It was still dark when Scott and I woke up. Quietly, we got ourselves, Sam the Cat, and the boat ready to go.As the sun began to rise, we slipped out of Pillar Point and set sail towards Santa Cruz.
Sunrise leaving Half Moon Bay
Cold weather gear!
It was a calm sail. A little too calm as we needed to motor-sail a lot of the time. Still, the sun was out, the day was clear, Sam was in his carrier, and this time, no one was seasick.
The highlight of our sail was seeing dolphins! At first, there was a sizable pod a good mile east of us. In addition to seeing them jump out of the water, they leave a little wake so they’re quite noticeable. At some point, our paths converged and our bow was surrounded.
I can’t even articulate how amazing it was to see so many dolphins jumping and swimming around us. They stuck around for about an hour.
Once we pulled into Santa Cruz, we were treated to a beautiful sunset.
Sunset in Santa Cruz
Thanksgiving was spent on the boat, sans turkey, but we loaded up on typical sides.
We spent the past two weeks staying at Marina Village Yacht Harbor in Alameda to finish up the last of our boat tasks: headsail repair, life raft service, getting a new dinghy, etc. The list of things to do never ends and at some point you just have to go.
We were at this point by early November but decided to hold out for better weather, especially since our first leg was meant to double as a shake-down cruise. After patiently waiting for nice weather we finally checked out of Alameda and made our final passing underneath the Golden Gate Bridge on the morning of November 18. The forecast called for 5-15 knot winds and 6-8 foot swell. We motor-sailed all the way to the R2 SF shipping channel buoy so we’d avoid having to go over the SF bar.
The forecast held up pretty much except for a brief period of 20+ knot winds as we rounded R2 and headed south. We also ran into the marine layer and stuck with it most of the way to Half Moon Bay. We had about half a mile of visibility which gave us the excuse to play with our radar, looking for buoys that were on the chart, etc. The swell was right on our bow until we passed R2, then it was on our starboard beam for another two hours before we passed Colorado Reef and changed to a SE course. About that time the fog lifted and we had a really nice sail into the harbor with the swell on our stern.
The view coming into Half Moon Bay while we were still in the fog bank.
The view coming into Half Moon Bay
Viviane got a little seasick, but nothing close to what Sam (our cat) experienced. He started throwing up as soon as we left our slip in Alameda and was having a horrible time all trip. The v-berth up in the bow is the most uncomfortable place to be on a boat underway yet that was Sam’s go-to spot. He didn’t want to leave for any reason, including bathroom breaks, so let’s just say we had to take all of our bedding down to the harbor laundry room as soon as we got in.
We had intended on anchoring in the outer harbor. After surveying for a good spot Viviane went up to the bow to drop the anchor. The windlass didn’t work which isn’t a good thing. We haven’t used the anchor for a while but this was still a surprising discovery. While we motored around buying time to call into the harbor for a slip and set up the fender and dock lines the wind started to build. By the time we went into the inner harbor to get to our slip it was blowing a solid 15 knots with gusts over 20 right on our port side. This made getting into our slip very difficult. Fortunately we were able to get in with minimal boat rash on our third attempt.
We expected to stay just one or maybe two nights in Half Moon Bay. It turned into four as we worked on our anchoring gear, cleaned up after Sam’s explosion, ran on a few errands, and met up with friends who live in the area. It’s a beautiful area and I wish we had more time to really enjoy it, but sometimes tasks just need to be done.
Ball of rusted up anchor chain
Viv in the anchor locker working on knots.
Scott working through some anchor chain knots.
There’s some bad weather expected in a few days so we decided to get up at 5am for an early departure to Santa Cruz, about 7 hours away.
It’s November, and Scott and I are in Alameda, CA at the Marina Village Yacht Harbor. We’ve been here for almost a week, awaiting sail repairs, a re-packing of our life raft, and the arrival of our new dingy.
Our life raft, vacuum sealed. Pull that red line and it explodes open.
Both our genoa and staysail need to have their sacrificial sailcloth replaced.
We sold most of our stuff on Craigslist and eBay, moved everything we wanted to keep into storage, and gave back the keys to our San Francisco apartment on October 23rd.
Goodbye John St!
Hello storage unit!
On Oct 26th, we left our slip at Pier 39 Marina, pretty stoked to be leaving that very rolly place that frustrated Scott to no end and left me and Sam the Cat seasick. From there, we went to KKMI in Richmond to have work done on our rigging.
Rigger up the mast.
While waiting in Alameda, we’re finishing up our preparations, provisioning, making repairs, and readying ourselves to leave the bay.
Scott troubleshooting the diesel heater.
We had planned to head out the gate mid October. We’re a little behind our plans but hope to be setting sail shortly, within the next two weeks, if possible. Keep your fingers crossed!
Scott and I really appreciated taking the Wilderness First Aid course from NOLS. This two-day, 16-hour course was jammed packed with information. What do you do when you’re out in a remote area and someone gets injured? (Honestly, I’d just call 911, but sometimes you’re not going to get cell service.)
We learned a lot about wound care, head and spinal injuries, ankle sprains, fracture management, dislocations, shock, cold- and heat-related injuries, etc. The biggest takeaway was the patient assessment system, which involves surveying the scene for immediate danger, the steps to take to determine the mechanism of injury, examining the patient, and determining whether you can provide patient care or need to evacuate. The class practiced the patient assessment over and over again, playing patient or the unwitting hiker stumbling upon an injured stranger.
Scott is the victim of a biking accident.
Viviane fell 20 feet off her rope, hitting her head against the rock.
Using materials at hand to manage fractures.
We also followed this up with a CPR class managed by the American Heart Association. Unfortunately, this class wasn’t as informative as the former. While our instructor was awesome, this class had the feel of an employer-required course. If we could do it again, we would watch an online instruction video as CPR is really straightforward.
Staying alive, staying alive.
Overall, the NOLS course was great and if we could, we’d love to take the advanced Wilderness First Aid course, a 5-day course that focuses on long term patient care management in backcountry environments. That said, we’re a bit more prepared for the unexpected and feel we have some knowledge, skills, and ability to make better decisions in an emergency situation. Hopefully, we’ll never have to use it!