First Thoughts

I put a category on the website call Perspectives because  I thought there would be all this time to meditate on life as we drifted down the coast on Adesso.  Quite the opposite has been my experience, not that I don’t have daily surprises, thoughts, even preponderance’s but to have time to put that to “web” (that would be pen in the olden days) – well only if I were to forgo sleep.  So this is my first (short) perspective. Every day is full of the new, vignettes stand out but in truth just a stream of images, thoughts, which upon reflection are associated with me but actually are experienced more like a dream with “me” in it.  The new is more overwhelming and varied than “I” can imagine.  Yesterday we sailed into the land of sea otters, humpbacks passed , even an orca swam beside us as we motored into Monterey; who’s shores are painted with “us”.  I remember walking in the Banking district downtown San Francisco and pass, along with everyone else, an unconscious  homeless man sprawled in the middle of the sidewalk ; could have been dead for all I know; and a stream of humanity moved by, in a different world.  I wonder how much of life is lived in a different world.

Our world.

Our world.

First thoughts are:  how lucky and thankful I am to have followed the fork in the road sending us off on the Adesso Adventure. That adventure is a story that can only be lived.

San Francisco

Adesso in San Francisco

Our anchorage while in San Francisco

Next on our list was a stay in downtown San Francisco having acquired (for free) a 5 day anchoring permit for the Aquatic Park.  We were warned to be careful entering and leaving the park because of all the swimmers and wow the swimmers were there as early as 6 am until after dark.  Anchored in front of the Ghirardelli building with fireworks in front of Pier 39 every Saturday evening it felt like we were dropped into a different world of lights and celebration.

Shoe in San Francisco

Shoe in San Francisco

That first afternoon we hit the shore heading to the Ferry Building at the end of the Embarcadero.  We were overwhelmed by people, people from all over the world, the San Francisco historic waterfront was just that and a big tourist business.  We had a list of “to do’s” which started with getting three day bus passes and heading into the Mission District.  Its a good thing I had a phone with data so we could find our way around but I must say the public transportation system really works!  We even stood on the side of a Cable Car and rode through town.  In truth you can’t take in this place in a week, but we loved all of it, Italian district, China town, Marina Drive even downtown where I got my sunglasses replaced in two hours (dropped them overboard – OPPS).  We did a little shopping because you can find “everything” in San Francisco – Josh hit the Quicksilver store and Sue found Yone bead store a fixture from the sixties.   One of the big highlights was the free music festival Hardly Strictly Bluegrass that happened while we were there, so we spent a day in the heat taking in some great music.

Adesso adventures

Sundays line up at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass

Hardly Stickly Bluegrass

The crowd, can you see us?

Alas we needed retreat from downtown because Fleet week was starting and we did not want to be in the middle of that!!

Up the River

When we were heading to San Francisco Bay little did we know that the bay was also a massive basin for an expansive inland river delta and estuary with a total area, including both land and water, of  about 2,800 square kilometres. It actually supplies 80% of California with water. The main contributing rivers are the Sacramento River, coming in from the north, and the San Joaquin River, coming in from the south. The Delta is a labyrinth of sloughs and waterways with small communities, extensive farmlands and abundant wildlife, including the great blue heron, egrets, ducks, geese, and fish. The California Delta is considered to be one of the best cruising areas in California.

We learned much of this from going through the Bay Model while in Sausalito, a working hydraulic model of the San Francisco Bay and Sacramento – San Joaquin River Delta System that is approximately 320 feet long in the north-south direction and about 400 feet long in the east-west direction.

The Bay Model, Sausalito

The Bay Model, Sausalito

It illustrates how the water flow of the San Francisco Bay and Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta are reproduced, including ship channels, rivers, creeks, sloughs, the canals in the Delta, fills, major wharfs, piers, slips, dikes, bridges, and breakwaters. Pretty cool! Really helped us to understand the extensiveness of the Delta before we headed up.

Warmest Water and First Private Anchorage!

We chose to go up the Sacramento River to Decker Island, then then crossed over, through the 3 Mile Slough, to the San Joaquin River.


Our final destination was Bedroom Number 2 in Potato Slough. Love that name!  What happens in bedroom #2, stays in bedroom #2!!  Not really, but we could have gotten up to any kind of shenanigans as we were the only ones in this tiny little pocket anchorage!  We hiked on the levies, miles upon miles of rock and dirt shoring up the waterways that were built by the Chinese after they finished building railroads across the US.  All the levies have roads on them and provided us with the much needed opportunity to stretch our legs. The water was warm up the Delta, 24.5C so we also swam and worked out the paddle boards.  Here is a tiny glimpse and sound bite of what Bedroom #2 was like:


Heres a few of our favourite pics of the Delta trip!

Half Moon Bay

Here in Half Moon Bay at the local brewery we enjoy a fantastic lunch after a day of hiking and checking out the Mavericks surf spot. We loved being out of the city in a more rural setting with hundreds of Pelicans lining the breakwater and the sound of surf in the background.  The only draw back was the flies all that bird poop brought – we were swarmed – oh, and the fog horn that never stopped!  Escaping the swarm out next stop was Monterey Bay! (Ok I know this is out of order and yes we are behind on posts – just tried out the iPhone instant post app – so we will catch up soon!!)

Adesso crew

Sue and Josh after a beer!


What do you believe in!!!Hlaf Moon Bay


First Bridge Up the Delta



This is the one of the first bridges you go under as you head up the delta beyond Benicia. This is a triple  bridge, two are for vehicle traffic and the other for rail. The vehicle bridges have a clearance of 141’, the rail bridge you need to call about to ensure that you plan your passage at low tide to get as much clearance as possible …. if you are a sailboat of our size and height. When you approach a bridge it is very difficult to put the over-height distance into perspective. Here is what it is like as you approach a bridge




Passport 47

Getting Close

S: I don’t know …. do you think we’ll actually make it under that?”

T: Supposedly…

S: What’s our overall height, from waterline to the top of the mast?

T: I think we’re 63”

S: … and the train bridge clearance at low tide is …..70’ ? That’s a small margin for error….



Passport 47

Are we going to make it?

Getting closer, holding breath. Decreasing the RPM’s to make a passage under the bridge.









Passport 47


Staring up, hearts thudding, breath held….

Getting closer, closer….

Really? We are going to clear that?

Here we go….








Mast still standing and just clearing bridge …. by about 1 foot we think.

Great sighs of relief!






On the way back to San Francisco Bay we felt more confident about our return under this bridge, but shouldn’t have….You are at the mercy of the accurate tide predictions and the hydraulic bridge operators. We did our due diligence checking tide and timing our return. Our previous experience told us that even though it didn’t look like we would make it under the bridge, we did. So as we approached this bridge on our return to the bay, even though it looked like we would not make, we doubted what we were seeing. Josh and I stood on the bow anyways, necks craned back watching intently. Ted slowed the boat right down, but when we were within 5 meters, Josh and I started yelling “OMG Back up, back up!!!!! Back the @#**!@ UUUUPPPP!!!!” Ted responded quicky, but backing up a 38 000 lb  boat that already has forward momentum with current behind it…is no easy task. Ted slammed the engine into reverse and amped up the RPM’s making the difference between a trip continuing or a disasterous end. The bridge operators must have heard my yelling and hung over from their perch and yelled down “Okay honey we are going to lift the bridge for you!”  We took Adesso in a slow circle as they raised the train bridge, our heart rates we just about back to normal as we went safely under the bridge.

Sausalito and Angle Island

The view into Richardson Bay

The view into Richardson Bay

Wow! Sausalito was nothing like we thought – the bay as we discovered had become the spot for all the local live-aboard’s due to upgrades to marine anchorages elsewhere in the bay area.   This mean’t cruisers that wished to anchor were mostly out at the end of the bay which was more effected by ferry traffic ( all day ) and the afternoon 25kt blow which seem a regular occurrence.  The town turns out to have an intense tourist area around the ferry terminal which brought San Francisco visitors over for the day.  Maybe a mile down the road that facade drops away to a small town,  we found out that the nearest Safeway where food was more reasonably priced took a 30 min bus ride to get to.  I realized one of the cruising skills no one talks about is the ability to find out where the “real community” and services are, being a little rough at this it took a couple of days to figure out.  The local people were all fantastic and helpful. List Marine had all the Yanmar parts I need in stock at 1/2 the Canadian prices, Johnston Hicks helped solve the ICOM radio issue – in the end we needed a new Commander mic, and Dave’s Outboard repair actually had the spare parts needed for our Tohatsu outboard.  Laundry done and the list mostly dealt with we decided to retreat to Angel Island for a few days. We anchored in a little cove just east of Ayula Cove in front of the old Immigration Buildings, lots of current but we were out of the wind for the most part.  We loved all the history and hiking and I’m sure on a clear day from the island peak the view would be spectacular but alas the fog prevented us from seeing much.  In 1776 the first fort was built on the island and from then on had a busy history -was the centre for immigration clearance, WWII troop deployment and return centre, even had missile silos from the cold war era and now a park with tours coming and going all day!

The Liberty Bell on Angel Island where immigrants from Asia arrived

The Liberty Bell on Angel Island where immigrants from Asia arrived

Oh, I should mention there are 100 sailboats for every motorboat, every day the bay is spotted with sailboats every where!  We made contact with Bill and Liddy of the Passport users group who were headed up the delta and insisted we do the trip, so a quick trip to Safeway and the next adventure begins.

Drakes Bay to San Francisco

Passport 47

We are headed under the bridge.

Sue at Point Reys Lifeboat  Station.

Sue at Point Reys Lifeboat Station.

Drakes Bay was a pleasant surprise.  Point Reys National Park covers the many miles of shore but the point itself has a very interesting history not to mention the source of radio weather fax for our side of the Pacific Ocean.  We arrived in the dark and woke up to a HUGE bay, the sound of elephant seals noisily belching on shore and Adesso gently rolling in the swell.  After a quick breakfast we couldn’t wait to hit the trails on shore, what a beautiful area!! Josh and Sue did the first swim in “warmer water” and we settled in to spend our first night in days on the hook.  The following morning it was off to the Golden Gate bridge and Sausalito.  We managed sailing under genaker  for

Point Reys

Point Reys

about half the 20 miles then the wind died, even so the motor under the bridge was very exiting and marked the first of many firsts to come.  Our mission as we entered Sausalito was get fuel, water and cold beer which me managed to do before stores closed. Yeh!! The masses of boats anchored out was overwhelming but we found a spot kick back and enjoy the view and contemplate this new place with a cold one in hand!

Neah Bay to Drakes Bay

Genoa repaired, wind is up, crew set and ready, final stowage completed…so at 4 pm with theme song blasting we head out for our first-off shore leg of the trip! We had one reef in the main with the Northeast blowing up to 20 knots and forecasted to strengthen. By the time we were around Cape Flattery heading west southwest the wind started to pick up. Seas were about 4 feet with a 3-4 ft westerly cross swell. Speed 7 kts.

Okay now its about 18 hours later, 10 am the following morning. Winds were up to 35 kt with a 7 ft wind swell and a 4 ft west cross swell running through it. Basically the sea state is super crappy. I had prepared and frozen a few dinners for our crossing; this was totally unnecessary as all we could eat were a few soda crackers. Josh and Kayto were doing fairly well, I felt nauseous but managing, Captain Ted was a little worse off and made the additional mistake of going below to access the 500 millibar chart off his computer. Yep, the captain woofed his cookies and had a good dose of vertigo. We continued with this wind and sea state for about another 8 hours. Upside: lots of mileage!

By late day 2 we are running with spinnaker, seas are calmer, but it takes another day or so before we want to eat anything. Funny how we went over 48 hours with almost nothing to eat, and were not hungry. By this time we have settled into our 3 hour watches. On the morning of day 3 the wind has completely dropped to 3-5kts and we are just wallowing around trying to keep the spinnaker afloat. Puhleeease! Spare me die-hard sailors who are content to bob around going nowhere. Fire up the iron sail!

For about 2 hours on Day 3 somewhere north of Mendocino, 60 miles offshore, we have some excited guests show up! Dolphins, lots of dolphins! They love to catch the bow wake and take a ride. There were up to 15 dolphins at a time playing playing off both sides of the bow. Looking out you could see them spot (or hear) our boat from a 1/2 mile out and they’d come leaping and diving over, so excited to come and play. So the new batch would join the party. Such beautiful animals with amazingly positive energy.

The other exciting thing that happened on Day 3, right when we were trying to set the spinnaker, was that Josh caught a 30 lb tuna! Yahooo! Good thing Josh got toughened up on the farm this summer with whacking and plucking chickens. He rolled up his sleeves and leapt right into gutting, and filleting his prize. We’ve had 2 huge feasts so far and there is plenty more in the freezer!

Day 3 and 4 ended up being mostly motoring, motor sailing, and a tiny bit of spinnaker running as wind was almost nonexistent. We made landfall at about 1:30 am on the 15th in Drakes Bay which is about 20 nautical miles north of San Francisco. Its exciting making landfall…and finally we get a sleep in!

Mishaps along the way:

– one lost cowl vent – lesson learned: remove cowl vent if you are going to do a lot of gybing with the main

– malfunctioning cockpit mike caused a DSC to send (a distress signal); we are determining the source of the malfunction while in Sausalito

Neah Bay

On the way out the strait we noticed our genoa stitching along the luff come away in one area so we decided to stop at Neah Bay to top up on fuel and Sue applied her new repair skills .  Looks like we will have to visit Quantum sails in San Francisco for a restitch!!!  Neah Bay marina has lots of empty space at the dock and were very nice only charging us 1/2 day to do all we needed.  Josh is super excited to get going and the next few days look good with easterlies to 25 knots to start turning north east to 15 knots. Adesso is pumped!!

Sue hard at work repairing our genoa

Sue hard at work repairing our genoa

Pinch Me!

Is all this fun really happening? The Port Townsend Wooden Boat Show was much more than we expected:

Beautiful wooden boats! – old (i.e. late 1800’s), new, tiny, large tall ships. Walking onboard and ducking inside some of the older vessels gives the feeling of stepping back into history.

Informative and entertaining talks and demonstrations!  – I got some very useful sail maintenance tips in the Hasse Sail Loft.

Creative boat wood working projects! – SUP boards, surf boards, mini float homes, etc

Great Food and Venues! – my favourite venue was a portable bar that looked kinda like a stage coach aptly named the “Wee Nip”, replete with bar tender pirate characters.

Art and Wood Crafts! – gorgeous wood craftsmanship

In addition to all this it was Port Townsend itself, an upbeat, funky-artsy seaside town with lots of old houses, wooden boats in the harbour and a kick-ass farmers market! The people were fantastic.  To top it all off we got to share some of this with Cortes Island friends who stayed for a sleep over with 7 of us bunked down on Adesso. No problemo!  Also one representative from our home port in Comox  – Stuart Mckenzie could be seen moving between the Wee Nip and Bar Harbour …