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.

POLE DANCE

I awoke early this morning, the tide changed and the boats movement felt different.  Truce hasn’t moved, the anchor is still dug into the Sausalito mud.

After a leisurely breakfast I didn’t feel like doing much.  It was still early when I sat on deck in warm sunshine and gave myself a haircut.  I like the idea of long hair but don’t actually like it on my head. After five minutes with the clippers I was well shorn and feeling fresh again.

Then it was into the rubber duck for a run ashore.  I stopped off at the Lighthouse Café, good American brewed bottomless coffee and free Wi-Fi.  The weather file I downloaded shows favourable winds

Clipper Yacht Harbor
Clipper Yacht Harbor

on Wednesday that lead into a massive area of light and calm conditions a few days out.  I downloaded a couple of files and there is a bit of difference between them.  One has a low-pressure system coming through right in my path.  The local weather is also predicting a low pressure later this week – the weather is not settled yet.

On returning to Truce in the afternoon the sea was a bit choppy, that means a wet ride in the rubber duck.  Once back on board and dried out in the sunshine I started messing around with the spinnaker pole.  I will be doing some downwind sailing the spinnaker pole will be used to pole out the jib on the opposite side to the main sail.   I have a spinnaker on board but won’t be using it this trip – too much of a handful when sailing single handed.

The spinnaker pole on Truce is a magnificent length of timber with bronze fittings on each end.  It is heavy – the reason I have not used it previously, no point rigging it for only a few hours, too much effort.  It’s also a bit scary.  The momentum of the pole on a pitching and rolling foredeck is something to take seriously.  Soon I had outhauls, fore guys, aft guys, topping lifts, sheets, various blocks and a cockpit full of assorted cordage.  Oh, what fun.  After a few rig ups I finally had the set up to my liking and a means of controlling the pole during deployment and retrieval.

All this messing around took me well past beer o’clock.  My beer is not cold anymore, the only disadvantage of the warm weather so far.

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.

SAN FRANCISCO SOJURN

Ngozi and I have had a great time in San Francisco.  We have done a few of the tourist things and as usual ate too much, drank too much and spent too much.

Oakland Marina, Alameda. San Francisco.
Oakland Marina, Alameda. San Francisco.

We had 4 nights in the Marina Village in Alameda.  This a good spot for access to local attractions and has easy access to Oakland and San Francisco, either by ferry or Uber.  West marine is just up the road from the marina and I picked up a few essential items for the boat.

Sailing San Francisco, Photo, Ray Penson
Sailing San Francisco

On the last day we found the bus to Oakland went from outside the Marina, we could have saved a bit of money if we had known earlier.  Oakland turned out to be a pleasant surprise.  A well laid out city with some beautiful buildings.  Also, some great bars and restaurants around Jack London square on the waterfront.

We visited San Francisco around Pier 39, very touristy, lots of souvenir shops selling cheap stuff from China.  Not my thing.  A couple of days later we went to the carnival and had a great time.

After Alameda we motor sailed across, past Alcatraz, to Sausalito and tied up in the Clipper Yacht Harbour.

Alcatraz, San Francisco. Photo Ray, Penson
Alcatraz

Sausilito has population of around eight thousand and an easy pace of life.  It reminded us of Waiheke Island in Auckland, a mixture of Rich and Hippy with an arty side.

From Sausalito we did the Golden Gate trip on an open top bus, sunny with a cold wind.  We really enjoyed our stay in Sausalito – not the cheapest place but worth a visit.

Ngozi returned to New Zealand last night and I stayed a final night at the marina.  It felt quite lonely after having company around.  This morning I topped off the fresh water tanks and then motored around to the fuel dock to top off the diesel tanks.  Now I am stored, watered and fuelled ready to depart.

After taking on fuel I dropped anchor off Sausalito, just outside the channel on the bank.  From here I can see Alcatraz, San Francisco, the Bay Bridge and the top of the Golden Gate.  The weather was warm, almost hot, today and I pottered about doing odd jobs.  This evening its flat calm, the stars are out and the city and bridges are all lit up.  I reckon I have the best seat in the house.

The weather in the Pacific is not favourable for a departure yet.  The Pacific high hasn’t fully established and there is a large area of light winds on my path to Hawaii.  It looks like I may have to wait for a week or ten days for a favourable weather window before departing.  In the morning, if the weather is nice, I will re-inflate the rubber duck for a trip ashore to find a Wi-Fi hotspot and download a weather update.