now sailing all by herself!

As the wind increased, we shortened the Genoa up to only 50% and raised the forestaysail sail.  We now had two sails at the bow of the boat instead of just one big one.  We heeled less and were moving faster under better control.  Zephyr was balanced perfectly.  We continued on till 1500 and then the wind died to a speed that would no longer allow us to make satisfactory progress toward our next stop.  So, down came the sails and on came the engine.  The fog was beginning to take over again and we wanted to be at anchor before it made our next stop hard to get into.

We pulled in and dropped the hook at 1630(36 33.798N  121 56.568W)and settled in.  All around us were BIG houses and lots of green grass to play golf on.  Unfortunately, it was cloudy and overcast so it lost some of its beauty.  It does have some beautiful white sandy beaches though in this bay.  The first we have seen.

Yesterday, I made the comment that we had seen few wildlife on our trip.  Today, we came upon a pod of at least a half dozen whales just before we entered Still Water Cove at Carmel.  They were a good half mile away but they were heading south so maybe we will see them again.

Another 32 miles farther south.  Tomorrow, off for San Simeon and the Hearst Castle.  It's a long day of sailing since it's another 70+ miles down the coast.  We'll be up and leaving early in the morning. 

I heard from one of our friends that also had their boat worked on at Sea Marine in Port Townsend.  Apparently, the Attorney Generals Office for the state of Washington has filed 23 criminal charges against them(Sea Marine) and they will be in court shortly with a closing soon to follow.  After the way they(management) treated us,  I'm not surprised.  I do feel sorry for the people that work there though.  They are just victims of BAD management.  You can't treat customers that way and get away with it.  It will come back and bite you.  Many people with boats(as well as cars) get very protective of their toys and will protect them and go after people that try and harm them.  It was just a matter of time before it caught up with them.  

The anchorages for tonight as well as last night are quite rolly.  It's definitely something we are not used to.  They aren't as protected as we are used to but I have a feeling that that is the way the majority of the harbors will be all the way down the coast and we will just have to get used to it.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Day 506 Out of Half Moon Bay and on to Capitola.

Half Moon Bay and their dock looking North.
The large radar dome on the west hill.  It's what you see as you come past the harbor from the north.
Capitola, CA.  It's just east of Santa Cruz with it's amusement part and long wharf.  We decided to anchor east of Santa Cruz to avoid the noise in the bay.

We upped the anchor at 0800 and took off for Capitola about 55 miles down the coast.  We left in beautiful weather for a change and slowly motored out and past the reef that lies just south of the bay and took off south.  The seas started out rollie and the kids all hated it and took off for below decks.  They had all been in the cockpit when we left. 

As we headed south, there was little to no wind but the seas had swells that started out small and kept getting bigger even when there was little wind.  We eventually had swells over 12 feet high.  As we surfed up and down the waves, we hit speed of over 10.4 knots and then down to under 4 on the far side.  Up and down all day.  We zigged and zagged all the way down the coast just as we had done the previous day.   It's a slow way down the coast but necessary or you'll rock back and forth and have a very uncomfortable ride.  We pulled in at 1715 (36 57.923N  121 57.162 W for all you google map folks)

We've seen few animals as we have headed down the coast.  Birds mostly but very few dolphins or whales since we left Juan De Fuca a month ago.  Tracy saw some octopus yesterday floating by in the water and I saw a big round fish of some sort as we came in  this afternoon.  The pelicans were dive bombing the fish again as we pulled into Capitola just the same as they did yesterday.  They'd see a fish and dive straight into the water after it.  Time after time.  We sat in the cockpit and watched while we had dinner.

One thing I forgot to talk about in yesterdays blog was that as we came into Half Moon Bay, there was a stunt plane doing all kinds of maneuvers in the air over the city.  Rolls and loops for over a half hour before he took off south.   It was wonderful to see such skill in the air and done in an old fashioned biplane.

We're rocking quite a bit tonight as the anchorage in Capitola is quite exposed to the incoming swells but it's not to bad.  Certainly not enough too dislodge the anchor.  It's dug in deep.  We set her well before we came inside for the night.

That's about it for today.  Another day of a sailboat acting like a power boat again but 59.9 miles farther south.  Tomorrow, over the Still Water Cove to see the Pebble Beach Golf Course.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Day 505 Into Half Moon Bay.

The bridge in the distance.

Getting closer with the sail up this time.
WE MADE IT!!!  And we could see it!!
Here comes the fog--right on time.
THe water along the trip was a strange shade of brown instead of the normal blue.  It was like brewed ice tea water.  Weird!
Coming up of Half Moon Bay.

We took off this morning at 1020 to make the out going tide under the Golden Gate Bridge.  Slack tide was set for 1249 and we needed to be there anytime after that to catch it.  Matt(our son) had come down to join us for a sail of the bay.  We slowly backed Zephyr out of her slip.  We were in a spot that didn't give a lot of room for a boat of Zephyr's size.  Dennis, the man who owned the boat next to ours came out to help us get backed out.  We maneuvered out just fine and took off for the San Francisco Bay.   We hoisted the sails after we passed the Oakland Bridge and slowly slid out into the bay.  Just after we passed the Oakland Bridge, we heard a call on our VHF radio from a boat that witnessed a person jump from the Golden Gate Bridge.  We heard them pluck the lifeless body of a man out of the water about a half hour later.  If he had to jump, I'm just glad he didn't hit us as we passed.  That would have been the tie breaker for us.  And for Ted and Judy, we're not making this stuff up--really!!!  

We headed north past Alcatraz and avoided all the other boats--both sail and power as well as all the ferries that were scooting around in the water.   Shortly after 1230, we dropped Matt off at the San Francisco Yacht Club so he could catch a bus home and off we went for the bridge.

We hoisted the sails again as we wanted to sail under the Golden Gate Bridge(as any good sailor would) and out we went.  We had the main sail up and added the forestaysail to give us more speed.  Many of the boats had reefed their mains but we just took off heeling over nicely in the 20+ knot winds.  The winds had been building ever since we passed the Oakland Bridge.

We passed under the bridge at 1315 and we could actually see it this time.  Yes, that's right, Mother Nature gave us a break and let us actually see what we were passing under.  Of course the fog was just out past the bridge and was quickly entering the bay, but we got to see it as we passed and under sail to boot.  YEAH!!!

The fog set in 10 minutes later and stayed with us for the next hour or so.  On came the radar and we checked our AIS to make sure no big ships were anywhere near us.  Nope, we were clear. 

We headed southwest away from the entrance and once we were three miles out or so, turned more south.  Unfortunately, the winds started dying just after we passed out of the entrance so we were forced to start up the engine and motor.  We kept the main sail up to help stabilize Zephyr as the swells were coming from the west to northwest and we started rocking.  With the main sail up, it slowed Zephyrs movements by acting like a brake in the air.  With the swells the way they were, we were forced to zig and zag all the way down the coast.  Heading south west for a while and then southeast for a while.  Up and down the swells.  Climbing one to slide down the next. Our top speed was 10.5 knots!  They climbed to 12 to 15 feet in height as the afternoon passed.  You'd have a few smaller ones and then a bunch of bigger ones.  No continuity to it.  

Finally the fog lifted and we just continued south passing one big container ship about three miles farther off the coast(that's just fine by us)in beautifully sunny weather.  Up and down and back and forth all afternoon.  We pulled into Half Moon Bay in winds over 20 knots and really nice rollers.  Once we passed the breakwater, the winds continued but at least the rollers stopped.  We dropped the anchor at 1745 after a trip of 42.5 miles.  Now its only 35 miles to Half Moon Bay, but with the zigging and zagging that comes with sailing, we added a few miles to the trip.  We're now anchored at 37 29.886N  122 29.182W.

The winds slowly dropped as the Sun went down and it is now just about calm.   The DuoGen electric generator has stopped so we will be conserving power through the evening.  We have lots of battery power, it just needs to become a habit to conserve when ever possible.  As the Sun set, we watched as a dozen or more pelicans as they dove time after time into the water around our boat fishing into the night.  It must have been a good time for fishing as they kept at it for quite a while.  Snowshoe just sat in the cockpit and watched them make big splashes as they hit the water.

Tomorrow, off for Santa Cruz or Still Water Cove farther south if time and wind allow.  Still Water Cove is right off the Pebble Beach Golf Course.  We will be anchored right next to the famous tree on the 18th hole. 

Day 504 Leave eve.

The mechanic showed up just after 1100 and took the Aqua Drive apart.  He found no real problems but put in a lot more grease and sealed up the unit so it won't spew grease any more.  It was a relief to find it alright.  That was the last thing that we had planned to have fixed/ repaired while we were here so we will be off tomorrow morning about 1000.

We have to set our times on slack tide at the Golden Gate so we aren't fighting the incoming tide and since that is about 1230, we want to allow ourselves plenty of time to get there.  With luck, we will be sailing under the bridge and maybe get a chance to actually see it.  We'll stop for the night at Half Moon Bay just south of San Francisco and drop the hook.  It will be nice to be back out on the water again.   It's been great here in Alameda being with Matt and Kayobi(son & fiance) but tough on our waistlines.  We will be back on our diets and get what we have gained while being here back off.  I'm sure I have put on 10 pounds(and happily doing so).  The food in the restaurants Matt & Kayobi have taken us to has been wonderful.  Lots of different tastes for the pallet.

We stowed more stuff in the afternoon and filled the water tanks.   We're now a good 4 inches lower in the water as the tanks were only about half full.  That's not bad since we last filled them in Port Townsend, WA over a month ago.  It's not hard to conserve water once you get in the habit of doing it.  You never leave a faucet on while you are at the sink and the shower gets turned off between the initial soaking and the final rinse.

I re-seized the anchor to the anchor chain fitting again just to make sure it is not going to come loose at the wrong time.   The laundry got done late in the afternoon so we are all set to go.

Matt and Kayobi came over for a nice dinner and we were off to bed. 

Tomorrow--back out on the water again.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Day 502 & 503 Some play and another mechanic.

I started the day installing some new software on George and Celeste's (off Nereid)computer so they will have a full fledged navigation program.  Celeste had gone to Fry's and gotten a USB GPS to plug into their computer so now they will be all set up for where ever they go down the coast.  Now they will know exactly where they are at all times--at least until their computer crashes(God forbid).  It's a whole lot safer way to travel.  

We had a mechanic stop by on Monday morning to look at the Aqua Drive.  This is a piece of equipment that allows our engine/transmission to be out of alignment with the propeller shaft.  Normally, on boats, the engine/transmission and the propeller shaft must be in total alignment--a straight line.  With an Aqua Drive, they can be out of alignment.  It acts like a universal joint--matter of fact, that is exactly what it is, so that they can run and still be out of alignment.  It's been spewing grease during the trip down the coast.  I felt it better to have a professional mechanic come and take a look at it.  As both the marina and Blue Pelican Marine had recommended the same man, I'd called him on Saturday and he agreed to be here on Monday to at least look at it.   And that is exactly what he did.  He looked at it.  Took out a screw or two and said he thought it should be dismantled and inspected just to make sure that the loss of grease hadn't affected it.  He'd be back on Wednesday morning for that task.  That will delay us a day or two as we had planned on being out of here on Tuesday.  Oh well, better safe than sorry.

Tracy had taken off with Matt to West Marine and Costco for another surgical strike.  Restock the larder again for the next portion of the trip.  We also needed to pick up some more paper charts for farther South.

Once the mechanic left, I took off for a walk over to West Marine.  It's always good to see what another store carries that others don't. Tracy had long since moved on the Costco.  I picked up an battery operated oil pump that will allow me to drain the engines oil much faster.  I'd been using a tank that looks much like a garden sprayer only it sucks instead of spraying.  It takes a while to suck out 2 gallons of oil even if the oil is hot.

I had another chiropractor appointment at 1600 so I was still stuck at the boat for a while.  Once she was done snapping and cracking me back into place, we took off for Matt and Kayobi's apartment for a great spaghetti dinner.  It's been great being with the two of them.

Yesterday, we took the bus over to Jack London Square in Oakland as they were having a boat show.  We got there early and spent some time in Barnes & Noble.  Always on the lookout for more books.  When we came out, we didn't see very many tents for the vendors so we asked around and found out that this was just a show of boats--no toys to look at.  There were lots of boats, but we already have one of those and don't need another so we took off for the trip back to  Zephyr.

In the afternoon, we took off for the King Tutankhamun exhibit at the museum.  We'd missed it when it was in Victoria and we really wanted to see it.  George and Celeste had figured out the bus and BART schedules so off we went.  Matt and Kayobi came a bit later after she got off work.  We all had a great dinner at a wonderful Thai restaurant that Matt and Kayobi recommended and then took in the show.  I'd seen a larger exhibit many years ago when I was traveling with my parents in Paris and got lucky to see the sarcophagus.  They didn't bring it to this show.  Apparently, the Egyptian Museum doesn't let it out of Cairo any more.  That was a big disappointment, but it was still a great show.

Back on the busses and trains and home for another night.

Now, we wait for the mechanic and his diagnosis.  Let's hope it's a good one.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Day 501 Some work and some play.

The old tank--full of water.
The "new" tank, full of air.

The masthead light(the very first one before the mast went up).

Sunday started early with the removal of the old pressure tank for the water system.  This gizmo keeps the water under pressure at all times so that the water pump only has to work once the pressure drops below a specific pressure.  The pump gets to work less and so uses fewer amps.  A good thing on any boat that doesn't have a genset to make electricity.  The rubber bladder that keeps the unit under pressure had failed a while ago causing the pump to cycle on and off every time a faucet was turned on using up the amps.  I unscrewed the fitting on the end and water started pouring out--lots of it.  The tank was full!!  Tracy rushed me bucket after bucket to collect the water since I really didn't want it to start pouring onto the engine.  

After about 15 minutes, it finally started to slow down where we could get the unit unscrewed from the brackets on the wall.  Even half full, she weighed a bunch especially in a confined space like a sailboat engine room.  We carried it--upside down-- to the sink and let her drain.  The water started coming out black!  Apparently, once the rubber bladder broke, the opposite side was loaded with some kind of black rubber dust and that got mixed with the water and became a layer of sediment on the bottom of the tank.  Tracy had told me a few weeks ago that the water had taken on a strange taste.

In went the "new" tank.  I'd bought one from Blue Pelican Marine Supply here in Oakland.  They sell used goods on consignment.  At $30.00, I think I got a good deal.  It's smaller than what I took out, but Zephyr only has three faucets and they never run at the same time so no real problem with a smaller unit.  Luckily, the bolts for the old units brackets lined up with the new one so it went in quick.  Luckily, our son Matt showed up just as I got it in.  The store had pumped the unit FULL of air so no water could get in to get pressurized.  Matt, being the smart one in the family, had me take most of the pressure out of the tank and allow the pump to re-pressurize the tank to the correct pressure.  Water entered the tank and pressure built till the pump turned off at the pressure it was set at and we were done.

Next came the masthead light--for the fourth time.  These units from OMG are suppose to be one of the best on the market.  Well, the first three all failed in one way or another.  The unit is supposed to flash a strobe light,  have an all around anchor light, and a set of the red, green and white navigation lights all built in with a photo cell the turn it on at dusk and off at sunrise.  The first one didn't strobe.  The second ones light began to fade after a few weeks until the stars above it were brighter than the light.  The third did the same after a few months.  The company, to their credit admitted that they had had a problem with the computer circuits in the unit and replaced it with no problem.  The problem was to get to the top of the mast to change it out.  Luckily, Matt is a climber and has climbed several buildings as well as repelled down numerous cliffs.  So up he went and got the job done.  My back is still causing me some problems so we thought it better for him to go up rather than me(insert a sigh of relief by your's truly).  He brought his climbing equipment and hooked it up to the reserve genoa halyard and up he went, screwdriver in hand.  About a half hour later, we flipped the switch and on it came.  Job done!!

Off for lunch and on to the "Exploritarium" in San Francisco.  a fascinating group of exhibits showing all kinds of things.  Impossible to describe as there are so many exhibits to see.  Off for Chinese food for dinner and back to Zephyr for a good night sleep. 

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Day 500 Settling in.

There are tens of thousands of people in the area that are getting to experience the "Hudson Effect"now that we have arrived in the San Francisco area.  Once clear of the Golden Gate Bridge on Friday, the day was pure sunshine and beautiful.  By Saturday morning, we took over.  Yes, that's right,  the Hudson's were in town and we brought with us what we bring to every place we go--BAD WEATHER!!  Saturday in the early morning, there was a lightening and thunderstorm that descended upon the Bay.  For those of you that don't know it, lightening and the thunder that it brings are just about unheard of in the Bay area.  There was a storm a few years ago, but other than that, it had been years since one has hit the area.  There were trees downed and transformers blown with tens of thousands of folks plunged into the darkness as power was lost in many regions of the city.  The electric company spent hours getting everyone back on line and as of last night, some still had no power.  This is just a warning to those of you that live farther down the coast that read this blog that we are coming to your area and to get prepared.  Newport, Oregon had 80+ knot winds when we got there.  Seattle had the wettest August in history the month we got there and the 5th worst Winter.  Add in the longest spell of days over 90 plus the hottest day on record for the city and you can see that we pack a powerful punch where ever we go.  Be prepared!!!! We are coming!!!

I had an appointment at the chiropractor yesterday to get more work done on my back and neck.  Since returning from Denver a while ago, it has been quite the mess.  The first one I visited in Crescent City did some great work on me but I still needed some help.  This one has a clinic right at the docks for all the sailors that come in with screwed up backs and necks.  She does quite a business from what I gathered with boaters.  She looked at all my xrays and charts from the previous doctor and went to work.  She snapped my neck like a bowl of Rice Crispies.  It sounded like you put a strip of bubble wrap on the sidewalk and stepped on it with both feet as she put me back in alignment.  Now I just have to let it settle back in place and not do anything stupid(like I would?) and put it back out of whack.  

Tracy was off to get a permanent in her hair.  It's been quite a while since she had one done.  The last beautician she talked to said her hair was in such bad shape that she couldn't do it.  This one had no problem and got her all set.  I think the last one just didn't want to take the time to do her hair.

We both finished at the same time and walked down to Blue Pelican Marine to look at sailing hardware.  They're a consignment store that sells used hardware mainly for sailors.  We found a replacement pressure tank for our water system and will be installing it today.  The last one is now full of water instead of air.  The rubber bladder in it broke I guess.  Now every time you turn on a faucet, the pump comes on.  With this tank, it keeps the system pressurized so it will only come on when the pressure in the tank gets below a specific pressure level.  The pump will run much less once it is installed and the old one removed.

We walked over to George and Celeste's for dinner on their boat Nereid to discuss boating things.  I'm trying to get them a navigation program so they will have an easier time getting down the coast.  With luck, I'll have it all installed by Monday.

And that's the way yesterday went.  Lightening, thunder, rain, clouds, some sunshine but at least they were spared the big winds we normally bring.  But hey, we just got here after all.  Give us some time. 

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Day 499 Into San Francisco.

The South point of Drakes Bay.  This was Thursday afternoon after the fog lifted.
Looking North at the shoreline of Drake's Bay.  All covered in brown.  Surprising, considering all the fog they get.

More of the shoreline farther east in the bay.
Entering the channel toward the Golden Gate Bridge.--Do you see it?
That smudge in the center of the water is all we got to see of the bridge as we came in.  That's the bridge's footing on the south side of the bay.
That's the underside of the bridge as we passed under.  That's as good as it got.
We looked back and this was what we missed as we passed the bridge.   The base of the bridge was what we got to "see" as we entered.
Our first view of the bay--sans fog.
Alcatraz Island in the distance.
Looking back at the bridge.  That's it poking out of the fog on the left side of the picture. 
Downtown San Francisco.
The Oakland bridge as we started under her.

We upped the anchor and took off for San Francisco at 0800 hours!!   Of course we were totally encased in fog.  Should we have expected anything else?  I think not!!!  I'd told Tracy yesterday that there was no way we were going to see the Golden Gate Bridge as we entered the bay. Mother Nature was not going to allow us the satisfaction of seeing it.  She's such the practical joker.

On with the radar and off we went.  Constantly looking for blips in the screen and checking our Nobeltec screen for AIS targets.  Those are the really BIG ships that we really wanted to avoid.  We "saw" some blips as they went on the radar one or two as they passed close enough to actually see.  Early in the morning, lots of the big ships took off from San Francisco heading past our bay so we didn't have to worry about them.  We saw no land other than it's out line on the radar screen.  On we pushed until we rounded the northern point of the entrance to the bay just as a big freighter was passing by.  We "saw" him on the AIS screen and radar and he was just a blur in the fog.  Far enough away to not cause us any problems.  We got lucky and there were no ships entering or leaving the harbor as we came in.  We cut across the channel and got on the South side(entering side) and just push ahead not seeing anything ahead of us but fog.  We heard the loud fog horns blowing over and over as we motored.  We still saw no bridge!!!  Finally out in the fog, we saw what looked to be a small island or another ship.  Radar just showed the bridge and there was nothing on the AIS.  It turned out to be the base of the bridge!!  That was all we could see as we got closer and closer to it.  As we passed the bridge footing, we looked up and could barely see the underside of the bridge.  That was as good as we got!  We cleared the bridge at 1210 hours.   Once past, we could look back and could barely see what we had passed under.  A bit of a disappointment for us. but hey--we were in San Francisco Bay!!!

Suddenly, ahead of us were sailboats and lots of them.  Going every which way across the bay.  We'd stumbled into a race of about a half dozen boats all going as fast as they could!!  With us being under motor power, it was our job to stay away from them.  Be bobbed and weaved to avoid them.  It was like dodge cars at an amusement park only on the water.  Add in the ferries and tourist boats to Alcatraz and it was just a delightful experience.  At least we could finally see some sunshine for a change.  The fog was behind us--still covering the bridge(as you can see from the photos).

We checked our charts and made our way across the bay toward Oakland and our home for a few days.  A short trip of just 38 miles and into the Marina Village Harbor(37 47.222N  122 16.288W).  It's got 750 slips.  A big marina with lots of boats.  We were assigned a slip that was a bit tricky getting into.  It took some jockeying to get us into it but we finally got in and tied up.  We hooked up the electric cord and had a quick bite for lunch and were greeted by George off Nereid.  We've been following them or they have been following us all the way down the coast.  They got in several days ago and have been resting up from their trip.  They plan on heading out to Half Moon Bay on Sunday.  We now covered 912 miles since leaving Port Townsend.

We called Matt and Kayobi(son and fiance) and made arrangements to get together for the rest of the day.  They came over a short while later and we were off for a great dinner at an indian restaurant and then over to their apartment here  in Oakland.  It was great to see them again.  It's going to be a fun few days being back with them again.

Not to sure when we will be leaving--Tuesday or Wednesday probably.  We still have to get a bit farther South to make sure we totally avoid the wind and weather shift that occurs later this month.

In answer to your question yesterday Dave as to polishing the fuel and it's cost.  I think it was around $500 for the job but the memory goes as we get farther south and away from the boat yard.

Stay tuned--more to come.