Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Shiriri Saga # 24 The Second Time Around.

Gwyn steers past THE CAPE.

We find the Mendocino buoy covered in sea lions, and cross our fingers as we pass the rocky cape . It really is a double cape with the second bump (Punta Gorda) still ahead. The wind increases quickly to thirty-five knots. We have a double reaction as well: it is only thirty-five knots: our sense of what constitutes a storm has been upgraded since our first visit to the cape two weeks ago and, at the same time, we realize that we will never completely shake the dread that a rising wind strength will stir up in our guts; a fear that it may go to hurricane force again!

We sail before the wind that is kicking up a series of steep following waves all covered in white caps but we now know this is child`s play for our stout vessel. When darkness comes, Gwyn flips the switch to turn on the compass light for steering at night and nothing happens! We are determined not to stop for the night again, especially in this nasty cape place so we turn on the radar and use the outline of the coast to guide our course. When it is time for Heather and I to take our watch below ( no more staying awake) we leave a nervous Gwyn steering us on through the night. I look back through the companionway to see her head behind the wheel silhouetted against a background of steep breaking waves. Before her two hour watch is over however, we are past the double cape and motor on through the calm seas in it`s lee. Second time, lucky!

Pt. Reyes, Drakes Bay, San Francisco Harbour.

Two days later we approach Point Reyes, just north of San Francisco, in the dark. We had planned to anchor for the night before this, but an approach to an unfamiliar harbour in the deepening dusk did not appeal to us. Too risky! We have adjusted to the open ocean at last and we now prefer to deal with a night passage close to shipping lanes and a bold headland. Point Reyes has a lighthouse that sends out a powerful beam and it seems to take forever to motor around it in a wide arc before following the shoreline to Drake`s Bay. Our radar is our eyes and after watching a dramatic shoreline of bumps and blips we finally squeeze past the buoy and anchor at two in the morning in a broad quiet bay. Ah, the blessed silence! We have been under power in semi-calm conditions ever since Mendocino and look forward to a quiet sleep for the rest of the night.
Drake`s Bay

We anchor here for two more days and walk the park trails along the cliffs. We see the rugged bluffs and multitudes of jagged pinnacles that gave our radar such an interesting display on the way along the shore in the dark. This is the first natural bit of solid ground we have seen since leaving home and we have had such a stressful time in between. We suck it up as nourishment! From here it is only a short hop to San Francisco and we are soon on our way again!

San Francisco, here we come! The Golden Gate welcomes us to the landfall we have been aiming at for nearly a month. We feel that we have accomplished a Great Thing. We turn left and anchor just off the main channel to Sausalito beside a Canadian Yacht, Fairwyn, that we last met in Eureka. We are about to experience the pleasures of making an ever widening circle of sailing friends who are headed south just like us. Not only that but we now have an adventure story to dine out on!

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