Saturday, September 12, 2015

San Francisco - The First Days

We were up early on Thursday, Sept 10, to make the passage into the big city.  We wanted to be sure to ride the tide in and go under the bridge as it flowed.  Unfortunately, there was no wind and we found ourselves in heavy fog - which stayed with us until we reached the Golden Gate.  Fortunately we have a good radar system and between that and the chart plotter we were into the main bay and the sunshine by lunch time. 

Trolling along the Potato Patch 

Golden Gate Bridge appearing out of the mist

Proud captain

We did it!
We headed over to the welcome dock at the San Francisco Harbour thinking we might stay a week.  We had really enjoyed our stay there the last time we were here, five years ago, but were quite shocked to discover the rates had doubled – now $2.00 (US) a foot.  We decided to try for reciprocal privileges at the St. Francis Yacht Club, a little farther in the harbour, and were given two nights at a reasonable rate.
St. Francis Harbour boat haven view - Ka'sala dead centre

SFYC front view

  This club is the premiere sailboat racing home of Olympians, America’s Cup, Rolex Big Boat sailors, etc.  Its walls are covered with medals and trophies, as well as paintings of famous boats.  There are not many (if any) cruising sailboats on their docks and the club was preparing for the Rolex Big Boat series, which begins next week.  Some very amazing racing machines and their crews arrived each day.  The clubhouse is sumptuous with several dining rooms, event areas, fitness room, showers, etc.  The entire front is lined with enormous windows, giving breathtaking views of the harbour and the Golden Gate Bridge.  On our first evening we enjoyed a lovely dinner in their bar, watching flocks of pelicans drifting by as the red glow of a fiery sunset lit up the western sky.  Ah!  Civilization!  ( for more pictures and info)

Sunset over the GG Bridge
With Ka’sala safely docked, we took the first afternoon and walked all the way to the touristy area of Pier 39.  We noticed there weren’t as many tourists as there had been the last time we had visited, but that could have been because school was now back in session.  We retraced our footprints and enjoyed being among people again.  On our second day Doug built the bicycles and we rode up to the Bridge and back through the Presidio before returning to Chestnut Street in the Marina District for a lovely fresh veggie filled lunch in a sidewalk cafe. 

Birthday Girl!
Later that evening we walked down to Fort Mason to take in the “Off the Grid” food truck event.  About 35 of these vehicles had formed a big circle like a wagon train, serving everything from ribs, curry, hamburgers, crème brulee, Korean BBQ, tacos, cotton candy, to fish and chips and everything in between.  Inside the circle was a craft beer tent, cocktails and wine, as well as live music.  Hundreds of people sifted through, lined up, took pictures, milled about and seemed to be having a very good time.  The average age seemed to be about mid twenties, but we didn’t feel out of place.  However, it was a windy night and very cold, so we didn’t linger.

Off the Grid

Stunning sunset on a chilly evening

Today we are anchored in the Aquatic Park Cove behind the breakwater and right beside the historical Hyde Street Pier. 

Although not in this aerial shot, we anchored just inside the breakwater behind the curve to the lower left

We needed to get a permit to do this and because we are a sailboat we were allowed to do so.  (Details on their website:   The “Sea Music Festival” is going on at the pier and we are hoping to catch some of the tunes. 

Antique scow with motor leaving the Park - Alcatraz in the background

The bay is home to a very active swimming club and as we came in there were dozens of them in the water.  I stood at the bow to make sure we didn’t run over any of them! 

Posted signs at the entrance to the Aquatic Park Cove

Swimmer or seal?

Behind us is the streetcar terminus and the Ghirardelli Chocolate factory.  The city rises behind toward the financial district and tenderloin.  Coit Tower overlooks from the east and the hill leading to Fort Mason is on the western side.

Tomorrow we will head to the Emeryville Marina across the bay between Berkley and Oakland.  Cruising friends Carl and Cristina have helped us find a berth there where we plan to stay for at least the next two weeks.  There are a lot of boat chores to be done, not to mention laundry.  We are looking forward to spending time with our friends, catching up on our sleep and taking it easy for a while.  There are great bicycle paths over there and a good public transportation system to give us access to the city if we so desire.

Alcatraz - this one is for you, Wesley

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