August 26, 2016
Marshall Beach, Tomales Bay
After a few days at South Beach Harbor, San Francisco, our new friends/crew joined us to help bring the boat to one of our favorite places, Tomales Bay. Laura & Rich and Julie & Lee will crew for us during the Baja Ha Ha Rally in October. This Tomales trip was to be a warm up cruise. Michael & I had some concerns about having 6 people on board, but as we got underway, the concerns soon evaporated. Unfortunately, the wind was light and on the nose, so we motored all the way, stopping one night in Drake’s Bay in order to time our arrival into Tomales with the high tide. Soon after we anchored at Drake’s, Lee began making the rum punch and the party was on. We all rose the next day slowly and mildly grumpy, prepared to raise anchor and head to the mouth of Tomales Bay by 2:00. Raising the anchor proved challenging, as gigantic seaweed was wrapped around our chain. Valiantly, Lee & Michael cleaned the seaweed away as I raised the anchor and we were free to proceed. The mouth of Tomales Bay can be tricky, but we timed it right and Michael smoothly brought her in with no issues. We anchored at White Gulch and enjoyed one more night together, refraining from the rum punch. Our friends departed the next day to return to their busy lives on land. Michael and I immediately settled in with a long boat nap. Happy to be here!
Day 4 anchored in Tomales Bay. What a place. Serene, desolate, foggy, misty, cold for August. Just me, Michael and Footloose. There are teams of kayakers, and small boat fisherman, occasional sailboats in the distance, but for the most part, we are alone. It’s quiet here. I can really hear the birds sing, the fish splash, the power of the pelican flight. Quite a place to get into the flow of cruising life.
We endured two days without wifi in White Gulch before moving to Marshall Beach & taking the dinghy to “town” in Marshall. We picked up our general delivery mail and went to the restaurant to eat and plug in. We needed to take care of some business online and had some pending texts & emails anxiously awaiting delivery. The Wifi, bandwidth challenges will be part of the experience I suppose. I’m learning that I can take a connectivity break once in awhile. I don’t feel the constant urge to be with my phone as I once did. I can leave it behind to go out on my SUP board without a pang.
When preparing to cruise, common questions from friends were about boredom, loneliness, small space, being scared. I know it’s only been a couple weeks and four days, but I assure you I am not bored! I won’t bore you with the minutia of daily routines, but here are some insights. There is no schedule, only plans that unfold or delay or surprise. I’m enjoying watching the birds and reading about their migratory routes. I’m trying recipes and planning meals for a couple days out, which is enjoyable when the day is mine. I’m talking with Michael about boat parts (still), philosophy, travel, family, science, life. I’ve taken to my Stand Up Paddle Board for a great workout and some meditative alone time. I’m learning something new all the time. Currently, I’m learning about my VHF radio and writing a communication guide for the boat’s procedure manual. We are taking care of Footloose, which is more like a small city than a boat. Every day we monitor our energy (amps), our water (2 tanks), our holding tanks (sewage), our need for showers (hot water). All the things you take for granted for the most part on land are an intricate part of your daily awareness on water. Today we are abuzz charging all systems, making water, making heat, making amps (Gen-Set). So, it’s not boring. It’s not scary. It’s not lonely. It’s different here.
Planning is another big part of cruising. Where will you go next, when will you leave, what route will you take? We will be in Tomales Bay for 2 weeks and a bit before beginning our route south. Tomales Bay feels like home in a way. Michael spent many years sailing here. There is the annual Labor Day Regatta hosted by the Santa Rosa Sailing Club. Michael and his friends from the Marconi Cove Yacht Club will race one more time aboard Mark’s boat. There will be the annual “Bachelor Party” at Marshall this weekend, a 25 + year tradition. So, this departure will be bittersweet. It will also begin a new wondrous chapter as we will leave the Golden Gate and head south to Pillar Point, Half Moon Bay, then on towards Point Conception, sometimes referred to as the Cape Horn of the Pacific.