Making progress south

Although we left Eagle Harbor back on August 21, in many ways it was the departure from Alameda, and the SF Bay, on October 13 that marked the beginning of what Niall long ago christened The Big Trip. The Seattle departure was without the children, since we wanted to spare them the discomfort and probable stress of a passage down the west coast to northern California. When they arrived in Alameda with my parents, joining us on board wasn’t terribly different than life aboard back in Eagle Harbor in many ways. We all felt the significance of starting on this next leg on our journey.

We had expected to leave sooner, but waiting for truly benign weather (wanting to provide the smoothest ride possible out the Golden Gate, for the children’s introduction to ocean swells) also gave us a welcome chance to spend more time with friends and family. I want to squeeze every minute with Jim and Diana, who are like family. Their kindness, enthusiasm for our plans, and willingness to share from the wisdom of their experiences- are a wonderful gift in our lives. The extra days also meant we were able to visit with both Christy Buckman, in town for a conference, and with more relatives- Auntie Mum & Uncle Niall, dinner in SF at the Minuths and Shields family…Maris and kids visited earlier in the week as well).
The fact our departure day turned out to also be Columbus Day added an ironic twist! Friends new and old from Gate 11 came to untie our lines and wave goodbye: Jim and Diana (who we look forward to seeing in Mexico this winter!), Dennis & Carol from Evergreen, Dave & Carmen from Crusin’ Crew, Doug & Carla from Moondance (they’re leaving shortly after us to join the Ha-Ha this year), Jon & Barbara from African Rover, Brian from Swiftsure. Have we mentioned what a great place it was, how hard to leave?
At her request, we called Timmie Cosovich- mother of grade school friends- as we made our way out of the estuary and into the Bay…she donned red fleece for visibility, and then came down to the dock to wave us on our way. Her small act of kindness, waving us off on our departure, felt tremendous! It was hard to know if it was her, but we waved back at a spot of red along the waterfront and felt the well wishes sending us on our way.

Angel Island had a large wildfire, started the night before and already 200+ acres that morning; when we first saw the smoke in the distance, we thought it was fog coming in through the ocean. Not so, as we realized the day was sparkling and clear- and the size of the smoke plume from the burn was sobering. On the SF side, ships in for Fleet Week made a dramatic impression- I got a quick picture of Russian Hill, and the house I grew up in…the Art Institute tower next door makes it easy to find. Over towards Marin, we could clearly see the awesome spectacle of the Maltese Falcon. We’re hoping to see this magnificent boat down in the Mexico this winter, where we hear it’s going to be participating in research activity in the Sea of Cortez.

Passing under the gate was uneventful, as was the rest of the approximately 6 hour transit down to Half Moon Bay. We were able to sail part of the time, but ultimately powered more than sailed- having waited for nice weather, it was so calm there wasn’t enough wind. It all ensured and easy trip for the children, though, which was what we wanted. The dolphin escorts that brought is in back in August appeared again on the way out, much to the kids’ delight. Niall, Mairen and I took the kayak to the beach, and promptly got lost in the tidepools…finding eels, crabs, snails, and watching cormorants splash as they hunted in the shallows. We left early the following morning for Monterey, where we’ve found a snug berth and plan to stay for several days visiting family- even spending the night ashore (gasp!). More to follow…we’ll likely be here until Saturday.

5 Responses

  1. Very glad to see you have started the Great Trek! I stumbled upon your story reading the Bainbridge Isl. newspaper online a month or so ago. I am excited to watch your progress and hear about your adventures on and off the sea. You have a great learning opportunity to share parts of the world with your children and yourselves!

    Be safe and enjoy the trip!


  2. I’m just finding your blog as we are planning an offshore cruise, including our 4 year old. I’m wondering if, when your kids were sleeping during passages, did they wear lifejackets or harnesses?
    Thank you for sharing your experiences for all to enjoy and learn from. You are a big inspiration!

    1. Hi Stella, exciting plans! Our kids have never worn their PFDs or harnesses sleeping (or below deck at all for that matter, unless they were just to busy going up/down the companionway to take it off). All the best with your plans- let me know if you have a blog, I love following families!

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