(Once again, make sure you read the post below first so you don’t miss any of the juicy details!)
The boat was put back together and dried out, we were rested and fed, therefore it was time to head onward to our ultimate destination: San Francisco. On Tuesday September 6th we left Bodega Bay and motored then sailed to Drake’s Bay, completely cloaked in fog the entire way. What we could see of Drake’s was pretty, though the cow manure smell put a damper on things. Three other cruising boats were anchored out and much to our surprise a fourth familiar looking boat appeared right before dusk. It was Hot Sauce, the bright orange trimaran who’d been tied up next to us in Port Townsend when we left. We hadn’t seen them in Neah Bay so expected they were still in PT. Just another example of how much faster multi hulls are then mono hulls I guess. We shouted hellos and said we’d look for each other in the Bay Area. Dinner that night: Canned Delight. (Black beans, garbanzo beans, kidney beans, corn, sweet peas and tomatoes, all from cans. Mmmmmm.)
(Rob says) Heading down the coast to the Golden Gate Bridge on Wednesday was beautiful. Spinnaker flying riding about a mile off of the coast in 100 feet of water. It continues to surprise me that just a few miles north of the GG and SF, an obviously major major metropolitan city, it still looks as it did a 100+ years ago. Big brown rolling hills with animals roaming – just missing the natives. There were fishing boats with troll poles cleaning their catch and basking as we were in the light wind and sun! Which we know is a rarity around here, which gave us major respect to the fishing boats that often work in very foggy and ocean rolling conditions.
We thought we had it made. A GG entrance in the sunshine! “Is it filling in or clearing up?” was the question from some crew person maybe me. “Definitely filling in!” “Oh”. “Whelp”…. We were doing 2 knots under spinnaker, very relaxing but we were coming up on the SF bar, which can have standing waves (I’ve heard since it can actually stand up to 30 foot barrels!). But the sea state was small so the fog was our only obstacle and shipping traffic. And darkness as we came towards the evening as we drifted. So the call was to blast on the engine and boogie to the gate – with a requirement to shut it down and sail under. The fog ebbed and flowed leaving us unsure if we would have zero viz or a sunny gate entrance. Rounding the corner for the final approach around an amazing lighthouse built on a razor sharp ridge the fog lifted and the wind built. Off with the engine and up with the mizzen and jib – the wind was blowing about 18 and we were broad reaching. We were doing 8.2 knots trying to stay clear of the shipping channel while snapping boatloads of photos. A tanker was coming out. There was dense dense dark fog behind us and we could hear the horn of a ship buried in there somewhere heading our way. We gybed – cleared the outgoing lane and headed for the inbound lanes edge to gybe again and make our final run under the bridge. Yes – it was beyond glorious. We did it. And the fog had cleared to give us great visibility of the city and the red red bridge connecting two golden landmasses. We made it! We were buzzing. And, the mast cleared which always is a good thing when going under bridges in a sailboat. Once under the bridge the wind increased to 25. We were barreling along the SF coast still under jib and mizzen (jib and jigger they call it) doing 9.5! Behind us the GG was swarmed and taken over by that dark fog and the sun was setting. We kicked on the engine, headed up, struck sail and lashed them and headed into Aquatic Park with a stout current on the stbd beam. Aquatic Park is the ONLY anchorage on the SF city front. And it has a full view of the GG, Ghirardelli Square, much of the city, Tall Ships of the SF Maritime Museum, the Oakland Bay Bridge, Alcatraz, Angel Island, and Treasure Island etc! It doesn’t get more “we are in SF!” than that! We dropped the hook and headed to shore. BTW – we were the only non-resident boat in there – the other boats were small sail training boats. We had the only city anchorage to ourselves!! At a free anchorage. We wandered the city streets floating on air and culture shocked by all the activity. We were in Fisherman’s Wharf. Souvenir stores, loud bands, street musicians, taxis, trolleys, cable cars and lots and lots of people. We floated along the sidewalks taking it all in and trying to stay out of peoples way and found a Rainforest Café that had fish tanks. Unconsiously we all drifted in. We swarmed the tanks, pressed up against the glass, maybe realizing the only things we could relate to were the fish in the tanks.
We spent about 5 days in the city. Quickly becoming savvy to public transportation. We met my sister for lunch at her office in the financial district and roamed on foot miles a day exploring this amazing city. And managed to have small town connections with various people in the big city. One Chinese man that is a postal worker overheard a stamp conversation we were having around a mailbox and instantly became friends with us. We shared our journey down. He shared the gems of the city and we did a group photo. He shuffled us into his car on his insistence to take us to “the real Chinatown” restaurants. He was right. We were the only non-Asians in a restaurant that held 200 and was near capacity. Life is amazing how you can share a moment with a stranger who is with you one minute; you share, learn, experience each other as “friends” then back into the world we go. Moments are where it’s at. These are the precious things.
We are here. Leg one: Check.