Welcome to San Francisco, California, USA

As we said in the last post, from 0400 Saturday on, the seas had no wind waves, with only two to four foot, gentle, widely spread apart swells. The wind was almost non-existent at 0 – 3 knots real. The calm wind conditions lasted all night, as well.

During the night watch we had three strange sightings. A target would pop up in the middle of the screen, near our position, stay on the screen about a half hour, then vanish again. When we looked outside, even with the spotlight, we couldn’t see any of them. One time we had to change course to avoid the target. Eric thinks they are all buoys, maybe even fishing nets attached to buoys.

Thanks to the calm seas, we were making great time and had to slow down. San Francisco Bay has strong currents and we needed to time our entry carefully to be at slack tide changing towards flood tide so when the tide did come in, it would be with us.

By 1130, we were at the first marker for San Francisco Bay. Almost about the same time we passed the buoy, the fog picked up, though we still had three mile visibility. We entered the channel into San Francisco Bay at 1230, traveling just south of the shipping lane. Traffic was light; only a couple other vessels were heading in and none heading out.

We were amazed by how large the breaking waves were on the north side of the bay. Today was a relatively calm day; they must be unbelievable on days where the waves are bigger. Inside the bay, the swell died down, but it got significantly choppier.

At 1300, the Golden Gatebridge became slightly visible in the fog. A handful of boats, mostly tourist boats, were in the bay west of the bridge. Here is a shot of the bridge as we neared it.

We passed under the Continue reading Welcome to San Francisco, California, USA

Off to San Francisco: Leg 2 and New Toys

We pulled into Ventura Keys around 1130 on Thursday. We have friends named Stan and Diane who own a house with a private dock, and they had kindly offered to let us stay at their dock while we waited for a good weather window at Point Conception.

In a crazy small world coincidence, Stan and Diane have neighbors who actively cruised for several years on their sailboat, Gone Native, with their teenage sons. We met up with Gone Native in Hualtuco, Mexico and again in Ixtapa and Ensenada and had fun hanging out with them.

We had a lovely afternoon with Stan, his son, Scott, and Dave from Gone Native. In the evening, Stan and Diane hosted a dinner party for us and the Gone Native family. It was a great evening!

On Friday morning, we checked the weather. It looked like the best window over the next few days was today, so we Continue reading Off to San Francisco: Leg 2 and New Toys

Off to San Francisco: Leg 1 and Repair/Maintenance Items

On Wednesday we left for San Francisco. Leg one was from San Diego to Ventura, which took 24 hours. We left at 1130. For the first seven hours, the wind was steady at 15 knots from the forward port side, with two to four foot swells, gently shaped, at about 3 – 6 second intervals. Wind chop was about 1 – 2 feet, also gently shaped. We wish all rides in head seas could be so nice! Speeds varied from 5.5 to 6.5 knots at 1775 RPM depending on currents.

As the sun started to get lower in the sky, the wind picked up to 18 – 20 knots and the wind waves became slightly bigger at 2 – 4 feet, but noticeably sharper and at more rapid intervals. The pointier waves caused Kosmos to hobbyhorse and sent some sea spray over the bow, but it still was not a bad ride considering it was head seas.

The rougher conditions only lasted a little over an hour, then we got into the shadow of Catalina Island, where the seas slowly but steadily improved. By midnight the ride was relatively pleasant again (for head seas) and speeds had picked up to 7 knots. There was no moon and it was pitch black out, so there was no visibility all night.

We expected conditions to worsen once we passed Catalina, but they didn’t. In fact, they continued to slowly and steadily improve the whole rest of the trip. By 1000, the wind chop was completely gone, leaving only the gentle swell, making for a lovely ride.

Shortly after leaving San Diego, we had a small SNAFU arise. The entire downstairs reeked like the blackwater tank. Christi Continue reading Off to San Francisco: Leg 1 and Repair/Maintenance Items

Exploring Grasse, France

When we originally scheduled this trip, Friday and Saturday were Eric’s day off to sightsee. Sadly, at a relatively late date, his company decided to send him to Luxembourg for a meeting. He was up at 0430 and out the door at 0515 for the airport.

Christi got up with him and took him to the airport. She worked on blogs for a couple hours, took a bath, and otherwise puttered around until 0930. Sure that traffic must have cleared by then, she took the car to the town of Grasse, a mountain village north of Cannes that is the perfume capital of the world. Christi took the highway to the Cannes exit, but instead of heading south towards the beach, went north into the mountains.

Since she had gotten up so early, she was starving at this point. Right off the exit, she found a boulangerie/patisserie  (bread/dessert bakery). She ordered an individual size goat cheese quiche. She wonders if she got the right one, since it was loaded with bacon but didn’t taste much like goat cheese. She also ordered a pain du chocolate (chocolate croissant) and a beignet (donut). She sat in the car and scarfed them down before heading up the mountain.

The road was narrow and somewhat windy. She had read there were flower fields surrounding the town of Grasse, so she was surprised to see that it was completely built up along the road, with no fields to be seen anywhere. The buildings were an odd mix. Some were old, as in Medieval, some fairly new, as in probably the last few years. Commercial and residential properties were mixed, with a mechanic shop next to a private mansion. She noticed signs for three different perfumeries along the way.

The heart of Grasse looked medieval. In the center of town, there was a parking garage. She turned off the main road and headed towards the garage, but she missed the entrance. She found herself on a scary one way road back down the mountain. It had dangerously sharp switchbacks, obviously originally a horse trail, not a car trail. At a couple points the road split, in both cases, she made the wrong turn. The first time, turning around was easy because she came to a roundabout, but the second time, the road dead ended and she had to make 30 point U-turn to get out of the tight little alley.

The road ended near the bottom of the mountain. Sigh. She noticed a sign for one of the perfumeries that said it was close by and decided to go there instead of back up the hill. One, she didn’t want to drive that scary road down again and two, she really liked the name of the perfumery, Fragonard, because there is a Rococo-era (early 1700s) painter by the same name whose works she particularly likes.

The facility was new and modern looking, probably built in the 1960s or later. They had old equipment on display in the parking lot.

Inside, the Continue reading Exploring Grasse, France

Exploring Nice, France Some More

Continued from yesterday… Christi took a different path down from the Lou Castel park than she had taken up. When she got to the park gate, she found herself on the waterfront. The only problem was that she had no idea where on the waterfront she was! Here is a shot of the Tour Bellanda and the staircase that leads up into the park from from the bottom.

Christi headed inland, and after a couple blocks found herself in the familiar Cours Saley street market. She wandered through Continue reading Exploring Nice, France Some More