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San Francisco Bay sailing charters!

What we’ll do:

Experience fast, action-packed exciting sailing, or we can slow things down for a leisurely cruise on the Bay. We offer private sailing charters so you get to choose! Our rate is $95/hour for the boat, for up to six people. We recommend a three hour tour. Bring beers/wine and snacks if you wish.

We depart from Sausalito, with free parking available. San Francisco pick-up and drop off may be possible upon special request.

Get a taste for what an awesome experience living, working and voyaging on a classic sailboat can be. Get a little salty while we sail and chat about what it’s like going far from land and crossing oceans, from endless waves and wind, to calm nights under starry skies. Get a feel for what it’s like to live and thrive in a constantly moving small space, in a beautiful but unforgiving environment.

Hear what it’s like to battle land Tuna, Mahi Mahi and Sailfish while under a full spread of sail and have the freshest sushi minutes later, to anchor in tropical anchorages, bathe in the sea, and surf endless, uncrowded waves right from the boat.

Ask as little or as much as you like about surviving storms, living in foreign countries, meeting great cruising friends, and unplugging from normal living to find another path.

Spend time aboard a unique, rugged, beautiful boat with numerous Atlantic Ocean crossings and a Panama Canal transit under her belt, that has provided a safe and peaceful haven for her crew over the span of five decades.

 

About the Captain:

I’m passionate about voyaging and the sailing lifestyle, and living and working on boats around the world. I grew up sailing and racing small boats, and I have just returned from a year long cruise in Alsager to Mexico’s Gold Coast and the Sea of Cortez with my wife, young son, and dog Noah on board. In the last year and half I have sailed over 10,000 miles, including a passage from Hawaii to Seattle. Prior to departing, I spent many years working around the world for America’s Cup Race Management, setting courses for the race yachts. I am licensed by the Coast Guard.

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EMAIL: GOLDENGATESAILING@GMAIL.COM

How the Captain experienced the return

Tanja asked me to write about my thoughts on returning home, and about what I am up to now. We were gone for just under one year, and for myself, all of about five weeks of it was spent onboard, the exception of which was when I flew to Europe to catch up with Tanja and Mats. I also did two delivery jobs on other boats, which offset the cost of our maintenance haul out in La Cruz. Interestingly, we found that most of the other boats we met cruise seasonally (or at least hope to), spending winter/early spring onboard and then storing their boats in one of a few ” hurricane ” holes for the summer. A much smaller percentage either make the ” Bash ” back up the West Coast, or carrying on indefinitely further south or across the Pacific. There are many great deals on boats for sale that have made a one way trip…

 

The first month or so back home wasn’t the most enjoyable for me. Part of me wished that we were still out there doing it. Mainly I missed waking up on the hook in a pretty anchorage, and drinking coffee in the cockpit while Mats snorkeled around the boat, or checking the surf nearby.  Cold, windy, foggy SF Bay took some time to appeal to me again after enjoying clear 80 degree water and warm, calm anchorages, not to mention the great fishing! In fact, it took me almost two months to motivate, put on a wetsuit and clean Alsager’s hull.

 

But, a big part of it was dealing with the reality that it was time to find work and make some money, as a year of traveling is not easy on the bank account. While our time spent sailing to Mexico and staying aboard there cost very little, the long return home and associated flights, combined with the trip to Europe ( Iceland, Germany, France and Switzerland – my wife and her family took care of most of that great adventure) added up very quickly. Secondly, I was faced with the reality of dealing with a shoulder injury I had long been putting off, and was not looking forward to the often painful process that is healthcare in America. I’ve always had great service on the medical end of things, but on the admin side it has been a shocker, leaving me wondering how it’s possible that some of these people hold their jobs (and so far my expectations have been met yet again…). Thirdly, I had a hard time adjusting to the HUGE cultural differences between life in America and outside of it, from the simple things like a restaurant experience, to bigger issues like the near daily shootings and the political mindset of so many…something which provided part of the impetus for us leaving in the first place. It seems to be only here that complete strangers feel it is okay and necessary to try and impose their will on you…within a few weeks we’d been told how Mats should or shouldn’t ride his bike, how to walk our dog, how to park the car, and the list goes on…all this despite Americans viewing themselves as more ” free ” than everyone else in the world. Fortunately, this last issue has been offset by the many great friends we have that don’t fit into this equation.

 

Two and half months later, we are pretty happy to be here and things are going well. I’ve been very busy with a combination of chartering Alsager, doing some delivery work down the coast, and working on and moving boats locally. When work has been slow, I’ve spent time taking care of Alsager’s cosmetics, and getting her out for a sail a few times a month has been nice. It’s also great to be back on ” Mercy ” our 1972 46′ Bertram live aboard. Her two mains and generator fired right up, which was a nice homecoming for me! It’s been months now since I caught any waves, partly due to being too busy and to lack of motivation, but also because I haven’t got any wheels. I really enjoyed not being in a car over the last year, and to save a few bucks in the short term we’ve been making it work with one car. That will change soon, as I’ve been working on getting my van back on the road and am now looking forward to that. And also to be able to drop-off Mats at daycare when needed.

 

Mats is as happy as ever, especially since he gets to spend time with his best buddy and boat neighbor ” Gunnar T “. He does miss jumping in the water for a swim, but soon we’ll suit him up to catch some waves again at Bolinas. He is also very happy ” arbeiten ” with Tanja, who is now very busy and happy with her new gig dog walking! She combines work from Rover, and Buckydog, and has just officially started her own business – SimplyDogWalk.com.

 

Going forward, we are trying to make more of an effort to find time to spend with friends and family (this part is not easy because our families live in Canada and Germany). I’m also excited to camp in the van again, and about seeing the mountains and snow again. The big news for me is that beginning next January I’ll be working for SailGP Race Management, setting marks for foiling catamarans once again! The first year sees events in Australia, SF, New York, England and France. It’s going to be a busy one as I also expect to deliver a boat or two back from Mexico, and possibly from Hawaii again too.

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Alsager now lives on a mooring just outside our marina fairway. It has its downsides, but I got used to her hanging on the hook in all kinds of weather over the last year and we have a slick davit setup on Mercy for our tender ” Gooey ” which makes it easy and quick to get to her. We love our local marina, but the annual price increases have made it very pricey these days (along with everything else in Marin!). Inevitably at some point we’ll bring her back in off the ball, but for the time being the huge savings help us to get caught back up financially.

 

If/when ” next time ” happens (perhaps a Hawaii/Alaska loop!), as I wrote previously I would not change much about our year away, and I don’t have any regrets. Tanja really pushed to make it happen, and I’m forever grateful. That being said, when it came time to come home, I would plan on delivering Alsager back rather than trying to carry on the cruise. While we certainly enjoyed parts of our time heading north from San Diego, the time and costs involved were what created the unnecessary stress we felt when we reached home. It’s analogous to our previous road trips to BC. While the long drive up is really enjoyable, the return trip home becomes more of a chore and something that for the most part, one just wants over and done with.

Crazy come back!

And than we were back! It got pretty crazy for a while. Packing things off sailing vessel Alsager, piling it up inside our 46″ Bertram live-aboard Yacht. The Captain prepared the sailboat to get onto a mooring.

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He will write his perspective soon. I took care of a lot that had to be done on the power boat. Two months prior we had already done a lot of cleaning on the power boat, but there was still plenty to do.

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We had our vehicles in non operational status and had to get one going for now. Smog check, registration, insurance, oil change, that alone was almost $ 1000.- for just one car. Our savings were slowly eaten up.

The past two months had been the most expensive, beside the haul out in Mexico. The Baja Bash with two crew, far away from ideal weather and lots of motoring involved, rental cars and flights to Germany and back during high season. Let’s say, I started worrying a bit and the Captain also wasn’t at ease.

Just a few days after our return, the Captain had picked up on a job already! I was looking into preschool options, so I could also get back into the working world. Our visit to the loft of North Sails for a Sail repair before going on our adventure, had never left my mind. My idea was to learn how to sew. I started writing letters to Sail and Canvas repair shops, after I had found an awesome drop-in daycare for Mats. I received quick responses and was invited to North Sails and also to Canvas Works. They were super nice, but for both it wasn’t good timing, winter coming and no need for staff at that time. Plus, well, I did not know how to sew. They wanted to have a resume for there records anyways, which I didn’t have, the last one I had written in German language like about a hundred years ago. So, that needed to be done and took a toll on me. Finally with help from my good friend Miri and 2nd proof reading from the Captain, I got one together. I actually have quite a bit to offer. Just not, what I was into much anymore. Or ever?

A good friend of ours, Brian from Calikites offered his help to show me his industrial sewing machine. It seemed easy how HE handled the machine and I managed to patch a jacket and sew a logo on it after just 2 hours. I felt hopeful and very excited! We thought, between repairs once a while at Calikites and possibly a future part-time position at a Sail or Canvas Business, I could have something cool going for me.

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The next day I went into his shop by myself to practice. It did not go well. I looked at all the photo’s and videos I had taken on the day with Brian, but I could not figure out, what was wrong. It was frustrating and after 2 1/2 hours of nonsense, I drove home. Since I did not make any cash practicing, this little experience alone had just cost me $40,-, daycare, bridge toll and gas.

Brian went to the shop about 6 days later and checked the machine. I had just missed some tiny thing. I really wanted to learn, but it was hard not having someone around to ask, while I was there practicing. At this point we haven’t been able to make it work since we are both so busy.

Just around that time, I ran into my friend Tracy. We were still settling back in and hadn’t seen many of our friends just yet. When I asked her, so, what’s new with you? She responded, well, I quit my job and I am walking dogs right now. My chin dropped and I looked at the Captain, who immediately said: “You can do that, you could start your own business”. I got curious and started asking her many questions.

A day later, I had set up a flyer “your neighborhood dog walker”. Just like that. A bit naive. Got it printed and attached it to Bulletin boards in Sausalito and Mill Valley.

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And I setup a Rover profile, which is an online App, where people can book pet sitters etc. But until the background check went through and the profile got approved, again, it took some time. I also started a craigslist posting offering the service. The Captain brought up the idea of putting stickers onto my car and I started thinking about it and designing. A name had to be found, an Email setup. Trying around on gmail to find a name, gmail approved of simplydogwalk@gmail.com  There was my name: Simply Dog Walk.

I chatted with Tracy to get a little feedback about the dog walking. She offered to ask  Buckydog‘s owner for me if they needed someone.

A couple days later I got my first call from the Craigslist post! Lucy, a Chihuahua. She was explained to me as an older lady, which could get cranky to strangers. We set up a meet and greet.

The same day Buckydog called and welcomed me to there Team! The timing was right this time, they needed a new walker.

And all of a sudden… this happened… the beginning of a new passion…

DOG WALKING!

I will write some more about this new adventure on my new website:

www.simplydogwalk.com

Follow me or like it on Facebook

Final Countdown – Heart Pounding!

Words cannot describe the feelings we had, when returning back home. I can tell you about mine, but at this point, it does not matter so much. Well, hell yeah, I was FREAKING EXCITED!

What really matters though, are the experiences we made throughout this incredible journey and what we learned from them. We did not plan to sail that far and not for that long. At least, I did not. We just went and wanted to see where it takes us. I was prepared to jump off the first stop and go back home, if I absolutely hated it. But than, I am also very stubborn and not a party pooper. It was a challenge. So, time went on, one day after the other, some days were bad, some ok, others great. And now look at that map up there, how far we went. All of a sudden we were in Mexico. And than we had even crossed Sea de Cortez.

I found a passion which kept me sane, writing about it, capturing the moments. And of course being the Mom to Mats I had been as stay at home Mom for the past 3 1/2 years. Just now on a boat.

We did not throw the partner overboard, even though we might have felt like it at times.

I am so proud of us all! Mats is such a trooper for hanging in, he missed his buddies and cousins so much. But he also made new friends, loved steering the dinghy, started swimming, snorkeling by himself around the boat, endless plays in the water, catching fish. Had both parents by his side 24/7.

Noah was the best dog we could wish for on the boat. He was Mats best buddy and kept me warm on those night watches. It felt good knowing him on deck while we were sleeping down below. He is a sweetheart.

I climbed up the mast and fixed things, caught fish and filet it while the boat was sailing through water, even going upwind. Never thought I could do such thing. Started double checking routes on Navionics, weather and radar, did night watches. Tried to keep everyone hydrated and not hangry. And very important, always remembered getting ice to have cold beers.

The Captain brought us all the way down to Mexico and back safe! What a responsibility. While I was blogging away, he would check weather and routes. Take care of S/V Alsager and managed to bring her back in better shape than before we left. Fixed our dinghy several times. Too many things to list, really.

If you ever need a Captain, don’t look any further. There is no other like him.

On this note, I’d like to say, see you later. It took me a while to continue writing and looking through pictures. There is still so much more to say and see. When I find the time and feel like it, I will look through all those files and will maybe edit a movie here and there or we tell about another sail in the Bay.

But for now, I would like to close a chapter. 🙂

Thank you all for following and living the journey with us.

To Sail or Not To Be… 


Our complete sailing agenda:

Oct 12th 2017 Sausalito – Half Moon Bay (Marina)

Oct 13th Half Moon Bay – Monterey (Marina)

Oct 15-16th Monterey – Avila Beach (overnight Sail) (mooring)

Oct 17th Avila Beach – passed Pt Conception – Santa Barbara (Marina)

Oct 19th-20th Santa Barbara – Long Beach (Marina)

Oct 21st  Long Beach – San Diego (Extreme Sailing) Marina and Anchored at Mission Bay

Oct 29th – Nov 1st 3 Day Sail San Diego – Turtle Bay, Mexico (anchored)

Nov 4th Turtle Bay – Asuncion (anchored)

Nov 6th Asuncion – Punta Abreojos (anchored)

Nov 7th-8th Sail Punta Abreojos – San Juanico, Scorpion Bay (anchored)

Nov 14th – 17th 3 Day Sail San Juanico – Cabo San Lucas (anchored)

Dec 11th – Sail Cabo San Lucas – San Jose del Cabo (Marina)

Dec 13th  Sail to Los Frailes (anchored)

Dec 14th Los Barilles (anchored)

Dec 16th Los Barilles – Muertos (anchored) wind change and seeking shelter around corner towards La Ventana for the night (anchored)

Dec 17th Sail to La Ventana (anchored)

Dec 19th  Sail to Muertos (anchored)

Dec 31st Sail to La Ventana (anchored)

Jan 1st 2018 Sail to Cerralvo Island (anchored)

Jan 2nd – 4th Crossing Sea de Cortez, Cerralvo Island – Isla Isabel (anchored)

Jan 6th Sail Isla Isabel – Chacala (anchored)

Jan 13th Sail Chacala – Punta Mita (anchored)

Jan 20th Sail Punta Mita – Paradise Village (Marina)

Jan 23rd La Cruz (Boatyard bottom paint – Marina)

Feb 3rd Sail La Cruz – Punta Mita (anchored)

Feb 11th Sail Punta Mita – Ipala (anchored)

Feb 12th – 13th Sail Ipala – Chamela (anchored)

Feb 14th Chamela – Tenacatita (anchored)

Feb 16th Sail Tenacatita – Barra de Navididad (Marina)

Feb 20th Melaque Anchorage

Feb 22nd Sail to Tenacatita (anchored)

Mar 1st Sail Tenacatita – Chamela (anchored)

Mar 2nd Sail Chamela – Ipala (anchored)

Mar 3rd Sail Ipala – Punta Mita (anchored)

Mar 9th Sail Punta Mita – La Cruz (Marina)

Mar 21st Sail La Cruz – Punta Mita (anchored)

Mar 22nd Punta Mita – Chacala (anchored)

Mar 25th Chacala – San Blas (anchored)

Mar 29th Sail San Blas – Isla Isabella (anchored)

Mar 31st – Apr 2nd Crossing Sea de Cortez – Isla Isabella – Muertos (anchored)

Apr 5th Muertos – La Ventana (anchored)

Apr 7th Sail La Ventana – La Paz (Marina)

Apr 15th Sail La Paz – Caleta Partida/Espiritu Santu (anchored)

Apr 16th Sail Caleta Partida – Ensenada Grande (anchored)

Apr 17th Sail Ensenada Grande – Isla San Francisco (anchored)

Apr 21st Isla San Francisco – Evaristo (anchored)

Apr 22nd Sail Evaristo – Los Gatos (anchored)

Apr 23rd Sail Los Gatos – Bahia San Marte (anchored)

Apr 24th Sail San Marte – Aqua Verde (anchored)

Apr 26th Aqua Verde – Puerto Escondido (mooring)

Apr 30th Puerto Escondido – Aqua Verde (anchored)

May 1st Aqua Verde – Los Gatos (anchored)

May 2nd Los Gatos – San Evaristo (anchored)

May 3rd San Evaristo – La Paz (Marina Palmira)

May 6th La Paz – La Ventana (anchored)

May 7th La Ventana – Muertos (anchored)

May 8th-9th Sail Muertos – Cabo Freiles (anchored)

May 10th Sail Cabo Freilles – San Jose del Cabo (Marina)

May 14th Sail San Jose del Cabo – Cabo San Lucas (Marina)

(Captain brought Sailboat with crew through rough weather from Cabo San Lucas to Los Angeles. It took about 3 weeks. Then he joined me and Mats for a month vacation in Germany)

Jul 21st Sail Wilmington L.A. – Catalina Island (mooring and anchored)

Jul 31st Sail Catalina Island – Marina Del Rey (Marina)

Aug 3rd Sail Marina del Rey – Malibu Beach (anchored)

Aug 5th Sail Malibu Beach – Channel Island Harbor (Marina)

Aug 8th Sail Channel Island Harbor – Santa Barbara (Marina)

Aug 9th Santa Barbara – Cojo Anchorage

Aug 10th Cojo Anchorage – pt Conception – Avila Beach (mooring)

Aug 12th Sail Avila Beach – Morro Bay (mooring)

Aug 17th Sail Morro Bay – San Simeon – overnight sail to Monterey (Marina)

Aug 23rd Sail Monterey – Santa Cruz (Marina)

Aug 25th Sail Santa Cruz – Half Moon Bay (Marina)

Aug 26th Sail Half Moon Bay – Sausalito HOME!

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Half Moon Bay

Our last stop before returning home, was a very sweet one. Our sail from Santa Cruz to Half Moon Bay was relaxed, I honestly can’t remember much of it anymore. What I do remember very well was the excitement I felt, to see some very very good friends again!

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Not living that far away from Half Moon Bay, they made an effort to come and have dinner with us. Kerstin and Silvia and there precious daughter Mia, which I had only seen once before, when she was just a few weeks old! I had a bit of a teary eye when I saw all of them. Just so good to see friends, especially these guys I thought a lot about when cruising Mexico, as we used to kite and vacation together in La Ventana. 🙂

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On the next morning leaving Half Moon Bay I could not help taking a few pics of this boat, which we already had seen and “admired” a year ago. Quite a collection that guy has there…

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Our final leg had come. Next stop… HOME!

Santa Cruz

When we left Monterey Bay in the morning, the sky hazy and the water glassy, it was almost impossible to make out where the greyish water and sky met. Birds were gliding so close over the bay waters, their wings almost touched. All of a sudden a huge humpback whale appeared on our port side and I grabbed the camera. But the moment had passed already, it was the largest humpback and closest I had seen on our entire trip. Funny, so close to home!

The evening before we left Monterey, Robbie, who just returned from his Sailboat delivery and Marisa managed to stop by for a quick “Hello and Good-bye”. We had felt ready to depart, but when all of a sudden that whale appeared and we saw spouts in the distances, I never wanted to arrive in Santa Cruz and just continue to cruise inside the Bay.

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Our arrival in Santa Cruz was a bit strenuous. We had to dock first to get a slip assignment, which usually sucks, especially if you had a long sail and just want to get settled in. The wind and current were not in our favor approaching the dock and in the eyes of the Captain I wasn’t acting fast enough. I quickly handed the lines to him, so he could do it the way it needed to be done.

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If you look closely, you can spot Alsager on an end tie to the left.

Also this happened in Santa Cruz. After almost a year of cruising and buying ice to run our fridge on the sailboat, which wasn’t always an easy task in “hot” Mexico, the Captain managed to find an almost new electric Coleman Cooler on Craigslist. With addition of a solar panel, this would have been a great addition for the trip. It was nice to have for the reminder and will be appreciated for future trips.

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Mats had a blast at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk. There were so many new rides since the last time I had seen it. Of course he ended up in a “boat” .

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But he said, he liked the plane the best.

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His bike helmet certainly came in handy. 🙂

Monterey- Dali and much more!

It’s funny sometimes, you are worried about something and than it passes by way better than the portion you had not wasted a thought about. That’s how it was with the night sail. It started off from San Simeon with this gorgeous moon. The Captain did the first shift and I snuggled with Mats. He later told me, that 10min away from San Simeon, he already saw the fog and our whole sail was through fog and heavy dew. BUT, when my shift started, I could not believe it. I started seeing a big green patch in the water. All of a sudden green lines were shooting like and arrows through the water towards the boat and when they got closer, I discovered the outlinings of dolphins. AMAZING!

Bioluminescence is a chemical process in which an enzyme breaks a substrate down and one of the products of this reaction is light.

It was insane. I stared at the water for hours. Yeah, of course I also paid attention to my duties at night. But it was such an amazing show and I had not seen it like that before. Well, this is what I looked like after about 4 hours.

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The night passed and we continued to motor through the foggy morning.

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We watched the radar closely and spotted someone getting closer right on collision course!

What are the odds! It was our friend Robbie. We had met on our cruise in Mexico. Him, his wife and two sons are great surfers and enjoyed the same spots we did. Robbie is a knowledgable sailer and has a lot in common with the Captain. Too bad we couldn’t hang with him much in Monterey, as he was on opposite course.

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BUT, we did get together with his wife Marisa and her family, she picked us up a few days after our arrival, showed us there place and invited us for a fantastic dinner! Thanks again, girl!

 

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MONTEREY! Last night sail, if the rest of the trip towards ‘home’ would go well. We checked into a nice Marina in walking distance to everything and enjoyed a shower and a cold beer.

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We found a nice playground for Mats, who is always in our thoughts for being such a good boy with so much patience on those long sails, sometimes getting seasick and never complaining much. We are very lucky to have such a cool kid!

My heart made a little jump, when I saw this sign on the playground. 🙂

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A big highlight being in Monterey was the fact, that I was able to get together with my friend Sarah, whom I met long time ago through a craigslist add “Looking for friends” . That was when I was living in San Francisco and she lived in Berkeley, both originally from Germany. She now lives in Australia and showed her fiance where she had spend an important part of her live. It was great to see her, she has grown so much. Also it was nice to be able to meet the man who makes her so happy. They are now married. 🙂 ❤

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Due to a car show Monterey was a little busier than usual. Is was fun to spot how slowly more and more awesome vehicles entered the town.

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IMG_3338Lastly we passed a Dali Museum and I was eager to check it out. I had forgotten, that he had lived in Monterey and learned new things about my former favorite artist.

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The idea below is just the coolest, two pics in one. Photo doesn’t do it’s justice, real affect is with bare eyes.

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Monterey was the last big stop for us!

Morro Bay to San Simeon

 

We still had one overnighter ahead of us. However, there was a possibility to get rest at an anchorage in San Simeon. That sounded like a good idea. Well, the stretch from Morro Bay to San Simeon wasn’t fun! Again we started to motor and had no wind to pull the sails up. Very common in the mornings. In hopes that the wind would pick up later in the afternoon, the Captain steered away from shore. The swell got bigger and choppier and the crew wasn’t happy. Poor Mats got seasick and I did not feel well either. Knowing that we would only have a few hours rest and would continue in darkness, I was pretty cranky when we finally arrived in San Simeon.

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We were anchored close to this break, which was cool to watch, but also made me a bit nervous.

The moon was simply beautiful and I took that as a good sign for our last— LAST , HOPEFULLY LAST, night sail!