September 14, 2010, Monterey Bay, CA
You don't hear them in Washington. You don't hear them in San Francisco either. But as soon as we were still and quiet, tied to the dock in Monterey Harbor, we heard them! Well, at first we didn't know what we were hearing. We thought there was something wrong with our boat, such as the fiberglass delaminating, or something else going horribly wrong. Then we remembered that we had heard rumors of small animals in the water that make this constant clicking sound.
After an awesome trip to the Monterey Aquarium, we finally learned what they were - Snapping Shrimp! They are also known as 'Pistol Shrimp'. Apparently, they have one claw that is much larger than the other and it's joint is hollow and cavitates when it moves. The shrimp use this noise to 'stun' their prey. I guess they either suck at it or eat a lot because they make this noise all day and all night. You can hear it through the hull of the boat. It is the strangest thing. Apparently, these little guys live all along the west coast south of San Fran. I guess we can expect to hear them just about everywhere we stop from now on.
Maybe this is where we get popcorn shrimp from?!?
September 13, 2010, Half Moon Bay, CA
After two weeks of sitting in San Francisco, we finally continued our journey south. Having made one last trip to Costco, Safeway, and Trader Joes, the boat was once again full of goodness and we were ready to leave the hustle and bustle of the Bay area. We left the bay early the morning of the 8th. Once under the bridge and southbound, we hoisted sail and joyed a nice ride down to Half Moon Bay. The anchorage there has got to be one of the calmest we have stayed in. The wind was strong enough to keep the generator turning, but the water as smooth as glass and the boat didn't seem to move an inch. Our new friends Mike and Wavey from Emerald Star joined us and we enjoyed a nice couple of days there.
We visited the famous Maverick's Surf Shop. Some of the world's largest surfing waves show up just off Pillar Point during the winter time and big competitions are held there each year. The photos of these waves are unbelievable. We were glad it was smooth as we sailed down. I can only imagine how it would be during the winter.
The day before we left, we bought a fresh fish from one of the fishing boats on the dock. We got a small Chilipepper (kinda like a rockfish) for $3, took it home, and cooked it up. We didn't really know what we were doing, but it made some good fish tacos!
Half Moon Bay was a great stop. We could have spent a few more days there but were eager to continue south. We left very early on the morning of the 11th in the pitch dark and in the thick of some pea soup fog. It was a challenging departure, but we made it. Next stop...Monterey Bay!
September 5, 2010, San Francisco, CA
Having the kids back on board is awesome. We are forever grateful to Honey and Grandpa (Tami's parents) for watching them for us for the past 2 ½ weeks. Wednesday night the 1st, we all went to a San Francisco Giants baseball game. They played the Colorado Rockies and won 2 to 1. We all had such a great time. The weather was amazing and we had great seats in the upper deck.
So we bought tickets online. Ticketmaster was "sold out" so we had to go directly to the Giants website. We tried to buy the cheapest $6 tickets, but the website claimed these tickets were "unavailable". So, we opted for the next available being the $13 tickets which isn't that bad for a major league game. We did have a great view of the stadium and the bay after all. After purchasing the tickets, we had the choice of "print at home", "pick up at will call", or "send to mobile phone". Since we don't have a printer and didn't want to stand in line at will call, we decided to have the tickets sent to our mobile phone. Shortly thereafter, we received a text message and email confirming our ticket purchase and instructions telling us to simply show our phone to the ticket agent at the stadium for gate entry.
Off to the ballgame we went. After paying $25 for parking in this overcrowded city, we finally made it to our first stadium gate. That's right, our first gate.we eventually tried about 5. Each time, we were turned away because the ticket agent didn't know what to do with our mobile phone tickets. So finally, we gave up and went to stand in line at the will call window. When I finally got to the window (the game had already started by now) I told the agent my problem. She just smiled and said "oh this always happens" and gladly printed me a set of tickets that got us into the game. What? This always happens? Now for a little background.
.the San Francisco Giants stadium used to be called Candlestick Park. Since the banks and large corporations own everything from the west coast to the east coast, most stadium names have been changed to advertise for their financial giant owners. So, Candlestick Park has been renamed to AT&T Field. How ironic, we have Verizon cell phone service. Coincidence that the cell phone option for tickets for the AT&T stadium don't work on Verizon cell phones? I think not! Just our conspiracy theory at work.
Anyway, after getting into the stadium and into our seats, we looked over at the $6 section and were surprised to see it only about 25% full. "Sold out"? Is this a marketing scam? Well, I guess it worked, we bought the next price tickets and Im sure others did as well. But it was a little disappointing to see empty cheap seats.
Nonetheless, we had a great evening. We spent more on food than we did on the tickets. A hot dog costs over $5! But it was worth it.well not the hot dog, it stunk so $5 was a rip off, but everything else was great!
September 1, 2010, Sausalito, CA
After a little over 2 weeks without our kids, Tami and I were ready to pull our hair out. We missed them like crazy! Finally, they flew into San Francisco airport last night with Tami's parents and we were there to meet them. We were so happy to have them back. It was late, so we made a mad dash to get some dinner, then headed back to the boat.
On a side note, we rented a car for the day for only $45! After doing the math, it was the cheapest way to go. We would have had to pay about $8 each to catch the ferry from Sausalito to San Fran, then about $4 each for the BART train to the airport, then we would have all (6 of us) would have had to pay for the same return route if we even made the last ferry at all. Had we missed it, we would have had to pay $60 for a cab ride from the airport back to Sausalito. So in the end, we would have been out well over $100. So, $45 for a rental car was a no brainer! We even kept it for one more day and made a trip out to Richmond to pick up some used charts and cruising guides for Mexico that we found on Craigslist.
For lunch today, we ate at the infamous Salsalito Taco Shop. It was awesome and the service is great. We all shared a great watermelon margerita that was to die for.
It has been a great day of having the kids back home and having the grandparents visiting for a few days. The weather has been warm and beautiful. Tonight, we are headed to a San Francisco Giants baseball game. We'll try to blog about that tomorrow (cheap seat tickets are still cheap).
We are having a great time here in the bay area, but it's EXPENSIVE! You have to pay for just about everything you do and every bridge you cross, and if you don't own a mercedes, audi, ferrari, lexus, range rover, or jaguar, you are out of place. We are trying to keep our money in our wallets and are eager to continue our trek southward. We can't wait to get to some more "cruiser friendly" grounds. It's nice here, but we could run out of money very quickly. We have to be careful not to get caught up in the spending hype.
It's a joy to have the kids back and we are eternally grateful to Honey and Grandpa for taking care of the munchkins for the past two weeks.
September 1, 2010, San Francisco, CA
We've been in the San Francisco Bay area now for about a week. Andiamo has been tied to a ball in front of the Sausalito Yacht Club with great views all around. Thanks to the great club members here for being so generous and welcoming. We are thoroughly enjoying our stay.
On Sunday, the 29th?, Tami and I decided to take a long walk and go see the famed Golden Gate Bridge. We set out on foot early Sunday morning before the touristy weekend crowd and headed towards the bridge. We walked through Fort Baker (Golden Gate National Recreation Area) and made a quick stop at the Presidio Yacht Club/Travis Marina. We finally made it to the north end of the bridge and walked across and back. What a great walk we had together. After a short break on the San Fran side, we headed back eager to find a good place to eat lunch.
We returned to the Presidio Yacht club and ate a nice burger at the small grill there. We savored the beer and views of the great bridge. We finally made it home around 1300 and rested our tired legs. All said and done, we walked a little over 10 miles. It was a great day.
August 29, 2010, Sausalito, CA
To make a short story really long...
...while tied to the relative security of the dock at the Clipper Yacht Harbor, we decided to take off our jib and do some much needed furler maintenance and forestay adjustment. In the process, I had to remove the long stainless steel pin that holds the bottom of the Harken furler to the forestay. I got it out no problem and placed it gently in my pocket. I did a few other things then stood up for whatever reason. At this point, time stood still and I remembered I was wearing the shorts with a hole in the pocket...the very pocket I put the pin in. As all this is going through my head, I feel the cold cruel steel of the pin slide down my leg and fall right into the water. It was in slow motion so I should have been able to catch it, but I was paralyzed just watching the thing fall.
After some screaming and shouting, I reviewed my options. I could walk over to the rigging shop right down the street and see if they had any extras. I could hire a salvage diver to dig around on the murky bottom and see if he could come up with it or I could put on my wet suit and scuba gear and go look for it myself. I decided on the latter. So, I spend the next 30 minutes digging my scuba gear out from under the v-berth and putting it all together and on my body. I slip into the water and head towards the bow of the boat where Tami had lowered our lead line right in the vicinity of where I thought the pin had dropped. This would help with my orientation and search pattern.
After a few minutes trying to get used to the 55 degree water, I was ready to dive down and look for the missing part; however, my wet suit was so buoyant that I could not seem to get down - even with 15 lbs of weight on my belt. So, back to square 1. Tami suggested that we lower the anchor a bit just so that it touches the bottom, then I could crawl my way down the anchor chain. This worked great! I pulled myself back together and slowly began to lower myself down the anchor chain hand over hand. The water was only about 12 feet deep but visibility was less than 1 foot and it got dark and murky very quickly. Besides, there was a bit of a current running and the silt was just flying by. Once I reached the bottom, I rested my knees in the silt and held onto the anchor with my left hand. I removed my glove from my right hand so that I would have more dexterity and feeling while searching through the soft sand and mud. I mentally calculated my position in relation to where I thought the missing part was, and put my hand out to touch the bottom and begin searching. Keep in mind, I couldn't see a thing. As soon as my hand hit the soft bottom, I felt it! The palm of my hand landed right on the part! I couldn't believe it. I quickly scooped it up, brought it close to my goggles to verify that I indeed had the right part, and then tucked it safely in my zippered vest pocket (no holes in this one).
Ecstatic, I worked my way back up the anchor chain and to the surface. I had been under water a total of 3 minutes and it didn't cost me a cent. Now, I just have to get the furler back together without dropping the critical pin in the water again.
Oh, the life of a sailor.