Hurray!!! After a little struggle (mostly my learning curve and a few leaks to fix) the Spectra seems happy to make water. Sue can have as many showers as she wants and we might even make enough to wash the boat occasionally. Amazing technology and it is surprisingly efficient. We are using only 9 amps to make water at 13 gallons per hour which our solar will keep ahead of in the middle of the day. The install of the Spectra 380 is a little cramped on Adesso and is hard on the knuckles to work on but we are free from the need to find good water, this an amazingly freeing. I must say my old brain is constantly challenged with learning some new skill, and the Spectra manual was another of those things. All this “smart” technology takes smart people to run when problems occur, and sometimes I wonder if I’m up to the task.
Monterey is another wonderful seaside town with lots of old spanish history. When we arrived in the afternoon, sea lions hanging out on giant mooring balls serenaded us all the way to the dock (check out the noisy movie!). Monterey was full of tourists drawn by places like Cannery Row, Fisherman’s Wharf, a renown aquarium, their historic walk, shopping, restaurants, etc the list goes on. We too were pulled in by the hustle bustle and made checking out the sights our first mission. Later that afternoon I went for a short run and headed out on a walking/cycling path. On return, I popped over a large sandy berm to do a little beach running. Wow! Exhilaration! Salt spray, crashing waves, shore birds…. so fresh and alive! YES this is what fills!
Interesting how the natural world presents a gem: safe harbour, warm water, sunshine, set in a beautiful valley, then humans come along and in a matter of time we are dangling cheap ‘sparklies’ in tourists eyes (restaurants, jewellery, tourist trinkets, clothing). Its as though you are hypnotized by the hubbub and as you watch the throngs of people flock to the shops and sites you get pulled along into valuing something very materialistic. If the natural gem didn’t exist first, the rest would not have followed. I usually feel exhausted after a couple of hours of walking through shop filled streets, yet there I was yet again. The soul filling beauty of the natural world bypassed for the sake of…. ‘sparklies’ ?
So thankful that the juxtaposition of walking through shop filled streets in the morning, then an empty, stunningly beautiful beach in the afternoon, brought some much needed clarity and re-prioritizing! It is actually quite difficult as cruisers new to these areas to tap into local knowledge of best anchorages and places that would prioritize partaking of the natural world. The information you generally receive puts you back onto the Path of Sparklies. Reminds me of travelling alone to Indonesia thirsting for ‘a deeper experience of a few places’ rather than ‘the surface experience of many’. Eventually I had to throw out my Lonely Planet Guide and follow instinct and heart to realize depth of experience. We’ll see what happens…at least the cruising guides help you to know which are the most popular anchorages … which we can then avoid…?
We ended up staying on the dock for 4 nights in Monterey waiting for our next weather window to show up (probably should have waited longer!!). The next 2 days we spent on the beach. Big happy smiles on our faces and sore aching feet from so much unaccustomed sand-walking. Josh kept asking Ted questions about surfing and was doing some serious scheming on how to acquire a cheap, used surfboard. Which leads us to our next post.
The last week in the Bay included;
Picked up parts for the Yanmar, parts for the hot water tank, new cockpit mic, laundry, pump out the holding tank, meet fellow Blue Water cruisers then off to Treasure Island to watch Fleet Week air show, and Navy ships. ( saw the Canadian Navy here!! )
A nice anchorage if you don’t mind that it is under the Bay bridge and the fact that you need a mid to high tide for our 6 foot draft to get over the bar at the entrance. It was not as noisy as we thought but alas we are in the middle of San Francisco. Treasure island was interesting, it was built for the site of the Worlds Exposition and Fair in the twenties, has had a couple of lives since then but now its mostly shut up with a little low cost housing. Its like walking around a deserted ghost town, a place who’s day has come and gone. We sat on the beach and watched the Blue Angels streak around the Bay – quit a show and very loud when they pass over!! We took some pictures but the iPhone just doesn’t quite do it, sigh.
Micheal a fellow Passport’er had offered up his slip at the Corinthian Yacht Club because his boat was not in the Bay at the time. The Corinthian is one of the two original yacht clubs in the Bay area, established in 1886. I was very cool to be staying in a place that had so much history. People were interested in us as travellers, the club house was beautiful, the town of Tiberon very cute and special thanks to Liddy and Bill who drove us to Costco for food and Alameda to replace our fresh water pump that had lost its brain ( under warranty thankfully ).
We were feeling like it was time to pass under the Golden Gate one more time and head down the coast. Watered, food stocks high we headed to Half Moon Bay a short day sail away. We loved our time in the Bay, and seeing it from the water is something we will never forget.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Alas we needed retreat from downtown because Fleet week was starting and we did not want to be in the middle of that!!
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.
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!
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!!)
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
S: I don’t know …. do you think we’ll actually make it under that?”
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….
Getting closer, holding breath. Decreasing the RPM’s to make a passage under the bridge.
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.
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!
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 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
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!