California Cruising

California Cruising
By sv Prairie SeaShell on 6 Oct, 2006 6:27 PM

Did a tour of the Silicon Valley and went to the Intel Museum. We took a Cable Car ride ...

Cruising California - Prairie SeaShell Sea Stories by Lynn & Don Campbell

San Francisco marina
 San Francisco marina
The first of order of business upon our arrival in San Francisco was to pick up a rental car for a trip across town to the airport. Anders & Elizabeth had a flight back to Vancouver at 5 AM the next morning. We were certainly sad to see them go, but we had kept them away much longer than we had expected. The trip to San Francisco would have been impossible without them.
On the way back, we did a few groceries to pick up something to BBQ at the Mexico Bound party that was being  hosted by the marina. We made a salad and headed over to Dock 11 around 4:00 only to realize when we were half way there, that we were a day early, it was only Friday, the party was on Saturday night. Guess we were in a bit too much of a hurry to start the socializing with the other cruisers! Anyhow, the following day, we did meet lots of people and heard lots of stories, in fact, we met Bernard who has his boat in a marina in El Salvador, the same marina as our friends Iain & Aly. Small world!
Spent a little time running around getting spares and parts that may be needed over the next few months, then did a tour of the Silicon Valley and went to the Intel Museum. We took a Cable Car ride, and Don got the full effect of the ride, standing on the side board, hanging on tight, and trying to make himself real skinny as the traffic passed, very close, beside him. We toured the Cable car museum, and took a trip to Fishermen's Wharf.
Pier 39 San Francisco
 Pier 39, San Francisco
In wintertime there can be as many as 900 sea lions on the floats at Pier 39. Sure glad we didn’t tie up there as they make a huge amount of noise, even worse than the seals at Comox.
While we were at the wharf, we were treated to a display from the Blue Angels, the US version of our Snowbirds, in much newer planes (F18’s I think). This week is Fleet Week in San Francisco and they will be doing performances all weekend, flying under the bridge etc.
Spent the weekend with my cousin Linda, and treated I myself to a long, hot bath at her place while Don caught up on the world's  happenings on her internet. We went to the Concord town square for lunch, and stopped for ice cream at Cold Stone Creamery. Here you choose your base ice cream flavour, and then they add your choice of flavourings by folding in the nuts, chocolate pieces, fruit, etc. on a cold plate. Very rich!
We were all set to leave San Francisco on Monday, however Don wasn’t feeling well – stomach problems, and we’re not even in Mexico yet! Mike & Liz on s/v Argonaut from Seattle came over to check out our solar panels, and by afternoon there was another party happening on the dock, with members of about five different boats all contributing to an impromptu pot luck dinner.
Aircraft carrier, Golden Gate bridge
 Aircraft carrier, Golden Gate bridge
The following day we bid farewell to San Francisco, again passing under the bridge around 11:00 am, but this time the sky was much clearer, but we still had some very large company. Too many planes on this craft to even count.
The day went well, our first day out by ourselves, although at one point I thought we had big problems. I turned the new microwave on to heat up some coffee and thought I had burnt out the inverter. We quickly switched over the navigation computer to it’s own inverter while Don once again figured out what the problem was. Fortunately just the circuit breaker, so no major problem.
We actually did get to sail for a good part of the day, it was a nice treat to turn off the engine and listen to the sounds of the sea.
Half Moon Bay
 Half Moon Bay
We pulled in at Half Moon Bay hoping for a couple hours of rest before continuing our journey to Monterrey, however, the horn buoy sounds every 4 seconds here, and it’s a little hard to tune it out.
Yellow breasted bird
 Yellow breasted bird hitchhiking
We picked up a little hitchhiker on the way, we were about 5 miles offshore when this little yellow breasted bird dropped in for a visit. When we first saw him, it looked like he only had one leg, he was holding on to our lines with one leg tucked up under him. He stayed with us for an hour or more, resting on the main sail, until I scared him away with the camera.
We also watched lots of huge pelicans try to get airborne, quite a clumsy show, but once they do, they fly In formation like the Snowbirds. When one glides, they all glide, when one flaps wing, they all follow the leader. Quite a show!
Monterey marina
Monterey marina
When we were approaching Monterrey, tried to reach the Harbour Master for a slip assignment, however, no luck, so we decided to anchor out. We dingied to the Harbour Master in the morning and were greeted by a little sea otter, and many many sea lions. It’s a little intimidating being in such a small dingy, right down at water level with a 600lb sea lion beside you. And after seeing the slips in the marina, occupied by the sea lions, we weren’t sure we really wanted to dock here.
Sea otter
 Sea otter
On the way back out to Prairie SeaShell, a neighbouring boat was calling out to us “Hey, you are Iain & Alyson’s friends”. They knew our boat name, but not our names. I’m finding that this is how people remember you out here, by your boat name, not your own. It was Leslie, Dave Jo & Jordan aboard Sassona, and they  had left Port Angeles just a few days ahead of us. They came over for tea that evening, and we shared storm stories from the Washington & Oregon coasts. As it turned out, Dave had talked to Don many years ago when he was attempting to make a sail for his boat.
Plants in California
 California plants
Monterrey is a cute little town, with a town square that makes you feel like you are in Mexico. It was the capital when California was under Spanish rule, and there are many of the original, and/or restored adobe homes and buildings throughout the town. Their Fisherman's Wharf reminds me of the midway at the Stampede, with lots of little shops and restaurants out over the water.
Mexican Fire Dance
 Mexican Fire Dance
One afternoon some Mexican dancers put on a show for us, it was called the Fire Dance. They are actually holding the fire in their hands and between their feet.
We spent a day at the aquarium and treated ourselves to a nice Mexican dinner. If you would like to see more pictures from the aquarium and from Monterrey, or from the rest of our trip click here
Waterfront bike path
 Waterfront bike ride
We went for a bike ride along the waterfront. The railroad tracks from the old canneries are now beautiful, wide, flat bike paths that go for miles. Our bikes are really coming in handy, it was a great way to see the sights, and way cheaper than renting a car. We could have spent more time here, but, it’s time to move on.

Next stop Santa Barbara, but that’s a story for another day.


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