Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Dana Point, California

Osprey and Rhythm tied up in Dana Point.
We left Catalina Harbor on Santa Catalina Island on Thursday, October 25th and have spent the past 5 days soaking up the sun and enjoying the beach culture offered by Southern California. Our days are spent doing small boat chores in the morning and exploring and relaxing in the afternoons.  We really haven't done anything really exciting these past five days unless you count going to the beach every day, hanging out in the sunshine and generally cavorting with our friends on Rhythm.

On our passage from Catalina Harbor to Dana Point we motored most of the way as there was quite a bit of distance to cover and we wanted to get into the marina before dark.  The sun was shining but there was a slight briskness to the air as we headed east towards the mainland.  We rounded Santa Catalina Island and got a glimpse of Avalon.  We had wanted to stop in but our timetable wouldn't allow it so we sufficed in viewing it from the boat through the binoculars.  Besides, there really are just so many southern California cutesy tourist towns that one can visit.

Dolphins in the bow wake.
As has been the norm thus far, when we were about ten nautical miles outside of the Dana Point breakwater, we suddenly found ourselves surrounded by dolphins swimming alongside us.  At first we noticed a small group ahead of us and they looked like they were just going to cruise on by but instead they abruptly turned toward the boat and the next thing we knew we were surrounded by dozens of dolphins.  Now, I have to take a minute and let people know how much this excites me.  The sight of dolphins swimming in the bow wake honestly brings a smile to my face every single time it happens.  It never gets boring or mundane.  These guys are so jovial and appear so carefree that I really believe that they embody the spirit of cruisers and I cannot help but smile, ear to ear, at the sight of them.

This little guy found his way onto Osprey.
But then again, all of nature excites me.  Case in point...right after the dolphins left our boat, as I am sure that they spotted another boat and wanted to spread the joy, this tiny bird landed on our lifelines (the "fencing" that keeps you on the boat when walking forward or aft when the boat is rocking).  As the linfelines are coated in plastic, he seemed to have a hard time gripping the lifelines with his tiny feet.  He kept sliding forward in the lifelines and then flitted up to the strut to the bimini and tried to hang on to the metal pole...same problem.  But this guy was tenacious and kept trying even though he kept sliding into the supporting pole adjacent to the strut he was attempting to stand on for dear life.  Undeterred, he tried a few more times before finally saying, "The hell with it!" and took flight off the port side of the boat.  For those of you who are interested, this little guy is a Hutton's Vireo who seemed to have a faulty GPS as we were approximately 7 miles offshore when he visited us.

Turks...Shabby-chic at it's best in Dana Point.
Having gotten our nature fix for the afternoon, we turned our attention to locating the entry buoys at the Dana Point breakwater.  Once located, we slowed the motor down and cruised on into Dana West Marina.  Kathy and Tim were standing on the dock waving us in to our slip which was conveniently located right next to theirs.  As is our tradition, Richard and I went out to dinner and on the advice of Kathy and Tim, checked out a place that was celebrating their 40th anniversary and had rolled back their prices to those of the 70's.  Unfortunately, a 2 hour wait was not in our plans so we headed to a nearby joint called Turks.  Let's just way that people don't necessarily go here for the food (it was okay), but the atmosphere was dive-bar chic and we enjoyed ourselves so much that we ended up heading over there the next night for a couple of beers and to people watch.

Awesome (and cheap ) eats in Laguna Beach.
We had lunch the next day in Laguna Beach where I had some of the best grilled chicken tacos in my life at a place called Adolfo's.  And get this, two soft-shelled, grilled chicken tacos for $5!  They were amazing and I left a very happy camper.  After lunch, we walked down to the beach before heading back to the marina.  There were lots of surfers and paddle boarders in the water as it was quite hot out.  Good thing we had a beach right next to our marina!

Tim and Richard squaring off during the bocce game.
On our last day in Dana Point, the crews of Osprey and Rhythm squared off in the first (of many we hope) bocce tournaments on the beach.  I am sad to announce that Rhythm was victorious and somehow I feel as though I have let my brother Gary down as he is the reigning champion in the Bournival clan when it comes to bocce (sorry, Gar!).

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Marina del Ray, Venice Beach, & Santa Catalina Island, California

Along the entry to Marina del Rey.
After Oxnard, CA, we untied from the marina and sailed down to Marina del Rey.  The winds were fair and we were able to hoist the sails and do some sailing (always a bonus in our book).  The entry to Marina del Rey is long and bordered by expensive condos and homes.  The breakwater was covered with cormorants, pelicans, and seagulls and has what I have come to call the "stench of wildlife".  Don't get me wrong, I love nature; I could just do without the smells associated with vast populations of birds congregating in a small area.  As anyone will tell you, birds are messy animals (right, Michael?).

We found our slip and tied up.  Rhythm had arrived earlier in the day and Tim, Kathy and I decided to check out the heated pool that we had access to by virtue of its connection to the marina we were staying at for the next few days.  Tim and Kathy brought a bottle of wine (compliments of their marine surveyor; not only does he survey boats for insurance purposes, he also bottles his own wine).  So with plastic cups in hand and towels in our daypacks, we went to the pool.  Richard joined us a bit later and we all headed inside for desserts and a discussion of how long we thought we might stay in Marina del Rey.

Santa Monica Pier attractions.
The next day, Richard and I did some boat chores, had lunch and headed out for the Santa Monica Pier and Venice Beach.  We decided to take the bus to the Santa Monica Pier and then walk our way back to the boat; a five mile hike in total.  The pier is a tourist attraction complete with a mini-coaster, ferris wheel and games of chance. We opted to not ride any of the attractions and walk towards Venice Beach.

Richard flexing his stuff on Muscle Beach.
Venice Beach is a cornucopia of sights and sounds ranging from the expected to the sometimes unexpected.  Little did I know, that there are literally dozens of spots along this mile long stretch of California where I could get a doctor's appointment on the spot to determine if I needed a medical marijuana card to "ease my suffering".  I was amazed at how young these "doctors" looked and contemplated that they must have sped through med school on some fast track designed to get them on the streets "helping" unsuspecting tourists.  I think I might have said it before, but I will repeat it here just in case...California is different if not anything else from the rest of the states.  Venice Beach is also the original "Muscle Beach".

The Grand Canal, in Venice, CA.
We walked the length of Venice Beach and then headed inland to check out the town of Venice.  There were lots of specialty shops and nice restaurants but as it was too early for dinner, we headed back to the boat, satisfied that we had gotten some exercise in by way of walking the five miles back from the Santa Monica Pier.

As we were all interested in watching the third presidential debate, I approached the bartender at the poolside bar and inquired as to whether or not the debate would be shown in the bar.  The bartender was clearly positioned between a rock and a hard place.  She wanted to watch the debate but there was one patron who was watching the final game of the World Series semi-finals.  When I asked the patron if he would mind if the volume on the baseball game was lowered so that we could hear the debate, he pulled out this story that bordered on fan-based patriotism and stated that he wouldn't concede to such a suggestion.  Really?  A quick talk with the general manager of the hotel got the volume lowered on the game and the volume on the debate raised (by the way, even though there was only one person wanting to watch the game and at least nine people who wanted to watch the debate, he got the game on the big screen television while the rest of us huddled in a corner to watch the debate on a 22-inch television).  Tim, Kathy and I had dinner in the bar, content with watching the debate as such; Richard opted to watch the debate on the boat where he was able to pull in a decent wifi signal.

Catalina Harbor, Santa Catalina Island.
The next day, we untied from the marina and headed to Santa Catalina Island; our destination being Catalina Harbor which is on the ocean-side of the island.  We had fantastic winds the entire way and sailed under clear blue skies and a bright sun shining down.  Once in the harbor, Richard and I experienced our first "mooring field" and deftly pulled up the "stick" and found the lines that attached to the bow and stern cleats. Unphased by the amount of mud that was heaped on the decks by the mooring lines, we dropped the dinghy and motored to shore to try and catch the harbor office before it closed for the day.  Unsuccessful, we walked around a bit and then headed back to the boat for a quiet evening.  On our way back to the boat, we spotted a bison in a field.  Apparently, there are about 400 bison on Santa Catalina Island.

Richard, Two Harbors pier, Santa Catalina Island.
The following day, Richard went for a hike and I worked on securing health insurance for our trip.  I have to say that my agent from the Seven Corners Health Insurance site was very helpful in assisting me in my quest for health insurance.  I spent the better part of the day sitting at the resort cafe using their internet signal researching the different policies available to me and updating my blog.  

It was an early night for me as we had a long day ahead of us.  We planned to leave Catalina Harbor and make our way to Dana Point, CA where we would meet up with Rhythm and figure out our plans from there.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Santa Cruz Island, Ventura & Oxnard, California

Sapphire Princess at anchor in Santa Barbara.
On Tuesday, October 16th we got fuel and left Santa Barbara for the Channel Islands; specifically, Santa Cruz Island.  The 25 miles across the Santa Barbara Channel to Prisoners Harbor was probably as good as it gets in Southern California (SoCal).  After leaving the Santa Barbara Marina and Stearns’ Wharf behind us, we found ourselves facing a cruise ship anchored offshore from the Santa Barbara breakwater.  Uniformed men were skippering speed boats filled with cruise passengers to and from shore as we made our way past the Sapphire Princess.

Sailing in Santa Barbara Channel.
Shortly after passing the cruise ship we found ourselves in enough wind from the right direction to hoist the sails, so up they went and we were on our way making about 4 knots.  Four knots isn’t really fast, but given that the wind was variable between 5-10 knots, 4 knots of boat speed was just fine for us.  The channel was smooth, the skies were blue and the water was a beautiful aquamarine color.

Right before lunch a group of dolphin joined us on our sail and rode with us in the bow wake for about 30 minutes.  It started out with just three dolphins and then suddenly there were about a dozen of them swimming in formation, riding alongside the boat and skimming the surface.  These guys were jumpers and some were speedsters.  Richard and I were both at the bow (the boat was on autopilot) watching the dolphins and noticed this one dolphin who would separate from the group and go speeding off to starboard and then zip underneath the group that was riding the bow wake and head to port then dive deep and come back up in formation…as though nothing had happened!  It was funny and I wondered if he just forgot to take his Ritalin that morning.

We anchored in Prisoners Harbor and spent the rest of the day hanging out in the cockpit and relaxing.  There was considerable swell coming in from the northwest and bouncing off the shore back towards the anchored boats which resulted in a pretty bouncy night on the hook.

Island Scrub only lives on Santa Cruz Island.
Santa Cruz Island is the largest of the Channel Islands and the largest island in California.  Approximately 76% of the island is owned by The Nature Conservatory with the other 24% being managed by the National Park Service.  Permits are required to visit the western portion managed by The Nature Conservatory and these have to be applied for 15 days in advance of your visit in order to allow for processing of your application.  We opted to do a hike on the eastern side of the island operated by the National Park Service.  We had breakfast and headed out in the dinghy around 10:30 am.  I was excited to go ashore and hike as I had read that there was the opportunity to see the Island Scrub-Jay, a member of the jay family that can only be seen on Santa Cruz Island.  No sooner had we stepped foot on the trailhead when the island scrub-jay appeared.  It is recognizable by its call which is similar to its more common relatives that reside on the mainland.  Additionally, the island scrub-jay looks like it belongs in the bluejay family with blue and white plumage similar to that found on the eastern bluejay and western steller’s jays.

Island Fence Lizard on Santa Cruz Island.
We also saw a couple different varieties of hummingbird (no pictures so they don’t make the “Critter List”), small brown lizards and the island fence lizard.  This little guy was fast and darted across the trail to a rock where he defiantly stood his ground and allowed me to get just close enough to grab a picture.  There were other birds that we saw but they were either too fast, too far away or too small to get a good look at or take their picture.  The island fox, a subspecies that has evolved on Santa Cruz Island to the size of a house cat, was also elusive and did not make an appearance during out hike.

The aftermath of "relaxing" in the cockpit.
Once back on the boat, both Richard and I donned our bathing suits and jumped overboard.  The aquamarine water was warm (okay, warm enough at 71.4 degrees), we were hot from our 4-hour hike and the sun was shining down brightly.  We hung out in the cockpit, me blogging, Richard studying his Spanish.  It was a beautiful day.  While in the cockpit, I noticed a group of black oystercatchers foraging for, well, I guess oysters and other sea invertebrates, brown pelicans diving for baitfish (the boat was surrounded by these bluish-sliver fish that were about 8-12 inches long) and your usual suspects of noisy gulls.  The sun set on the northeastern ridge that we had hiked earlier while the surf pounded the shore.  Osprey, and the six other sailboats in Prisoners Harbor, bobbed on her anchor in time with the waves.

Sunrise on Santa Cruz Island.
Having exhausted ourselves with the hike, swimming and hanging out in the cockpit, it was an early night for both of us.  Richard had put out our rocker stoppers in hopes that the rocking and rolling we experienced the night before would be minimized.  Sometime during the night, the wind picked up and Richard went to the cockpit to check things out.  He turned on the instruments and noted that the wind was blowing in at about 15-20 knots.  A quick check on the anchor and it was determined that our hold was solid.  Then, around 5:45 am, the wind picked up again and both Richard and I went out to check on things.  The wind that was blowing in was definitely warm and we suspected it might be a Santa Ana wind which is notorious in this part of SoCal.  The problem was that the wind was coming in from the island; possibly from the Pacific Ocean and over the top of Santa Cruz Island.  We verified our anchor’s hold and went back to bed.  I woke up about an hour later and started breakfast.  Nothing like a plate of pancakes, fresh strawberries and good New Hampshire maple syrup to calm the nerves in the face of strong winds in an anchorage.

We lifted the hook and headed for Ventura, California.  We got an email from our friends on Rhythm that they were in Ventura but were leaving for Marina del Ray.  Our decision to continue on to Ventura was made as we hoisted the sails in 15-20 knots of wind (with gusts up to 25) from the northeast.  The wind ended up backing to the east and we were able to set a course directly for the breakwater at Ventura.

The first thing on my list was a shower to wash off all the salt from yesterday’s swimming (not to mention the sweat from the hike).  After that, I loaded my laundry bags with all of our laundry and headed for the washers and dryers.  Life is mostly glamorous while cruising but you still have to wash your clothes every now and then.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Santa Barbara...You Gotta Love it!

Friendly welcome committee.
We left Monterey on Thursday and did an easy overnight to Santa Barbara.  Point Conception, which is said to be "the Cape of Good Hope of California" was smooth and easy.  A new navigational obstacle that we encountered along the southern California coast was the oil platforms that were evenly spaced along the route.  On each of my three hour watches, I had dolphin (or porpoises) swimming in the bow wake. At times, there were just a few, at other times, there were dozens swimming along with us, welcoming us to Southern California.  I can't think of a more welcoming sight than these jovial creatures swimming with us as we sailed and motored south.

The crew at Brophy's Brothers in Santa Barbara.
Santa Barbara has been incredible.  Once we got here and into our respective slips, Kathy, Tim, Richard and I went out to dinner at a local seafood restaurant located right at the marina.  Oyster shooters for everyone (except Tim) and we were all happy campers with seafood galore.  

On Saturday, Richard and I went to a farmers market in Santa Barbara and got some prime produce.  There were booths selling every imaginable vegetable and fruit and we even tried jujube fruit. Once provisioned, we headed back to the boat to meet up with the Kathy and Tim to go explore the Santa Barbara Harbor Seafood Festival on the pier where we were docked.

Giant paella, that we never had.
We met up with the crew of Rhythm for lunch and walked the pier.  While local lobster was the star of the festival, the lines for the food tents were too long for any of us and we ended up walking down the beach and getting take out fish tacos which we ate at a picnic table on the beach. Tim was a bit apprehensive given his recent seagull experience in Monterey.  We really wanted to try the local paella, but like I said, the lines were way too long.

Sunday, Kathy, Tim and I went to the beach adjacent to Stearns Wharf.  We hung out on the beach and had lunch and then decided to bring out the frisbee and demonstrate our exceptional skills at that sport.  Early on, a guy, just walking the beach, joined in and we ended up tossing the frisbee (our triangle had suddenly become a square) for a good hour. Jim, our random fourth player, was a font of information about the Santa Barbara area and we readily soaked in everything he had to say.  Meanwhile, seagulls were tearing apart our beach blanket, and even though he didn't show it, I have a feeling that Tim was nervous.

Monday found Richard and I working on the dinghy and getting it ready for use.  We haven't taken the dinghy out since leaving Seattle and we had to unfasten it from the foredeck, inflate it, apply a protective coat to it and then run the outboard.  Richard took the dinghy out and ran it for about 15 minutes and came back stating that it ran well.

Happy Birthday Tim!
The 16th was Tim's birthday (he's going to be REALLY old, hitting 34 as we speak) and Kathy was scheming to pull off a "surprise" birthday party tonight.  Think about it folks, how do you plan a surprise party for someone who lives on the boat with you 24/7?  I tried coming up with lame excuses to drag Tim off of the boat but that proved to be a fruitless endeavor.  In the end, I think Kathy told Tim to go over to our boat and look at the registration numbers I painted on the dinghy...weak, but it worked (sort of, as Tim completely knew that something was up!).  Kathy made cake and we had a great time celebrating T's birthday.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Monterey, California

Osprey leaving Half Moon Bay, CA.
The sunrise over Half Moon Bay when we were leaving on Sunday was nothing short of beautiful.  But what was even more beautiful was the fact that after a few hours the wind picked up and we were finally able to sail.  The relief of not having to motor yet again was definitely welcomed.  We ended up sailing all the way into Monterey Bay and to the marina where Rhythm had called ahead to secure slips for us.  

While we were sailing towards Monterey, I had taken the time to clean the crabs and make crab cakes.  Kathy put together a delicious corn salad and garden salad as well as whipped up a batch of guacamole.  She and Tim also brought over a bottle of wine and cannoli for dessert.  As you can tell, we sure aren't suffering much on the meal front.  

The crews getting ready to bike along the coast.
On Monday, the four of us rented bikes and we rode out to the Lone Cypress in Pebble Beach.  The route ran along the famous 17-Mile Drive which hugs the coast of the Monterey Peninsula and offers breathtaking views of a rugged coastline punctuated with sandy beaches.  We saw plenty of sea lions and various birds, not to mention a few coastal squirrels scampering around on a promontory called Joe's Point.

Me, Richard, Kathy and Tim (after the sea gull incident).
As we continued along the coast, we stopped for lunch at a beach just past Spanish Bay. The highlight of the stop was when a gull swooped down from behind us and snatched Tim's sandwich right out of his hands!  That event definitely kept us looking over our shoulders and into the sky as we all nervously tried to finish our lunch with a sky full of marauding gulls lurking about ready to seize another "free lunch" opportunity.

Pebble Beach tee time.
Unscathed by the sea gull incident, we mounted our bikes and continued on our tour of the coast.  We passed the famous Pebble Beach Golf Course (jealous, Gary?!) and I secretly hoped that they would have had a putt-putt tee for us to try our swings on (just so we could say we played a hole at Pebble Beach).  There were numerous pull outs from the road that offered breathtaking vistas of the rugged coastline and we certainly took advantage of the beautiful weather as me made our way around the peninsula.  

The specific Lone Cypress is between me and Kathy.
We finally arrived at the Lone Cypress State Park and indeed, it is a lone cypress that had somehow managed to take root on a jagged rock promontory that jutted out from the coast.  Apparently someone has "trademarked" this view and commercial use of the image of the Lone Cypress is protected.  Leave it to lawyers...only in California.

We biked back and in all cycled about 20 or so miles.  The exercise was actually an excuse to go tho the Cannery Row Brewery Company for burgers.  I had told Tim (who is a big fan of bleu cheese burgers) that the CRBC had an awesome bleu cheese burger (called the Bleu Pig) but that the real star of the menu were the Triple Truffle Fries (truffle oil, truffle salt and truffle aioli).  We all had the fries except Kathy who opted for the salad (there has to be someone being health conscious after all).  We were kind of disappointed to learn that the CRBC doesn't actually brew its own beer but rather has other breweries craft specialty beers for them.  Oh well, we know of another brewery in town and plan on hitting that on another night.

Richard at the Old Monterey Marketplace farmers market.
Yesterday, Kathy, Tim, and I went to Starbucks to do some blogging.  We were really just killing time in town before the Old Monterey Marketplace farmers market opened up. The market takes place on Alvarado Street and runs for about three or four blocks.  The fruit and vegetables looked amazing and we stocked up on some fresh produce as it looked too good to pass up.

Heaps of ice cream and chocolate sauce at Ghiradelli's.
After dinner, the four of us, at Kathy's suggestion (remember, she's the health conscious one from the night before), went to Ghiradelli's for ice cream treats.  The sundaes and shakes certainly passed the test and we were probably all thankful that in order to get to Ghiradelli's we had to walk about a mile, each way.  I know that I'm always trying to justify desserts and this did the trick.

Last night, around 10 o'clock, it rained.  This is of note because this is the first rain we have seen since leaving Seattle over a month ago.  I guess we're not quite in southern California where, as the song goes, it never rains.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Half Moon Bay, California...Day 26

Carol and me in Sausalito.  No, I do not miss work!
On October 4th, my friend Carol and her husband Ryan came out from Sacramento to visit Richard and I.  After a quick boat tour, we all headed out for lunch in Sausalito.  It's always a perk when someone comes to visit and they have a car to drive around in even if Richard and I think we are going way too fast (you get that perspective when you live on a boat that maxes out at about 6-7 miles per hour).  Returning to the boat, Carol asked when we thought we'd be in Tahiti and I suspect she might be brewing a plan to visit!  

Dinghy races inside the breakwater at Half Moon Bay.
We left Sausalito around 9:30 am and motored out under the Golden Gate Bridge.  Again, we had clear skies but with the added excitement of military vessels in the area which meant that we had to be extra careful about how close we were to those vessels (federal law requires that pleasure boats be 500 yards from any military vessel).  The reason for all the military vessels had to do with the Fleet Week activities in San Francisco. We made our way out of San Francisco Bay and turned left to head south towards Half Moon Bay, our next stopover.  We decided to stop at Half Moon Bay in order to circumvent an overnight passage on our way to Monterey.  We motored the entire way and there was really nothing exceptional to report on other than the occasional crab trap and seal.  

Richard called the Pillar Point Marina and secured a slip for us for the night.  Pillar Point Marina is basically a fishing harbor with a couple extra slips available for transient boats. We secured a slip and Richard went out to explore while I prowled the docks in search of fresh seafood.  Richard was the winner in my book as he located the local brew pub while all I was able to locate was a fishmonger selling fresh crab.  I bought and cooked the crab and then heard from Rhythm who was entering the marina.  Plans were discussed and it was decided that we would spend one night in Half Moon Bay and them leave early the next day for Monterey.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Visits from Friends and Walking in San Francisco

Ava and Dave.
Sunday night a friend of mine from New Hampshire (we went to junior and senior high school together), Dave, and his wife Ava drove from Sacramento to see Richard and I on the boat. It was a beautiful late afternoon so we hung out in the cockpit, had some wine that they brought (thanks guys!), and caught them up on our trip so far.  Dave has been following our blogs pretty closely and related a funny story about calling the marina in Bodega Bay looking for us when he didn't see our location map update our position to Sausalito. The funny thing was that Richard had called the marina in Bodega Bay and the harbormaster told him that someone had called looking for us.  They drove us into town and we enjoyed an al fresco dinner on the waterfront with a stunning view of the moon rising over Angel Island and San Francisco in the distance.  

Richard enjoying his diim sum.
Tuesday, the crews from both Osprey and Rhythm took the bus into San Francisco in search of dim sum for lunch. Tim, from Rhythm, had found some good reviews for a dim sum place in Chinatown but when we got there, it was take out only.  So being the tourist that we were, several in the group whipped out their smart phones and we quickly located another dim sum hall for lunch.  

America's Cup challengers in San Francisco Bay.
After lunch we started walking towards the Golden Gate Bridge with the intent of walking across the bridge. Along the way, we happened upon the America's Cup stage and ended up spending some time there walking around and looking at the various vendors' booths and exhibits that were on display.  As we made our way through the exhibits, we noticed that you could actually see the qualifying races going on in San Francisco Bay from the beach behind the America's Cup stage so we walked out there and watched the races for a while.   The speed these boats attained left us envious as we recalled how long it had taken us to make it down the Pacific coast to the Bay Area.  These were state of the art boats designed for nothing but speed.  Here's hoping the USA can win and bring the cup home again! 

As it turned out, we ended up walking from downtown San Francisco all the way across the Golden Gate Bridge.  The views of the city and the bay were spectacular.  Once on the other side of the bridge, we opted for a taxi into Sausalito. Someone calculated it and in all we walked close to 10 miles on our excursion into the city. Because we walked over the bridge, we could now all say that we had both motored under the bridge and walked over it; now if we could only fly over the bridge, we would have the perfect tourist triple crown!

Here are some pictures from our tour of San Francisco, starting in Chinatown and ending on our walk across the bridge.

Chinatown produce vendors.
Getting our bearings in Chinatown.
Richard and Stacey contemplating Chinatown desserts.
Eglise Notre Dame des Victoires in San Francisco.
San Francisco as seen from Golden Gate Park.
Stacey and Richard walking across the Golden Gate Bridge.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Sausalito, California...Day 25

Greeted by fog while leaving Drake's Bay.
When we woke we were surrounded by thick fog.  Not only that, but our anchors had accumulated a massive amount of seaweed and it took quite a bit of time to free the anchor chain from the choke-hold the aquatic vegetation had imposed.  Once under way, even though Rhythm was motoring along close to Osprey, at times we couldn't even see each other's boat as the fog was relentless.  

Osprey approaching the Golden Gate Bridge.
We motored the entire way and once we hit the entrance to San Francisco Bay we were greeted with clear blue skies and NO FOG!  Our prayers had been answered and as we motored under the Golden Gate Bridge everyone had his or her camera out and hundreds of pictures were taken.  This was, after all, a rite of passage and it required extensive documentation.  The benefit of having a buddy boat is that we could take pictures of Rhythm as she passed under the bridge and the crew of Rhythm could take pictures of Osprey as she passed under.  This is pretty much the only way you can get a picture of your own boat under way and we were all more than happy to take pictures on behalf of the each other.

Osprey passing under the Golden Gate Bridge.
As Richard and I passed under the Golden Gate Bridge, I felt exhilarated, excited, accomplished.  We had set out on this incredible journey and this was one of the milestones we had envisioned so many years ago when we started planning this trip.  It was truly joyful for me and the added blessing of clear skies and no fog (thanks Mom!) just added to my experience.  

Stacey with Osprey and the Golden Gate Bridge in background.
The closer we got to Sausalito, the warmer it got.  By the time we reached the Clipper Yacht Harbor Marina, we had stripped out of our foul weather gear and were definitely appreciating the warmth that surrounded us. Rhythm got in before us and motioned us over to the fuel dock where we both topped off the fuel tanks and then headed to our slips.  

As Kathy said, "Champagne for everyone!"
I had texted Kathy and told her that as soon as they were settled in that the entire crew should join Richard and I on Osprey for a well deserved glass of champagne (thanks Gary!) to commemorate this auspicious occasion.  Once the glasses were filled, we all raised our glasses and congratulated ourselves on having just sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge and making it this far on our respective journeys. 

Peanut, the trustworthy and salty mascot of Rhythm.
Even Peanut, Kathy and Tim's canine crew member (geriatric, blind in one eye, deaf and no teeth), joined in on the celebrating (he passed on the champagne).  There really is no doubt that Peanut belongs on this journey.  We all refer to him as the "old man" and he takes it in stride.  

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Eureka to Bodega Bay to Drake's Bay

Leaving Eureka, approaching the bar.
We left Eureka on a slack water tide as crossing the Eureka bar can be somewhat dicey if conditions aren't conducive to crossing.  The channel out to the entrance was deceptively calm and when we reached the entrance we were met with significant swells that provided quite a ride. Leaving the bar behind us, we turned south heading towards Bodega Bay.  This passage included an overnight and it was one of the coldest nights we have encountered since leaving Seattle.  The fog was heavy, the seas were moderate and we ended up motoring the entire way.

Entrance to Bodega Bay.
The entrance to Bodega Bay is also a long channel that leads you to the head of the bay where the Spud Point Marina is located and where we had a marina reservation.  The channel itself is long, narrow and pretty straight so it gave the impression of driving Osprey down a highway.  After we tied up to the marina, Richard and I walked into town and had yet another greasy, fried dinner to add to our "nutrition conscious" eating habits.  The next day, we discovered that our furnace wasn't working so Richard called the manufacturer and set up an appointment for a representative to come to the boat once we got to Sausalito.  That evening, Richard's sister, Liz, and her partner, Kate, came to the boat bearing packages we had delivered to their house (wifi boosters), and fresh vegetables from Liz's garden (much appreciated tomatoes!).  Liz and Kate took us out to dinner and this time we avoided the siren call of fried foods and had a great dinner at Terrapin Creek Cafe.  We returned to the boat and spent some time visiting and then Liz and Kate left.

As it was cold in Bodega Bay, we went over to our buddy boat, Rhythm, and asked them if they had a spare space heater we could borrow, which they did.  Thanks to their generosity, we didn't freeze overnight.

A brief moment of clarity before the fog returned; Point Reyes.
The next morning, we headed out of Bodega Bay towards Drake's Bay which is located right around the corner from Point Reyes near the entrance to San Francisco Bay.  The fog lifted briefly as we motored along the coast towards the anchorage but then returned as we headed into the bay to drop our anchor for the night.  A quick call from Rhythm and the plan for both boats was dinner and an early night in preparation for our early morning departure for Sausalito.  No doubt everyone slept well despite the occasional roar of the elephant seals on shore.