Monday, October 6, 2008

A Week in San Francisco

Well we have been in San Francisco for a week and are really enjoying this!. The bay is an incredible playground full of fascinating islands and ringed by the cities of San Francisco, Oakland, Sausalito, Tiburon, etc. After our first night in the heart of San Francisco at Pier 39, we sailed across, past Alcatraz Island to Sausalito, where we anchored in front of the Sausalito Cruising Club. While checking our email at Pier 39, we met Clark Beek, a well known circumnavigator, who's sailboat was struck by a huge container ship and nearly sunk a year or 2 back. He has written about this and also about cruising in Peru in Sail magazine (great articles!).

Sausalito (Richardson Bay) is a very shallow anchorage, full of local boats, live-aboards, and a few cruising sailors. As we came in to the anchorage we saw Forbes and Cameron, a schooner we had anchored next to in Cadoro Bay back in Victoria as well as a Vancouver boat we had last met up with in Fort Bragg. There was also a boat from France and even one from Russia (a huge red racing yacht with a hammer and sickle theme, but flagged in the US). Rani has found some more Punjabis to chat with, running a local restaurant where we had dinner early in the week. Prior to our Indian dinner we took in a matinee of Woody Allen's new flick, Vicky Christina Barcelona – a very good movie. Sausalito is a very well heeled place, built up a steep hillside lush with vegetation. Plenty of BMWs and Mercedes cars, houses that average over a $million (with taxes to match!), and an interesting contrast to the rag tag live-aboard 'fleet' amongst which we are anchored.

From Sausalito, we dinghied ashore and explored the nearby Marin Headlands state park, visited a Nike cold war missile base, and drove to Alameda with a friendly German sailor, named Torsten, to do some grocery shopping and drop off our mainsail for modifications (a 3rd reef and some patches). Torsten and Elke are a German couple cruising on a trimaran, which they bought here and have spent the last year upgrading for the trip. They left this morning for Half Moon bay and plan to sail to Mexico and then over to Australia where they will sell the boat and return to their homeland in about a year and a half.

On the weekend we sailed from Sausalito around Angel Island, landing at Quarry Beach to do some hiking in this state park. Angel Island provides incredible 360 degree views of the bay area being only a few miles from San Francisco and Alcatraz. The island is a mixture of wilderness and historical forts, hospitals, and quarantine stations. It was a major embarkation poiint for US troops in the war in the Pacific against Japan. From Angel Island, we sailed to the aquatic basin in downtown San Fransisco. This open ocean swimming and rowing basin allows non-motorized boats to anchor for up to 24 hours and we stayed there over the weekend, leaving early this morning. Yesterday we toured the ships at the maritime museum (see pics below) and trecked over the hill to the Museum of Asian Art (see more pics below). This museum, housed in a stunning neo-classical building, covers the art of dozens of nations and happened to be free on this first Sunday of the month.

We swam today to clean the boat bottom in moderately chilly water (60 degrees) and came out with teeth chattering. We are now back in Sausalito in our old anchorage and will head out for some Italian food tonight. That's all for now.

San Francisco from Angel Island Buoy

Golden Gate from off Alcatraz Island

'Surf' landing at Aquatic Park, San Francisco

Maritime Museum tall ship (Balclutha - 19th century)

Aquatic Basin (Ladybug is white dot just below bridge)

Rowers in Sausalito

Rani, L'il Bugger, and German Trimaran Milonga - Torsten on deck


Sausalito from the Marin Headlands

Chris in the Marin Headlands

Marin Headlands air traffic control system

Nike missile from the cold war

Torsten and Elke on Milonga

Ladybug at the Aquatic Park

Alcatraz from sea level

The Maltese Falcon - 300 foot long private yacht owned by a local venture capitalist

Following pics are from the Museum of Asian Art - very cool place!

Carved from elephant ivory

Funeral statuary

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