Due West Adventures

The sailing adventures of Captain Kirk & Heidi, Tosh and Tikka Hackler . . .

24 December 2019 | Puerto Vallarta
15 December 2019 | Puerto Vallarta\
03 October 2019 | Puerto Vallarta
10 August 2019 | Puerto Vallarta
27 June 2019 | Puerto Vallarta
22 May 2019 | Cienfuegos, Trinidad, y Viñales, Cuba
16 May 2019 | Canarreos Archipelago, Cuba
25 April 2019 | Havana, Cuba
17 March 2019 | Puerto Vallarta
25 December 2018 | Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico
26 August 2018 | Puerto Vallarta MX, ABQ, NM, and SEA, WA
01 May 2018 | Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico
24 December 2017 | Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco Mexico
02 November 2017 | Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
11 October 2017 | Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
16 September 2017 | Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
29 June 2017 | Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, MX
26 May 2017 | Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, MX

San Francisco Days

18 October 2015
San Francisco Photo Gallery

When we last left you Marianne had just been sent off for her lobotomy and we were headed to San Francisco for a week after taking our cousins out for a day-sail...we know you are sitting on the edge of your seat for the latest installment of the electronics saga... but first a bit about our week in San Francisco...

Palm Trees, Trans America Building, and the Golden Gate? We must be in San Francisco Toto!

Cousin's Day-Sail on SF Bay
What a spectacular day to take a bunch of Heidi's Bay Area cousins out for a day-sail! Cousins from two sides of Heidi's family got to meet each other for the first time and we all had so much fun! The weather was perfect and we sailed from Sausalito towards San Francisco, along the waterfront and out the Golden Gate, then turned around and sailed back to Tiburon and Angel Island before dropping everyone back at the dock in Sausalito.

Heidi and cousin Jenny.

Cousin Kelly, Heidi and cousin Sue.

Cousin Kelly and her husband Steve brought their friend James from Seattle (and it turns out we share mutual friends!) James was beaming ear-to-ear the whole day and had the time of his life. Everyone loved the unique experience of sailing under the Golden Gate, and we loved providing that experience to family and friends who don't typically get to enjoy it. We so much appreciate that Jenny, Sue, KJ, Kelly, and Steve all made the effort to come from three corners of the Bay to sail with us for the day.

Cousin's Sail, back row: Sue, KJ, Heidi, Jenny, Kirk, Kelly, Steve; front row: James.

San Francisco Aquatic Park
The next day we headed over to the Aquatic Park in downtown San Francisco, near the Maritime Museum and Ghirardelli Square. It's part of the National Park system and we had to get a permit to hang out for the week. Unbeknownst to us prior to heading to the Aquatic Park, this was Fleet Week in San Francisco, similar to SeaFair in Seattle. A huge celebration of the Navy and Coastguard, complete with a Blue Angeles air show directly over the Aquatic Park!?! Wow!! We had front row seats and didn't even realize it!

Due West celebrating Fleet Week...We have our ship and her flags are a flying...

Our nightly view anchored in the SF Aquatic Park.

It's a beautiful place to be anchored, but the downside is no easy way to get to shore or any secure place to leave your dinghy. It's known as the "Swimmer's Beach" and the bay is full of swimmers, some even practicing to swim to Alcatraz--so you need to keep a keen eye out for them as you dinghy to shore. We know of sailors who've just drug their dinghy up on the beach and left it for the day, no problem. But our dinghy is like our car--with out it we have no way to get to/from shore. We prefer to lock our dinghy wherever we leave it--not to be paranoid, but just to be safe and not give anyone the opportunity to "borrow" it. It is a VERY nice vehicle.

Luckily we met fellow sailors Colby and Christine from Canada who had perfected the dinghy landing and tie-up drill at the Aquatic Park the day before, and gave us some pointers. Then Kirk realized it's the same way the Boat Boys secure their boats in the Caribbean. It consists of dropping the dinghy anchor about 30-40 feet from shore with the anchor secured to a bungee and continuous painter on a pulley system. Then motoring in to the sea wall and quickly getting out of the dinghy onto the slippery-slimy wall which is crumbling beneath your feet, at the same time trying not to get splashed by the incoming waves, grabbing your backpack and bag of trash, leaving the PDFs (personal flotation devices otherwise known as life jackets) in a canvas bag in the dinghy, then pulling on the outgoing-side of the pulley system to pull the dinghy back out over it's anchor. Finally you tie the painter up to a piece of the crumbling sea wall and hope it doesn't crumble away, then climb up over the sea wall to the malecon above.

Our RIB dinghy "Aventuras" tied to the Aquatic Park seawall.

The first time to shore we were in practice mode and weren't quite sure what we were doing. We messed with the anchor, the painter, the pulley, and then figured out how to get out of the dinghy without getting wet, and where to tie up. Heidi noticed a guy up on the malecon watching the whole process, and she was thinking "jeez I hope this guy doesn't come down and 'borrow' our dinghy after we walk away." As we scampered up over the sea wall, the guy came over and started talking to us. Heidi's concerns couldn't have been further from the truth. Lesson Learned: TRUST the Universe! ☺

Turns out Stephen and his wife Ginny are fellow live-aboard sailors from the Puget Sound area and were down here to put on the Fleet Week air show which they produce each year. He offered to have his security keep an eye on our dinghy, and then invited us to the VIP Box seats to watch the show over the weekend! Wow, we keep meeting the nicest people as we travel!!

Our new sailing buddies Stephen and Ginny...THANKS for the Royal treatment all week!

One evening we invited Stephen and Ginny out to Due West for cocktail hour--they loved being on a boat again and the hour-plus respite from the chaos of the show production. Stephen said the reason he'd been watching us with the dinghy was to figure out how and where to come ashore, as they plan to bring their boat down for next years show before heading south to Mexico and beyond from there. Though we only spent a few hours with them over the course of the week, they've become fast friends and we can't wait to hook up with them again in some foreign port!

Fleet Week 2015 Air Show

Blue Angels show from atop Coit Tower, and from aboard Due West, close-up and personal!

Being front-and-center of Fleet Week was really amazing! The Blue Angels practiced their show on Thursday, then the whole air show including acrobatic airplanes ran Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. At Thursday's practice we realized the Blue Angels were flying RIGHT overhead! Very LOUD, the kitties didn't like it, and Heidi wore earplugs, but it was fun to see and Kirk loves airplanes and loved the noise.

Coit Tower atop Telegraph Hill.

We had planned to go up Coit Tower early Friday and be back in time for the afternoon airshow. But instead, one delay after another along the way and we were atop the tower about 1500 hrs (3pm), just as the air show was beginning. We couldn't have planned it better if we tried. We got to watch the whole Blue Angels show from atop Coit Tower and get some great shots of Due West on the hook with all the other boats in the bay and those F18s flying by! Great vantage point, and fun walk down the Filbert Steps afterwards, looking for the Wild Parrots of San Francisco along the way--no such luck, didn't see or hear them.

Due West's vantage point for the airshow.

Kirk hiking the Filbert Steps from Coit Tower.

Saturday we had cousins Kelly and Steve out to the boat again to watch the air show, and Sunday we took advantage of Stephen and Ginny's generous offer to get us into the VIP Box seats with complimentary food and drink. What a fantastic weekend!!

Playing tourists and riding the cable cars.

The rest of the week we "Did San Francisco", trying to go places and do things we'd never done before. San Francisco is one of our most favorite cities in the world, and we used to visit a lot when we had friends living there, and Heidi's grandmother down the coast in Pacific Grove. But we realized we hadn't been to SF in almost 10 years now and it was so much fun to go play in the city.

A rainbow of San Francisco row houses.

We toured one of the oldest Victorian houses in the city that withstood the fires after the 1906 earthquake only because the firebreak was right across the street from it. The immediate family had lived in the house until the mid-1970's and then turned it over to a museum foundation so it was a very intact period-piece and reminded us of a US version of Downton Abby. No pictures of that particular house because the exterior was shrouded for renovation, but we saw lots of other great examples of Victorian homes.

Some of San Francisco's beautiful Victorian houses.

We love walking, and have walked all over San Francisco. We've met other cruisers who think we're a bit nuts for how much we walk, but it's a great way to really see the places you visit! Like this one-stop shopping experience, and all of the local niche markets.

Only in San Francisco: one-stop-shopping for Bikram Yoga, Public Notary, Wine, Sandwiches, and more...

Cute neighborhood produce market...love all the individual markets for things like produce, bread, cheese, and meats in San Francisco.

Next stop, North Beach where Heidi sussed out some gluten-free pizza at Tony's Pizza Napoletana that tasted just like what we got in Naples a few years ago! Sooooo delish! Other pizzerias need to take a page out of Tony's playbook and learn how to make a REAL gluten-free crust. And of course there was the requisite stop at Haight-Ashbury, and the search for new Tibetan prayer flags--ours are almost threadbare by now. Then we cruised through the Castro on our way to Mission Delores, the oldest building in the city.

Hanging with Jimmy and 2 hippies in Haight-Ashbury...Does anybody really know what time it is? Does anybody really care...?

Art and theater in the Castro.

Mission Delores complete with it's own halo--the oldest building in San Francisco dating to the late 1700's survived the earthquakes and fires due to it's 4-foot thick adobe walls.

Visiting the Mission Delores was a special request from Heidi's dad Verne, one place that he's not yet had a chance to visit. He is back home recovering very well from his stroke and thanks everyone for all their well wishes and healing energy, he knows it helped the t-PA work even better! It is truly a remarkable recovery.

After playing in the city for a week, we got the call--a new depth sounder along with Marianne had arrived back in Sausalito waiting to be picked up, so it was time to say farewell to San Francisco. But one last hood to visit before we left...Heidi had planned to met up with one of her Neil's Yard Remedies Organic colleagues, Tai, for coffee. So we dinghied from the Aquatic Park over to the St. Francis Yacht Club dinghy dock, and then walked to the Marina District to meet up.

We joined Tai, her sister Jade, and Jade's husband James + kids. James and Kirk talked cruising while Heidi and the gals talked organic health and beauty products. Turns out that James & Jade are fellow sailors, and owners of VEO Optical, San Francisco's top-rated designer optical shop. James invited us to come see his store and we each left with a pair of his private label Jamestown polarized sunglasses. Way cool, THANKS James and Jade!!

Hipsters sporting new Jamestown shades courtesy of fellow sailors James & Jade at VEO Optical.

Back at St Francis Yacht Club we took advantage of our Lahaina Yacht Club reciprocal privileges to visit the clubhouse. We'd spent some time racing out of St. Francis in the 1990's and love the place. Kirk raced the J-24 Masters Regattas for several years there, and both of us raced the 1999 Big Boat Race Week on the Sparkman Stevens Charisma, which we'd won! We looked around the yacht club to see the trophy with Charisma's name on it but it was not to be found. No one there could tell us where that trophy might be; apparently they frequently get moved around. So we dinghied back to Due West in the Aquatic Park, hoisted anchor and headed to Sausalito.

And now the part of the story you've all been waiting for! What happened to Marianne?! She hung out for three days at the RayMarine shop in New Hampshire and $200 later they determined that there was absolutely nothing wrong with her at all. Awesome... meanwhile we had two electricians including cousin Steve run through all of our wiring, and two other friends on the phone doing the same. And none of them could find anything wrong on our end...

We have now replaced the depth sounder transducer, (apparently the old one went TU a couple of months past its warranty.) Another marine electronics guy we met on the dock has told us that RayMarine radars just intermittently shut off for no reason "it's a known feature, not a bug..." As for why we don't get AIS or wind readout on the Marianne e127 Multi-Function Display (MFD which could stand for some other choice words!) is still a mystery to everyone. It likely has something to do with NEMA 0183 or the multi-plexer that the NEMA 0183 runs through. We are running out of ways to troubleshoot and tired of spinning our wheels. So now that we at least have a working depth sounder, we're stowing things to head on down the coast early next week. We can get AIS off the VHF radio, and Wind off the old B&G instruments. It would be nicer if it were all in one place (the MFD!) but at least we have it.

Sadly we've run out of time to head up the Sacramento Delta, which is a disappointment. But now that we have a working depth sounder again, we can head over to Berkeley for our last few days in the Bay.

Before leaving Sausalito for Berkeley, we had a few more visits with friends. Who knew we knew so many people in the Bay Area!? Jackson Hole friend Lybby Moore met us for lunch one day, as did extended family Derry & Jo Evans. We also met up with another Jackson Hole friend, Randle Feagin in Tiburon. Randle's wife owns Waypoint Pizza on Tiburon and we had a great meal there. So much fun to hang out with friends old and new!

We're off to Berkeley Marina for a couple of days and visits with a few more cousins before sailing south...
Vessel Name: Due West
Vessel Make/Model: Passport 40
Hailing Port: Seattle, WA
Crew: Captain Kirk & Heidi Hackler + Tosh & Tikka
Captain Kirk and First-Mate/Navi-Girl Heidi untied the dock-lines in Seattle in August 2015 and set sail for Mexico with our two-kitty crew Tosh & Tikka. We've been in Mexico since then.  
Kirk grew up sailing in Seattle and has been boating his whole life. [...]
Extra: See pix of our boat here: Due West Interior Photos and in the Photo Gallery.
Home Page: http://svduewest.com
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