San Francisco

September 29, 2000. Napa Valley.

Hi all,

This week we worked on a few boat projects, continued learning spanish and met new cruising friends. We bought a new sheet for Temptress and used some line we had to replace the other one. (Sheets are the lines that control the headsail). We now have sheets long enough to go through the downwind pole and around the inner fore stay and still allow us to jibe without freeing the cockpit end. We helped some cruising friends with their boats. Diagnosing electrical problems and setting up some software. On Sunday I removed the Clark pump from my watermaker because the nice people at Spectra (the manufacturer of the watermaker right here in Sausalito) offered to upgrade it to their newest design for free. I dropped it off on Monday and on Tuesday afternoon they had it ready for me. Turns out they did quite a bit of rework. They thought that it must have been run with some dirt in it and the cylinders were scored. They replaced the cylinders and rebuilt the whole pump as well as replacing the shifting mechanism as they offered. All for nothing. This is one of the best pieces of marine hardware I have ever found and the treatment I received from Spectra makes them tops in my book. Installed the pump on Thursday and all seems to work fine. Just a bit less production but I believe that is because they essentially replaced my pump and it needs a bit of time to break in.

On Wednesday Bert, my cousin and tour guide, and his friend David took us to the Napa valley for some wine tasting. The first winery we went to offered a free tasting of some very good and interesting Italian style wines. One of them was quite unique. It had the perfume of roses and would accompany turkey and cranberry sauce perfectly. We didn’t end up buying anything there and after a day of wine tasting we forgot the name of the place. Then we dropped by a very nice local deli for some sandwiches and salad and ate it at another winery, La Famiglia (part of Mondavi). Bert bought a bottle of delightful Pinot Grigio to accompany our lunch in their picnic area. There was a nice view over rolling hills. We were struck by the fact that although we saw a lot of fields of vines along the road, many heavy with grapes, we also saw a lot of dry grassy land apparently unused. It was quite different from the landscape of Provence where most of the land is used for one crop or the other, including a lot of vines. After the picnic, we went to the Beringer winery. They offered a short very commercial tour and a tasting for $5. The wines were sad in my opinion and the tour was disappointing, seemed more of a walking commercial.

But then Bert took us to the Sterling winery. Definitely the highlight of the day. If you find yourself in Napa check this one out. Again we were asked to pay for the tour but our $6 got us a cable car ride up the side of the valley from the parking area to the winery, a very well designed self guided tour and the chance to watch the winery in action (this is picking season so there was a lot going on in every room). This is a very modern winery using thermally controlled Stainless Steel fermentation tanks and a mix of SS and oak aging tanks. The placards along the tour gave a lot of detail as to how wine is made, much more information then one gets from a tour guide as a lot of it would seem to technical to the average tourist. They also included amusing quotes generally recommending wine to wet your brain and enjoy life. At the end of the tour we were offered 4 very nice wines in the most comfortable setting of any of the wineries. I was quite impressed with the place so we decide to buy a couple of bottles. Big decision for us as we already have more wine on board then we think we will be able to finish before we get to Mexico. So I guess we will need to put our mind to it and start drinking more or we may have to pay duty on it.

Finally we visited the Chandon winery. This winery makes sparkling wines and as Birgitta and I don’t care for champagne, and we had about our fill of alcohol for the day we took a pass. Bert and David seemed to enjoy their wine though. The winery also had beautiful grounds. The late afternoon sun was starting to give the hills a soft golden glow. Then it was off to dinner. After trying a place Bert knew about and finding it booked for the evening we tried a place David saw in a guidebook. Turns out the place was having it’s 4th anniversary and was serving free food. We had a quick plate of ribs, chicken wings and BBQ oysters and were on our way. We decided to call this an appetizer and found ourself at a brew pub for our second dinner of the evening. This is how we completed a very enjoyable day of good food, good wines, and good company.

Dscf0001As we drove back towards Sausalito, we saw the big clouds of an approaching low pressure moving into the clear sky. We almost wished we could stay in Napa where it was significantly warmer than in the bay. Fall is in the air and it is time for us to move south along with the migratory birds.

San Francisco


September 25, 2000. Richardson Bay in San Francisco. Sunny, calm.

The high winds from last week are finally over. It was getting tiring listening to the wind and worrying about either our boat dragging anchor or another dragging into us. The anchorage is really filling up. When we got here there was only one other cruising boat around us. Now there are about a dozen. We have met a lot of great people and on the whole enjoy the company but it would be nice if they would anchor a bit further away. This is a huge bay and they are all clustered around us.

SF0011I have been spending the last couple of days getting the boat ready for sea again and doing projects that will be more difficult in Mexico. I have run a new second reef line for the main sail. We cleaned out the BBQ and I installed a bigger newer propane regulator so it should get hotter then before (it has been steadily losing performance since we got it). I stopped by the Spectra water maker office (It is right here in Sausalito) to get a little something and got talking with one of the engineers. He offered to do a rebuild and upgrade my system to the most current offering, at no cost to me. So I spent part of yesterday removing the water maker (NO SMALL TASK) and will be spending Tuesday night re installing it. I hope the efficiency boost is worth the hassle. This afternoon I plan to change my diesel filter system. All this and we have been helping the neighbors with their computers, Radios and charging systems. You know what they say about cruising. It is just fixing your boat in foreign ports. Hopefully this will lessen as we get more things set up just right.

Birgitta is diligently studying Spanish.

Wednesday we will be taken on a trip into the Napa wine country by our resident tour guide Bert. (Thanks Bert)! Then we plan on a day of provisioning, laundry and preparation Thursday before we take off further down the coast on Friday morning.

San Francisco

September 20, 2000. Richardson Bay in San Francisco. Sunny, windy (15 to 25 knots).

The last few days have been hot (80 to 90 degrees F, 25 to 30 degrees C) with little wind which has been really nice. Today is still sunny but cooler due to the high wind, which is currently charging our batteries nicely, thanks to the wind generator.

Last weekend I finished the dinghy floatation cushions covers, so disintegrating foam does not litter the dinghy floor anymore. Clark did maintenance around the boat, topping off the batteries with water, tightening the packing gland around the rudder post, grounding the ham radio, fixing a leaking fitting on the gasoline tank for the dinghy engine, polishing the electric autopilot hydraulic ram rod so the gouge on it would not make the seal leak anymore. There always seem to be something to do on a boat! I tend to think that chores should be done before having fun but on the other end, a lot of them are not urgent and could wait until we are in Mexico. And I need to learn to relax and enjoy the cruising life without worrying about non-urgent repairs or improvements to the boat systems. Clark likes to fix things that bother him immediately but then is trying to convince me that the non-urgent ones should be dealt with when they become fun (when we are really bored I guess). I have trouble imagining finding it fun to rebed a port anytime soon.

Dscf0014Monday we went to Angel Island with the dinghy, climbed Mont Livermore and visited the remains of the old immigration station where new immigrants to California were held to check their health and visa claims. The view from Mont Livermore was spectacular. We could see the entire Bay area.Dscf0012

Tuesday we took the guided tour to Alcatraz and visited the old federal high security prison, which is now a national park. The audio tour was narrated by former inmates and prison guards and described famous escape attempts and the life in the prison.

In the evenings, we sometime invite neighbors to come and play a domino game called Mexican train with us, which is a lot of fun. The last couple we invited was in the process of making cinnamon rolls when we invited them so we ended up baking them on Temptress while playing. We ate them hot from the oven, which was a great treat. Thanks Jennifer and Nic from Green Ghost!

September 21,2000. Richardson Bay in San Francisco. Partly cloudy, windy (15 to 25 knots).
Yesterday afternoon, the wind built up to steady 20 to 30 knots with gusts up to 40 knots. That is a lot of wind in an anchorage. We were worried because we had made dinner plans with our cousin and had purchased tickets to the famous Beach Blanket Babylon show for the evening, but were not sure we should leave the boat alone in such windy conditions. We finally did leave, reasoning that the boat had been through a windy night before without dragging anchor and was not dragging anchor all afternoon. In addition, we were upwind of everybody else which meant we did not have to worry about another boat dragging anchor and hitting us. The dinghy ride to the dock was wet and slower than usual due to the waves, high wind and water spray. We looked like wet dogs when we finally tied the dinghy. I had had plans to wear a dress for the first time since we left Seattle but ended up opting for black polyester pants which did not mind salt water spray as much. We had a good meal and an entertaining show and Temptress was still there when we came back. The boat behind us, however, did drag anchor and did hit the boat behind him.

The wind had calmed down when we came back late, but picked up again this morning, waking me up at 4 AM. Even though I know the boat is well anchored, the whistling of the wind in the rigging and the lurching in the gusts make me anxious.

Fall starts tomorrow reminding us to continue our migration south. We are currently planning to leave at the end of the month.

Hope all is well with you.

San Francisco

September 8, 2000.

Yesterday, we have ridden our bikes to the library to check our mail, then we went in search of an elusive “cheaper” grocery store which turned out to be in the next town north. Quite a bike ride. Fortunately, they have a great bike trail along marshes full of birds. I will have to come back with the dinghy to study them. Clark is working on boat projects, small things that need to be fixed before we leave San Francisco. This anchorage can be very rolly making these projects more difficult than when parked in a marina. I took out the Spanish book this morning and am reciting the days of the weeks. I have a lot to learn!

Hope all is well with you.

San Francisco

September 7, 2000

Birgitta and I spent our first night in SanFrancisco aboard Temptress. Just to verify that the anchor was well set. But the next 2 nights we stayed with my cousin Bert. We knew from our trip to Hawaii that you are likely to feel the hard ground moving for several days after a long time on a boat in swell. This seems to effect you more in the shower and in bed. Well the first night I was on hard ground I awoke in the night with the feeling I was at sea. I opened my eyes and saw a distant light (really a night light in the ajoining bathroom). I knew that I was in an appartment bedroom but I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was pitching on a boat at sea and the light I was seeing was an oncomming boat.

I sat up and told my self I was in bed but the feeling just wouldn’t go away. I had to get up and walk around to make the feeling go away. Turns out that there was a small earthquake going on and I was probably really pitching. Hope we make it out of here before the big one hits.