After waiting nearly forever for the right weather window, we departed Santa Barbara at 4 AM on a Sunday morning. It turns out that the wait was worth it. We had very light winds and pretty calm seas the whole way. There were lots of whales, dolphins and gulls keeping us company along the way. Gwen got quite a show from a single humpback about a mile in the distance who was repeatedly tail slapping 10 times in a row then resting, presumably to stun fish, or just having a good time. We averaged about 8.4 knots for the 285 mile trip, arriving a bit earlier than planned. It was overcast, and coming into San Francisco it turned into fog.
We came in under the Golden Gate bridge at near the peak of the flood tide, making about 10.6 knots with the throttle pulled way back. We didn’t see any of the bridge until we were just about under it, and even then, only saw a bit of the bridge deck. It was notable that this time through San Francisco harbor, in contrast to our trip down in 2019, there was hardly any boat traffic- pleasure or shipping -in the channel with us. We were amazed how quiet it was, and it made it much less stressful.
Our reciprocal slip was at the St Francis Yacht Club, less than two miles from the bridge. We encountered the highest winds of the passage at 20+ knots coming into the slip but fortunately we were able to tie up on the windward side, so we just got blown right in.
Gwen had to make a hasty departure the next morning to go to Oregon, where our beloved dog McGee was in the last stage of a losing battle with presumed cancer. Miranda picked Gwen up at the airport and they drove down to Gwen’s parents, who had provided a loving home for aging McGee for the last two years. They spent several days just being with him and finally held him while the vet put him to sleep. It was very sad for everyone, and he will be missed by all of us.
Meanwhile, I was killing time in San Francisco. Our plan was to get an experienced Captain to do the last leg with me so Gwen could go home to Anacortes. We were hoping to switch out (and find a good weather window) at the beginning of the following week.
I decided to do some exploring on the folding bike and the next day I rode out towards the Golden Gate Bridge.
The sun was out, and it was a beautiful summer afternoon, so I took the opportunity to ride across the bridge, maneuvering through the hordes of pedestrians and cyclists with the same idea. I just went over to the Sausalito side and came back, but it was a lot of fun!
Another ride was through the Presidio where I wound up on one of the major park roads that was closed to traffic. It was a very nice, but uphill, ride through the park with views out over Lands End and some of the city. The way back was a pleasant downhill coast. The next day I went in the other direction along the downtown waterfront, stopping at Gotts for a burger in the Ferry building. By this time I had covered all of the relatively flat areas of town.
The weather here was pretty consistent, cool (low 50s) and overcast in the morning, often with fog, clearing towards mid day with sunny or partly sunny skies and plenty of West wind. There is a quote about San Francisco mis-attributed to Mark Twain – “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco”. Well, we’ve lived in Wisconsin, so that is most definitely not true for us, but San Francisco certainly qualifies as the coldest summer we’ve ever spent!
Gwen flew back to San Francisco on the last day of July. Our crew change didn’t work out, nor did the weather, so we were then stuck here for another week. I was lucky enough to line up a Captain starting as soon as Sunday, August 8, so we just needed to bide our time and hope for the weather to cooperate.
With Gwen back in town, we met old friends Allen and Jen for brunch in the Marina district, where Allen and Jen first met. It was good to catch up with them and fun to wander around seeing their old haunts.
We were determined to take advantage of our time here, so went over to Golden Gate Park and visited the Botanical Gardens one afternoon. Admission for us was $10 each, but free for San Francisco residents. The 55 acre garden is beautiful, with plants arranged by Geographical region. It was a great way to spend an afternoon.
We also rode along almost the entire downtown waterfront down to Oracle Park, home of the San Francisco Giants. Gwen also got some shots of sailing and kiteboarding off of Crissy Park – the recovered waterfront park along the shore between the Marina area and the Golden Gate.
We did have some wonderful meals outside – one at St. Francis Yacht Club on their patio looking out at the Golden Gate Bridge. We made it to Chinatown for dinner at China Live – one of the few restaurants there with good outdoor dining. Another winner was PPQ Dungeness Island – a Vietnamese restaurant where we had our first Dungeness crab of the summer . We understand why there is less outdoor dining in San Francisco – its chilly and windy in the evenings! Patio heaters and jackets are a must. During our meals we realized that San Francisco is the home of training self-driving cars – at one meal we must have seen at least 20 of them go by – some of them more covered in cameras and sensors than others. They did still have someone in the driver’s seat.
At the end of another week in San Francisco, Gwen bid me and Miss Miranda goodbye and brought her part of the grand adventure to a close. She is now home in Anacortes, getting things ready for me to arrive in another week or so. As I write this the plan is to depart on Tuesday morning. It looks like there may be a weather window to make it all the way up the coast, with a stop at Coos Bay, OR for some fuel. The trip will be 788 miles and if our plan holds, Miss Miranda could be back at home in Anacortes by next Sunday.