Archive for September, 2009

Real Cruisers

Sunday, September 6th, 2009

We’re official cruisers now. We have our requisite blurry dolphin photo from our trip offshore (actually, a Dall’s Porpoise):

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and tonight we attended our first potluck, at the Treasure Island Yacht Club. We were invited to be the guests of John, our anchorage neighbor. We enjoyed wonderful company, a delicious dinner, a movie, and a great view of fireworks over downtown SF to boot. A delightful evening!

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Earlier today, K started his first batch of California brew. Preparing the wort:

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Letting it cool in a stiff breeze:

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And finally setting it to brew in the aft head brewery:SaturdaySept5 014

Now we just have to sit very still until it’s ready for bottling.

And, oh yes, the helicopters were buzzing around the Bay Bridge all day! Apparently things are not going as well as planned. The latest news is that the bridge will not be open in time for Tuesday’s morning commute after all, in fact, they’re not saying when they think it’ll reopen (yikes!).

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37°48.95’N 122°22.29’W 05-Sep-09 23:30 PDT

Bay Bridge Closure

Saturday, September 5th, 2009

We felt our way into the deceptively narrow entrance of the anchorage between Treasure and Yerba Buena Islands yesterday, and stumbled upon a beehive of activity.   TreasureIsland 037

News vans were parked in the marina parking lot onshore, there was some apparent notable being transported around in a convoy of black SUVs with police escort, and at least four news helicopters swarmed in the sky.  We never really found out who the dignitary in the SUV was, but the news crews, whirlybirds, and radio announcers were abuzz about the nearby Bay Bridge.  The bridge, which normally carries a quarter of a million cars each day between Oakland and downtown San Francisco, was due to close in a few hours for the entire Labor Day weekend so crews could work 24 hrs a day to slide in a new section of the span.   The helicopters stayed in the sky for hours, apparently waiting for something to happen.  Their presence got a little tediuous, like mosquitos that are still in your room after you gave up on swatting them.  We couldn’t figure what they wanted to see; what changes when a bridge is closed?   Anyway, K and I lounged around below reading books and finally went to bed to the sound of the road crews and machinery in action on the bridge.

This afternoon we went ashore where we met several locals who were agog about the bridge closure. 

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We found out that only people who live on Treasure Island are allowed on the bridge while it’s closed.  Until the bridge reopens on Tuesday, the only other way on or off the island is by bus.  The work continues tonight.

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37°48.86’N 122°22.07’W   04-Sep-09 20:39 PDT

Angel Island

Friday, September 4th, 2009

After the fast pace of the the Marina District we were looking for a quiet place to spend a few days out of town. We were on our way to Treasure Island after a brief stop at the local pump-out dock for water and a hose down when we diverted down the west side of Alcatraz to a roadstead anchorage on the east side of Angel Island

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We had the place to ourselves and it may be due to the ship and fast ferry traffic in the traffic lanes a few hundred feet from our anchor spot. The wind alternated between calm and 25 kts and the current conspired against the wind to hold us beam-to at the windiest part of the day. We spent several hours a day heeled over at anchor during the max ebb. But the fast ferry wakes finally drove us off after two days. These wakes happen to be on a resonant frequency for our hull causing a magnification of our rolling to the point that we felt like we were off the coast of Oregon. The first couple of nights it seemed like no big deal after 8 days of heavy seas, eventually we regained our inland water indignance and moved on.

Angel Island itself is a very interesting state park (with a fairly aggressive staff of uniformed rangers who tend to shake down visitors with the understanding that they are funding a good cause).  It was a military base from the mid-1800s to the 1960’s. It also served as a West Coast customs entry point for immigrants from 1910 to 1940. We saw:

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Eucalyptus trees, flowering bushes, and associated bees

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The base PX, where I insisted that S confirm the closure of the former tap room.

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A hospital building that reminded me strongly of the hospital where my Dad worked in Gaza. 

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It is almost a mirror image of the Gaza English Hospital.

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Immigration Station where ~ 1 million primarily Asian immigrants were housed and sometimes detained along with Axis merchant mariners during WWII. We wondered if our friends the Wongs came through here or knew people who had.

It’s hard to imagine what is was like for these people. Did they see this place as a formality prior to reaping the harvest of the New World, or was it a scary concentration camp with no clear outcome? The grounds show evidence of both.

37°51.52’N 122°25.19’W   03-Sep-09 22:06 PDT

San Francisco by Sea

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009

We made respectable time down the coast. Arriving 8 days after leaving Neah Bay.

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Just prior to passing under the Golden Gate Bridge, S catches up on the news from Erie: Joe’s having dental work.

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A future Dockwise customer.

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North side of the bridge.

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Inside the Golden Gate

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Port-cam of downtown SF from our anchorage in the Aquatic Park.

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Turns out we anchored in the middle of the local ocean swimming venue. We met lots of swimmers who would stop bythe boat to dog paddle and answer questions about the nearest laundry and grocery store. A very convenient feature in a new anchorage.

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The Aquatic Park at night

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No-knead beer bread meets Sourdough Town (thanks Nancy!).

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Relative motion. The motion, big wind and the solid concrete breakwater 200 ft behind us finally convinced us to move after 3 nights. We never did drag, the bottom of the Aquatic Park is good stuff.

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The view (and the price) were impossible to beat.

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The crew of Bint Al Khamseen. Neah Bay to San Francisco in eight days.

37°48.60’N 122°25.50’W   01-Sep-09 03:09 UTC

Offshore From Neah Bay: The Voyage in Pictures

Tuesday, September 1st, 2009

We had our hands full sailing the boat and keeping everything running, but now that we’ve had a few day in San Francisco Bay we’re ready to upload the pics.

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Farwell and adieu to you ladies of the Makah Nation

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Now that its off the rudder we should… eat it?

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The Ships Naturalist prepares delicious Bull Kelp for coconut chicken kelp curry.  It came out better than the kelp pickles – need a better pickle recipe.

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Anything floating becomes a target for the Whidby NAS Orions training off the Washington coast. These guys buzzed us for hours. They had one engine out the whole time.

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Good night solar panels, sleep tight and don’t let your diodes fail and feed all my juice back into the dark.

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S works on her beloved preventers (note from S: safety first!).

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Many fine nights at sea.

37°49.00’N 122°28.70’W   31-Aug-09 02:24 UTC