Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Back un the UK

We arrived safe and well in England and returned home to Suffolk at the end of July.
The garden needed sorting
We tested Em and Ben's new RIB
Kathy visited her Mum and sisters in the IOM
We visited Auntie Joyce in Brigg
We drove to lovely Tobermory
Ben, Emily, Ellie, Kathy and I went swimming at Caliach
Kathy and I went walking to the lighthouse
We enjoyed staying at the cottage
Sophie went exploring on the rocks
And all too soon we were back in Suffolk walking in the forest
We listened to the awful news about Hurricane Irma and the Mexican earthquake and prayed for the people suffering in those places which we have visited. We hoped that all our friends were safe and their boats undamaged. We are aware of how lucky we are in the UK to be secure from the kind of natural disasters which are ocurring in the world. We count our blessings daily.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Land Based USA

On the Sunday, before Sal Darago was hauled out, Kathy and I used public transport to travel to Sunnyvale where we borrowed Simon and Erin’s Pontiac Vibe. We used this to return to Sunnyvale on the Thursday night and based our future trips from there using their lovely AWD car. Here’s some of what we did.
We ate well
We tasted 57 wines
We borrowed some bikes
We relaxed
We were together

Kathy and I decided to borrow their car and..

We drove to Yosemite and saw the falls
We wandered up to Nevada Falls
I ate snow
Then found Dog Lake
And much to Kathy's delight we met a mule train
In the Gold Rush town of Columbia, we found a Wells Fargo Stagecoach
So Kathy persuaded them to let her ride SHOTGUN
And afterwards she had to have a sarsaparilla

Not content with that we tried a road trip next and...

We drove through Vegas and saw Trump Tower
We climbed Angels Landing in Zion Park
And reached the top
More driving and the Arches National Park. Wow!
Across to Canyonlands
The views were fantastic

And the formations fascinating

Followed by Monument Valley

And the Grand Canyon
One mile deep, vast, stunning and magnificent

Followed by the long drive back to Sunnyvale

Thanks Simon and Erin for putting up with us and loaning us the car to make this whole trip amazing.
The end.

San Francisco to Napa Valley Marina

Sailing under that bridge with Simon and Erin
Sensible Erin with lifejacket
Art Deco Redwood City cinema
The purpose of the trip was to see Simon and Erin, so we were delighted that they could join us on Saturday evening and sail down the Bay to Redwood City Marina on the Sunday. We had a delicious meal at their apartment before returning on Sunday night to SD. 
Kathy and I explored Redwood City which was quite interesting and “historic”. Many places claim to be “historic” in America, but we think that could be stretching things a little. The fact the city gained its name from importing wood from the north was interesting. We were sad the quay, which used to intersect the main street, had been filled in. Simon arrived by bike and he and I successfully connected our new transformer to convert the American 110v to 240v that SD requires.

We left Redwood at 0650 to try to catch both the tide north and the weaker morning winds. We were successful, arriving at the beautiful Clipper Cove Anchorage, Treasure Island at 1055.

Clipper Cove
At night

Unfortunately, we went aground at low tide in the tricky entrance; our excuse being it was just after the summer solstice and a very low tide. Antony at Treasure Island Marina, kindly let us use the dingy dock and Kathy and I walked around the island. We noted the fenced off areas with dire warnings of radiation poisoning from the previous use by the American Navy. We also found a useful general store.

Where is that Cable Car?

Ah, there it is.
Hanging on the outside
Alcatraz was sadly completely booked so we decided to buy a day pass on the transport system and enjoyed jumping on and off trams, seeing Pier 39, walking up to Coit Tower and lunch in Mario’s in Washington Square, before returning to SD by bus and dinghy.
Coit Tower
Mario's for lunch
We sailed to Sausalito to fill the diesel tank. We had lunch at anchor before motoring to China Camp for the evening. On Saturday 1st July, we motored and sailed up to Napa Valley Marina, where we were well received by Cory. Kathy and I worked very hard to clean all of the equipment and stow it by Thursday when Sal Darago was hauled out and placed on beams.
Up the Napa River
Sal Darago showing a clean bottom

  It was the end of another epic voyage in which our trusty Westerly had served us incredibly well.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

San Luis Obispo to San Francisco

We checked the weather from various sources and saw that the coastal winds were easing but the swell from a storm further north was 3-4 metres high. We decided to wait a little longer and leave San Luis Obispo (SLO) at 0300 on Thursday 22nd June.
At last the fog clears and we can see San Pedro Point
We left in the dark in thick fog. The lights on the piers were shrouded in a veil but at least they were visible. The radar was on. It detected something close by, which turned out to be an anchored fishing vessel with no lights. By 0600 it was light but visibility was still less than half a mile. The big ships had to be in the offshore Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS), recreational boats would be mad(!) to be out in such conditions so our main concern was fishing vessels.
Uh oh! The fog's out to get us again
Around midday the fog lifted giving us about 2 miles visibility for a short time before closing in again. The wind began to blow gently from the SE, as predicted. The flapping mainsail filled, the current was with us and we started to make good speed with a following sea and big swell. It was cold and damp all day and night. On Friday morning the visibility cleared as the fog became patchy. We creamed along at over 6 knots with the rare following winds reaching 20 knots. We saw fishing pots and touched one before the fog closed in again.
Our first glimpse of a bridge
We were going to stop at Half Moon Bay to wait for the right tide at the Golden Gate Bridge, just over 20 miles north. Jeremy worked out that of we kept going and averaged 6 knots or more (we usually average 5 knots) we’d catch the last of the flood tide into San Francisco Bay. We went for it. Sal Darago was amazing. The fog swirled in and out giving us glimpses of the coastline, which was rocky and inhospitable. A whale blew and dived just off the port bow.
It's red, not gold. Have we come to the right place?
At 1335 on Friday 23rd July, we sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge. It was shrouded in fog and the fog horn was sounding non-stop. It was an exciting moment and we were elated.
That must be Fort Point under the arch
Then we were in San Francisco Bay, watching the fog lift off the waterfront, noting a misty Alcatraz Island on our port side. Surely, we were in a film. It felt surreal. We had to concentrate, keep our course, be aware of vessels of all sizes and head for the anchorage at Aquatic Park Cove, next to the Maritime Museum.
Another first for an elderly Westerly and her crew
The sign on the wall said “Watch Out for Swimmers”. We were surprised that we were allowed to anchor is a place where people could swim near the boats and we were shocked to see most of the swimmers were not wearing wet suits in water that was much colder than in Mull. Another sign told us that we must ring up for permission to stay overnight and the maximum length of stay was 72 hours. There was a bit of a glitch in the exchange of text messages, but we were given permission and there was no charge.
Four pelicans and the Palace of Fine Arts behind
Jeremy informed Customs and Border Patrol of our whereabouts and intentions and booked two nights at Redwood City Marina in the south of the Bay, only 20 minutes’ drive from Simon and Erin’s apartment.  We arranged to meet Simon and Erin on the beach on Saturday evening. They would come up by train and sail to Redwood City Marina with us on Sunday.
San Francisco skyline
That evening we celebrated our arrival with sundowners in our chilly, sunless cockpit wearing jogging bottoms, fleeces and woolly hats. Swimmers came past wearing only swimwear and goggles! They were from the Dolphin Swimming and Boating Club, which was next to the impressive Art Deco Maritime Museum building on the beachfront. The city of San Francisco rose up behind them. We were here, after sailing 10,655 miles from the River Deben. Well done, Sal Darago.
The Maritme Museum in Aquatic Park Cove. Can you spot SD?