Saturday, October 25, 2008

San Francisco Open Your Golden Gate

We got up early to get to the Gate on the Flood Tide. Half Moon Bay harbor is really protected and we were lulled into thinking that this was going to be a smooth trip...but that quickly changed! The breakers on the outside of the breakwater were huge!! The channel is clearly marked to take you away from the shallows that create these big guys, but for a minute there, it had me going! It still was pretty intense, but at least they weren't breaking over us!!!!

Off in the distance, we could see the foam from the behemeths breaking over at Mavericks! We were about 2 miles offshore and could still see them! Today was going to be a 3-4 hour trip and soon we could see Sutro Tower and the houses on the hill. The waves were building and they were reporting some 8-10 ft swells in our path. We headed further out to sea to avoid them. Approaching the San Francisco Bar (a shallow 35-65ft deep area just south of the main shipping channel that goes under the Gate) the waves were huge and visible from a distance....we went further out to sea.... To make a long story short..we made it around the breakers just outside of the break but still climbing up the face of some pretty big puppies! I'm not looking forward to doing that again. The weather conditions reported from the buoy there said they were 13 ft high !!! Yowsa!!!! Crazy dolfins were playing in the tops of the waves (hard to call them swells when they look like they were surf-able). Advice to the next guy who passes this way? Go further out to sea.....

Once we were in the shipping channel, things calmed down and we were able to rejoice, hoot, snoopy-dance, sing (of course) and take pictures coming home under the Gate. Now there were a lot of boats! The Bay seemed eerily calm. It is always calm in October, but maybe it was because we had been through the biggies, or maybe because Wind Spirit is 16 ft longer and 4 ft wider than Zapata, or maybe it was just that calm feeling you get when you come home.
We had about 1/2 hr to Richmond Yacht Club to take it all in. Our club was conducting 4 races for the annual Great Pumpkin Regatta that attracts some 150-200 boats of all sizes and persuasions in costumes and all. They always have a good band and this year was no exception..a Beach Boys tribute band. Lots of good food and drink specials, costume contests and parties to the weeeee hours.....weeeee were too tired for most of it, but were able to reconnect with some of our friends with promises of a "boat warming" party.

Since there's no slip available for us at RYC at this time, we have to take her to Marina Bay indefinitely. Pretty anticlimactic to go to a strange home, but we've seen nothing but strange homes with Wind Spirit so I guess its OK for now.

So, our "Excellent Adventure" is in port for now. Quite an adventure at that...from the Planes, Trains and Busses and the whole Ensenada experience, to the two weeks in San Diego , to the Catalina Adventure and the Harbor Hopping North we've learned a lot about our boat, ourselves and the populations.

Our boat is a dream. She handles beautifully and we have total confidence in her.

As for ourselves? We've spent 24 hrs a day with each other in a small space, in new places and new situations / emergencies dejour and realize that we have been lucky enough to have chosen the life-partner-soul-mate we hope that you all who are reading this blog have now or will find soon.
Oh, and by the way, the prevention for seasickness is burping....lots of burping....drink carbonated beverages, burp and mal-de-mer! (Someone I know can almost burp the alphabet...)

And the populations of people that we've encountered have been amazing...from the Mexican people at the Coral, on the Mee-cro, in the stores; to the D-Dock Fun Committee; to the Electronics/Systems/Canvas guys in San Diego and Sail Repair guy in Marina Del Rey; to Kemira in Santa Barbara and all of the Yacht Club and marina residents we've encountered along the way one thing is striking...their sheer generosity of spirit. Yachties are clearly a distinct type of people...warm, generous, funny, and pay it forward just on "spec". (Not all are tired and stinky as was a recurring theme in our excellent adventure! Did I ever mention exhilarated, amazed and just plain stoked!)

I'm not sure how we'll come down from a new adventure every day. While this blog is finished, we look forward to taking everyone out on the Bay and sharing our new boat and stories of our adventure with you. Anyone setting out on their own excellent adventure should beware that we couldn't have done this without the homefront help from our fabulous friends checking our mail and our houses, feeding the fish that would be pirhanna's by the time we got home, and neighbors watching out for freezing pipes in Tahoe and anomalies in the Bay Area. They're "yachties" by association now, as evidenced by their friendship in that true pay-it-forward spirit. Now we have to get back to our responsibilities, want to get back to our landlubber friends, and really look forward to a long winter's nap......until the next time~

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