SAN FRANCISCO TO HAWAII

The alarm woke me at five this morning.  The brain said get up, the body said just thirty minutes more.  The brain won.  I put the kettle on for a cuppa and had a look outside, flat calm in Sausalito anchorage and the sky starting to lighten in the east.

Departing San Francisco early morning.Photo Ray Penson
Departing San Francisco early morning.Photo Ray Penson

By five thirty the anchor was aweigh.  A mass of sticky mud came up on the anchor and chain, what a mess.  Oh well I have a couple of weeks to clean it off.  I headed out the anchorage and at exactly six o’clock we motored under the Golden Gate bridge in thick fog.  Now I have sailed, driven and flown both ways over, on and under it.  It’s done.

The San Francisco bar was in boisterous mood.  My friend Mark will be pleased to know I got rocked, rolled and thoroughly shaken up.  Once outside in deeper water things calmed down and I was able to set all sail and head off in a southerly direction.  At ten the cloud cleared, the sun came out, I shed my heavy jacket and sea boots – for the last time this trip?

By noon we had knocked off a few miles and there is less than two thousand miles to go to Hilo now.  Of course, that’s in a straight line, I will have to sail more miles.  I have chosen Hilo on the Big Island as the entry into Hawaii.  It looks like I need to head south for a couple of days to avoid a high-pressure area of light winds to the east of San Francisco.

By early afternoon we were clear of the traffic separation zones and into deep water. No more crab pot floats to dodge thank goodness.  A bunch of dolphins came to join us, one of them seemed very interested in Truces trim tab on the rudder.  Whales seem to be everywhere, one blew close by and startled me.  The sun is sparkling on the sea and all is good in my world.  Voyage distance 32 miles.

WAITING IN SAUSALITO

Another quiet day at Sausalito anchorage – just a bit more wind and cooler since yesterday.  There is a cold front approaching on Thursday and everybody is getting excited at the prospect of rain – apparently quite rare this time of year.  Quite impressive watching the cloud coming off the ocean and building above Sausalito then cascading down into the town this morning.

Sausalito getting Cloud Bombed Photo. Ray Penson
Sausalito getting Cloud Bombed Photo. Ray Penson

Early today a Pelican was fishing by the boat.  What an ungainly bird.  First, he gets airborne with a great seemingly uncoordinated performance of feet and wings.  Then circles around and drops like a bag of wet rags into the water beak first.  I suppose Pelicans must catch fish but they don’t look very convincing, looks like pot luck fishing to me.

Later in the morning I took the rubber duck ashore – getting to be a routine.  I was going to walk up to West Marine, quite a way up the road.  The wind was building so I didn’t wander too far as it’s a wet ride in in any chop in the dinghy.

I downloaded another weather file, a strong cold front is hitting the coast on Thursday.  Looks like there will be a weather window for departure on Friday following the front.  I expect I will need to sail quite a way south to avoid the high pressure and calms sitting on my route.

Meanwhile – nothing much else happening.  That’s good I suppose.

SAUSALITO SUNDAY

What a beautiful day – perfect California weather, warm but not too hot.  In response to the great weather the local boating community came out in force today.  Lots of activity around Sausalito and in the bay.

This morning I remeasured the anchor cable and replaced the markers.  Over one hundred anchor deployments since last year have knocked a some of the markers into submission and it’s hard to tell what they are as the chain whips out.  I use plastic wire ties for markers, one tie for ten meters, two ties for twenty meters etc.  Not very environmentally friendly but they don’t easily come off and are easy to see, especially in the dark.

Sausalito Sunday, San Francisco
Sausalito Sunday, San Francisco

At midday I went ashore in the rubber duck.  I had a good walk around town and found some free Wi-Fi to download a weather file.  The weather is not too flash offshore.  Close to the coast there are strong winds and further out a huge patch of light airs.  The local forecast is predicting gales for Monday and hazardous conditions for Tuesday on the coast.  It’s hard to appreciate what is happening offshore as the conditions inside San Francisco Bay are quite calm now.  Anyhow, I won’t be going offshore before Wednesday, that’s clear.

I am starting to get the urge to move on now.  If we get some breeze in the Bay tomorrow I will have a look at moving to a different anchorage – should not be too busy as its Monday.