Sunday, September 17, 2017

2017-11 Monterrey to San Simeon or Morro Bay

Sunday, September 17, 2017:  Continuing Southbound on the Central California Coastline

7AM: We departed Monterrey Harbor a bit earlier today to make the best use of favorable marine weather.   About 4:45 we found the harbor exit and rounded the Peninsula in the darkness, brightly lighted with the boats forward facing floodlights.  The boat was bouncing as we bucked the swells but our movement moderated as we turned toward Point Sur. Current position is 12 miles NW of Sur.  One of our goals today is to view the big Mud River slide up close.  Should close about noon today.

Today's NOAA weather forecast:

Point Pinos To Point Piedras Blancas To 10 nm-237 AM PDT Sun Sep 17 2017

...SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH MONDAY EVENING...

.TODAY...NW winds 15 to 25 kt. Wind waves 3 to 5 ft. NW swell 3 to 5 ft at 8 seconds. Patchy fog in the morning.
.TONIGHT...NW winds 20 to 30 kt. Wind waves 3 to 5 ft. NW swell 6 to 7 ft at 8 seconds. Patchy fog after midnight.

Point Piedras Blancas to Point Sal westward out to 10 NM-249 AM PDT Sun Sep 17 2017

.TODAY...NW winds 5 to 10 kt...becoming W 10 to 15 kt in the afternoon. Wind waves 2 ft or less. NW swell 4 to 5 ft at 8 seconds.
.TONIGHT...NW winds 10 to 15 kt in the evening...becoming N 5 to 10 kt. Wind waves 2 ft or less. NW swell 5 to 6 ft at 8 seconds. Patchy fog after midnight.

So much better weather ahead at Piedra Blancas and southward.  We expect to skip San Simeon due to the expected big winds and continue to Morro Bay around 6PM or so.

12:30PM:  We paused at Big Sur's Mud Creek Slide to view the progress.  From our amateur observations, it looks like two break walls are under construction at the base (waterline).  Also a construction road from the south end has been graded to a flat equipment assembly area.  A row of containers seems to serve to protect workers below from minor slides of rocks. These of course are just non-professional observations.  Check out the photos.

The overall slide area.
While the rest of use watch Sunday football (and ride boats)
construction continues on building a new road over the BIG slide.
A row of containers serves as a break-wall from loose rock above workers,
at least that's what we think.
Equipment staging area near base of slide.
Treebones is one of the businesses
needing road access for patrons.
Maybe the construction workers
can stay over?
2:25PM:  Passing Point Pedra Blancas and still on schedule to arrive in Morro Bay at 6:30 tonight.

Point Piedra Blancas Light Station
Whale Jumps for Wild Blue

Entering Morro Bay Harbor at 5 times speed (or 40 knots!)

Wild Blue and other transient boats tied to the dock
at the Morro Bay Yacht Club. Here's the view from the MBYC Webcam.  


Saturday, September 16, 2017

2017-10 Half Moon Bay to Monterrey

Saturday, September  16, 2017: Half Moon Bay to Monterrey

This is one leg in a multi-leg cruise that eventually gets the boat to La Paz, Mexico.  The CostaBaja.com Resort will be Wild Blue's 2017-2018 winter home.  During our journey, you can follow us live at MarineTraffic.com via the boat's AIS transponder.  As long as we have cell service, our plan is to post text, photo and video updates along the way.

Today's NOAA Marine Weather forecast is:
W winds 5 to 15 kt. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. NW swell 3 to 4 ft at 8 seconds. Patchy fog in the morning.

7AM: This morning we shoved off from Pillar Point.  The ocean was filled with pedal kayakers.  The yaks were all set up for fishing.  There may have been 30-40 yakkers so we suspect a fishing competition..

The ocean looks to be 2 to 3 foot swell well-spaced.  The wind is light.  Later.

Yak attack at Pillar Point
Equipped for fishing.
1PM: A nice ocean and flying seals.  ETA Monterrey is 3PM.

Ten seconds of flying seals

As we near Monterrey the whale watching boats are out in force.
We did see about 10 humpback whales along our course today.
6PM:  We arrived in Monterrey about 4PM and were cordially welcomed by the locals.  Besides providing us with a primo end-tie just across from Fisherman's Wharf, the Monterrey Fire Boat, following a long standing maritime tradition reserved for first time visiting yachts, welcomed us to the Harbor with a water cannon display.


A great view from Fishermans Wharf. The Nordhavn 63
just in front of Wild Blue named "Ha" put into the Harbor for Irma.
The Florida owners had to hurry home to see if they still had one.
Wharf view.







Friday, September 15, 2017

2017-09 Big Boat Regatta, The Gate, to Half Moon Bay

Friday, September  15, 2017: Big Boat Regatta, the Gate, to Half Moon Bay

This is the first leg in a multi-leg cruise that eventually gets the boat to La Paz, Mexico.  The CostaBaja.com Resort, will be Wild Blue's 2017-2018 winter home.  During our journey, you can follow us live at MarineTraffic.com via the boat's AIS transponder.  As long as we have cell service, our plan is to post text, photo and video updates along the way.

Today's NOAA Marine Weather forecast for the waters we will navigate is:

FRI...NW winds 15 to 25 kt. Wind waves 3 to 5 ft. NW swell 6 ft at 8 seconds. 

SAN FRANCISCO BAR FORECAST:

IN THE DEEP WATER CHANNEL...Combined seas 6 to 8 ft with a 
dominant swell period of 9 seconds.

ACROSS THE BAR...Combined seas 7 to 9 ft with a dominant swell 

period of 9 seconds. Maximum ebb current of 0.9 knots at 12:12 PM

8:00AM: This morning we left beautiful Westpoint Harbor behind as Wild Blue begins her cruise southward.  Today, our crewman Dick Squire's son is competing in the Rolex Big Boat Series regatta.  We hope to see his race start at 11:15 then follow the fleet up the Bay.  We will continue under the bridge and out to sea.  This should be fun and we hope we can stay out of the racers' wind.

1:35PM:  We watched the start of the Regatta.  The racing was postponed over an hour until the wind increased and stabilized. Dick's son Alan Field on Phantom, a J-44, was last boat to start but first at the weather mark.

The weather never reached the forecast.  We cleared the bridge before 1PM.  The Bar was bumpy but nowhere near 9 foot seas!  At 1:35 off Daily City we have 3-4 foot seas and less than 10 knots  wind from the northwest.  Will post photos and video this evening.

3:40PM:  Had a nice run down the coast to Half Moon Bay.  Ocean cooperated with our desires and we tossed around just a dozen times or so.  The harbormaster placed us behind the fish buyers building. We are secure and headed for dining out.

Tomorrow the plan is to be on the ocean early, say 6:30.  Monterrey is our destination and some of Ed Ricketts hangouts.  The marine weather looks pretty nice for tomorrow.

Wild Blue next to the Fish Processor.  "All the fish you can eat"
Matt Jenkins and Dick Squire crew for the trip to Morro Bay. Matt is a
retired fire chief and this is is first cruise on the boat.  Dick has seven
 decades of boating experience and this is his 20+ ride on the boat




Saturday, September 9, 2017

2017-08 Prepping for a San Francisco Southbound Cruise

A quiet cruising summer aboard Wild Blue is about to change.

Boat cruising activity aboard Wild Blue has been in a slump over 2017's summer.  We've made just three cruises to the California Delta including a short cruise to Half Moon Bay.  Over the past ten years, we've accumulated almost 6,000 engine hours cruising California, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia and Alaska.  This summer we're under 100 hours of engine running, an historic low.  Just like a horse, this ship is tugging on her lines, eager to get some exercise.  All this changes on Friday as we get underway down the Pacific Coast on our journey to La Paz, Mexico.  Once there the plan is to cruise the Sea of Cortez over the winter months.

A Summer of Boat Maintenance and Improvements

Wild Blue's cruising lows allowed maintenance highs.  The list of deferred repairs and improvements had blossomed and a trimming was in order.  With the following tasks complete, the list was minimized:

scraped, primed and painted three cabin doors with 2-part Interlux
replaced six door dog handles
removed, filled and glassed 30 unused canvas snaps
stripped, sanded and varnished all teak to 8 coats with Epifanes
filled, fared and repainted numerous hull dings, scratches and dents with Interlux Flag Blue
repaired SSB antenna connection
repaired VHF antenna connection
fly bridge and dinghy canvass repaired and replaced
added Samsung 18-inch tablet with Navionics charts
upgraded to 5G wifi router
upgraded navigation computer to mini-Dell with solid state drive
serviced main and generator diesel engine; adjusted valves
added an ACR EPIRB emergency satellite rescue beacon
completed boat waxing with Collinite insulator wax
tagged circuit breaker switches with colored-coded ties for quick identification
serviced fire extinguishers and engine room fire system
cleaned and rebuilt the dinghy engine carburetor


Exiting San Francisco on Friday, September 15

Friday morning we'll leave behind Redwood City's Westpoint Harbor.  This pretty marina is a great place to keep a boat:  it's quiet, clean, secure and has great staff.  When underway, we'll run north out of SF Bay and down to Half Moon Bay.  A lot of pain for a small gain, or 50 miles to get 13 miles away.  Assuming the weather cooperates,  spend Saturday in Monterrey, Sunday in San Simeon, then arrive in Morro Bay Monday afternoon.  We hope to spend a week for long-term provisioning.

Continuing south about September 22, will stop at Cojo Anchorage under Pt Conception, spend a few nights at Santa Cruz Island, then a couple weeks at Channels Islands while detail engine service is completed. Mid-October we visit Marina del Rey, Catalina, Newport Harbor ending in San Diego at the Yacht Club for the start of CUBAR (www.cubar.sdyc.org) and the La Paz leg.

As always we expect to Blog our way southward.  Stay tuned.








Friday, June 30, 2017

2017-07 Yachtsman Magazine Cover

Thursday, June 29, 2017: At the Vallejo Marina Harbormasters Office

The Harbormasters office opened up early for us, this so we could get underway along with the ebb to Pier 40's South Beach Marina.  While our moorage payment was being processed, Alex noticed a prominently displayed magazine with a great photo of Wild Blue.  Yachtsman Magazine July 2017 cover photo was from our April cruise to the Delta.  We had anchored south of Decker Island, off the main Sacramento River ship channel in "Horseshoe Bend".  Apparently a shore based photographer submitted his work and the astute crew at Yachting Magazine picked it up for the July issue.


Friday, June 23, 2017

2016-06 Pretending to Fish with College Chums

Friday, June 23, 2017:  Cal Poly Ranchers Cruise Outside the Gate and Delta

Alex flew from Sitka to San Francisco yesterday with a box full of fresh caught Alaskan King salmon.  Turkey rancher Willie picked him up at SFO and they joined chicken rancher Joe and CPA Mike aboard Wild Blue in Westpoint Harbor, who were already enjoying refreshments.  Back in the late 1960's, these boys, actually now mature men, along with Alex "Learned by Doing" at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.  Each year they return for an Alaskan fishing cruise.  Last year their fishing exploits were considered "so noteworthy", Sea Magazine republished the Wild Blue Blog.  You can review that here.

After viewing the favorable marine weather forecast, we decide to begin our fishing cruise outside the Bay in the ocean for the first few days.  The fishing reports seem to suggest Half Moon Bay's Pillar Point Marina as a good base for ocean salmon fishing.  By 10:45 we are on our way north, bucking the last of the flood tide towards the Golden Gate.  We time it just right, crossing under the great bridge just as the tide turns to slack, and we turn the boat southward.  The ocean is quite nice: light wind, a soft, low swell nicely spaced, and no wind waves.  Sea birds, whales and brownish water set a fine stage for salmon fishing.  Even the fish finder displays large bait balls most typical at slack water.  By 4:30 we are off the Pillar Point Air Force Station and about ready to enter Pillar Point Marina.

Mile Rocks Light just outside the Gate
Bait shows up on the fish finder. 
Pillar Point Air Force Station is currently used for missile tracking.

That evening Chef Willie, of WillieBird Restaurants, created a gourmet feast of bay shrimp salad, garlic prawns, and egg flower soup.

Garlic prawns, bay shrimp salad,egg flower soup?  It was a
three main course dining experience.
IMO this egg flower with green onions, prawns and
potstickers was the main course!

Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, June 24-25-26, 2017:  The Pretending

Well it had to be pretending, otherwise how could you explain it?  For two and one-half days we saw all signs of excellent fishing conditions. Favorable tides, water, weather, bait, birds, and whales all pointed to a full fish box.  We dragged lines daily for many hours...... nothing happened.  Of the 20 or 30 sport-fishers we watched closely, not a one boated a fish.  We rechecked depth, bait, lure, troll speed, and even made sure there were no bananas aboard!  The fish were no where to be found. Now we call that pretending to fish, but also....... that's fishing.  Monday was our last good outside weather day but by noon with still no joy, we stowed the rods, and headed through the Gate and up to the Delta.

At 6-ish, we pulled into Delta Marina at Rio Vista located on the Sacramento River.  Of course Rio Vista has the world famous Fosters Big Horn Cafe, a game hunters paradise, and Willie, Joe and Mike are game hunters.  Willie had a friendly chauffeur deliver us to the Cafe.

CAUTION: This is a boring video with excellent music.

All that remains of Lime Point Light under the north end
of the Golden Gate is the fog horn building.
Fort Baker Recreational Area with Robin Williams Tunnel
above.   Previously named the Waldo Tunnel after an 1850's politician,
it was renamed after the late actor-comedian.  It's appropriate to me as both
 comedian and politician make us laugh hysterically at times.
 Fort Baker was another coastal defense fort.
East Brother Light with a nice B&B.
I always thought C&H was "Pure Cane Sugar From Hawaii".
Guess they meant California.
The US Navy mothball fleet at Suisun Bay.
Kite boards and wind generators have a need for big breeze.
Hay barn, electric transmission line and wind generation:
from old to new technology.
For lunch Willie worked up salmon fish tacos.  The Chef
even cut the salmon pieces to look like a small fish. Yum!

Tuesday-Wednesday, June 27-28, 2017:  A Two-Day Delta Cruise

After last evening's big game dining experience, we're leaving Rio Vista for the Willow Berm Marina, just off the San Joaquin River.  To get there we follow the 3-Mile Slough.  To get into the Sough, we need the Three-Mile Slough Bridge lifted.  At the end of the Slough, this route requires us to turn left at the San Joaquin River, following along as it meanders eastward, then turn left at the Mokelumne River and following the "M" River to the Willow Berm Marina.  After securing the boat, we hike the 1/2 mile to the entrance, pay our moorage fees, then enjoy several brews at a VERY local pub.  Tomorrow we'll exit at 9:30 timing our route to ride the ebb current back to San Francisco at South Beach Marina.


The Delta cruising grounds are a series of interconnecting levees built
within fertile farmlands of the region. The levees control the fresh water
flow and farm irrigation from the San Joaquin and Sacramento River
systems.  Since the water ways are dredged, it's not unusual to see a
large ship appearing to pass through the farmlands.
Herons enjoy the Delta life.
Small boat mariners have to carefully navigate around large ships
in the narrow waterways.
Thursday, June 29, 2017:  Delta to the City

The crew is spoiled.  No fish, hot weather and the cruise is almost over.  We glide into the South Beach Marina, San Francisco. Instead of a SF Giants game, we decide to entertain Joe's daughter at Tadich Grill, a Frisco favorite.  The cruise finishes with another superb epicurean experience.

It's always a blast with the CP Boys.  Each year we relive our college days, embellish and repeat the same stories, and wonder what happened with our other college friends. We are the lucky ones and look forward to reliving the good times next time we crew together, which looks to be La Paz Mexico this winter.

Tax man Mike, chicken man Joe, Joe's attractive daughter, and turkey man Willie at
Northern California's oldest (and Alex's favorite) restaurant Tadich Grill.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

2017-05 Fish On in Sitka

Thursday-Friday, June 15-16, 2017: Craig to Sitka

This summer the Wild Blue is cruising San Francisco Bay and the California Delta, but when asked to crew in Alaska, how can we say no?  The past several days Alex has been on Miss Micky, a new North River 33. Crewing with owner Captain Jay Field, Alex helped route Miss Micky from Craig-Alaska through El Capitan Pass, Rocky Pass and Peril Strait to Sitka.

All went well even with an engine shutdown in Rocky Pass.  At low tides, portions of the Pass get congested with bull kelp, so much so an engine raw water strainer filled with kelp.  After a quick clean out, the engines were back online and again cruising at high speed.  This fast aluminum sport fisher cruises at 24 knots, three times Wild Blue's cruise speed.  A 3-day cruise on Wild Blue became a 11-hour motor on Miss Micky.  It was a fast and fun ride into Sitka Sound.

Miss Micky:  Looks fast even when tied to the dock!
Saturday-Monday, June 17-19, 2017:  Fishing Sitka

Once in town, we spent the next three days mapping out the nearby fishing spots identified by Wild Blue on previous fishing exploits.  Here is the complete list of Wild Blue's Southeast Alaska Fishing Spots. On Saturday, a normal 5-hour trip on Wild Blue to Whale Bay was shortened to 90 minutes.  The new boat's chirp sonar, with an experienced operator, can mark salmon at depth, a huge assist when adjusting trolling gear.  We checked out the Bay, then moved back up north to Biorka Island.  In three hours trolling, we "sore-mouthed" nine king salmon, keeping one for Alex's license.

On Sunday, the Sitka sun shined in cloudless, bright skies.  The Sound was near flat and winds light so Jay steered Miss Micky just outside Cape Edgecomb.  There the guided sports-fishers were clustered close together.  We again hooked several keeper kings, and kept a 33-inch, 15 pound fish for Alex.  We ended the day on a double-hookup, sore-mouthing both for a future angler.

On Monday the forecast was for 25 knot southerlies with 8-foot seas.  We headed North to Salisbury Sound.  There we fished the Shark Hole and the waters off Point Kruzof.  Discounting the rockfish, it was a "no bite" day up until we trolled the Shark Hole's inner wall.  Up close with the kelp in 70 feet, a King finally bit in 44 feet.  It was a good 19-lb keeper king which Alex again recorded.  That ended our King fishing as Alex's ticket was fully punched.  This year we non-residents are allowed just one fish a day, three for the season.

Jay's boat is configured nicely for trolling:  easy access all around, new Cannon downriggers with digital controls, continuous drag adjusting reels, carbon fiber rods, half-tote ice container, Chirp sonar, and a quiet 4-stroke kicker.  Jay's been fishing for years and Alex learned some new techniques for gear handling, fish de-hooking, and landing that maximizes trolling time.  Miss Micky with Jay in control fishes extremely efficient and professional.

Mis Micky's efficient layout allows easy access to gear.
Captain Jay Field displays a 19-lb King Salmon
caught in Salisbury Sound, Southeast, Alaska.
Sitka once again served up a pleasant stay.  Next week the college fish boys join Alex on Wild Blue in San Francisco for some California salmon fishing.   See you out there.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

2017-04 Up into the California Delta, Just Barely.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017:

Today our goal is to get up into the California Delta, just a little bit.  Not having cruised the area, Alex is curious as to the currents, depths and passing room in some of what the chart seems to show as narrow waterways.  Having spent the big bucks to purchase Hal Schell's 27-year-old "Guide to Cruising California's Delta" ($80 on Amazon for used 1995 Edition), we are eager to see if the book is still relevant.

After a brisk morning walk along the Vallejo waterfront with hundreds of other folks, we eventually get away, exiting the marina, turning south and bucking the flood tide into Napa River through Mare Island Strait.  At the bottom of the Strait, we turn to port into Carquinez Strait and ride a nice tidal current push eastbound.  On the left side we pass MV Golden Bear, the training ship of the California Maritime Academy.  Next it's under the twin Zampa Memorial Bridges (aka Carquinez Bridge, or Vallejo Bridge) doing over 9 knots with 1+ knot of push.

Ship traffic is light: a few sailboats, a freighter, an ocean tug and a tug with large tow.  All commercial traffic broadcasts AIS so we see them miles ahead or behind.  Commercial traffic stays in the shipping lane, but since the depth and bridge clearance is sufficient for us, we stay to one side or the other.  Not needing vertical clearance above 33 feet, we pass beneath the Benicia-Martinez Bridges some 300 feet north of the shipping lane and into Suisun Bay.  Eventually we near Pittsburg-CA and bear left up the Sacramento River.  This part of the river is lined with hundreds of wind generator towers, with large propellers turning slowly in a 15-knot breeze.

By 2:30PM or so we're still riding the tidal current up river at 1.5 knots and ready to enter the Delta Marina just south of the town of Rio Vista.  We videoed our entry into this cozy and well keep stop.

California Maritime Academy training ship MV Golden Bear in
front of the Alfred Zampa Bridges supporting Highway I-80.
Hundreds of large props generate electricity
 from this breezy section of the Sacramento River.

Rio Vista is a nice clean town.  It has just a few restaurants and is known for the regional favorite: Foster's Bighorn.  We found fine dining at great prices in The Point Restaurant located in the bright blue building next the the marina entrance.  We liked it so much we dined there two nights, although the majority wanted to try Foster's but were vetoed by the Admiral.

Foster's Big Horn Restaurant has a
nice bar and dining room adorned with
the heads of many large animals. Needless
to say, Admiral Pat refused to dine there.
Wild Blue's spot at the guest dock at Delta Marina, a gem of a marina.
Sunset at the guest dock.

We enjoyed the Delta Marina.  The staff was quite accommodating and totally customer driven.  When Alex reported our dead dinghy battery, employee Lenka called the Napa store and had a new battery delivered within 30 minutes! You can tell the owners take great care of their employees.  After a year working at Delta, each employee is awarded with a professional artist's portrait.  It hangs on the wall in the main lobby, and there at least eight on prominent display.

On Thursday we plan to motor back down the Sacramento to Pittsburg city Marina.  The fuel price there is reported to be the best around.  Looks like this is as far into the Delta we will get this trip.  Were looking forward to spending more time and getting further up the river in April.

Monday, March 27, 2017

2017-03 Down the River then over to Vallejo

Monday, March 27, 2017: Riding the Ebb Tide Downriver

For Monday's breakfast it was Della Fattoria, Petaluma's downtown bakery and cafe.  Excellent breakfast and it's busy so come early.  Later Alex's old college roommate Willie Benedetti came by for lunch, again at Sugo Trattoria.  Willie, of www.WillieBird.com fame, grew up on the family ranch just outside Petaluma and, as always, he brought along a cooler of WillieBird products for the Wild Blue's stores.  During lunch Alex realized the boat would miss the 1:15PM "D" Street bridge opening.  A call to the Petaluma Public Works Department allowed us to begin our downriver cruise at at a 3:15PM opening.

Once past "D" Street and after 3 miles further, we needed the Haystack Bascule-Bridge opened as a train had passed.  The bridge tender didn't respond on VHF Channel 9, but immediately raised it after a cell phone call to his station.  Then we started moving, as our 8 knots of boat speed, 1+ knots of river flow, and the ebb tidal current combined to get our ground speed above 10 knots!  The Wild Blue was making a fast exit back to mostly salt water.  A semi-boring but short video,with a corny name, and excellent music, displays the downriver highlights.


Once back on San Pablo Bay, the afternoon westerlies kicked in with gusts over 20 knots.  The wind was from our stern, but the ebb current on the bow built up some nasty chop.  The autopilot struggled to keep a straight course and the seas pushed and overtook the stern.  We zigzagged our way along until Lone Tree Point, about two miles before the turn into Mare Island Strait, where the seas flattened.  We turned to port into the Strait and videoed our entry into the Vallejo Marina on the east side.


Mare Island Naval Shipyard was the first Navy yard on the west coast.
It was opened in 1854 and shuttered in the 1996.
Vallejo to San Francisco passenger ferry takes about an hour
in these 30-knot catamarans.
This doesn't look good for any size prop.
Northern end of the Mare Island Naval Yard
It was still quite breezy after we tied up.  We dined near the marina and hit the hay early.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

2017-02 South Beach, Up the Petaluma River to the City of Petaluma

Sunday, March 26, 2017: Running Aground in Petaluma

Our route today takes us with the flood tide, north from San Francisco Bay to San Pablo Bay and the Petaluma River entrance. Our goal is to cruise 16 miles up the Petaluma River into downtown Petaluma where we will tie up at the City turning basin.  Because the river contains many shallow areas, we'll enter the River on the rising tide, hopefully avoiding any grounding.  If we do get stuck, hopefully the rising tide will get the boat floating again.

We exited South Beach by 8:30AM, after quickly re-docking to return the access card keys.  Within 10 minutes we were passing under the Bay Bridge headed northward.  The course took us along the east edge of SF Bay, east of Alcatraz and Angel Islands, and past the Tiburon Peninsula into San Pablo Strait.  Soon we entered and crossed San Pablo Bay arriving at the Petaluma River entrance at half past 11.

Looking west with Alcatraz in the foreground and the Gate beyond.
East Brother Island Light Station is located
at the southern edge of San Pablo Bay.
The tide will continue to rise until the 2PM high slack, giving us about 30 minutes extra time for what is normally a 2-hour motor.  However, we have two railroad bridges and one street bridge that can lengthen our cruise if not open.  Normally the railroad bridges are open unless a train is scheduled.  They are manned when closed, so a re-open should only last as long as it take the train to pass.  The Petaluma "D" Street Bridge is normally closed, so Alex called ahead to the Petaluma Public Works Department scheduling a 1:15PM opening.  Hope we make it!

The flood tide not only increases the river's depth, but also gives us a speed boost.  The boat's 8-knot water speed is boosted to 9+ over the earth's surface, as the tidal current pushes many, many miles upstream.  The river's normal outflow direction is reversed by the flood tide.  This direction change challenges the levees as the river reaches high water.

Once past the river entrance, the boat towers over the surrounding terrain.  With the tide approaching +5 feet, from the boat one actually looks down into the levied fields filled with crops and livestock.  Its is a strange view to be above the road height, looking down at cars!

We passed the open Black Point railroad swing-bridge, steered under the Highway 37 bridge, passed the open Haystack railroad bascule-bridge, and drove under the Highway 101 bridge.  Today there is light river traffic as we see just a handful of pleasure craft and no commercial vessels.  Approaching Petaluma, there's joggers, fisherman, walkers and gawkers on the tops on the levee.  At last we arrive downtown at the "D" Street bridge and it's not open, as we're 25 minutes ahead of schedule.  Shortly after a our call on VHF Channel 9, the bridge magically opens, we move through thanking the bridge tender as we pass, and enter the Petaluma Downtown turning basin for tie up.  A boring 10-minute video with excellent music, documents our 2-hour river cruise at 10 times speed.  Enjoy the music.....


Downtown Petaluma view from the Petaluma Yacht Club long dock.
 After the boat is secured, we head for lunch at Sugo Trattoria, a downtown favorite.  Later the crew  provisioned at the Petaluma Market close to downtown.  Dinner was at Mi Pueblo's Mexican and was just fine.  Tomorrow we head back down the river then up to Vallejo for a night.
Wild Blue tied up in front of the Petaluma Yacht Club. 
At low tide we see just 4.9 feet of water depth but we draw
5.5 feet.  This means the keel is in the mud about 4 inches.
The water dropped about an inch on Wild Blue's waterline,
 indicating the boat is a bit grounded.  We eased short lines to 
allow the dock float to descend, and avoid a broken line!
View at low tide, the shallow bar inside Petaluma's turning basin
is exposed, along with its two shoal marker buoys.