Monday, September 28, 2015


We have been relaxing in Emeryville for a couple of weeks and intend to stay here for another.  Our cruising friends, Carl and Cristina, were instrumental in finding us a berth at the Emery Cove Marina – a lovely spot in a “fog hole” - meaning that it is often sunny and warm here when the city is shrouded in mist.  The marina looks full and we feel very fortunate to have found a spot at a reasonable rate.  We have great WiFi, power, clean showers and washrooms, laundry and security.  The marina lies on the north side of a spit of land, capped by a lovely park, which extends out into the Bay. We have watched several amazing sunsets looking west toward SF and the Golden Gate Bridge. 

Looking east to Emeryville  - park in foreground 

Looking  west - Oakland bridge to the left, San Francisco in the middle, Golden Gate Bridge to the far right.  We are in the 5th berth on the fourth dock 
Sunset at Emery Cove taken one evening from our cockpit

The tiny city of Emeryville (about 12,000 p) is wedged between Oakland and Berkley and is home to several high tech firms such as PixarClif Bar and Peet’s Coffee companies also come from here .  Once called “Butchertown”, because it housed the abattoirs that provided meat for the bay area, it is now very “techno urbane”, with ultra modern looking buildings, smooth paved roads, and excellent bicycle corridors.  There are a lot of hipsters who live around here.  
According to the online  urban dictionary, "Hipsters are a subculture of men and women typically in their 20's and 30's that value independent thinking, counter-culture, progressive politics, an appreciation of art and indie-rock, creativity, intelligence, and witty banter."   ( 
According to the most recent census, the average age of a person living here is 35 and the population has doubled in the last decade, so it is growing fast.   We have felt totally safe walking and cycling around.  Emeryville is wonderfully connected to the entire SF Bay area by an efficient and inexpensive subway system called the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit).  Locals use it to get to SF to work or play, but it will also take them to the airport, or farther out to wide areas of parks and recreation.   There is a wide, paved multi use trail that runs along the eastern side of the Bay which gives quick, easy and safe access to the people in the communities found along it.  No wonder people love to live here.

It is absolutely wonderful to be in a new place and know people who can bring it to life for you.  Carl and Cristina, who we first met while anchored one Christmas in a tiny bay in the Sea of Cortez,  have taken us under their wing and have guided us to understand how this place works.  On one of our first days here, Carl led us by bicycle into Oakland.  I must admit, I was feeling a little nervous about it as Oakland has the reputation of being a very rough place.  We rode down an industrial avenue lined with graffiti covered warehouses and rundown homes, but we were fine.  

Interesting decor in an Oakland brewery's unisex restroom
We cycled along the waterfront and came to the area of Jack London Square – several pedestrian blocks of boutiques, cafes, restaurants, hotels and marinas looking over a channel to Alameda Island.

Cranes of Port of Oakland in background - Emeryville is beyond them
Carl took us to the First and Last Chance Saloon – built in the late 19th century and reputedly the only “original” saloon left standing.

Inside the F/LC Saloon - full of memoribilia, original fixtures - floors and walls twisted and crooked from age and earthquakes
It was one of Jack London’s (of Call of the Wild fame)  watering holes and beside it is his log cabin that a fan shipped down from Alaska.  Apparently sailors have used it for years and anyone going to sea must stop by to imbibe. Thank goodness we have it crossed off our list!!!  

Intrepid cyclists
Since that day, we have been back to Jack London Square several times.  One weekend there was a Food Truck festival where thousands of people of all ages wandered about eating from a wide range of goodies, while perusing arts and crafts stalls, listening to music, playing carnival games and just soaking up the atmosphere. 
They sure park their bicycles different here - a new type of security?

Cool Jack London Suare
We have been on our bikes almost every day. Thanks to a detailed bike map that Carl gave us when we arrived, as well as using Google maps on our smartphone, we have been able to find our way around without any difficulty.  

We have been up to Richmond (about 10 miles north) and Alameda Island (about ten miles south) to visit the chandleries.

A Tesla we found by one of the chandelries - we've seen a few of these electric cars around here

We have taken the bicycles on the BART into the city.  One day we rode from SF to Sausalito, over the Golden Gate Bridge, then boarded them on a ferry back to the city, rode down the waterfront to AT& T Park (home of the SF Giants) where AC/DC where tuning up for their evening concert, back on a ferry to Oakland and a ride back to Emeryville.

Waiting for the ferry in Sausalito - SF in the background
On the Oakland ferry, looking to the Oakland Bridge and Treasure Island

On our way to Oakland on the catamaran ferry 
On another day, when Carl and Cristina had generously lent us their car, we drove up to Healdsburg, Sonoma and bicycled 35 miles through gorgeous vineyards dripping with ripe grapes.  We followed a route following the Dry Creek, Russian and Alexander Valleys outlined by the Santa Rosa Cycling Club ( which stuck mostly to the back roads, though there were occasional heart stopping moments on busy roads with no shoulders.

The bikes have been essential to go shopping and tour around.  Unfortunately, Doug has continued to have problems with the bearings in his front wheel hub, and when on our vineyard tour, one of his pedals broke.  We brought both our bicycles to Warm Planet Bikes (, the Dahon dealer in SF, to get Doug's fixed again, and mine to be looked over.  We were told that the bearings needed replacing again and, after checking with the Dahon company,  this time we would be given a completely new wheel and pedals.  My bike was fine.  We have been very impressed with the service we have been getting from the dealers and the company.  Hopefully it will all be sorted out by the time we leave the USA as we have become very dependent upon them.  

Carl and Cristina also introduced us to the local Tilden Regional Park and we have gone on some awesome hikes into the hills behind Oakland and Berkley.   These walks in the rolling and steep terrain rewarded us with spectacular views of almost the entire Bay area.

Oakland to the left, San Francisco centre, Golden Gate Bridge to the right

 The flora is dry grasses, bushes and trees, interspersed with sweet smelling eucalyptus.  We’ve seen deer, wild turkeys and cute little leaping lizards.  It is hot and dry in these hills which stretch inland to Mount Diablo and a very good work out.  Needless to say, with all this biking, hiking and exploring we are getting very fit!

Although we are finding it less expensive to stay in Emeryville, the cost of dining out is still high, so we have been eating most of our meals aboard, with a couple of lunch time exceptions that still startle us.  It is hard to pay the equivalent of 17 Canadian dollars for a hamburger and fries! However, on one of our first nights here, Carl and Cristina brought us to a fabulous Thai restaurant with authentic dishes and realistic prices.

We have discovered the Berkley Bowl, which is an incredible market with the most amazing variety fresh produce, baked goods and dry goods items.  It is still more expensive than Canada, but the quality makes up for it.

You get the idea - foodie mecca - really makes you want to eat your veggies!
There are still Safeways (though more expensive than Washington state), Target (which sells groceries here) and Trader Joe’s.  Carl and Cristina have invited us over to their lovely loft condo for delicious meals and they have visited us as well.

Cristina and Carl in their cozy kitchen

Authentic Catalan Black Paella - YUM!
Last night we all had a bbq dinner in the cockpit and watched the eclipse of the moon.  That was special.

We have been doing minor boat work and research on our upcoming passages and plans for the winter – though at a very relaxed pace.  We want to go to the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival this coming weekend and very soon after that we will sail to Sausalito to position ourselves for an early morning departure under the Golden Gate Bridge with an ebbing tide and before the wind picks up.  Our first stop will be Half Moon Bay, a half day’s sail away, where we will anchor for a few days.  We stopped here on our last journey down the coast and want to hike in the hills there again.  Besides, they now have a craft brewery!  In the meantime, we will continue to enjoy this lovely place and the company of good friends.

Carl and his "tug".

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