As it had done for Sir Francis Drake in 1579, Drakes Bay offered Bagheera protection from the northwesterly winds and we opted to anchor at the north end of the bay rather than arrive at San Francisco in the middle of the night. "What a great trip, but how nice to relax!" grinned Duncan, our son, as we lounged in the cockpit, drinks in hand.
A calm anchorage after an ocean passage is always an agreeable change of pace. What luxury it is to be able to put a glass down without it flying off the table or to cook in a galley without a balancing act. There is also a charge of energy that comes from the exhilaration of completing a passage successfully. We analyzed the trip over dinner, animatedly discussing the high points, low points, and a few necessary repairs, including our pending watermaker upgrade, before climbing into our berths.
As the fog began lifting we could feel the heat from the sun and were soon stripping down to T-shirts and shorts. Suddenly there was an arc of metal ahead, floating on the cotton batten below. Soon another span appeared, then the fog evaporated and we gazed up at a deep blue sky as Bagheera passed under the Golden Gate Bridge. To starboard lay downtown San Francisco, ahead the infamous prison island of Alcatraz, and to port was Sausalito.
"Where do you want to go?" Andy asked me.
"Everyone loves Sausalito," I replied. "It was originally an artists colony and is apparently really attractive. Also, its quieter than downtown. Lets go there first."
"The buoys belong to the Sausalito Yacht Club," he told us. "Just tie up and go in to register. Theyre free of charge."
This was the beginning of the wonderful American hospitality that we received all down the Californian coast. We tied up and immediately went ashore to report our arrival to the US authorities by phone.
As well as a great place to see, San Francisco Bay is also interesting to cruise, particularly with a shallow-draft boat. Covering over 400 square miles, it is a picturesque body of water surrounded by several attractive cities and with a popular cruising area of its own in the Delta Region, formed by the San Joaquin and Sacramento Rivers, their tributaries and canals. In addition, the Bays notorious strong afternoon wind makes it a great place to practice sail handling and check out stowage below.
It was sad to see our two crew leave. For Richard it had been a wonderful sailing adventure, with many a story to tell at the bar in his yacht club back home. Duncan had also enjoyed a great trip. He had proved himself a reliable crew member whose ingrained experience from sailing around the world and recent local cruising on Bagheera with friends had shown in his handling of the boat. After a few more offshore passages with us he should be ready to take Bagheera further afield himself.
It was time to settle down to serious boat business. While I read cruising and travel guides to plan the timing for our route, Andy installed a watermaker. It was a luxury that had long been on my wish list. The main reason was to be able to wash my long hair on a regular basis. Andy had been reticent, not having quite the same problem!
"Watermakers are expensive," he argued. "We managed perfectly well for 18 months in the Indian Ocean by catching rain." he reminded me. "And were only going for a year on this trip and much of it will be in the States."
While the 100-gallon water-carrying capacity in collapsible tanks worked well on our circumnavigation (except for one instance of chafe), there is something compelling about limitless amounts of freshwater for mariners. Andy had finally been persuaded by my enthusiasm and started to research available DC models since Bagheera has no room for a generator. It was while working the Annapolis Boat Show the previous year that we first saw the Spectra Watermaker. With its amazing output of nine gallons of water produced by just eight amps of 12-volt power it seemed the ideal model for a sailboat.
Small-vessel watermakers work on the principle of reverse osmosis. A low-pressure feed pump supplies water to a high-pressure pump, which forces it against a semi-permeable membrane. This allows the water molecules to pass through but not salt, microbes, silt etc., which are discharged back overboard along with the surplus flow of seawater.
Early watermakers developed a recalcitrant reputation, but they've come a long way recently. Indeed, installing ours was fairly straightforward, although the instructions then seemed to be evolving and in-between drafts. Still, it was most convenient that we could anchor off the Spectra office, farther up the bay in Sausalito, for quick clarification if required. It took three days to shoehorn the unit into the bulkhead behind the companionway inside our tiny aft head that we long ago converted for storage. When Andy started it up we couldn't believe how quietly the unit ran, the only noise being a gentle clicking sound from the pump, and with the output gauge mounted below the companionway step it was easy to monitor its great output.
The watermaker was an instant success, although initially it was quite a shock hearing Andy say, "Arent you going to use more water?" after all those years of the one-cup ration for an entire wash. Even before family and friends visited, we delighted in the great benefit of having endless freshwater on board and hot showers in the cockpitsometimes even twice a day!
Having hunted around all week, we found a berth in a marina in Sausalito to leave Bagheera safely while returning to Vancouver for our final wind-up month at home. It took a day to pack up the boat, empty the fridge, pickle the watermaker filter, and deflate and tie the dinghy on deck.
There were two small problems left. A neighboring cruiser solved one by kindly agreeing to take Fred, our ivy boat plant. Our parakeet was the other issue but Craig, a friend of Duncans who was completing a course close by, enthusiastically offered his services. We were delighted. It seemed such an ideal arrangementuntil his parting comment: "Im sure Cornflake and our new kitten will become the best of friends!"
|Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)|