CHAPTER 6  Image1.gif

 

A SUMMER CRUISING IN MONTEREY BAY

 

PREPARING FOR THE TRIP TO CAPITOLA

            Besides preparing the boat for coastal cruising, other things needed to be in place. Though we were prepared to make the trip alone, it seemed like a good idea to have additional crew. Gary, a friend from work had already sailed with us twice. He joined us for a day sail shortly after we returned from the Virgin Islands. When we started discussing our upcoming voyage to Capitola he expressed an interest in becoming part of the crew. He was taking classes at the Olympic Circle Sailing School. The opportunity for ocean experience sounded great so we signed him up. While discussing our progress getting Moonshot ready, Marcy suggested we bring her friend Joy along. She described her as a 40 year old in the body of an 18 year old that was very experienced at sailing. Joy had been the first female Commodore of the Santa Cruz yacht club in 1979 and had made the off shore trip between San Francisco and Monterey Bay many times. She would provide local knowledge. Sight unseen, our crew was complete.

            I needed to change Moonshot's insurance coverage because our existing policy only covered us for a 30-mile radius from Mile Rock past the Golden Gate Bridge. This was enough if we went to Drakes Bay north, or Half Moon Bay south, or to the Farallon Islands. I called to request a waiver to extend the geographical limits of our policy. The agent asked me to submit my request in writing including information on the trip itinerary, maintenance history, safety equipment, evidence of our competency, and information about the crew that would be making the trip.

            It seemed to be taking forever for them to get back to me about the waiver. As the other things to do before the trip were being checked off the list, this detail lingered. In another conversation with the insurance company, I learned we may need to have the boat surveyed before they would even renew our policy in August. While waiting, I recalled a flyer from a marine insurance company I had picked up at one of the boat shows so I called AVEMCO. Their agent gave me a quotation that was half the cost and for coverage 200 miles offshore all the way down to Rio San Tomas in Mexico. I checked their bond rating before sending the check, it was top notch. They had been insuring airplanes for many years and had recently started insuring boats.

 

GOOD-BY TO SPYC FOR THE SUMMER

            We had attended some of SPYC's general monthly meetings. Since acquiring rights to the utility building, we had been witnessing it's early formation stage. The meetings were brainstorming sessions about what to do to the clubhouse to make it more comfortable. Members had donated random chairs so at least we could find a place to sit. It was interesting to be involved at that stage because we could speak freely and the words made a contribution to the flow of events. The first project people liked to discuss was tearing down the walls separating the garage stalls and using the lumber to build a bar. Shirley Warren was the new Commodore for 1988. Shirley and her husband Dean lived on a 40' Chinese Junk called Reluctant Dragon. She kept the meetings interesting and in order.

            Since we would be away all summer, I decided to participate in the SPYC Poker Rally in of June. The event started with a skippers meeting at the clubhouse at 10:00 where we registered, paying $5.00 per poker hand. We received one card per hand and an instruction sheet. The instructions were a set of navigational gymnastics you had to perform to find the location of 3 boats anchored somewhere on the bay. The object was to pick up your #2, #3, and #4 cards from the boats. After an afternoon on the bay, you then went back to the clubhouse to get your final card. The winners would be determined during the barbecue afterwards. Marsha had to work that day so I asked Lewis Knapp if he wanted to finally get out on Moonshot and help crew. He brought his son, Lewis Knapp Jr. Though inexperienced, they both were fast learners. When we climbed aboard Moonshot after the skippers meeting, Lewis was fascinated. Most people don't absorb as much detail regarding stuff on a boat. He introduced me to the phrase, "Gadget Density". We worked through the navigational tricks and calculated the first boat would be located in the opening of Richardson Bay around the point off Belvedere, he second boat in Ayala Cove off Angel Island, and third boat in Clipper Cove off Treasure Island.

            We motored across the Gulf of Candlestick on our way to Hunter's Point. It soon turned out to be a good sailing day when the wind did come, firm but not too strong. There is nothing worse than taking people new to sailing out on a day with no wind. By the time we were crossing the downtown portion of the bay with the winds coming straight through the Golden Gate, it was really starting to blow. The hull had just been cleaned so we were gliding across the water, approaching 7 knots.

            We brought the sails in as we the first boat, motoring towards it to raft up. It was a classic looking wooden cutter. As we rafted, we were greeted by a beautiful young girl in a scanty bikini. They say sailing gets into your blood, this sight seemed to be accelerating that fact for all on board. Because it was just a short distance down wind to Ayala Cove, we furled out the Genoa for a jib sail. If you don't need to worry about pointing high towards the wind, jib sailing is fun. The sail can be set and taken in quickly. We had some difficulty finding the second boat. Fred had joined SPYC about the same time I had. He was enthusiastic and jumped right in wanting to be on the board of directors and do whatever he could to help out. It hadn't become a serious problem yet, but being anchored in the wrong location was typical of what could happen when Fred set out to do something. We found him by following the shoreline of Angel Island watching for a boat displaying the club's burgee. We picked up our card, then sailed on. None of us were developing an interesting poker hand, but the sailing was great and the weather was warm. We picked up the fourth card and the rest of the afternoon was just great sailing back to Brisbane. We learned at the burger feed none of us won but were relaxed and with good color and smiles on our faces.

            Marsha and I would be leaving the SPYC scene for the summer, but that didn't matter. We had our burgee and membership card so we were all set to enjoy reciprocal privileges at other yacht clubs on our cruise. We had spoken with Craig Levin after his single-handed journey to San Diego. He mentioned the best thing about it was visiting the yacht clubs along the way. It didn't matter that they were giving reciprocal privileges to someone whose club was an empty garage. The card and burgee looked official.

 

PLOTTING THE COURSE

            Time was running. We purchased the relevant charts as well as a book titled "California Coastal Passages, San Francisco to Ensenada, Mexico", by Brian M. Fagen. We needed to plot our dead reckoning course on the charts and enter the waypoints into the Loran. Our plan was to anchor in Half Moon Bay the first night, then make it to the mooring buoy in Capitola the next day. The waypoints to the Golden Gate Bridge were already in the Loran. For vessels going north from the Golden Gate, there is a hazardous area of water 4 fathomsdeep called the potato patch. 24 feet is enough water to clear the bottom, but it is very shallow compared to the surrounding waters. Because of the conflicting currents and tides, it can be extremely choppy and dangerous. There is a similar though less hazardous condition for those headed south. It has no name other than the South Channel and is 5 fathoms deep. If conditions are rough, it can also be choppy. The recommended way to navigate south is once you're past Point Lobos, if you don't see white caps in the South Channel, it will be OK to traverse. If you do, it's best to keep heading west, making sure to stay clear of the shipping channel, then turn left. We entered waypoints #20 if conditions were calm and #21 for rougher conditions. #20, Seal Point was 3.9 nautical miles from the Golden Gate, #21 was 7.5. Both were on a compass course of 229° magnetic. The next waypoint, #22 was the channel marker at Point Montara, 14 nautical miles from #21 on a course of 150° magnetic or 14.6 nautical miles from #20 on C157M. This would be the longest leg for day one. The next 3 waypoints, #23, #24, and #25 were set to navigate us around the many hazards off Pillar Point and into Half Moon Bay harbor. The total distance for day one would be about 43 nautical miles. We would be able to make it in about 8-1/2 hours.

            The waypoints for the second were straightforward. The only trick was getting back out of Half Moon Bay, then it was just a matter of staying off shore sufficiently. #26 got us out of the bay, then C161M/D19.2 to #27 - Pigeon Point, C134M/D6.5 to #28 - Ana Nuevo, C109M/D14 to #29 - Santa Cruz, C78M/D9.1 to #30 - Capitola, then finally C384M/D1.95 to the Capitola Pier. Each of the ocean waypoints were marker buoys. The total distance for day 2 would be about 51 nautical miles and should take just over 10 hours. We crosschecked ourselves with the DR plot penciled in on the charts and the latitude and longitude data we had entered into the Loran. We had one more week to prepare ourselves mentally and take care of last minute details.

            We started thinking about the weather. When do you call off an ocean journey because of the weather? Under what conditions do you go or no go? You have to decide what size waves and swells and what periods between them are OK. In general, short periods between waves, 5 to 8 seconds make a trip much rougher than longer periods of 12 to 15 seconds. Waves of larger size can be tolerated if the period is longer. 12 ft. waves with a period of 12 to 15 seconds is tolerable, but waves of 12 feet with a short period are not. You have to decide how strong the winds can be before they will be too strong. We read more sections of Erroll Bruce's "This is Rough Weather Cruising" for reference. The weather stations 1 and 2 on the VHF radio provide extended forecasts. Are there any storms or sever weather systems on the way? In a conversation a few weeks before, Hank warned that weather systems generally hang around for 3 days. Marsha decided to drive over to Half Moon Bay on Wednesday afternoon both to check out the weather and to learn about the entrance to the anchorage. The Half Moon Bay harbormaster was flying the two red triangular flags indicating gale force winds that day. We thought about Hank's 3-day advice and hoped the weather system would pass before the weekend.

 

Figure36.jpg

Figure 36: San Francisco Bay south to Point Sur

 

CRUISE TO CAPITOLA

            We made arrangements to leave Cindy and our van at David and Marcy's. Joy stayed overnight with us on Thursday. The three of us arrived at the marina around 5:30 Friday evening with plenty of time to prepare at a leisurely pace. Marsha's and my clothes fit in the V-berth canvas pouches. There was room underneath the chart table for 2 people's duffels so the berths would remain clear. The meal plans were for easy breakfasts and lunches, and a steak dinner in Half Moon Bay. Joy brought along a box of Wheat Thins. She liked them while coastal cruising. With everything stowed, we enjoyed the evening sunset, then drove to South San Francisco to our favorite Mexican restaurant, Mexico Typicos. They have great chili verde burritos and enchiladas. "Mamma" makes sure you clean your plate.

            Marcy's referral of Joy was a good one. She did have a young body, but she had a great attitude, very easy going. When you give someone a tour of your boat, there are the standard things to point at such as how to operate the head, but I have more enthusiasm pointing out recent enhancements. While showing Joy the new man overboard system, I pointed out the diagram that came with the man overboard pole. She focused on the instructions "Do not hold on to the pole while boarding the boat or micturating." She asked me what micturating meant. I didn't have a dictionary on board.

            The coffee was on at dawn. The weather station was saying nothing about extreme wind or storm conditions, so we started waking up and getting ready. Gary arrived on time so we made the introductions, got his things stowed, and were underway by 7:30. Josh did a good job of motoring to the city while we ate breakfast. There was much activity along the city front, as part of normal July 4th weekend fanfare. There were the larger Navy and Coast Guard boats, and fire boats spraying water with their pumps as they motored past Pier 39. There was plenty of fog at the bridge. As we got half way past the city front, it started getting colder and moist so we donned our wet gear. The tides weren't fighting us under the gate so we proceeded to mile rock. The conditions were still foggy with no wind. Since morning fog was typical, we decided to go for it. Though not impossible physically, mentally we were at the point of no return and everyone settled back in resolve that we would be cruising the coast for the next few hours. The anticipation was gone, we were there. Gary applied a scopolamine patch behind his ear, Joy broke out her Wheat Thins.

            When we got past point Lobos, we couldn't see the South Channel because of the fog bank so we decided to go for the outer course. It started becoming necessary to have the Loran data frequently to navigate. Marsha got into the habit of going down the companionway for a reading every 10 minutes. I would verify our desired heading with the Loran data and the compass course, and adjust the auto pilot if necessary. For the first time our new toys and recently acquired knowledge of navigation were working together in harmony. Marsha and I were both excited about that. Gary threw up over the port stern rail. Joy fetched a round of Lite beer. Miller Lite is a good beverage on the ocean because it doesn't have a heavy taste and has lots of carbonation that makes you burp relieving gas that builds up from the ocean's churning motion.

            Still in the fog, we reached #21 and changed course to 150° magnetic. Visibility was less than a mile. Besides seeing an occasional pair of dolphins passing by and two sun fish, the trip to Half Moon Bay was uneventful, and not that much fun. The fog never lifted and what little wind there was was coming out of the south, so we had to motor all the way. Gary was barfing over the side repeatedly. Joy fell asleep in the cockpit with her Wheat Thins in arm. Marsha was the diligent navigator. I was now convinced that Josh was more valuable than any single crewmember by far. The fog kept getting thicker. We spotted each of the buoys that we chose for waypoints. At least it was exciting having successfully stayed on course in the fog.
           

Figure37.jpg
Figure 37: Gary on voyage to Monterey Bay

 

Figure38.jpg
Figure 38: Joy on voyage to Monterey Bay

            Now came the challenge of getting into Half Moon Bay in pea soup fog. We were lucky Marsha had scoped out the entrance noting the layout of the breakwater. There were also smaller powerboats cutting through the fog to help guide the. Finally, we saw the breakwater appearing less than 40 yards away. We could now see well enough through the fog to easily make our way to the anchorage. We picked a spot among a few derelict looking vessels on moorings and dropped the CQR. As we were pealing off our wet gear, it started warming as sunshine and blue sky were appearing for the first time. Gary was starting to feel better but commented he would feel even better if he would have been eaten by a shark.

            The right thing to do next seemed to be get our feet onto dry land for a while before dinner. Marsha handed the dinghy bag to Joy with the instructions, "pump until it won't pump any more air in." Joy dutifully pumped while everybody else busy preparing for the shore party. Finally, I went up to the Frederick deck to see how Joy was doing. It was huge! I had never seen the toy dinghy pumped up that much. Joy stated, "well Marsha said...". It was big enough to hold all 4 of us for the short row to the beach. We stopped in at the Half Moon Bay yacht club to exercise our reciprocal privileges, then walked into town to tour the community of Princeton by the Sea. Soon, we started feeling refreshed enough for appetites to develop so we turned back towards Moonshot. We grilled our traditional boat steak dinner consisting of medium rare filet minion, baked potatoes with butter, sour cream and chives, corn on the cob, rolls and red wine. Everyone slept well. Gary and Joy both had warm sleeping bags. Marsha and I were snug in the V-berth. The anchorage was calm.

            Soon, it was time to wake up and smell the coffee. We had a long day ahead of us. Looking out of the companionway to see not only thick fog but a slight drizzle made the thought of the day being a repeat of yesterday's foggy cruise difficult. The weather report was similar to yesterdays except it was making a stronger forecast about the fog clearing. Since we would be motoring, there wouldn't be much for the crew to do. I felt it would be best to get the hull moving in the right direction, then do things like fix breakfast and brush teeth once underway to get the miles and keep them busy.

            The Half Moon Bay entrance was not in sight because the fog was so thick. Because of it's limited accuracy, Loran wouldn't help us much until we got out into the open water. We started noticing the fishermen heading out. I figured because they did this routinely, they were safe enough to follow. With wet gear on, I raised the anchor. It was covered with muddy clay. I had to use buckets of salt water to rinse it off, getting mud everywhere on the Frederick. I then had to use a two more buckets full to get the mud off me. My wet gear did a good job of keeping me dry through it all. With the anchor stowed, we got to the channel and started following a fishing boat but it was traveling much faster than Moonshot. Everyone was on watch for signs of rocks or the breakwater. I had to move slowly in the compass direction I saw the last boat disappear on until the next fishing boat came by, then speed up until it disappeared.

            In this fashion, we finally cleared the channel entrance and were now able to use the Loran, setting a course for #26 that would navigate us clear of several rocky hazards. Once clear, Marsha recomputed for #27, Pigeon Point. Joy explained that Pigeon Point earned its name when a vessel named the Pigeon broke up on its rocks in the fog many years ago. We would be keeping a safe 2-mile distance off shore. The next 3-1/2 hours would be spent on the same course so the crew took turns getting as comfortable as possible, cleaning up and making sure dry clothes were on their bodies, icing down the Lite beer, locating the wheat thins, etc. The fog remained in its pea soup state. Seasickness is a reality for most people on the ocean at some point. Marsha is the most resistant person I've seen. She has allergies and is constantly taking medicine to combat the effects. One of its active ingredients is also in many seasickness prevention medications so she has a constant supply in her system. I started feeling a it coming on so put on a Scopolamine patch. Gary, feeling much better today brought up the idea of hoisting our radar reflector as a safety precaution. I fished out the collapsible radar reflector from the holding spares hatch.

            We were making good progress but things were getting kind of boring. We had seen a few dolphins, which were always exciting, but not much else. We discussed the fact we hadn't seen any other boats for a while, then the conversation eased down to silence. After another hour passed, Gary casually commented, "There's a boat." I turned to look in the direction he was indicating off the starboard bow to see a large freighter less than half of a mile away, barley visible through the fog. That brought the conversation level back up. What was a freighter doing so close to shore, and to us for that matter, so far out of the freighter channel? We had visions of illegal activities such as drug smuggling and sub machine guns that I'm sure were totally unfounded. Had they seen us or our radar reflector? It soon passed, disappearing into the fog.

            Settled back into our previous positions, more time passed as we made our 5 knots heading towards #27. Nothing eventful was happening when suddenly, the engine started gradually slowing down. This started everybody's adrenaline pumping. There was no wind for the sails, a rocky coast to our port side, and thick fog limiting our visibility. As we discussed the situation, the engine kept slowing down further. It was scary discussing possible causes. My vision was that the churning motion of the swells and waves was mixing up the contents of the fuel tank and water or algae that had settled in the bottom of the fuel tank was making its way through the fuel line and interrupting the flow of fuel to the injector. I suggested topping off the tank with one of the jugs of spare diesel fuel. There was much discussion but nobody came up with any better ideas. As I proceeded to get into position and remove the fuel filler cap, the rest of the crew moved over to the opposite side of the cockpit. I got the jug upside down with the nozzle in the opening only spilling a small amount of fuel all over my wet gear. I watched Gary, Joy, and Marsha ooch up the port side with feet coming off the floor onto the seats. When the tank was full again, fuel came gushing out all over me. At this point, the crew buns were approaching the lifeline. I sealed the tank, stowed the jug, and began washing myself with buckets of seawater while Gary, Joy, and Marsha were almost out of the boat. It worked though, the engine started to stabilize. I however started turning green and had to lie down for a while.

            While I rested, the crew regained their composure, verified our course, and tried to dry out the cockpit. It remained slippery because of the diesel fuel causing Marsha to slip butt first onto the cockpit floor, fortunately with no injury. After a while, I started feeling normal again, about the time we were approaching the Pigeon Point buoy, right on target. This lifted everyone's spirits and as we were changing course to #28 - Ana Nuevo. Marsha started making sandwiches for lunch. Gary had brought a Sony waterproof radio and tuned in a baseball game. Joy maintained her pleasant attitude and was starting to marvel at the fact we weren't getting wet on this journey. She is used to race boats and was getting a kick from the protection provided by the dodger and windscreen.

            Soon, we started witnessing a spectacular, gradual retraction of the fog. Minute by minute the dividing line between the clearing and the overcast was getting closer and closer. We eagerly watched the sun come out and the approaching wind line. I hoisted the mainsail while Gary shut of the engine, finally after 1-1/2 days of motoring. I've always enjoyed shutting off the engine to sail, but this was far better than I had ever felt. We furled out the jib and started playing music. It was getting warmer, everyone started peeling off layers of clothing. Smiles were appearing on everyone's faces.

            It wasn't long before the wind velocity started building. Gary was the first to suggest that it might be time to reef the mainsail. I gave the helm to Gary and went on deck to put the first reef in with my lifeline clasped to the jackstay. I learned I could make all the adjustments to the main from a sitting position with my legs straddling the mast. All the lines were at arm's reach. We were passing #28 on to #29, Santa Cruz, another 3-hour leg. This meant a course change of 25° to port. I let the sails out because we were now heading downwind. We couldn't keep the jib full so I decided to try the new whisker pole on a wing on wing trim. The winds were still building. I got some hesitation from the rest of the crew about trying such a maneuver in these conditions. Joy was fine, but the hesitations were based on general lack of experience. My optimism said give it a try. Gary was familiar with wing on wing sailing but the ocean conditions would make this tricky. I went forward with lifeline clamped on. As I prepared the pole Gary started to turn the wheel. Well, things didn't go so well, the jib wrapped around the forestay twice. It needed attention, so I grabbed the jib sheets and sat down on the Frederick. In this position, I was able to deal with the lines while minimizing the risk of falling over board.

            I was able to untangle the jib while Joy pulled in the slack on the sheet. I went back to the cockpit and took over the helm. We were being blown sideways as we had lost momentum with the failed maneuver. I was unable to get boat speed by sail trim alone for a few minutes and the crew was getting impatient about the amount of headway we weren't making. I decided to pull the jib in and motor sail, although I felt we should have invested more time in learning to sail Moonshot in the heavier wind on the ocean. We had been informed by a fellow in the Half Moon Bay yacht club that they had experienced extremely snotty winds off Davenport on their trip up the day before. We could now agree with him that indeed, the winds were snotty off Davenport.

            We still had a 4-hour commute in front of us. At least the fog was gone and we could enjoy the scenery. The coast was sculpted with interesting rock formations and colorful cliffs. Fixing lunch made some of the time pass. As we passed #29 we were beginning to get that now we are on the home stretch feeling. This is where Joy sails most frequently. She explained how much fun the Santa Cruz beer can races were every Wednesday evening. She was also pointed out sights on land such as Santa Cruz Harbor and Natures Bridge, a particularly interesting rock formation.

            Soon, we could see the Pacific Gas and Electric smoke stacks at Moss Landing along the coast half way to Monterey. Joy stated a few years ago, PG&E released something quite toxic and corrosive into the air through the stacks. The winds at the time were blowing such that the chemical residue was blown all over the boats in the marina and holes were eaten through much of their gelcoatsurfaces. PG&E ended up having to pay for the repairs and now pay an annual fee to each of the permanent slip residents, contributing to their maintenance fees. We could see the silhouette of Monterey Peninsula and Cypress Point on the other end of the bay about 25 miles away. We were starting to see more marine life than we had ever seen, dolphins, jellyfish, and sunfish. We saw sea otters breaking shellfish on their chests while lying on their backs in kelp beds. An occasional sea lion would come along side our boat. We saw them in San Francisco Bay but seeing them here looked different and made us realize that the water was much cleaner and clearer in Monterey Bay. In San Francisco Bay you could see their heads pop through the surface of the water, here you could see their whole bodies swimming through the water.

            Finally, we passed Soquel Point and we were approaching #30, Capitola. David and Marcy wanted to meet us so it was time to call them. I used the VHF radio to call the marine operator. I had a question who to call because I was used to calling the San Francisco marine operator. "To the vessel calling, this is the Monterey Bay marine operator, what is your traffic." Her set of questions were different than in San Francisco. The first time you call, they ask for more information, including your home address. The radio went quiet for a while, then she came back stating anytime we would place a call later it would be much easier. Her tone of voice was more laid back and friendlier. We connected with David. He said they would meet us Margaritaville, one of the many restaurants that line Capitola's public beach.

            Gary prepared to grab the mooring line as I eased up to the buoy. It was time to peel off the rest of the layers having been underway for almost 10 hours. It was a great feeling to reach our destination safe and reasonably sound. Karen, the proprietor of the Capitola Bait and Tackle shop came out to meet us. We greeted her and I said we made it, two days coming from the bay area. She looked at me with a sarcastically puzzled look on her face and stated, "This is the bay area." We would have to adjust our terminology. She welcomed us and stated dinghy taxi rides to the pier were $1.00 per person, dogs could go free. She said when we were ready to go ashore all I had to do is sound an air horn and someone would come out.

            We started to relax in the cockpit after the long day when all of a sudden it occurred to me. The large sailboat next to us was crowded with women in bikinis. People were diving off into the water and swimming. The beach was crowded with people in bathing suits. A beach, a beach, we were moored in front of a sandy beach. This was another major difference between San Francisco Bay and Monterey Bay. After soaking this up for a while longer, the crew started packing their bags and getting ready to head for shore. Joy planned on hanging out with us for a while longer. We weren't quite sure what Gary was going to do, he thought some friends might be on the beach. The taxi dropped us off at the dinghy dock at the end of the pier.

            The very end of the pier was a large area for people to fish from. There was a building that housed the Bait and Tackle Shop and an Italian Restaurant next to it. Past the buildings there were rental fishing boats and the hoist to lower them to the water. The rest of the pier was a long boardwalk to the beach. When we got to shore, Gary spotted his friends playing volleyball. He said he's meet us at the restaurant. We headed for Margaritaville. Dave and Marcy had a table on the patio over looking the beach so we joined them for dinner. At some point, Gary found us only to tell us that he was getting a ride back home with his friends. He had left his sleeping bag on Moonshot, we could bring it to him later, BYE! When I talked with him later that week, he commented, "The trip was a character building experience". He also stated he had second thoughts about taking Olympic Circle's offshore class right away.

 

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Figure 39: Capitola pier, our connection to shore for the summer

            Sitting in the restaurant made me feel my sea legs, only the feeling was different than I had ever felt. After spending a lengthy period on the water, a day or more, the semi circular canals in your head make adjustments for the motion of the water to improve your balance. This is the body's method of developing sea legs. When you go back on dry land after making these adjustments, it takes a while to adjust back. When you are sitting still and not pre occupied you can sense a rocking, off balance feeling. I had experienced this feeling many times before. This time it felt different, as if there were two separate sets of compensation motions going in different directions, much like the waves and swells of the ocean. Two-dimensional sea legs.

            We enjoyed our dinner and split up for the night, Joy, David, and Marcy to their respective homes, Marsha and I back to Moonshot. The plan for the next day, July 4th was to converge at David and Marcy's beach house for a picnic. Lewis and Barbara Knapp would be joining us. Our first night on board at the mooring in Capitola was fun. It was warm so we settled in for some relaxation. Because it was a holiday weekend, many of the boats around us had people on board having their own parties. Some were shooting off fireworks from their stern grills, others were firing white flares from their flare guns. We could hear music coming across the beach from the bars on shore. We already felt as if the effort to venture down the coast had been worth it. We were looking forward to two summer months of weekends exploring Monterey Bay.

            David and Cindy met us with the van around 11:00 the next morning. I had been storing a box full of all kinds of fireworks in our attic since we had first arrived in California. I had gone wild on an impulse to stock up before reaching the boarder in Wyoming during our drive out. David had stated there was usually quite a party on the beach on the 4th, complete with all kinds of fireworks. I had filled the storage box in the Van with the fireworks and locked it before bringing it over the hill. We had learned the day before that neither of us had brought the key. I brought the bolt cutters we had purchased for dealing with the unlikely but possible event of a rigging failure. Advice from the ocean cruising books stressed that not only should you have them, you'd better know where they are stowed and be able to get at them fast. They effortlessly snapped the lock.

            The sky was cloudy but David stated this was typical and by midday the sun would burn the clouds away. The Capitola beach was starting to fill up already. We showered and spent lunchtime discussing our trip. We asked if anybody knew the definition of micturating. Marcy got out the dictionary. mic-tu-ri-tion, n. the passing of urine. From that point on, our man overboard pole was renamed the micturating pole, commemorating Joy's fascination. It turned out to be another gorgeous afternoon on the beach. We had 3 dogs, Cindy, Marcy's full sized French Poodle Mouton, and Joy's Airedale Nike. The leash laws on the beach are you must have your dog on a leash if the park patrol vehicle is within 50 - 100 yards or so. If you kept one eye peeled it's OK to let the dogs run. It was fun throwing a tennis ball into the surf and watch the dogs race to fetch it.

            As dusk approached, we started hearing more and more firecrackers so we decided it was time to start making a little noise ourselves. Soon the entire beach area was full of people blowing off all kinds of fireworks, roman candles, M80's, smoke bombs, sparklers, bottle rockets that whistled, ladyfingers, etc. Of course we were no exception and were having a blast. Similar to the leash law, you could see a wave of no one blowing off fireworks passing along the beach about 50 yards in each direction of an occasional police car traveling by. This went on for hours, until around 10 o'clock. Then the park ranger's vehicle drove down the beach with spotlights and a loud hailer announcing that the beach would be closing in 10 minutes and that all fires should be extinguished and people had to leave.

            We had gone through most of the fireworks except for a brick of firecrackers containing 50 packages of 40 each. I looked around and saw an abandon fire nearby. I put the entire brick on top of the fire and ran up to the street. As everyone was watching, the firecrackers started blowing off in multiples sounding something like a sporadic machine gun out of control. Everyone started grinning, then started laughing. The explosions kept going and going as did the sidesplitting laughter bringing tears to our eyes. It seemed to go on and on, but finally went out and it was time to think about making the drive over the hill. A great ending to a terrific holiday weekend.

 

ADJUSTING TO LIFE ON A MOORING AT SEA

            All in all, it was going to be a large investment for us to spend the summer in Monterey Bay. That is unless you compare it to owning a cottage on the ocean, which for all practical purposes is what we had. The drive over the hill was more stressful than going to Brisbane, but exciting and scenic. Marsha was doing well with her independent consulting efforts and still able to devote Friday afternoons to preparing to go as soon as I could get off work. The first weekend after the cruise down was upon us, but it was going to be broken up by a house warming party for friends back in Silicon Valley. Our plan was to go to the boat Friday evening, come back in time for a visit, then return to the boat Saturday evening.

            We arrived early to be there before the taxi service quit for the evening. The taxi's hours were fairly loose, fitting this bay area's more laid back style. It operates until 6:00 PM, but there's usually someone around until at least 8:00. You just have to let the bartender in the restaurant know. The next thing we had to deal with was lugging all of our stuff. We got everything down to the end of the pier before dark and found Phil, the taxi skipper. We got everything loaded onto the boat in time to relax in the cockpit before dusk. It was an enchanting environment and soon the hassles of the workweek and trip over the hill were gone. Cindy was doing OK, she rode well in the taxi but didn't care for the pier. We would need to start worrying about her potty requirements in the morning.

            There were two connections to the mainland we were used to that we would have to forgo for the summer. A hose for fresh water and a power cord. We would be living on 12 volts and have to be much more conscious of fresh water conservation. We were confident the solar panel would provide enough electricity so we wouldn't have to worry about running the batteries down. Even if we did run them down at night, the panel would have the charge back up enough to start the engine the next day. Once below for the evening, we resorted to the kerosene lantern and candlepower for lighting. We did use 12 volts to run the TV. The 5" screen was large enough to comprehend what was being displayed, though we had to sit close together to both be able to watch it. We thought maybe someday we could get a 9" color TV like most of our powerboat friends from the yacht club.

            It became obvious that we were moored in a body of water that was connected to an ocean while trying to sleep in the V-berth. We felt the gentle rocking motion of the swells. Marsha had more of a problem sleeping with the rocking than I did. The next morning I woke up, turned the VHF radio on to the weather station and started the alcohol stove burning to heat water for coffee. We had the single cup drip system, no 12 volts required. I had been listening to the weather radio for the past 4 years and only picked out what I needed to hear about San Francisco Bay weather. Not having any interest in or knowledge about any of the other places discussed, I blocked that out as background noise. Now, I was focusing on the other major portion of the broadcast. More of the information was relevant for Monterey Bay. Knowing where all the places being discussed were allowed me to get the bigger picture of weather for Northern California.

            Cindy was used to being taken for a walk as soon as I got up so now was the time we decided to train her to use the Frederick as a poop deck. I let her outside so she had free run of the boat, but wait a minute, there's no dock to jump onto. Because the house warming party was that afternoon, we had no other plans for the morning than just hanging out until time to leave while getting used to and enjoying the environment. We felt eventually Cindy would figure it out. When she would give me one of those looks like do something dad, I would walk her up to the foredeck and say here pointing at the deck. She felt bad and confused because that was contrary to her instincts. Finally she started to get the idea, or at least broke down. I got the cruising bucket out and washed down the decks with buckets of seawater. She didn't do everything though, and was getting anxious. Because we preferred not to fill up the holding tank, so was I. When Marsha woke up, I hailed the taxi to bring us to shore. We were starting to see the possibility of much money being spent on the taxi this summer and started discussing how a small inflatable dinghy with an engine would help. If we had one, we would still need the first ride out and last ride in for the weekend, but we would be independent between those trips.

 

Figure40.jpg
Figure 40: Marsha and Cindy at the mooring

            We toured the bait and tackle shop and discovered they sold ice and had a good selection of fresh doughnuts and rolls in the morning. We purchased some of each and went back to Moonshot. The overcast was burning off early so it was warming up rapidly. The visuals of our surroundings were more than enough to entertain us. We began taking pictures in every direction, a form of mental registry, the fact that "You are here". While Marsha started planning lunch, I hailed the taxi for a ride back to the pier to explore further. There was an eight-foot shark hanging from the fishing boat hoist. They liked to keep such a catch on display for a while when given the opportunity, it's good for promoting the fishing business. I went inside to get my fishing license and learn more about what kind of fish I could contemplate catching. They talked about salmon, kelp bass, and kingfish depending if you were trolling, lurking about the kelp beds, or surf fishing. The thought of surf fishing didn't strike me as interesting and I had some experience at fishing around bodies of seaweed so I inquired further about trolling for salmon.

            First they explained the lead ball rig. There is a copper tube about 2-1/2 inches long with a swivel eye on each end. One end is connected to a spring-loaded rod that goes through the center of the 1/4" diameter tube. When you pull on it, it pulls the end of the inner pin past a small slit in the outer tube. The idea is to take a lead ball 1-1/2# - 3# with an eye attached and position the lead ball eye into the slit while the pin is sprung. You then connect the stationary end of the copper tube to your fishing line and the other end to your salmon rig. The lead weight keeps the salmon rig down deep where the fish are. Once a fish strikes, it releases the lead ball so you can get the fish in without the extra weight. There were several popular salmon rigs. I liked using anchovies for bait so I picked one that had a clamping device for an anchovy head. I purchased a few complete sets for Moonshot's tackle box. Visions of catching a big fish were entering my mind.

            Back at the mooring buoy, the fact that we had spent several dollars on trips back and forth to shore brought the discussion of having our own dinghy up again over lunch. We had a Johnson 6 HP outboard engine at home in almost new condition. It had been the spare auxiliary engine for the Aquarius. We took measurements on the foredeck for storage space. Time passed quickly as we breathed the fresh Monterey Bay air while soaking up the sights, sounds, and smells of Capitola's beach.

            It was tough preparing for the trip back over the hill. No offense to friends, but honoring these types of social obligations just wasn't going to fit into this summer. It's not that we didn't enjoy the party, we did. In passing conversation about we just came from a boat in Monterey Bay, it took much explaining about what we were doing and no we didn't live on the boat. Sub consciously, we were crossing the boundary between being weekend day sailors and cruising liveaboards, though it would be awhile longer before that distinction would surface to a more conscious level. It was tiring making that weekend injection back into Silicon Valley. We were very thankful to get back to the boat before the taxi service quit and relax on the ocean's waves once again. Marsha slept better that night.

            The morning was a repeat of the day before, though Cindy was more resistant to the poop deck idea, probably because we eventually took her to shore yesterday. She was showing signs of having some kind of bladder problem from holding it so long so I quit forcing the issue. Our routine was developing. The day was warm, but not much wind was predicted, so we had a perfect opportunity to relax and acclimate further. David had business to discuss with Marsha so it seemed like the perfect thing to have him meet at the boat. There was much novelty on both sides to conduct business on Moonshot at the mooring in Capitola. Marsha was getting excited about being able to do her work from Moonshot. I was starting to think I wouldn't be seeing her during the week. David stayed for a while enjoying the scenery, but eventually had to leave. We spent a couple more hours enjoying the warm sunny afternoon before we closed up and headed back over the hill. We had the basis for our change in mindset and we wouldn't have to worry about not being able to maintain it for at least 2 months. We were eager to start exploring Monterey Bay. It would take something very important to get us to break up one of the upcoming weekends again.

MOONSHOT GETS TENDERED

            I had much shopping to do this week. My first step was to visit West Marine in Palo Alto. I purchased a canvas collapsible cart as well as started looking at their inflatable dinghies. There were the popular well known makes such as Avon and Zodiac but we had heard good things about West's private label. They had an offshore company make them and ordered large quantities so the prices were much lower than the other brands. There were a variety of sizes. I converged on two, a 10' and an 8' - 6" model. Both could handle our 6 HP Johnson engine. I didn't make a decision yet. Marsha wanted to be involved so I brought home the data I had collected. The following Saturday morning, we stopped at the West Marine store in Santa Cruz to look at dinghies again. They had both in stock. Though it was the shortest inflatable dinghy I had ever seen, we purchased the 8-1/2' model. It looked big enough, we could fit 4 people or 2 people, a dog, and bags of stuff into it, and it was lighter, less expensive, and looked like it would fit on Moonshot's forepeak easier. Our plan was to assemble the dinghy on the dock and take off from there.

            The difficulty with the assembly part was getting the three floorboards to fit in. It's a tight squeeze. I almost fell into the water a couple of times and started feeling seasick from the floating dock's motion while I was working the problem, but eventually we got the boards in. The rest of the job went much smoother. It was just a matter of pumping up the chambers and mounting the engine. Once we got it in the water, the engine started fine. I cruised around the mooring area for a while to get used to the controls, then came back to pick up Marsha, Cindy, and our bags of stuff.

 

Figure41.jpg
Figure 41: Steve and Cindy in the vessel "Cindy Too"

            We now had more freedom in our ability to get around and had a new boat to come up with a name for. We christened the vessel "Cindy Too" because Cindy enjoyed buzzing around in it with us. We decided to look for a place to beach the dinghy so Cindy could go for a walk. We followed the coastline dodging the kelp beds looking for a good spot and soon saw New Brighton State Beach further in Soquel Cove. It looked sleepy compared to the beach in Capitola. Beaching the dinghy looked like the right thing to do but at the last minute, the surf breaking on the beach made me think again. We must have made a spectacle of ourselves because folks around the beach near us had their attention focused on us. We did get the dinghy onto the beach and started strolling with Cindy. The spectacle we had made beaching the dinghy was mild in comparison to the one we made leaving. As we were trying to get out past the beach's surf, a large wave came over the bow knocking Cindy into the water and dumping a few gallons of sandy salt water into the boat. I climbed in and started the engine, then pulled Marsha and Cindy in and gave the engine full throttle. We finally got through the surf but were wet and uncomfortable. We weren't embarrassed because we never looked back. Well, the Cindy Too had to get used to salt water sometime, as did the Cindy one. We bailed out the water as we made our way back to Moonshot. That was enough adventure in the dinghy for the day.

 

DAY SAILING WITH FRIENDS

            It's cool being involved with something so wonderful as sailing, especially when it involves adventure and new experience. When you go about your daily life and happen to talk about what you do as a past time, enthusiasm and exuberance fills the room and overwhelms people you are talking to. Some people can't relate or deal with you. Some say, "So when are you going to take us out." As we were relaxing in the cockpit, I heard a whistling sound, then my name called. We looked towards the pier and saw Gabe with his girl friend Kristy. Gabe had worked with both Marsha and I at different times since he moved to this country from Romania. He was a funny guy and a talented engineer. He told us he had learned English when he first arrived in America by becoming a couch potato and watching I Love Lucy reruns. We had exchanged messages on answering machines about where we would be, but had not made any plans.

            I dinghied ashore to fetch our unexpected guests. It turned out to be a wonderful afternoon. This was the first pleasure sail we would have since arriving in Monterey Bay. The wind was mild but firm and the water was smooth. We had started a logbook with the beginning of this trip. Kristy's entry: "Sunny margaritas". Gabe's entry: "I couldn't catch any fish but other than that, it was soooo much fun". It was a great feeling dropping guests off at the dinghy dock after a good day sail, then puttering back to the boat with no further responsibilities for the rest of the day. We grilled off the back of the boat anticipating another wonderful day in paradise tomorrow.

            Sunday would bring a gathering of friends at David and Marcy's. We made it to their house before anyone as we didn't have far to commute. As other people began arriving, it became clear many of the people wanted to go sailing. We went back to the boat ahead of people to get ready and prepare to taxi them aboard. This would be the largest crew ever aboard Moonshot, consisting of Lewis and Barbara Knapp, Jim and Jo Callan, David Albert, Lynette Dynike and Charley Michael. It turned out to be even hotter than the day before, over 90° with very little wind. Josh was installed and we were doing about 0.8 knots. Moonshot became a party boat. Because of the easy conditions, people started relaxing and sunning on the deck. Jim brought up the notion of trolling for fish, so we were able to experiment with the lead balls. That was fun for a while, but we weren't in the right waters for salmon fishing. The lures were snagging on kelp, we lost 3 balls before giving up.

            While David was sunning on the Albert deck, Lewis came up with the idea to go swimming. What a notion. We hadn't been swimming off the boat since it arrived in California. It sounded like a great idea to me. Remembering the fun times in lake St. Clair being dragged behind the boat hanging onto an attached line, I pulled out one of the 25' floating lines, attached it to the port stern cleat, and lowered the swim ladder. Who's first. Lewis and I were up for it, Jim slowly came around, while David and Charlie refused to even consider it. None of the women thought anything except that we were crazy. We were a mile offshore, there were sharks in them there waters. I jumped in first, it was coooold. I did my best to keep a straight face, grabbed the line and pull swam my way back to the ladder. The water temperature was 55° F. Once back out of the water, the air was so warm that the chill was refreshing. Jim wasn't convinced yet and because it was his idea, Lewis had no choice but to go next. Apparently he had picked up on not letting on about the cold shock before surfacing and appeared to be having great fun as he rope swam back to the boat. Jim had no choice now. He played out his hand squirming all the way but finally jumped off. He played his second hand even farther screaming and yelling about the cold as he made his way back to the swim ladder.

            Back on board, we all agreed it was a fun thing to do because the warm air more than compensated for the cold water temperature and soon we were ready for more. Lewis invented a game to involve the spectators. The idea was to jump in, get to the end of the line, ready yourself for a swim, then hold the end of the line up in the air with one hand. Someone in the cockpit would be ready with a stopwatch. The first stroke of the rope swim back to the boat would be the arm in the air with the line end hitting the water. That's when the timer would start the stopwatch. The timer would stop the stopwatch when the swimmer smacked the transom of the boat with preferably, his hand. It turned out to be great fun with all on board enjoying watching the competition. Our times ranged between 11 and 14 seconds. All the while, Josh did a masterful job of manning the helm. The rest of the afternoon could best be summed up as Moonshot becoming an annex of Margaritaville.

            Comments in the log book after the sail was over: 7/17/88: Jim: "Well, this isn't Peter Island but I'm not complaining, get a bigger dinghy. Bigger dinghy? How about a Rum Runner. Thanks for another chance to experience Sears Captaincy". Lynette: "Terrific day in the sun. After much discussion, it's good to finally enjoy sailing with you". David: "The best in foul weather sailing". Lewis: "Had one big salmon bite but no luck. What a bimbo that Jim is". This was what a weekend was supposed to be. A complete alternative to the sensory reality, the work a day world that makes up our normal week. Between the warm sunny weather, the young carefree beach scenery, coastal water and sea life, to us it was the real reality, at least until the drive back over the hill. Looking on the positive side of things, the drive back over the hill was probably the best re-entry program for the approach to Monday morning. You just leave it behind until you can get back.

 

PAUL'S FILTER FLUSH

            The problem we had experienced with the engine on the way down had me worried about what was in our fuel tank. There had to be things in there from the boat's day 1. How much condensation, how much algae, etc., were the questions lurking in my mind. For a while, I contemplated pulling the fuel tank to empty it completely. But after studying the situation, I concluded it wouldn't fit through any opening from the engine compartment. I called around the boatyards in Santa Cruz asking about what to do about bad fuel and was referred to Paul's Filter Flush. Paul described the method he had invented for filtering the fuel in a fuel tank without removing it. The cost was $75.00 or if he had to swear while getting the job done, $100.00. He would have to meet me where there was a dock he could wheel his equipment to. His recommendation was the "S" dock in Santa Cruz harbor. I would have to make arrangements with the harbormaster and we would meet on the following Saturday around 11:00. He said we wouldn't miss him, he'd be wearing a black baseball cap.

            When we left the mooring buoy on Saturday morning, we left the dinghy tied to it thinking we would be gone for just a few hours and this would reserve the buoy for our return. It was a typical overcast morning that was expected to burn off midday and become sunny. We motored around the kelp forest off Soquel Point watching the jellyfish float by and the sea otters playing. We were expecting the entrance to Santa Cruz Harbor to be challenging. It is almost perpendicular to the coastline with a breakwater consisting of large rocks protecting the harbor. As we got closer to Black Point, we could see the Santa Cruz's roller coaster. The sight made us start singing the song "Down By The Boardwalk". Soon, we could see the harbor entrance. To check for being set by the current, we kept our bearings by observing the relative position of two fixed marks on land as we made our approach. We observed the entrance felt like Santa Cruz's lesser-known roller coaster and were certain it could be dangerous in rough weather. Once inside the breakwater, the water became calm.

            What a lovely marina. It was divided in two sections by a bridge. Sailboats had to be able to lower their masts to get to the slips beyond the bridge. I learned there is a 10-year waiting list to get a slip in the outer section unless you knew someone that was sub leasing. There was a restaurant close to the harbor entrance called The Crow's Nest. We planned to meet David and Marcy there for lunch after we finished with the fuel flush. There is also a row of quaint shops along the beach. The landscape beyond the other side of the marina was hilly, with the Santa Cruz yacht club at the edge of a small cliff, nestled in the middle of a few eucalyptus trees. As we motored into the marina looking for "S" dock, we saw many sailboats resting on cradles on shore. These were some of the ultra light racers that Bill Lee had been making so popular.

            I remembered I was looking for a man in a black baseball hat. I pulled out two black baseball caps I had picked up recently as trade show give aways and gave one to Marsha. It seemed kind of funny to meet with all of us wearing black caps for identification. Eventually we spotted him but he wasn't alone. There were two old guys both wearing black baseball caps standing on the end of the dock. They were also both wearing green plaid flannel shirts, green pants, and black tennis shoes. We got tied up to the end tie and made all the introductions. Paul's helper was older than he was, quiet, and seemed not to mind doing all the work. He left to get the equipment.

            Remembering Paul's words about the rates being a factor of how much he had to swear, I decided to start emptying the lazaret that provided access to the fuel tank myself. The filtering system consisted of a two-phase hose that went into the fill opening on top of the fuel tank. The inner hose blew a stream of fuel into the tank with enough force to agitate the fuel inside while the outside hose pumped fuel out of the tank into the filtering system. The filter system consisted of several stages of filters designed to filter out water and matter such as dirt and algae. Once I had the hose inside the fuel tank, and the pump was primed we just let the device cycle the fuel for about an hour.

            I broke our a few beers since it was getting sunny and we had time to hang loose while Paul's filter flush did its thing. Paul talked about his invention and the fact the only other unit in service was one he had sold to a guy in San Diego. He was selling peace of mind. You wouldn't want to be out on the ocean and have your engine quit because of dirty fuel would you? Many of his clients thought this way and had him filter their fuel tanks once a year even if there were no signs of problems. The filters reveled a small amount of dirt and some water. It looked like water had been the culprit. The way to keep water out of the fuel tank is to keep it topped off to avoid condensation from forming. I don't remember Paul actually doing much of the work when the job was done, but I did get the lower rate, he didn't have to swear once. I think he actually enjoyed himself.

Figure42.jpg
Figure 42: Santa Cruz Harbor

            After thanking and paying Paul, we went to the restaurant to meet David and Marcy. Joy was with them when we arrived. She was dating someone who owned a sailboat in the marina and would be meeting up with him later on. We enjoyed lunch, soaking up the beach scenery as the day proceeded to get warmer and sunnier. After we finished eating we decided to go sailing. The girls headed to the harbormaster's office to pay for our stay at the dock while David and I walked back to the boat. As we were walking along the dock, I made the statement to David, "This is a great marina, being here makes you feel like a party is about to break out any minute."

            As we started pulling ingredients from the bar, a large sailboat went by with people on board that were hollering something at us. It was Joy and her boyfriend on an Escape, an Express 37. They were asking us to make more margaritas and join them for a sail on their boat. It sounded like a party to me. David and I began to mix a long line in tall glasses. As their boat rafted along side, we started handing the drinks up to their open hands one by one as if we were putting out a fire. Marcy and Marsha returned so everybody climbed aboard Escape. I had never been on a sailboat that was so incredibly fast. It seemed as though there was hardly enough wind to get Moonshot moving, yet we were cruising out of the harbor making great time. Once out on the ocean, the crew hoisted the spinnaker and we started sailing faster. Joy's friend Steve was 1/3 owner of the boat, along with another Steve and another person that wasn't on board. There was one other passenger aboard, a friend of theirs named Jeff. Once the rigging was set, Steve played Roger Whittaker's Greatest Hits. Everybody talked and mingled and trimmed lines and had a wonderful time for the next few hours.

            Originally, David and Marcy were going to sail back to Capitola with us. It was such a pleasant afternoon that we decided not to go back that day. The dock fee covered an overnight stay so why not take advantage of it and sleep at a dock. The night before had been unusually rough and Marsha hadn't slept much . We had nothing planned for dinner but there were restaurants nearby. So it was settled, we would spend the night. It was still sunny in the later part of the afternoon when everyone had gone their separate ways, so we were just relaxing on Moonshot thinking about how enjoyable the day's sail had been. Just as we were beginning to wonder what we were going to do for dinner, we noticed Jeff in a dingy rowing towards us. He asked if we wanted to join him for dinner, he had a car. We said sure and ended up going to a good Japanese restaurant meeting up with the other Steve and his girlfriend. We were now partying with friends of friends of friends. We agreed we were starting to like Santa Cruz harbor more and more.

            Waking up the next day was sluggish but the fresh air finally got me out of the V-berth. After enjoying a cup of coffee in the cockpit while watching the marina wake up, I realized there was a fresh water hose on the dock. Moonshot hadn't had a fresh water bath in over 3 weeks. I decided to give her a good once over rinse but got carried away and ended up rubbing out and waxing the entire deck. As I was finishing, Marsha handed up breakfast plates from the galley. It may have been the appetite I had worked up but it tasted like the best breakfast I can recall, consisting of corn beef hash, bacon, fried eggs sunny side up, toast and orange juice. Perfect! After Marsha cleaned the dishes and I topped off the fresh water tank, we prepared Moonshot for its eventual departure. Before leaving the harbor, we stopped at the fuel dock to top off the diesel tank. We were sorry to be leaving this place so soon, but had to move on. I will always remember Santa Cruz harbor as the place where a party could break out any minute.

            Once underway, sailing back turned out to be a broad reach. We could see the mooring with our dinghy still attached. It was an opportunity to practice snagging the mooring buoy without using the engine. Once secure, we were shocked to notice the local sea gulls had been using the Cindy Too for target practice. It was covered. That was a painful sight because mentally, I had wrapped up my day of cleaning boats a few hours ago. Dousing it with a few buckets of sea water made the job go quickly though and soon everything was packed and ready to go. We were getting used to hoisting the dinghy out of the water with the spare jib sheet and mast winch. We kept it secured on the Frederick during the week.

            We caught the taxi to shore while there was still daylight. While standing at the end of the pier we noticed Maria's, the Italian Restaurant in the building at the end of the pier. We had heard they make their own pasta, fresh daily. More delicious food helps continue any feelings one might have of being in that different reality. Life over the hill, hanging out on a boat in Monterey Bay during the summer was tremendously different and more enjoyable than what we were used to.

 

MONTEREY

            It was finally time to make the sail to Monterey. I took the next Friday off so we could have a 3 day weekend and called the Monterey harbormaster ahead of time for a slip reservation. I put Cindy in the doggie hotel for the weekend to spare her the agony of sailing and having to deal with yet another strange marina. We wanted to take the dinghy with us to Monterey so I rigged a tripod towing harness. I mounted the engine on the stern pulpit clamped to a block of teak. The Cindy Too was set for cruising. We left the mooring slightly after noon on a heading of 140° to sail a distance of 25 nautical miles. Since it was a straight sail, Josh was manning the helm. We spent the first hour analyzing what effects towing the dinghy had on our speed and on if the engine stayed securely on the rail. Once satisfied everything was working OK, I started thinking about lunch.

            The menu was steamed hot dogs. We had been playing with cooking with a pressure cooker since the Christmas prior. It was one of the boat gifts from us to us, an annual tradition. It also worked well as a steamer. Since we were on a starboard tack with rollers present I took advantage of the galley belt and the clamping potholder. Being able to employ the cruising technologies we had installed enhanced the flavor of the food. Josh was holding a perfect course in 15-knot winds with no other boats in sight. Their weekend hadn't started yet. After lunch we were in the center of Monterey Bay. I was below putting things away when Marsha started shouting from the cockpit about something in the water off our port side. I looked out one of the portholes as soon as I could but missed the sight, whatever it was. At first, she thought that it was an over turned boat, but it disappeared when we were 30 yards away. That kept her studying the Underwater Mammal book for days. She thinks it must have been a blue whale.

            As we started getting closer to Monterey, I turned the autopilot off to enjoy the sailing. The wind in the Monterey Bay area was typically lighter than in San Francisco Bay. We could have got by with leaving the Genoa up but sailing with the 110% jib was much easier. As we approached the city, the details of its coastline started becoming clearer. There were many kelp beds with plenty of sea otters and sea lions frolicking among them. We could see the Aquarium and Cannery Row. The cannery used to be a heart of the sardine industry here, but now it has been refurbished with mostly tourist attracting shops and cafes. We started to see buoys marking the harbor entrance and made our approach.

            The ambiance in this harbor was much different than in Santa Cruz. There were more working fishing boats everywhere. Though it was only one hour further south by car, it was far enough away as to not be the same kind of weekend get away spot from Silicon Valley. There was plenty of sandy beach on the north east side, but it wasn't crowded. The breakwater consists of a long row of covered with sea lions at it's entrance. As we made our way to the docks, we saw a reserved dock where tourists were dropping sardines down to the sea lions that were almost standing up barking like dogs begging for more.

 

Figure43.jpg
Figure 43: Monterey Harbor

            We had no trouble finding our assigned slip and docking and had just enough time to make it to the marina office to check in and get a gate key before it closed. The harbormaster pointed out the location of the Monterey yacht club and mentioned there was a salmon feed later that evening. He invited us to drop by if we felt like it. We walked by the club on our way back but decided we would rather try Monterey's restaurants. So many restaurants, so few meals. We were planning on walking to the Aquarium tomorrow. Tonight we would just tour the close by pier. It was loaded with shops and restaurants, like a smaller version of Pier 39 in San Francisco. Much more quaint, charming, and authentic as far as ocean side city piers go. The tourist side of Monterey was very international, we could hear many languages being spoken. Eventually we settled on a restaurant and proceeded to enjoy a hearty seafood dinner. We slept soundly that night, the day's activities made for sweet dreams.

            Before we knew it we were up the next morning exploring the docks and checking out the resident boats. We saw one that looked like a particularly smart boat somewhere in the low 30's in length. It was an Ericson of some vintage. The owner was on board. He stated he had just purchased it used. He inherited the slip as part of the deal. The waiting list for a slip here was even longer than the wait in Santa Cruz. I started talking with another fellow on a boat near Moonshot. He gave me pointers for fishing on the way and on making the entrance to Stillwater Cove. You follow the kelp, trolling for kelp bass until you see the opening between the rocks, then go in. He gave me one of his favorite lures stating the folks around here make these themselves and have been proven to work well. I was soaking up the local knowledge but was afraid we might not have time to make Stillwater Cove further south near Carmel on this trip.

            After breakfast on the pier, we walked along the city front to the other end of Monterey to visit the Aquarium. It was a fascinating place with all kinds of Pacific sea life on display. The sea otters were the biggest hit because they are so playful. There were large pools of fish including several kinds of sharks. One of the strangest fish we saw was a sunfish. It was round, about 18" in diameter and flat, looking similar to a manhole cover with one thick flipper fin on top and one on the bottom. It likes to go up to the surface on its side to lie in the sun. There were displays where you could touch things like sea worms and bat rays. The jelly fish displays were great as well with many different shapes, sizes, and colors. There were demonstrations such as the one displaying a type of flounder that changed color to match the bottom surface. There was a theater inside with films about whales. We spent over 3 hours enjoying the attractions. That gave us plenty of time to browse through the shops in Monterey, but ruled out the possibility of a trip to Stillwater Cove. On the way back to the marina, we saw many divers either entering or exiting the water wearing wet suits and lugging scuba gear. The water around Monterey, although nothing like in the Virgin Islands, is much clearer that in San Francisco. We sampled food all the way back forgoing dinner. All the walking and sightseeing had worn us out so we got to sleep early.

            The next morning was an early start. It was the third day so we decided to try out our shower system for the first time. Now we would see how much truth was in the Latitude 38 article on bug sprayers functioning as showers. I first poured a full teakettle of boiling water into the sprayer, then one full of tap water. I went first setting the sprayer in the sink after pumping it a dozen times. The temperature was perfect. Once wet, I lathered with soap and shampoo and rinsed off. It felt just like a shower. There was more than enough water left for Marsha's shower and the perfect temperature held. At this rate of consumption we would use one gallon of water for every 3 days of cruising.

            We needed to start thinking about heading back, sorry to say, so we made our way to the harbormaster's office to check out. I asked him about the waiting list. For a 30' slip the wait was 14 years. You had to pay $20.00 a year to keep your name on the list. If you changed boats in the meantime, you would be moved over to that list ahead of anybody that had not been registered as long as you had. The length of time varied depending on what size slip you needed. I quietly wondered if you could speed the process up by paying 14 years worth of 20-dollar bills up front. Once we cleared the harbor, the sail back was easy. Just pick the right compass heading, turn on the autopilot, and trim the sails.

            It was still overcast and comfortably cooler with some fair wind, 10 knots or so. It was great just taking it easy on a beam reach out into Monterey Bay and listening to music. Before we knew it 2 - 3 hours had slipped by and we were in the center of the bay. We noticed ahead of us, the water as far as we could see in either direction was covered with birds. As we approached the birds, we turned off the music so the only sound was the boat moving through the water. As we got close, the birds would fly away flapping their wings and feet taking off like a plane from a runway. About a hundred birds doing this at the same time made a very distinct noise. The birds would circle and find some new position further down towards the end of the flock. There were 3 - 4 miles of birds, hundreds of thousands. We were totally engulfed in the sight and sound for what seemed like an hour. We had a Pacific wildlife book that identified the birds as Sooty Shearwaters. It stated they flocked in large numbers, often as many as 1/2 million.

            After a full day of great sailing, we finally made our way back to Capitola 5 hours later. It took us a while to get the dinghy on board and prepare the boat for our departure. The afternoon sun was so warm that we mellowed into the seascape. It was close to perfection aside from the fact that Monday morning was just around the corner. When we were finally set to go and sounded the air horn for the taxi to come get us, nothing happened so we sounded it again, then again. We heard people hollering from the pier saying that the taxi was closed for the day. It was after 6:00 PM. We couldn't hear their message so we kept blasting the air horn. Finally one kind sole looking something like an overweight Frank Zappa came to our rescue. He was a resident of the trimaran on the mooring buoy closest to the dinghy dock. He had been sitting in Maria's bar watching us and came out, took his clothes off, jumped in the water and swam to his boat. He changed clothes and rowed his dinghy out to get us. He missed the taxi as well and our pressing need prompted his swimming solution. By this time in our minds, we were Capitola residents. Cupertino was just a place to stay during the week to avoid a long commute to work. We were planning on going back to San Francisco over the Labor Day weekend. I kept thinking of Jimmy Buffet's song, "Come Monday" when I thought of the trip back. By now I had collected his entire set of albums and was playing his tapes regularly. It seemed to be the perfect background music for living like boat gypsies.

 

Figure44.jpg
Figure 44: Flocking Sooty Shearwaters

MOSS LANDING

            The next weekend we planned a trip to check out Moss Landing. Marcy and David wanted to enjoy more sailing with us but couldn't afford to take the entire weekend so they planned to get dropped off at the Moss Landing marina on Sunday morning for the sail back. We drove over the hill to Capitola early Saturday, forgoing the Friday night bouncing at the mooring. We were just planning to sail to Moss Landing, a 12-mile broad reach. By now we were getting good at hoisting the sail, dropping the mooring lines, and sailing off without using the engine. We had phoned ahead to reserve a slip but they said just call the Moss Landing harbormaster on channel 16, they would tell us what slip to go to once we got there. I was thinking it would be a good idea to try for the Elk Horn yacht club's guest dock, but Marsha preferred the marina side to experience the local color. As we were getting close to the entrance to the harbor, Marsha was getting upset because I was coming too close to some white markers off shore. I took them to be moorings for larger boats. She thought it was a restricted area with things like pipes or cables under the water's surface connecting them to shore. The charts gave no indication. We didn't hit anything, but she was still pissed off at me. I raised the harbormaster on the VHF radio, a woman gave us a slip assignment.

            It hadn't been more than a few minutes after docking when a crusty old fisherman approached us and started talking to us. His name was Mike. He invited us down to his boat to join him for a beer. His boat was a 1940's vintage 40' fishing vessel. Without an artistic point of view, one might have referred to it as a rust bucket. We climbed aboard. Mike had an old hound dog named Yeller. Yeller was somewhat rheumatic and had a blotchy yellow coat. Marsha got the best seat in the house. It was an automobile bucket seat bolted to the deck. Mike claimed he had just had the engines replaced and it was running like a champ. He started talking about his life. He was recently divorced from a lengthy marriage. He spent about 6 months of the year fishing and during the off-season he spent his time trapping fox and mountain lion in the hills. Make that 5 months each, with a month off in between. He stated he knew we were having some kind of disagreement when we came in because he was psychic, although it was probably obvious. He agreed with Marsha about staying away from the white markers.

            We mentioned we wanted to check out the yacht club while we were here, so he volunteered to give us a ride. It was about a mile to the north end of the harbor. We eventually started making our way through the marina towards the parking lot. There were many fishing vessels here. Many of their skippers and crews were Vietnamese. We piled into Mike's pickup truck, the 3 of us and old Yeller. Mike tried to start the engine, but it wouldn't turn over so we got out to look under the hood. Mike handed me a pair of vice grips and asked me to secure one of the electrical connections. When the hood was up, we looked inside. There were already 3 pair of vice grip pliers clamped onto other connections. I played along. He tried to turn the engine over again, but there just wasn't enough juice in the batteries. He said hell with it, let's try my other car. We closed up the truck and walked to the other side of the lot to his Ford Pinto. He stated he had purchased the car for $1.00. The back seat was full of junk, but Yeller managed to climb on top of the pile. I got into the front passenger's seat, Marsha got in on top of me. It started OK.

            We showed our SPYC membership card and signed in signing Mike in as our guest. It seemed as if they knew him but didn't say anything. The club had one large game room complete with a pool table and large screen TV. It had a patio section that was facing the bay with large windows and a great view. There was also a well-stocked bar, showers, and a guest dock. They had a dartboard so I played a couple of rounds with someone who walked up to the board about the same time I did. I'll have to practice my darts more, I bought him a beer. Soon, we started talking about food. Mike was having fun in his role as our tour guide to Moss Landing. He started describing the restaurant options, with a clear bias towards the Whole Enchilada near the south harbor. We cashed out at the club, said good-bye and thanks for the hospitality, then piled back into the Pinto. As we were driving towards the restaurant, Marsha commented to Mike, "I think your dog might have dumped in the back seat of your car." Mike responded, "Could be."

 

Figure45.jpg
Figure 45: Moss Landing harbor


            The Whole Enchilada was within walking distance from the marina so fortunately our need for taxi service was coming to an end. It appeared all the people that weren't at the yacht club on Saturday night were here at the Whole Enchilada. We put our name on the waiting list and headed for the lounge. It was crowded and a bit on the rough side. We eventually got 3 stools together at the bar. They never did call our name from the restaurant or at least we never heard it and eventually we just ordered appetizers. We stayed there until it was time to crawl back to the boat, then slept very well.

            The next morning was sunny and warm. Marcy was going to drive their station wagon to meet us. David and his son were going to ride their bicycles. Brian would take the bicycles back in the car. After Marcy arrived, we made a round of mimosas while waiting for the rest of the crew. We could see the road clearly up the hill by the PG&E plant so we kept one eye peeled for David and Brian. They were taking a while so we had time to tour the marina again, looking at the boats and watching the fishermen go about their business. Some of the older fishermen were congregating around the entrance gate shooting the breeze while the younger ones were working with their nets along the docks. There were some interesting cruising boats. This seemed like a great place to stay for a while for someone in transit, more peaceful than any of the other options between Monterey and San Francisco.

            Eventually David and Brian made it. They had ended up going down some road that was closed for repairs and had to backtrack. They looked thirsty. David joined us with a mimosa while I took him to the end of the dock to see one of the cruisers. It looked custom built out of a steel hull. It had just about every gadget and toy imaginable appearing as if a family had been cruising on it for years. The air was light and the wind was coming from the north so we set our course for Hawaii and made lunch. It's always delightful when your guests bring lunch. Marcy and David were particular when it comes to food, we always eat good when we're with them. We were heading out towards Monterey Canyon, the deepest part of the Bay. I was starting to get worried that we might have to motor back because the wind was coming from the wrong direction, but eventually it firmed up and wrapped around such that we were soon on a perfect heading for home. We shared stories about our new friend Mike the fisherman and his old dog Yeller. It was another wonderful Sunday afternoon sailing home. With Moonshot moored securely, we dropped David and Marcy off and drove over the hill to the house we sleep in during the week while we work.

 

LABOR DAY WEEKEND

            Thursday evening before the weekend, we went out to dinner with Lewis and Barbara. We realized Barbara had only been on Moonshot once, the day with no wind. Over dinner, Marsha and I began expounding on the kind of fun we had been having. Lewis was all for logging some more time on the water. We had started talking about him being on the crew list for the trip back to San Francisco that was approaching way too quickly. Barbara started showing signs of interest, finally.

            We were planning on bringing the boat back as we were driving to the Albert's house on Friday night. It must have been something about it being the beginning of the Labor Day weekend, which ended the summer season. Being over the hill that night made us cut loose into a mood for partying. Instead of making plans for the cruise home, we started planning for a cruise to Stillwater Cove. Lewis and Barbara would be coming over on Sunday. We were anxious for Barbara to have a good experience. Coming up the coast wasn't appropriate for a first sail. That could spoil a person before sailing ever had a chance to get into their blood. The next morning we decided to just go hang out at the mooring and try to catch fish. There's nothing more enjoyable than eating fresh fish you catch yourself. David and Marcy were going to bring steaks for dinner Sunday night, but if we were lucky we would have surf and turf. They were skeptical of our catching fish but wished us luck as we headed for the pier. We said we would phone in by marine radio if we got lucky.

            When we got to the end of the pier, I checked with the Bait and Tackle shop to get advice on what kind of fish were running. I ended up talking to Phil. His hours as taxi driver started when the first person honked their air horn in the morning. He lives on one of the boats at the moorings. He eagerly started telling us about how the Halibut were running right now. People were catching them off the pier. He showed me a double hook system with one acting as a slide on the leader. The two hooks would go into an anchovy, one at each end. I purchased some new tackle and a bag of anchovies. Halibut are bottom fish so you need to get your bait on the bottom. I rigged two poles. I went through many anchovies over a 3-hour period because crabs were getting the bait. I decided to try leaving the bait a few inches off the bottom so the crabs wouldn't have it so easy. As I was putting bait on the second pole again, Marsha excitedly motioned for me to look at the other pole. It was bent in a U shape and was about ready to leave the boat. I grabbed it and shouted for Marsha to get the net. Marsha has a special kind of fish adrenaline that allowed her to move the contents of the lazaret around and pull the net out quickly.

            I started reeling in the line. Whatever it was it seemed heavy but not putting up much of a fight, at least not until I got it up to the surface. It looked like a monster. Because we had studied well at the Aquarium, we knew what Halibut looked like. Otherwise, it would have been spooky. Once it got to the surface and saw the intensity of the daylight, it knew it was in trouble and took a dive. I slowly played him in until Marsha could get the net underneath it. It filled up the entire net, weighing in at 8 pounds. Soon it was flipping about frantically in the cockpit. Marsha went below and put the window in the companionway entrance. Blood was starting to get splattered everywhere, I was hoping it wasn't mine. Just then an older gentleman came rowing by in a small boat. He had been watching and commented that I would have to hit the fist hard to get control of it. I asked Marsha to hand up the hammer. The Halibut was still flopping wildly. I whacked it in the head once but it was still flopping. I hit again harder the second time. After the 4th whack, the hammer went about 1/2 way through the floundering fish's head. It finally quit moving.

            We decided the right thing to do next was to clean it on shore. The fish filled up a large garbage bag and had to be bent to fit into our cooler. It was over 24 inches long. This was the biggest fish I had ever caught. Phil was at the end of the dock. I told him he was right, the Halibut were striking. I showed him the fish. He said holy smokes and started thinking about getting a hook in the water himself. I asked him if we could borrow a knife and what the best way to clean Halibut was. He said sure and suggested filleting it. I'd never fillet a fish before and hadn't developed the technique. As I was dumping the fish on the cleaning bench, it began attracting much attention. Folks walking along the pier had a new tourist attraction. A young boy came up to me and stated I should cut it into steaks. But the folks at the bait shop also suggested filleting. The kid was persistent. "My dad fishes all the time. He cuts them into steaks because it is easier and wastes less meat." Phil shrugged his shoulders, I said OK.

 

Figure46.jpg
Figure 46: Fresh Halibut for dinner

            I had the head and guts removed and was planning my next incision when I was approached by a representative from the Department of Fish and Game. Did I do something wrong? No, it had been a slow day and he had to get one more fisherman to fill out a survey sheet before he could go home. Steve the fisherman. I agreed and paused to complete his survey. Marsha was starting to feel ill fearing I was hamming it up too much and taking too long cleaning the fish. What could I do? It was difficult cutting through the fish's spine. Every time I finally forced the knife through the spine cutting off a new steak, I felt what was almost like an electric shock. It was as if I was feeling the fish's life forces. I built up quite a nice pile of steaks getting near the end and was debating weather to cut the last piece in two or leave it as one. The young boy that advised me to cut steaks was eyeing that piece with particular interest, so I asked if he would like a piece. I had guessed correctly. He said sure, thanks, grabbed it and took off, peddling his bicycle down the pier. I bagged the steaks, returned the borrowed knife, cleaned up and started thinking about dinner.

            Once back on Moonshot, I called David on the marine radio. "This is the vessel Moonshot, Whiskey Sierra Quebec 2828. We just caught a big fish. Can you bring some kind of marinade for grilling halibut steaks? Over". I caught them by surprise. They weren't sure if I was playing a joke. They said they already had steaks for dinner but would see what they could do. "That concludes my traffic operator, thank you very much. This is the vessel Moonshot standing by on 16, over and out". Marsha made a great meal around plenty of grilled halibut that evening, then we settled in for some rest before tomorrow's voyage. We had never had 6 people on Moonshot over night, it would be interesting to see how we fared.

            David, Marcy, Lewis, and Barbara were planning an early arrival, so we could have everything loaded and be well under way before noon. If we made good time, we'd be there around 5:00 PM. It took a few trips back and forth with the dingy, there were sleeping bags, beverages, ice, and plenty of food to haul on board. Marcy had prepared a ginger, garlic, and soy marinade for the Halibut. The weather was warming and everyone was in good spirits from this being a 3-day weekend. We set a waypoint for Cypress Point and took off. Soon the wind picked up and we trimmed the sails for our heading. The afternoon passed by quickly, everyone was having a great time, especially Barbara. We were crossing a fairly large body of water and getting the rollers from the ocean, so it was exciting. She was taking to it well. We were commenting that the sailing in the Virgin Islands was easier and if this caused her no problems, she would definitely enjoy a charter.

            Around 4:00 PM, Marcy remembered the halibut was supposed to go in the marinade. We could start to see our destination in fair detail, so the crew shifted around. Marcy went below. I turned Josh off to sail the rest of the way in. The anchoring team would be Marsha, Lewis and myself. We would have tried the lure I was given in Monterey as we sailed along the kelp beds off Cypress Point but I had my share of fish killing for the weekend. We took down the sails and started motoring as we made the final approach. It was just as the advice I'd been given made me envision. Follow the kelp until you see a break and can see between the rocks at the entrance. I could see that if you weren't confident about how to get in, it would be prudent to think it might be hazardous.

            We were now pulling into the southern most anchorage along the Pacific Coast before the rocky stretch consisting of Big Sur. Marsha was at the helm, Lewis and I were getting the anchor ready. We looked around for a clear spot away from other boats and kelp and directed Marsha where to steer. Our sign language was rusty but we managed to drop the hook at the right moment. There were many boats in the anchorage, more than usual because of the holiday weekend. We could see the pin for the famous hole on the green near the coast at the Pebble Beach Golf Course.

            Soon a young man at the helm of a small Boston Whaler approached to tell us the rules of the anchorage. The yacht club was strictly off limits being private for members only. There were, however, restrooms on shore we could use. He referred to them as being Spartan in their appointment. He also pointed to a receptacle we could use to unload trash. He talked about the few moorings being private, but that the owners didn't mind transients using them if they were not otherwise in use. They have to come out of the water after the end of September until the beginning of May. It was a regulation passed after the big storm in 1983. He explained that during the storm, waves were coming into the cove that were so large, they broke out the front windows of the yacht club. We thanked him for the information and settled back to enjoy the late afternoon and the scenery.

            Between Marcy, David, and Lewis' culinary expertise, I was anticipating dining exceptionally well that evening. All three have food things that fascinate me. One of David's strengths is manning the grill. There were enough filet mignon steaks to feed everybody. There were also enough halibut steaks to feed everybody. He began grilling everything. Because the evening was not too cool or damp, this would be the sort of meal where you held your plate and ate wherever you happened to be. Wine bottles were starting to get opened, both red and white for the surf and turf. As the food finished cooking, plates appeared before the grill, eager for participating in the marinated halibut tasting. It was so good. The halibut was a hit. Most of the beef didn't get eaten. I felt proud. Marcy stated that the reason it tasted better today than the day before is that most fish are better the second day after they have been killed. Something about the gaminess having a chance to die down. It made me think of the almost electric shocks I experienced while slicing through the halibut's spine.

            The crew, by now, had consumed a great dinner as well as a fair amount of wine so we gradually started preparing for sleep. Cleaning the galley and stowing dirty dishes was first on the list. The girls seemed to have a handle on that. Lewis and I were experimenting with rigging the old blue lantern as an anchor light. We used the spare jib halyard to raise it, then developed a tripod of lines running between the forestay and two forward shrouds to suspend it in mid air over the Frederick. Soon we started having fun watching the other boats in the anchorage. Because it was a holiday weekend, it seemed like the right thing for some of the boaters to use up the left over fireworks from the 4th of July. Others wanting to join in the merriment were shooting up their out dated or white flares. It was quite a spectacle. Of course we didn't have anything to contribute, but you can bet in the future, I'd be stocking a few white test flares for just this sort of occasion.

            Time to figure out how we were really going to sleep 6 on Moonshot was rapidly approaching. The first 4 berths were known. We ended up pulling the port aft quarter berth cushion out and coupling it with the port settee backrest to make a cushion for the floor. That worked as a perfect base for sleeping bags. It could very well be the best bed on the boat, except for minor shortcomings such as the fact that Marsha stepped on Lewis's elbow while trying to find the head in the middle of the night. The next morning I was one of the first to wake up and was savoring the memories of all the fun things we had done the day before. Soon it would be time to dinghy ashore and check out the facilities. But first I had to figure out how to get the coffee brewing. I crawled out of the forward hatch and worked my way into the galley from the companionway entrance making sure not to step on Lewis or Barbara. When I did manage to get the coffee going, its aroma started arousing the crew. Soon everyone was layering on clothing and packing up the sleeping bags. I got the dinghy's engine running and started up the taxi service. The first group took the trash from the night before, then we started touring.

            It was a typical overcast morning and people were moving slowly. We had a second shift that needed to come ashore and breakfast was on the horizon so we made our way back to the mother ship. I watched other boats as they were leaving the anchorage while we were completing our morning thing. We were one of the last boats to leave the harbor but eventually got underway. It was a good sail back, but the sky was overcast for 3/4 of the way. Marcy started getting queasy so she brought up a sleeping bag to curl up in nestled amongst the crew in the cockpit. The Knapps were just taking it all in. Have I mentioned how sailing gets into your blood? We arrived soon enough to get everyone to the beach house in time to make it over the hill at a reasonable hour.

            For the journey back to Brisbane the following weekend, Lewis volunteered himself and his son, Lewis Jr. Everyone agreed that was a good crew and Lewis Jr. would keep us straight, in case Lewis and I decided to experiment with seeing how long it would take to sail to Hawaii.

 

HEADING UP TO SAN FRANCISCO

            The plan fell into place easily. There was a going away dinner planned at an Italian restaurant in Capitola that Friday night. Marsha was busy finishing a project and decided she needed the time Saturday to work. She was planning on taking us to Capitola Friday evening, having dinner at the going away party, working all day Saturday. She would bring 2 racks of lamb to be grilled for dinner in Half Moon Bay, joining us for the second leg of the trip. Marsha dropped the Lewis' and I off at the Capitola pier in time to catch the dinghy taxi out to Moonshot. We were going to drop off our bags and bring the Cindy Too back to the dinghy dock so we could get out to Moonshot after the taxi service quit. From a navigation standpoint, we just needed to compute and enter one more waypoint into the Loran, but we planned to do that after we got back from dinner. We would be leaving before dawn.

            Once the bags were stowed, we launched the Cindy Too and rowed back to the dinghy dock. We were on one of the outer moorings but thought rowing would be good exercise. When we made it to the restaurant, we found David, Marcy, Joy, and Marsha, all with a head start on us. We joined in and ordered dinner. As we were discussing how much fun the summer had been, a performer started singing Roger Whittaker's, "The Last Farewell". That's his song that starts out with, "There's a ship that's rigged and ready in the harbor, and tomorrow, for old England, she sets sail...". Lewis enjoyed the metaphor. We ate and drank for too long before saying our last farewell.

            As we were walking down the pier, we noticed a group of guys huddled near the end. As we got closer, I noticed Phil was among the crowd. He said, "It's a long way back to your boat, I'll be happy to give you a tow." He paused long enough for us to start internalizing his words and think it was a good idea. He then continued with, "If you help us finish up this Tequila." It was already getting close to midnight. Lewis Jr. our stabilizer, the one to keep us going in the right direction didn't have a particularly bad reaction to this proposition. We all decided it was a long way back to the boat and helped out.

            We still managed to set the waypoint and alarm clock before falling asleep. I passed around scopolamine patches for any one interested. I thought it made sense to put it on the night before to help with sleep taking advantage of its initial sleepy side effects. We would be taking off in about 4 hours. It seemed like just moments later, I was up making the coffee. Once everybody got their clothes on, I started the engine. It was still dark out, but there were plenty of lights on shore to guide our way. It was a stunning view, seeing the pre dawn coast of Santa Cruz turn into dawn as we passed by.

            It turned out to be a calm day. We resigned ourselves to motoring while watching the coastal scenery go by and back tracking our waypoints to Half Moon Bay. One of the entertaining sights we hadn't experience on the way down was thousands of large jellyfish. Their purplish main sections ranged from about 6" to 15" and the streams flowing behind them ranged up to 12'. The hours passed quickly. As we entered the harbor, I raised the Half Moon Bay harbormaster on channel 16. He gave me clear directions on how to locate a particular dock. We were tied to the dock before 3:30 PM. We toured the area before checking in with the harbormaster. We saw fisherman filleting their catch of the day, mostly rock fish of all colors. Gradually, we started changing our minds about staying at that dock for the night because it was next to a utility shed. The motor of a squid sucker inside the shed was running and making too much noise. The anchorage looked like a much more desirable spot. I let the harbormaster know by radio, he understood.

            As we were shoving off the dock, Lewis tried to board the starboard side where the windscreen was tied to the toe rail and almost fell off the boat. I had to grab him, he was almost in the water. Holding on to him while at the helm, I looked forward to see I was heading straight for a cruiser docked in front of us. I turned the wheel just in time to miss it. Lewis didn't fall off and got back in the boat OK. A near glitch, but we made it out. We motored back to the anchorage to find a place to drop the hook for the night. We cruised around the boats already there and found an open spot closer to shore. Lewis dropped the anchor and I put the gearshift into reverse to set it. In the moments of almost falling off the boat, Lewis had dropped the stern dock line into the water. When I put the engine in reverse, the line wrapped around our propeller. At the same instant our prop got roped, a sleek looking wooden sailboat passed between us and shore and ran aground 20' away from us. We were both stuck and feeling quite embarrassed.

            We started talking to the skipper of the grounded boat. It turned out he had a wet suit and could dive to clear our prop. His problem would go away with the tide but his girlfriend needed to get to shore before then. He didn't have a dinghy. Is this harmonic convergence or what? We lowered our dinghy into the water, then Lewis Jr. took them to shore. The man would be back but in the meantime Lewis tried diving for the line with no wet suit. It was too cold. After a few attempts, we decided to wait. They soon came back, he donned his wet suit and had the prop free in short order. Everyone was out of trouble now, so we decided to head to shore and wait for Marsha to meet us with the dinner provisions at the Half Moon Bay yacht club. I have to admit, that was a glitch, but the associated coincident and how immediately we were caught up in it made it seem like it was what was supposed to happen for some reason.

            The club was as it had been on the trip down, with a laid back atmosphere and a few people hanging out. While we were at the bar, the person in charge for the day came excitedly running into the club while holding his right hand with his left hand. He had been pinched by a crab. We went outside to see if we could determine how it happened. We saw an old fisherman with a huge trunk full of crabs neatly lined up in rows and columns. He had been trapping crabs along the pier all day and had been very successful. He offered to trade a few crabs to the Commodore for the use of the club's bathroom. A good idea in principle but it didn't work out well this time.

            It wasn't long before Marsha arrived. We were hesitant to tell her of the day's folly at first but it just sort of came out. It was almost as if she was satisfied that we proved we couldn't avoid trouble without her on board. She just would have had to be there to have understood. We made our way back to the boat with visions of a delicious rack of lamb dinner in mind. After the fine dinner, we used the lamb bones as bait in our crab trap. We played with it for a while and pulled in a good-sized very lively crab. Since we were no longer hungry, Lewis said he'd take it with him.

            We woke up early the next day, again wanting to make our destination by mid afternoon. Marsha felt like a jinx for clear weather. The fog seemed even thicker than what we experienced on the trip down. We didn't think twice about making the trip this day because we had navigated successfully in the fog before. This time we were facing entering the Golden Gate though. I used the same strategy as the day before, get coffee going then get the hull moving as soon as possible. This day, it worked a lot differently. That's not Marsha's style of travel, she wasn't prepared to leave yet. She lost her cool and was screaming about everything we were doing being wrong. That made it difficult to run the ship. At one point I got totally turned around somehow, the course she was giving me was about 180° off what felt like the right thing. I had to go below and look at the chart to get my bearings straight. She also didn't think the autopilot should be on just yet. We were still trying to avoid the hazards outside the breakwater. I felt the autopilot was the best way to stay on course. I don't think she would have been as up tight if she would have been on the first day with us. I felt as if we were just continuing on with what we had started the day before. She was just getting started and wasn't ready to go out onto the ocean when we took off. We slowly got things under control and the tension subsided.

          One of the first mysteries of the day was that one of the first buoys that would confirm we were on a correct course was nowhere to be found when it should have been in sight. We later learned that it had been hauled for service. That kept us guessing, even though the Loran was telling us we were on course. Because the fog was so thick, we kept two people with bagel breakfast food in pocket on deck by the mast as watch. We still had less visibility than the trip down, about 30 yards for most of the trip. We came across one fishing party boat, fortunately in time to avoid getting in its way.

            Eventually we hit the waypoint where we needed to turn right heading for the Golden Gate. The fog wasn't budging. About 2 miles in we started hearing a noise that sounded like a freighter bearing down on us. We couldn't see a thing. My reaction was to hold still so we could hear and pinpoint where it was coming from. Marsha's reaction was to turn the boat around 90° and head for the opposite direction of the freighter channel as fast as the boat would go, which we did. After a few minutes, we could make out what the sound was. It was two military helicopters causing a stereo effect that made the noise sound as if it was coming from everywhere. When they were far away, the noise was low and throaty, like a freighter's engines. It was quite a scare but once we learned what it was, we regained our composure quickly and proceeded to get back on the proper course.

            As we kept getting closer to the Golden Gate we couldn't see, we started focusing our attention on how we were going to manage the entry. Lewis and I maintained port and starboard watch from the mast. Lewis Jr. maintained a stern watch from the cockpit. Marsha took the remote control for the autopilot to the nav station in the cabin below and controlled the boat blind while watching the Loran output and reading the chart. This crew distribution seemed to be working fine until we got to the gate. Just when I saw the base of one of the bridge's stanchions, the Loran data Marsha was reading started going haywire. I went back to the cockpit, disengaged Josh, and took over the helm. I made a 60-degree turn to port to avoid a collision. There was plenty of time, though unchecked, our autopilot course would have had us collide with it.

            It was still foggy once inside the gate. We had no clues that we had just entered one of the country's major ports because we couldn't see or hear anything. I maintained a compass heading close to east. Eventually we spotted another sailboat 40 yards away on our starboard side going in the same direction. I stayed parallel to it thinking we wouldn't hit shore with this boat between us. It was neat, we weren't using Loran data now, just plowing through the fog believing we were clear between the city front and Alcatraz island. Soon, we started seeing patches of city front and had better bearings. It wasn't long before many things started becoming visible and we made it past the fog bank.

            We could see Alcatraz behind us off to the left and were content in a state of mild amazement at what we had just been through. What's that I feel on my face, the wind is starting to pick up. All of a sudden, for the first time that weekend, we found ourselves getting serious about hoisting the sails. We made it past the city front, made the turn south, and set the sails for a long reach back to Brisbane. We started peeling layers of wet gear and wool sweaters because the sun was giving us warmth. About twenty minutes into the tack still north of the Bay Bridge, a 40-foot sailing yacht crossed our bow fairly close by. Once past and crossing paths side by side, it's skipper started hailing to us. We stood up to listen and heard, "Excuse me, excuse me. Have you got any Grey Poupon?" We knew we had left Santa Cruz and were back in San Francisco Bay. That point couldn't have been brought home any clearer. I couldn't contrast the two bays better than comparing a day glo bikini to Grey Poupon mustard. Can we turn around now?

            The wind remained constant, so it was a great sail home for the next couple of hours. That was enough time to blow all the ocean feeling out of our psyches. The rollers were gone, the familiar chop was back, as well as the murky muddy water of San Francisco Bay. We soon pulled back into slip #5-81 in Brisbane marina. Richard and Hillary were out working on their boat. Roger, the owner of a Catalina 34 two slips down was also out. They all came over to talk to us. We were going on and on about what an adventure we had just came back from. They seemed to back off as if they didn't want to hear any more. We asked how things had been around here this summer and got almost cold shoulder responses. Crappy, too much wind, no fun. Richard pointed over to Roger's traveler that was arched by a few inches. He stated it was designed to be straight. Roger had experienced a serious uncontrolled jibe recently.

            We had slowed down the "we did this and we did that conversation" to mention how valuable the Loran unit had been. Richard stated that's great if you can afford a month's cruising out of the kitty. We backed off and decided we were torturing these people, and got to work cleaning Moonshot. Richard was just finishing installing ratlinesin his port shrouds. It wouldn't be long before Richard and Hillary, and Hank and Polly would be leaving on their cruises. We were glad we made it back in time to see them off.

            We were back. The experience with line being caught in the prop and the skipper with the wet suit had gotten me interested in diving. I remember reflecting on admiring the spear guns in one of the shops we had visited in the Virgin Islands. Now I was becoming interested in learning about wet suits. The following week, I located the Wallin Dive Shop next door to Allen Steel off the Whipple exit from 101 in Redwood City. I toured the place and realized there was quite a bit to it, much you had to learn and many price tags on a lot of equipment. I purchased a net game bag and a dive magazine, then went back to work. Maybe later. Great summer!!!

Figure47.jpg
Figure 47: A safe return from Monterey Bay

 

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Keys to the Golden Gate, Copyright (c) 2002 by Steve Sears