Little Scorpion Anchorage, Santa Cruz Island


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Although we had mostly overcast weather in the Channel Islands we had a gorgeous sunny afternoon to kayak around the sea caves near Scorpion and Little Scorpion anchorages. Some of the caves were pass through caves and after careful scoping of both ends (to make sure they were tall enough to not crush our heads) we went through several. What a rush. The sounds and the turbulence of the water – awesome. Here is a formation I thought looked like an elephant and apparently I’m not the only one because we later saw it marked as Elephant Rock on a map.

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We kayaked up wind until we were pooped and then floated down wind until we got to the dock used by the tour companies.

There we took the kayak ashore and hiked up on top of the bluff overlooking the anchorage. It was very nice to be hiking in the sun again and the view of the water from up high gave even more intense colors to the water. Good place to get shots of the anchorage as well.

Although we didn’t stop by Anacapa, we sailed past the arched rocks on the Eastern side on an overnight sail to Redondo Beach. We were going to stop but it was grey again and we decided at the last minute to take another overnight in search of the sun.

Rays - Prisoner's Bay, Santa Cruz Island


Anyone know what kind of rays are in this video? There were dozens of these in Prisoner's Bay sunning themselves (?) in the shallow water. There were also dozens of small sharks, we think Leopard sharks, but some type of bottom feeder shark. We kept our hands out of the water around the sharks just in case.

Prisoner's Bay was nice. We would have preferred I think to be in Pelican Bay but it was packed. We arrived on a weekend morning. By Sunday afternoon both anchorages had mostly cleared out. We left Prisoner's to head to another anchorage on Santa Cruz Island - Little Scorpion.

Anchoring is not that complicated

Ok, I am hijacking the blog from Livia. That's what happen when you leave me for 4 days :). This is a continuation of the "Letter to the void". Nothing against California, I am really having a good time here and we are meeting great people. But! I have never had to tell other boats to move away until we got here. What's up?

Here my exact words during these experiences (5 so far):

First, inside the boat:

-You got to be F... kidding me!
-You have a F... ocean to anchor in and you dropped right next to me?
-At least you can power back into anchor to set it!

Then I say: "Hello, we are a little bit too close, don't you think?"

Then the "2 watts" answer:

- I have good insurance.
- Not my first rodeo...

So, why the hell are we 1 boat length apart an hour later? Now I have to move because you are not on your boat. Of course, a few swear words are added to the mix.

We heard that comment many times in the IWAC: "Do not anchor too close to anyone when able". Why does people still do it? I have only witness one unreasonable moving request in the past 4 years, and the dude still moved. This tell me that if you get told that you are too close, you probably are. So, if you want to be invited for a beer, do not anchor too close to me, I'll even provide the gas for your dinghy ride  :).

Now, time to go enjoy the beach!


Bringing out the big guns

IMG_5919 (1280x853)We sailed from Oakland YC to Brisbane Marina in San Francisco Bay on September 11, 2011 and the Coast Guard and police were out in full force.

As we motored out of the Oakland-Alameda estuary, the Coast Guard pulled over boat after boat behind us. I don’t know what questions they asked but they didn’t seem to stay on any particular vessel for a long period of time.

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I’m glad they didn’t make it to us because, as much as I appreciate their intentions and respect their right to patrol, I’m not a huge fan of having guns this big pointed at my body or my vessel. We joked that the huge purple sunglasses that I was wearing probably took us out of any danger profiles.

We were once approached by the Canadian Coast Guard. We were in our dinghy watching the fireworks on Canada Day and they checked our safety gear, congratulated us on being so prepared (we had our ditch bag with us at the time and so had survival gear far superior to what the situation called for), and gave us a flashing LED light. And once we the US Coast Guard in Washington came alongside and checked our passports while we were sailing (very slowly) through their waters while tacking back and forth on the US-Canada border in Haro Strait.

SF Bay was our first time being in a position to assist the Coast Guard. Usually we are too far away, given how slow we are, to aid any of the many pan-pan and mayday calls we have heard. This time we were on the scene. It turned out to be a derelict boat (notice the shopping cart? there also wasn’t an engine and the dash was ripped out) but we were glad to be able to notify the CG to that effect because it meant little risk of a person in the water.

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San Luis A Bimbo

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Despite a forecast for light winds we were determined to head further South in search of the sun and we motored most of the way to Port San Luis. We anchored right off the town, in front of a sandy beach, and kayaked into town just in time to catch the farmer’s market where we bought a bunch of produce. We also sat down for burgers and beer at a beachfront restaurant and I picked up a new pair of Sanuk flippy floppies made out of yoga mats – extremely comfortable and zebra print to boot.

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P1020741 (1280x960)We slept in late and made a full breakfast of fresh cilantro and tomato scramble over leftover fries with bacon and then set out at about noon for an overnight passage around Point Conception (more on that later) to the Channel Islands. We had another light wind forecast and expected to only sail less than half of the way but as it turns out we were able to sail off our anchor and all of the way into the wee hours of the morning before, about an hour after we rounded Point Conception, the wind died and we motored into a sunrise over the Channel islands.

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Horseshoe Cove

I’m skipping our time at Brisbane Marina which was nice, cheap ($10!) and most importantly for us had two of our favorite people at it (Marv & Donna aboard SV Endless).
Horseshoe Cove was windblown in the afternoon when we arrived but calmed down shortly, is a nice looking cove and has this view of the bridge:
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Not a shabby way to end our time in San Francisco! Horseshoe Cove is a nice departure location to duck out of the bridge with the correct current/wind conditions and we made nice timing out with the ebb in light winds for a very slow sail to Half Moon Bay. Again, I’m going to skip Half Moon Bay because all we did was overnight there, in the anchorage behind the first breakwater with a full anchorage, mainly derelict boats.

We had a moment of Canadian pride when we were sailing down in light crap wind with a swell, fighting for miles, and the entire time there was another boat trailing us, also fighting for miles under sail. It turned out to be another Canadian flagged vessel SV Sea Whisper whom we met briefly and hope to get to chat with them somewhere warmer.

Rock climbing at Lover’s Leap


This is a story of the kind of chance meeting that often happens when you travel. It is also a good example of how you can leave your life open to those type of meetings even when you aren’t traveling.

We made a friend on Craigslist. No, not THAT kind of friend ;)

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While shopping for used kiteboarding gear, Carol struck up a conversation with someone who turned out to be a kiteboarding, sailing, rock climber. His name was Dan and he offered to take us climbing the following week near Lake Tahoe and so, we went (Livia – left, Carol – right).

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The rock was gorgeous, the climbs carefully selected by someone who loves the area (and was willing to play rope gun). And the apres climbing, cold beer river soak, sunset-over-spires watching and greasy tacos were a perfect finish.

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Thank you, thank you Dan. May we meet again somewhere more tropical.

7 weeks in SF for $130


We’re leaving San Francisco today after 7 weeks. We’ll finally be moving around on our map again. SOUTHBOUND!

When we were planning to head South in August people kept saying “isn’t that early?” and “don’t most people leave in September?”. We kept asking around trying to figure out if there was an important reason most people waited until September. Essentially we found there wasn’t – many people leave in August as you can tell from this year’s group.

A few people had mentioned that it was expensive in California so people wanted to minimize their time here. We expect to have to pay for moorage more often as we leave San Francisco to head South down the CA coast, but we have found SF to be a delightfully cheap place for a cruising boat to moor if they are willing to be on the hook.

We have certainly spent a ton of money since arriving, but it has either been on planned expenses unrelated to being in California (e.g., engine spares) or investment in sporting goods for our outdoors addictions (e.g., snorkel gear and kiteboarding stuff).

We are members of a sailing association that has some reciprocal perks (noted in this list) but most of the freebies here apply to everyone.

  • 5 nights at the Sausalito Yacht Club – 2 free via reciprocal and 3 paid at $20/night ($60).
  • One week right downtown at the Aquatic Park – free but permit required.
  • 5 nights at the Encinal Yacht Club - 2 free via reciprocal and 3 paid at $20/night ($60). Did I mention they have a pool?
  • One more week at the Aquatic Park – free but permit required.
  • Three weeks at Clipper Cove at Treasure Island – free but permit required.
  • 5 nights at Berkeley Yacht Club – free via reciprocal (thanks Greg!).
  • 5 nights at the Oakland Yacht Club – free for all offshore vessels.
  • 1 night at the Brisbane Marina to see friends ($10).
  • 1 night anchored at Horseshoe Cove.


If you want to see a 35' Pretorien look as big as a 55' Nordhavn, all you have to do is really work the camera angles.

Photo stolen from our good friends aboard MV Last Mango and taken at the Oakland Yacht Club guest dock.

We met them in the Haida Gwaii and once rafted to them. I wish we had that photo for comparison. We must have looked like their dinghy.

We plan to run into them (not literally) again in California and/or Mexico and we hope both.

After writing this, Last  Mango sent us this alternate perspective. HA!

Treasure Island and Angel Island, SF Bay

While at the Aquatic Park, we took my parents for a day sail to Angel Island where we docked and walked over to the old immigration camp complete with the poetry of the Chinese immigrants who were kept there for long periods of time and often denied entry.

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We spent 3 weeks at Clipper Cove between Treasure Island and Yerba Buena Island. The wonderful thing for us was that it is a MUNI bus from there to downtown SF and we had purchased MUNI passes for the month of August. We were able to zip into town on the bus at will. The anchorage could be windy but not as windy as the Aquatic Park if you tucked in close to the beach and we found good holding in mud. The only downside is that on the weekends it gets quite crowded and a large number of the incoming boats don’t know so much about anchoring. We’ve already told that tale.

The view of downtown SF from Treasure Island is beautiful and we had access to the marina dinghy dock (normally off limits) which made coming to shore and toting goods back and forth painless. I somehow managed to not take a picture of the anchorage.

We also met a number of boaters while anchored there – more on that later

The 2011 Southbound (from BC/WA) Cohort

For my own reflection, I’ve started collecting reports of this year’s trip from BC/WA down the coast to California. It’s fascinating to me to read how different the experiences were for different vessels, different crew, different weather windows, etc. The highs and the lows of that stretch of water.

I’ve put a link to either the start of their trip (if they blogged throughout) or an overview post. You’ll have to dig through their blog for the entire story if you are interested. I’ve also put the departure city (not the hailing port) and approximate date of departure.

This is only a fraction of the boats that headed down and of course, boats are still heading out. If you know of a (blogged) trip that I’ve missed, please leave a comment with a link to their first post or wrap-up.

Booze Cruise

Well, we’ve been enjoying California wine. And beer. Carol keeps joking that this was a bad year to try to stop drinking*.

We spent a day wine tasting in Sonoma Valley with Lucy & Jeremy…and the next morning at 10am we followed up our day of wine tasting with an Anchor Brewery Tour which, of course, includes a lot of tasting. Our favorite was, again, the reserve tasting at Chateau St-Jean (top right photo) which we used ad revenue to pay for - thank you clickers!

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I would blame the cheeseball photos on the booze intake, but we always take them.
*He hasn’t tried to stop – it’s just a joke. Even funnier than the actual joke is that he keeps making the joke but no one realizes he is joking and there is this really awkward pause after he stops talking (and takes a drink of his alcoholic beverage).

Guests Aboard in SF

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One great thing about San Francisco is how easy it was for our friends and family to fly in…and they DID.

We had a bunch of visitors while we were in SF. Some people flew in to see us and others were in California for other reasons and took the time to add us to their itinerary.

205830_2343651867811_1145421905_2884007_6937299_n (720x540)My parents came out for almost a week and we toured the city, ate a lot of great food, enjoyed some good drink and generally caught up with each other.

My friend Amy was already in town to see family and I managed to steal her away for a day and a visit on the boat.

P1020497 (1280x960)We also were able to hang out with people I knew from New York who now live in San Francisco: David & Kim, Alex & Harriet. David & Kim, who recently returned from their own one year around the world tour (by plane, train and bus) went out sailing with us, showed us the town and let us generally abuse their hospitality (and laundry). Alex & Harriet introduced us to the fantastic Pi Bar (which opens at 3:14 pm every day).

Lucy & Jeremy attempted to destroy our livers over a 48 hour period of wine tasting and brewery tours. P1020570 (1280x960)We decided we don’t mind being abused that way.

AND last but not least, my very good friend Jamie snuck away from her family for a long visit and played “retirement” with us. It’s a great game that I encourage all of you to try at home ;)  

We’re ready for our Mexico visitors now!

Naming our dinghy


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We finally got around to naming our dinghy. Meet “Momentum” – a 4 year old Achilles Hypalon inflatable with a high pressure inflatable floor.

Momentum already has a number of patches on the floor – mostly from vicious fish that Carol caught and one around the inflation tube patch – but she’s still going strong.

Video Diary of a Passage – Tofino to San Francisco – Arrival Day


And finally, the last of the video diaries from our passage South.

We were quite excited when we arrived and took a number of videos. If you only want to see Carol’s wrap-up video, including his description of our night of strong-ish wind, scroll to the last of the videos. If you want to see the excitement building, start with the first.


Click on the dollar and buy Livia and Carol a cold frosty one:


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