About The Bay - July 2019

There are a lot of changes going on in our little corner of the world but here on the home front the daily routine continues as normal. I was out for my daily walk and stopped at the dumpsters to toss the garbage. I usually check the recycle area, sometimes treasures are to be found and sure enough, I was delighted to come across a rare Devil′s Stinkhorn mushroom growing up from the mulch.

I belong to a Lichen/Fern and Fungi group and have always found these life forms interesting and amazing, especially when they are growing right in my own back yard, so to speak. I was so excited by my find that I wanted to share it with someone. Jason Koulouris, our esteemed Harbormaster, has an interest in the biology of the natural world and his office was close by. I spun around to see if he was free when I ran smack-dab into a gentleman who was also delivering his daily contribution to the dumpsters. “Can I show you a really interesting fungus?” I inquired enthusiastically, delighted to have found someone to share the Stinkhorn with. The fellow, to his credit, made eye contact, and mumbled, “Uh, no, not right now.” He quickly dumped his trash and sprinted away.

I was surprised by his immediate, negative response because, after all, who wouldn′t want to see an interesting mushroom? It only took a moment before it dawned on me that perhaps having a large, excited woman asking to share her fungus might have been taken the wrong way. It got me to giggling and I could not stop. When I got back from my walk and told this story to Sweetie, it set me off again, thank goodness for panty liners.

The recent letter from the property developer said that Phase 1 of the Oyster Point redevelopment project was now complete. Removing every bit of contaminated soil from the old South San Francisco dump site took many months as thousands of truckloads of God-only-knows-what were hauled away and disposed of elsewhere. Phase 2, which begins first thing Monday morning, involves driving 1,784 steel pilings deep into bedrock to support the proposed office buildings. The developer hopes to drive 8-17 pilings per day, but they assured us that the pile driving will only take place during business hours 8:00 to 5:00. That is a huge improvement from years ago when we were living in Brisbane Marina and they drove piles 24/7. The pile driver song is not my favorite tune, but it is guaranteed to be loud and there will be plenty of it! With major construction also going on over in Brisbane our favorite pile driving songs will be delivered in stereo! Mary Buckman says that she uses the rhythmic hammering of the pile drivers as a sort of a metronome when she practices her fiddle playing. Yet another example of lemons to lemonade.

I′m working here in the salon on my old Mac PowerBook that I lovingly call the mothership, Sweetie is at work driving cars for Hertz and Eartha Kitt, our resident boat cat is snoozing in the sun. Bruce the Crow is outside on the barbecue, keeping an eye on me just in case peanuts might be forthcoming. There is a fog bank hovering just to our west in the Daly City Gap which means that the wind is howling, summer is here at last.

And speaking of cold, our water heater had a tizzy fit and died. We got in from a recent cruise and Sweetie commented that the water from the kitchen faucet was unusually boiling hot. After that it was a case of diminishing return, no more hot water was forthcoming, even after pushing the manufacturers reset button several times. Amazon to the rescue! A new, replacement water heater was ordered and has arrived and is awaiting installation. However, there is currently a bit of a queue in the list of projects. The main inverter also crapped out during the same cruise, indicating to me that perhaps the two issues might be connected since they are both electrical in nature. I dare not suggest such a thing though. Trouble awaits those who tread into territories where they have no qualification, expertise or knowledge. Too soon old, too late smart, as my old mother used to say. My lips are sealed, at least this time.

Living without hot water on board has not been too much of an inconvenience. Sweetie uses the community facilities in the marina, and I shower at the pool where I swim. Heating water to wash dishes is easy so, truthfully, the water heater has barely been missed, except when I brush my teeth. Cold water and 70-year-old tooth enamel just do not get along anymore. My teeth are old, my boat is old, my car is old, do you see the trend here? My friend Laurie Davison used to say, “getting older beats the alternative” a statement with which I heartily agree. However, it eventually comes down to patch, patch, patch and then patch again. I do not take these little mechanical failures personally; it is just a matter of patience and dollars.

Are you taking your boat out for the 4th of July festivities this year? I know where to find all of you Delta folk, Mandeville Tip, but here on the Bay with so many communities surrounding the water, we have a few pyrotechnic displays to choose from. The 4th is on a Thursday this year so you might consider anchoring out for the long weekend, which is what we plan to do. Although July can be chilly on the Bay, the long days and clear skies make for fabulous boating. Dress in layers if you are one of those people who feel the cold. I still thank God for the occasional hot flash, especially on a brisk San Francisco summer afternoon. Redwood City will be offering music by the Fog City Swampers beginning at 7:00 and fireworks at the Port of Redwood City on Seaport Avenue. Fireworks are scheduled to begin at 9:30. Alcohol is prohibited on site, as are personal fireworks. Plan to arrive early, parking is limited. If you are interested in taking your boat, check with West Point Marina or Sequoia Yacht Club to arrange guest accommodations.

A recent trip to Crissy Field on a Saturday was a happy reminder of what a vibrant and multicultural place we live. San Francisco is a destination City with amazing things to see and do. Tourists from all over the world come here to experience what I often take for granted. For example, I′m 70 years old and have never walked across the Golden Gate Bridge. I had never been to Fort Point which is designated as a National Historic Site.

It was a perfect day to visit the old military base. A bit of photogenic fog was blowing through the Golden Gate, the skies were brilliant blue against the iconic orange of the Bridge, boats were everywhere on the Bay and there were even a couple of humpback whales entertaining the tourists in the shallow bay where Kim Novak took her famous swim in the Alfred Hitchcock thriller, “Vertigo.” English was not the prevailing language heard, but instead a joyful mixture of the world′s voices jumbled together in the same space and time. Visitors from Asia, Europe and Australia were tossed together with locals to experience what life and history had to offer. Everyone was smiling, even the dogs. It was just a great day to be alive. The Bay was frosted with whitecaps as a strong ebb tide was running against the afternoon breeze. Pleasure boats headed east were making slow progress against the chop and current. Tugs and tour boats seemed to be out in force but managed to stay out of each other′s way. A fleet of sailboats racing off Alcatraz rewarded us with a delightful explosion of color as they set their spinnaker sails rounding the mark at the St. Francis Yacht Club. A truly magnificent yacht, perhaps 250+ (?) feet came in under the Gate and turned left toward Sausalito. A mysterious unmarked military C-130 cargo plane was continuously making long, low, lazy circles over Angel Island, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Marin Headlands and repeat. He just kept going around and around and was a very impressive sight due to his immense size and low altitude. And then, there were all the people! Bicyclists, joggers, picnickers, walkers, kids everywhere, all kinds of people just getting along and enjoying life. God Bless America.

FYI, anyplace along the Crissy Field Waterfront will be prime viewing for the Fireworks. A barge anchored in front of Pier 39 will launch the pyrotechnic display after the sun sets at around 9:30 p.m.

I just watched a squadron of juvenile brown pelicans fighting to maintain formation against the afternoon gale force winds. I guess we all have to learn somehow.

A recent Bay View Boat Club cruise took us once again up the Napa River, this time to the home of members Mark and Devra Dahlman. They have a delightful place with a dock right on the river where they keep their Diesel Duck trawler, Ark. I didn′t have the sailing directions for this particular cruise and was counting on being able to distinguish Ark from the water as we passed. Sure enough, a Diesel Duck is hard to miss, and we had no trouble locating their dock from the dozens along the river.

Mark and Devra Dahlman have opened their beautiful home to the members of Bay View every year for the past 4 Memorial Day weekends although this is the first year we have attended.

We began our cruise after having survived and passed the dreaded Marina Inspection from Harbormaster Jason Koulouris. He snagged me in the parking lot just prior to our departure for the Napa cruise and asked if the boat was available to take the mandatory inspection. Oh hell, why not? was my first thought. My mechanic had just been by to do a preflight check prior to our anticipated trip and I felt assured we might have a chance at passing, but with boats you just never know. Poor Jason had to put his fingers into my bilge to test the float switch, which of course failed. The fact that the float switch worked later in the day is just another indication that boats are evil creatures intent on devilment and mayhem. Also, my bilge could be home to the Creature of the Black Lagoon, a shameful place where no Harbormaster should be ever be allowed to look, let alone put his fingers! We passed the inspection, backed out of the slip and headed toward China Camp for the first leg of our journey upriver.

After we anchored, I set up my temporary art studio on the flying bridge and brushed out a quick watercolor. I always love anchorages that are quiet and have wide open vistas. This year, due to a bad weather forecast, Shantung and Dancing Dragon were the only two boats to make the journey up the Napa River. Other members drove in, not wanting to fight dreaded San Pablo Bay on the way home, which, by the way, turned out to be one of the easiest crossings ever.

River traffic was light even though Napa was hosting Bottle Rock, a huge musical event that draws crowds from all over the Bay area. We were able to share a bridge lift at Mare Island with a Grand Banks 32 headed in the same direction.

Memorial Day 2019

The Bay View Boat Club Cruise to Napa was a wonderful experience and I look forward to next year. I met members new and old in an atmosphere of welcoming hospitality. The Dahlman′s shared their home, friends and family with us. After plucking up a bit of courage at happy hour I played ukulele with Mark Dahlman and Mary Buckman, almost keeping up with them. We played the 4 communal songs we all knew over and over again. We also cleared the patio area of party revelers while we were banging out our joyful noise. Later in the evening I engaged in a game of mind-numbing dominoes that was further complicated by the necessity of adding up endless streams of numbers because we were playing with 9′s. Math was never my forte. Thank goodness the girls were keeping score.

Early Sunday morning, Sweetie and Nancy and I took her dog Pete for a leisurely walk along Milton Road. I was flooded with happy memories as we passed the house where my aunt and uncle and crazy cousins lived and kept a boat in the 70′s. It is where I learned to love boating.

Our amazing hostess, Devra Dahlman, accompanied by her delightful daughters kept us all fed and hydrated the entire time. Mark, Devra′s husband and our host, held duty at the barbecue producing platter after platter of succulent ribs, tri-tip and chicken filets in an endless stream. The food was great, new friends made me feel welcome and comfortable and a good time was had by all.

Leaving on the tide after a tour of Ark, Mark and Devra′s sturdy Diesel Duck, our trip downstream was easy and smooth, after a balky port engine issue resolved itself.

As we were headed down stream, I asked Sweetie what his work schedule was for the rest of the week. He said he didn′t think he would go to work, since his schedule is flexible. “Well then,” says I. “my schedule is open so why not stop on the way back.” We discussed back and forth, the quiet of China Camp or the noisy but closer to home, Clipper Cove. We decided on quiet and so we are anchored at China Camp. There is water in the water tanks and food in the pantry and my deadline isn′t for a few days. The day is beautiful and I′m with my Sweetie doing what we love best. I love my life! Thank you, Lord.

Although San Pablo Bay was a lamb, San Francisco Bay lived up to its reputation and tossed us around a fair bit. My orchids didn′t enjoy the trip much, but they are a captive audience and have no option, like Eartha, who stays hidden whenever the engines are running.

So that was my big adventure for this month. I hope you are enjoying time on the water in the company of friends and family. As always, if you have questions, comments or contributions please contact me at kim@yachtsmanmagazine.com H


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