Saturday, August 31, 2013

True North August 8 to August 31: Bay area sightseeing and Monterey

August 8 – 31: Bay Area Sightseeing and Monterey


Sausalito from our boat
The marina at Sausalito proved to be a perfect first stop in the Bay Area for embarking on some very beautiful land touring with many fine hiking trails: the grand Muir Woods, shimmering Stinson Beach, and the spectacular Point Reyes Lighthouse, passed by sea a few days earlier, wow! 300 steps down the hillside it sits in a breathtaking setting. 

Pt Reyes lighthouse
Later in the evening we caught a stunning sunset from the top of Mt. Tamalpais with an expansive coastal view. We conceded one day to chores, a thorough boat cleaning and laundry. Then, not wanting to waste a minute, spent the next two days in the Sonoma and Napa valleys. First goal, the historic Sonoma Mission, northernmost of the Spanish missions along El Camino Real. 
Portico, Sonoma Mission
The missions are fascinating and each has its unique history and beautiful, old Spanish architecture, as noted in Henry Dana's “Two Years Before the Mast”, a perfect companion for sailing the CA coast for its historical portrait of the coastline 175 years ago. We caught a wine tasting nearby at the only winery still open in the evening near Sonoma, then stayed over in a B&B rather than trek back through traffic to our boat. The next day we drove north along the Silverado Highway through Napa Valley to Calistoga, first stopping for a morning champagne tasting and ending with the euro-style tasting room at the Raymond Winery, makers of a favorite “special occasion” wine. 

Champagne grapes near Sonoma
Along the way, we were sidetracked at the Markham Winery by a sign that said "Classic Rock Photos," (not the cliff kind of rocks!) which turned out to be an excellent exhibit of 60s rock photos by Baron Wolman, first chief photographer of the Rolling Stones' covers back then. The valleys' rich landscape of colorful rolling hills, covered with thriving vineyards made it tempting to stay! But, Sausalito was calling us, too, and sailing around San Francisco Bay.

Pier 39

At week's end, we sailed out of Sausalito and into windy SFO Bay. We started with a single reefed main and full jib, but the wind kept building and soon we 'hove to' and put the second reef into the main. So we were double reefed and sailing close hauled in 30-35 kts wind towards the GG Bridge. We fell off and screamed downwind past the SF shoreline, up to 7.6 kts, finally dousing our sails south of the America's Cup site. 

Wow, 7.18 kts in 33 kts wind - that's moving!
Just how much wind can True North take? Apparently more than the AC 72s because they cancelled their practice that day due to high wind! How much can TN's crew take? Barely that much! (The America's Cup AC72's only sail in winds of 20 kts or less, adjusted plus or minus a few knots for current.) We motored back past the AC 72s to our slip at Pier 39, adjacent to Fisherman's Wharf, right into the thick of souvenir shops, tourists, noisy sea lions and fast boats of paparazzi tourists shooting pictures our way, stern to stern. (Was it us or the sea lions?)
San Francisco cable car in moonlight
On our first full touring day we went to the America's Cup visitor center where we had excellent views of Italy's boat Luna Rossa and the New Zealand boat. Then we watched the first race of the Louis Vitton Finals, which was a bit disappointing since Luna Rossa broke something on the daggerboard, coupled with more excitement when the NZ boat buried its hulls and dumped two crew members into the bay, unharmed and picked up by the chase boat, something we only heard about but didn't see.
The Oracle America's Cup crew
Time spent touring the SFO Marine Heritage National Park with its grand old boats on the waterfront was well worth it with a fabulous steel three-masted square-rigger, steam tug, a Newcastle workboat, and classic SFO ferry as highlights.

Half Moon Bay

The next morning we left under most unusual weather...sun and no fog! We motored out into the Bay with little wind to find the Oracle AC 72s practicing and motored alongside the course to get some photos. Twice, an Oracle boat headed directly towards us, to turn a few hundred yards away. Luna Rossa joined the practice at the end. 

An Oracle AC72 accelerates past True North
Nearing the GG Bridge, we put up the sails and tacked into the wind until we could head south towards Half Moon Bay, our next stop. By then the wind had dropped completely so we motored most of the way. The fog closed in as we left the Bay area with about ½ mi visibility as we approached HMB. Fortunately, the harbor itself and the land were in bright sunlight so we had no difficulty entering our slip between two rustic old boats. We got to know Rollo, the friendly pit bull pup to our starboard, and would occasionally find his dog food on our boat, snatched and dropped by visiting ravens.

We spent several days with friends Linda and Mike, at their home in nearby San Carlos, catching up while seeing some of the local sights around Palo Alto and the Stanford campus, and bike riding through beautiful Woodside. On the weekend, with fog obscuring the coastline and our intended hike to Lands End, we drove instead to Santa Cruz, toured the UC campus in the redwoods, the nearby beach area, with a brief tour of Los Gatos along the way to see our friend Marcia's charming home town. On the way out of SC we stopped at Santa Cruz Mission, another along El Camino Real, and stopped to watch dozens of kite surfers.
With Mike and Linda south of Half Moon Bay
We returned to True North for a farewell dinner of king salmon grilled on the boat, with Linda and Mike, ending our visit in the Bay area. We hated to leave HMB before the arrival of S/V Ohana from Anacortes – looks like 2 more days would have done it – however, with miles to go and unpredictable weather, it was “time”. We will try to connect with them farther south.
Fishing boats in moonlight, Half Moon Bay
August 25-31: Monterey

We left HMB for Monterey at 06:27 in dead calm and glassy seas with a thick marine layer. Fog set in somewhere around Pigeon Point. Then a nice 8 kt westerly wind came up and we flew the spinnaker in the fog! Made great time across Monterey Bay, 5-7 boat kts, 6-7 kts speed over ground. When the wind picked up to 15 kts we doused the spinnaker and flew the jib. The fog cleared, wind picked up, and we flew to Monterey on jib alone at 5 kts under sunny skies and sparkling water. Life is good at Monterey Municipal Marina where we now are. We've caught up on some boat chores, reading, and some consulting time for Gregg. Our main reason for stopping in Monterey was to visit with our friend Norbert's sister, Monica. She just bought a sailboat and is thoroughly enamored with the new challenges. So we shared an extended happy hour, first aboard True North, then on Monica's Cal 34, Anticipate. Always fun to look over boats! Another reason to be here: touring the Monterey Aquarium exceeded expectations! The exhibits are breathtaking, especially the astonishing array of “jellies” (no longer called “jelly fish” by the scientifically correct staff), beautifully exhibited in shimmering displays.
Stinging Nettle "Jellies" at Monterey Aquarium
A short 20 minute bus trip south is the very charming Carmel-by-the Sea with the historic Mission San Carlos Borromeo as our first sight, another of those mentioned in the book, “Two Years Before the Mast”, and filled with an impressive collection of religious artifacts. 

Mission San Carlos Boromeo
The padre inside the museum suggested we take the long walk to town via the cliff-top road along the water, winding through picture perfect neighborhoods and beachfronts. Good suggestion!

The beach at Carmel
Back in Monterey the following day, we wrapped up our stay with a purchase of fresh squid and salmon from the local fisherman at the commercial wharf, and made preparations to leave for our next port to the south, San Luis. 

As a great way to wind up our stay in Monterey, Monica took us to dinner at the Monterey Peninsula Yacht Club where we met a number of the members and chatted about sailing to Mexico.

August 31: Heading South

Today (Saturday, 8/31) we head south.  The plan is to leave this morning and travel all of today and tonight. We'll stop at Port San Luis or Avila, which puts us 10 miles from the mission at San Luis Obispo, which we hope to visit.  There we will take on fuel and water and wait for a weather window to head to the western Channel Islands.

1 comment:

  1. EWWW! squid! did you make calamri? Do you have a deep fat fryer on board?? Anyway, thanks for the informational video and the great blog posts!