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

Kosmos Haul Out and Off to Phoenix

December 14th – A couple weeks ago, the weather turned cold and rainy. In San Diego, December usually has mild weather and the rain don’t start until January. The earlier than normal and heavier than normal rains are a result of El Nino, an unusual weather pattern that occurs every 2 5 years. The El Nino pattern affects a huge chunk of the world, and affects each area differently. In Panama, it has a negative effect on the wildlife, in Indonesia it brings drought, and in Southern California, it brings excessive rain. Of course, since Southern California has been in a severe drought for the last three years, the rain is a welcome relief.

Our marina was feeling a bit ominous. The docks were deserted. The days are short and were very gray. While it was warm and dry inside Kosmos, on the walk to and from the boat, the moist, damp air seemed to permeate our clothes. The especially strong winds made a perpetual “woooo” sound through the sailboat masts that sounds like ghosts howling. It was the perfect setting for a horror flick.

So, we were quite pleased when we woke up early this morning to blue skies, bright sunshine and no wind. And the forecast said no more rain for the next few days. Yay! Weeks ago we had scheduled Komos to be hauled out today for new bottom paint, and we had been worried that the adverse weather would affect the bottom painting.

We pulled out of our slip shortly after dawn broke. The water was flat as a pancake and looked like a mirror beneath us as we headed over to the boat yard. Unfortunately, we were heading east, so the incredibly bright early morning sun was blinding us. But we were so happy to see the sun that we didn’t mind the glare.

Like the haul outs in both Australia and Turkey, we pulled Kosmos into a special finger slip and secured her. A huge machine called a travel lift rolled up to the edge of the dock. The travel lift has straps, and the straps were lowered into the water and secured underneath Kosmos.

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The machine slowly Continue reading Kosmos Haul Out and Off to Phoenix

Replacing the Starter Battery

Time seems to pass by in a quick sort of way these days. Here is a story from a little while ago…

Sunday, September 13 We had been procrastinating on putting in a new main engine starter battery largely because we were undecided about whether to replace it with the same size or a smaller one. On our last bay cruise, we noticed that the secondary alternator that charges the battery seemed to have inconsistent voltage drops. Hmmm”¦ was it the battery or the alternator causing the issue? We realized we couldn’t put off replacing the battery anymore. It was time to make a decision.

Our starter battery is a size Continue reading Replacing the Starter Battery