Off the coast of California

Monday, April 7, 2003, 10:30 a.m.

West of Big Sur, California

Dear friends and family --

We're off at last, next stop the Marquesas Islands.

We spent the past week in San Francisco Bay, primarily at Marina Village in Alameda.  They have lovely facilities for boaters, and we enjoyed our last unlimited-water-shower for -- I'm sure -- many weeks.  Craig's Dad loaned us a car, so we were able to get around to Costco, REI, hardware stores, chandleries, and many other essential or not-so-essential services.  I bought a veritable mountain of groceries, and we spent the last few days seeking out heretofore unknown and unused nooks and crannies, in which to "hide" all these things.  We are, like the submariners of World War II, "walking on our food." 

Above: Brian, Jim & Craig as we pass under the Golden Gate Bridge.

Click here for more photos to go with this journal entry


We had planned to leave Saturday morning, then that got pushed to Saturday evening, and we finally left Sunday afternoon.  We stopped at Jack London Square to get the last fuel we'll see before the Marquesas. At my request we stopped again at the St. Francis Yacht Club to complete stowage, have lunch, and to drop off the last garbage.  There were dinghy races going on, and coming into the harbor was a real challenge.  The dinghies are seemingly oblivious to bigger boats, and they will turn on a dime, at what seemed just inches from our hull.  Very pretty, though.

It has been probably 30 years since we last sailed in San Francisco Bay, but the sailing is still good and the views of the City spectacular.  The wind was coming in the Golden Gate, as was the tide, and we tacked back and forth several times to get out.  Several tour boats came by -- they take the tourists just under the bridge, then hang a U-turn and go back.  We were part of the scenery, and the tour boats seemed happy to come as close as they could, no matter that we were in the middle of tacking.

Once under the bridge, and able to clear the point, we turned left -- next stop the Marquesas.  It's finally seeming real to me -- we actually are departing North America for the next year and a half.  Right now we are about 30 miles out in the ocean, west of Big Sur, heading due south.  We've seen a few ships in the distance, but the land disappeared during the night.  We have big swells from the west, so the motion of the boat is fairly rough.  We're hoping that changes as we get further south, because it's hard to get a lot of sleep when every seventh wave wants to throw you on the floor.  Writing an email message is particularly interesting under these conditions.  The mouse keeps sliding down the desktop...  Sometimes if it crashes into something on the way down, one of the buttons gets pushed and the computer offers to do something weird like "rearrange icons".  If you see any truly strange typos, it's probably because the keyboard moved while I wasn't looking.  But the good news is -- no one has gotten sick, and I don't feel the slightest bit queasy working on the computer.  (Knock on wood!)

Dinghy racing at the St. Francis Yacht Club

Best wishes to all our friends and family!

Craig & Barbara Johnston

S/V Sequoia

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