Saturday, November 14, 2009

Carmel to San Simeon

On Saturday, we woke at 3am, and with favorable wind reports, we headed south. We had to cover a lot of ground, and needed to be travelling at least 6 knots all day, in order to make it to San Simeon before dark. So, we motored for most of the day, although we had a nice sail while we made (our second) breakfast, and again at the end of the day. The day was gorgeous. We
first travelled in calm seas, beneath glowing stars and watched the moonrise. As the sun rose, we had a beautiful, sunny day, with moderate seas that made for a comfortable day. We arrived in San Simeon at 3:30pm, 12 hours after we started.

We're now nestled into a cute little anchorage with the Hearst Castle towering over us from the hill above. Although touring this fortress was on John's to-do list, we've moved it to the "Next Time" list. We've got a great forecast that should see us around Point Conception - the last nasty
obstacle on this stretch of coastline.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Sat Phone Success

I've spent many, many hours over the past couple of weeks trying to set up our sat phone to send and receive emails and weather forecasts via our computer. What I thought would be a fairly simple task has turned out to be pull-out-my-hair frustrating. But I'm happy to report, that we have success!! Today I was able to request instant emailed forecasts, and weathergrib files (graphic images that show wind strength, wind direction and pressure isobars overlayed on a map). It is all compressed to be sent over very slow internet connections, such as our sat phone. Funny how such simple things can make me happy...

Carmel Update

We arrived in Stillwater Cove, adjacent to Carmel and Pebble Beach, after a fairly easy day of 27 miles from Santa Cruz. The swell was big enough to create quite a lively motion in the boat, and I spent most of the day in the cockpit to ease my queasy stomach. Yuck. But some of the highlights were seeing a couple of sunfish, and our first sea otters of the trip. Our next passage is a long one - 75 miles - so, we'll be watching the weather closely.

We woke up at 4:00 am on Friday, and after listening to the weather, we discovered it was already 20+ knot winds, which would be increasing throughout the day. We decided to head back to bed, and wait until a better forecast. And we were glad we did, since neither of us had a good rest in the rolly anchorage, and I spent most of the day nursing a headache. We did have a good time watching the sea otters play around the kelp bed that we were anchored in. John got a few good photos.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

In Carmel

We arrived at Pebble Beach at 12:30 today. Mostly small swells, although occasional huge ones, which kept the morning interesting. More to follow when a reliable internet connection can be had. Big day tomorrow, if the weather cooperates.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Santa Cruz

We left Half Moon Bay at first light and had a great day of motor-sailing in light winds, averaging about 6.5 knots. We arrived in Santa Cruz at 2, with time for a shower before happy hour started at the marina bar. We checked the internet and enjoyed half priced appies, all while enjoying the daily dramas unfold on the beach and the (way too early) sunset beyond the horizon. The evening held its own entertainment, as John wedged himself into the engine compartment to change our transmission fluid. An early start for us tomorrow, as we head across the bay.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Going Crazy

Many a sailor has gone loopy as a result of long passages, and the relentlessness of the open ocean*. Here is proof positive that I am no exception:

It was late in the month of August,
When we sailed into San Fran' Bay.
We searched for a marina to tie for the month,
And found Clipper would let us stay.

In Sausalito, lies Clipper Yacht Harbour,
With great staff and hundreds of slips.
We settled in for what is to become
A highlight thus far on the trip.

In the 60's and 70s Saus' was a hummin',
Artists and hippies galore.
Peace and love were the order of the day,
But the community had much more in store.

City dwellers discovered the quaint little town,
Commuters rushed in to buy land,
Sausalito is now quite gentrified,
Not quite what the hippies had planned.

Now walking through town along Bridgeway,
One finds boutiques, cafes and shops.
The streets are alive, the sidewalks crowded,
As tourists shop till they drop.

We settled into Basin Four,
And John returned to work back home.
I stayed behind to watch the boat,
We'd talk everyday by phone.

I met my dock neighbors, all were just great,
Including Carol, Conrad, Betsy and Joe,
And there were many others I came to befriend,
Even Bob and Jane from Nanaimo.

I wandered the city by bus, ferry and foot,
I strolled beaches and we watched a ball game,
I saw the city from above, I shopped and I dined,
And viewed work by artists of considerable fame.

Oh Marin County - what a fabulous place,
I'd return at the blink of an eye.
To all the people who welcomed me in,
Thank you, be well, and goodbye.


*I realize that I'm not a solo sailor and haven't been at sea for months at a time...but I tell long night shift in the cold darkness can make you go a little loopy.

Sausalito to Half Moon Bay

We had an uneventful passage from Sausalito to Half Moon Bay. After returning our harbour keys and saying goodbye to our new friends, we took off under the Golden Gate Bridge, into 8 foot swells but no wind. We motored south and were able to set our anchor at Pillar Point Harbour, on the north side of Half Moon Bay, just in time for lunch. The wind has picked up as we sit here, and we are swinging from side to side on our hook, but we seem to have good holding. I'm going to bake a batch of cookies to warm up the cabin, and test our email capabilities with the new sat phone!

Leaving Pillar Point at first light:
PS - now that we're on the move, we'll be using our SPOT to update our daily position. Feel free to click on the link to our location on the right hand side of the page.

PPS - the sat phone is experiencing hiccups....we'll continue to update when we can poach wi-fi signals.

So Long, Sausalito...

We'll miss you.
I never thought I could live in the States. But I stand corrected. I could live here.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow....

We'll try to leave again tomorrow. This morning we found pink fluid in the bilge.

So. We. Didn't. Leave.

We found a leak in a fitting on the fuel lift pump. It wasn't there when we went for a test run earlier in the weak, but John's managed to spend the morning fixing it, and now we're once again ready to leave.

Heading South

We're off. Finally. This morning, we're leaving Sausalito and SF Bay. Bob, Jane, Joe and Conrad came by last night to say goodbye. We'll miss the great people that we've met here (and the awesome internet connection), but looking forward to the next leg. We'll be updating the blog with our new satellite phone when possible.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Birds on the Bay

In a past life, I did bird surveys. I wasn't very good at it. Nowadays, I'm terrible. Still, the great variety of birds around here is fun to watch. Here's a couple of the more photogenic species...

The Brown Pelicans are everywhere. I've been told that they were once endangered, but I can assure you that they are doing just fine here in Sausalito!

Both Great Egrets and Snowy Egrets like to hang out at the marina, and the estuary where I often go for a run.

These Sandpipers were hanging out at Stinson Beach: