Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Corinna to Cortez, week 1

For two years I commuted between Palo Alto and Santa Barbara, driving, flying and taking the train. In all that time I would look out at the ocean and let my mind wander to the sea. The Pacific always provided my favorite moments in the journey. I would pull the car over, grab my trusty beach chair and finalize a lesson plan or work out a portion of a composition, feet in the sand and waves lapping the shore. The different sea states were great to track as the Amtrak slowly wound it's way up the coast. From the airplane I would gaze down and try and commit the water depth and offshore hazards to memory. In all that time I never imagined that I would sail that coast and here I find myself, one week into a wander down the coast.

The plan is a four month sail from San Francisco down to the Sea of Cortez and back. That simple sentence provides a macroscopic view of the journey, but the day to day is amazingly microscopic temporally. The days unfold hour by hour and with good wind we are moving at six miles an hour. We are averaging five miles and hour and that is our pace... 5 miles an hour from San Francisco to Mexico and back.

The crew are myself and my wife Christine and we are aboard our 1977 36 foot Allied Wright ketch. Hull number 111, the Allied Princess is a modified full keel and a classic cruiser. The motion is kindly and the speed is not aggressive.

Today we "finalized" the repairs and preparation while at anchor in Santa Cruz. The  work has been going on since I graduated from UC Santa Barbara. THe first task was to move us out of our apartment and put everything into a storage unit and everything needed, on to the boat. I had one week after graduation to pack and then my parents and good friend Nathan helped me move everything.

On the boat, Christine and I settled into a preparation mode. I spent the month working on the boat while she studied for her board exams and worked to fund our trip. Having had the boat hauled only 3 months before, she was in good shape, still, an extended cruise requires more than what she was set up for. The major upgrades were an all chain rode, a new Rocna anchor (love it!), a new DSC and AIS receiving marine radio and engine (and engine owner) overhaul, touching up the electronics system and spares lots and lots o' spares.

Dropping out of reality for a few months means getting a lot of life things taken care of, this was the other part of my work. My daily schedule was three hours on the phone/computer in the AM working on health insurance, student loans, a drivers license, car insurance, boat insurance etc etc... The afternoon was spent working on a boat project. And then, a month was gone and most everything was done, but we were going! Here in Santa Cruz today, we finally got the autopilot repaired. Well actually, the technician started the job at 1100 hours and after an hour, we left the dock, anchored and spent the afternoon finishing the work. Dinner as the Giants game came on the radio and another day passes.

We are still settling in and working things out, but a rhythm is starting to emerge. The trip began with a night at Angel Island and then two nights in Richardson Bay (that is where I spent a day installing the marine radio remote microphone). From there we went out the Golden Gate (over the 0600 slack tide) and down to Pillar Point (essentially Half Moon Bay). We spent a few days there taking care a few projects, both life and boat and then yesterday we made our way down to Santa Cruz. And it is here, off the Santa Cruz municipal pier, where the seals bark away, I finally get some notes in writing. There were lots of interesting moments and as I move forward, those will make there way into my writing, but for now, the log book will provide details.

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