Sunday, March 26, 2017

2017-01 Test Cruise for San Francisco Bay and the California Delta

It's Spring and the 2017 cruising season is finally here.  Hooray!

We've been in South San Francisco for the past few months, completing maintenance tasks and prepping the boat for another summer of living aboard.  Most of the work was cosmetic: the fiberglass dings and holes, from years of use, have been filled, faired and painted.  The teak rails were stripped, sanded then varnished to eight coats.  This outside work is difficult to complete in the Northwest's wet winters, and this winter's California weather attempted to slow our progress, but with the just exterior polishing and waxing remaining, Wild Blue is almost back to sparkling.

After nine seasons of cruising the Inside passage to British Columbia and Alaska, this year we've decided to leave the Wild Blue in southern waters and visit the seaports, bays and rivers around San Francisco and the California Delta.  The Delta includes the waters of the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers and about 1000 miles of interconnecting waterways.  So there's many ports to visit, anchorages to check out, and much to see.  It appears the big difference from Inside Passage cruising is water depth:  outside the marked shipping lanes, the upper Delta gets shallow. Based on this fact, we thought it a good idea for a one-week test cruise to see if we could "safely touch bottom"...... or not. 

Saturday, March 25, 2017: Westpoint Harbor to South Beach Harbor, San Francisco

Our first test cruise up the Delta began today as we exited Westpoint at 10AM with the last of the flood tide, and headed towards the City.  We needed fuel and since the new Westpoint Harbor fuel dock will not open until May, the closest fuel was inside Coyote Point Marina.  We called ahead to alert the City of San Mateo operated dock of our arrival, but no one was home.  After about 20 minutes, the dockmaster showed and after discovering the price, we loaded just 100 gallons.  Last September we paid $1.78 per gallon in Anacortes, Washington, so $4.00 gave us sticker shock.  100 gallons will get us about 200 miles.

After Coyote, we rode the ebb towards San Francisco arriving at South Beach Harbor at Pier 40 by 1PM.  After check in our crew decided to walk the waterfront towards Pier 39, a good 3 miles.  By the way, this week's crew is Jerry, Jan and Justin Watkins of Semi-Valley California.  Jan is Pat's childhood friend.  They met in 1958 as child neighbors..... yes, yes, that's almost 60 years ago.... OH MY!  The Watkins have crewed on Wild Blue for many Alaska, Canada, Washington journeys, so they know the routine.

Approaching the City from South SF Bay
By 5, the crew called to say the dinner line at Scomas was just a 2-hour wait.  We decided to try our luck with Tadich Grill, a San Francisco favorite.  Pat and Alex Uber-ed while the crew extended their walk to the Grill.  We squeezed in at the bar, ordered drinks and added our names to the dinner list, in exchange for a 45-minute wait.  Not bad for the oldest restaurant in California!  After three Tito's dirty martini's, we were seated to enjoy a spectacular seafood dinner.

The long bar at the oldest California restaurant Tadich Grill, operating
since 1849!  See  Very nice Tito's dirty martinis too.
Eventually we made it back to the boat, via Uber.  We leave SF tomorrow for a trip up the Petaluma River.

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