Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Shiriri Saga # 25. Yachties in San Francisco Bay.

Gwyn steers across the Bay.
We are suddenly in no great rush to get south: we really need a rest and what a great harbour to do it in. We row Edith ashore each morning and wander the streets that angle up the steep hillsides of Sausalito to the crest where fog blows in from the ocean. We look at all the typically west coast houses that originally set the design trends that have reached way up the coast to BC. It`s a little disconcerting to grasp how California has originated so much of what we had thought of as our own Canadian West Coast Culture.
We find groceries expensive in upscale Sausalito and take Edith on a long cutting-out expedition along the waterfront and up the river to a Safeway store in a more working class neighbourhood. Here we can buy food in normal sized quantities instead of pre-made, almost ready to eat portions.
By hopping on a bus we cross the Golden Gate Bridge and wander the waterfront of San Francisco and take the trolley up the hillsides. Shore leave in a foreign port! Just not that foreign!
One day we motor across to Angel Island and after wedging our way through the muddy bottom to a mooring at low tide ,Gwyn offers to take a bow line to a mooring buoy for another sailboat that arrives behind us. It turns out to be a family of four aboard Greyhawk from Vancouver and we all walk together around the island trails sniffing the scent of eucalyptus trees and trading experiences of our travels down the coast. While we were having our date with destiny off Mendocino, Greyhawk was rounding Cape Blanco further north in the same winds and opting to sail on through the night under jib alone and get close inshore in the lee of the cape as quickly as possible. Even so, it was quite a ride! We will meet other big strong boats with experienced crews, that got beaten up on their journey south during this period and it does n`t seem to matter what course they took: inshore or far offshore or somewhere in between.
The Bridge, Sausalito, Angel Island.
We are still agonizing over our own choices and remain acutely aware that we have used a lot of US taxpayer funded expensive manpower and equipment. The crew of the cutter made a point of reassuring us that we did everything right. They do not want people in trouble at sea to not call for help for fear of expense or of calling on them too early on in an emergency: the sooner they know of a problem, the more options they have available and the more likely there will be a timely and successful outcome. They also attempted to reassure us because they were aware that a traumatic experience like this would continue to return for us to chew on long after the trauma had ended. In the end, to balance things up in our minds, we remind ourselves of a boating incident just a few months earlier in which we saved an American woman from drowning. The action required no Canadian Coast Guard or their equipment, hardly any effort on my part, but the result was the same: a life saved. Eventually we learn to chalk the Mendocino experience up as a learning opportunity. We will continue to make mistakes and continue to learn from them but will just become more experienced at managing those precious opportunities!

No comments: