Sunday, October 5, 2014

October 4, 2014 - Drakes Bay CA

We had a great overnight passage from Fort Bragg to Drake's Bay, which is just 20 miles from the Golden Gate Bridge.  We wanted a break from all the marina days we have had on the trip so far.  We typically anchor out 95% or more back home in the San Juan's.  So, spending the past month basically in marinas is not our normal boating style.  A day at anchor was in order.

It was a 16 hour trip which meant we would have to do some of the trip after dark.  Since the Noyo River is a tight river, with a bar crossing, we were not to eager to transit this in the dark.  We decided to leave around 3:30 in the afternoon which would put us at Drake's Bay at around 8:00AM.  We left in calm conditions and crossing the bar was easy, although the swell did build as we entered the ocean.  It remained a bit bouncy for the first hour or two until we got offhore a bit and into deeper water.  After that the winds slowly subsided, the swell decreased, and the ride was very nice.  It was  clear evening with a half-moon to guide us.  Kathy and I both commented the next day that night passages are very nice when the conditions are right.  The kids are both asleep and require no attention.  It is relaxing and gives one time to think/contemplate/day-dream without interruption.  This kind of 'free time' is something we don't get enough of in our hectic everyday lives back home.
We neared Point Reyes at daybreak and rounded the corner into Drake's Bay just after sunrise.  We set the anchor between two sailboats.  It was 8:00AM, right on schedule.  This is a very large bay, and it was named after Sir Frances Drake who reportedly spent 5 weeks in this bay repairing his ship after being beat up by the ocean while exploring the west coast.

Sunset on the Pacific Ocean.  Nice seas for motoring all night.

Pt. Reyes lighthouse, just before sunrise.

Sunrise as we are turning the corner into Drakes Bay

We took the dinghy out for a tour of the bay.  We have not been in the dinghy since back in Westport WA.

Drakes Bay is large.  It offers great protection from north winds.

A remnant from days gone by.  Abandoned fishing building.

After lunch we hopped in the dinghy to go the beach.  This will be our first "surf landing".  We almost never have breaking ocean waves on our beaches in the San Juan's or Gulf Islands.  Down in Mexico they we be commonplace.  We picked a spot with minimal surf, although it was still breaking and the waves were a few feet tall.  We waited for a gap in the wave train and headed in.  No real drama getting onto the beach and offloading our stuff.  We turned the boat around at the next big wave and started wading it back out into deeper water.  At the next gap in the waves we pushed it out past the surf line.  But, I had trouble getting the motor down and got broadside by a breaking wave.  Lots of water in the boat but Kevin was with me and grabbed the bailing pump and started pumping.  I never said a word, he did this all by himself.  Great job Kevin!  We each grabbed a paddle and got the boat past the surf line and I tossed our anchor off the bow.  Then Kevin and I waded back to shore. The boat was fine most of the time but a few waves broke early an were very close to the dinghy.  We will have to perfect our dinghy landing procedures, as this was not the smoothest of operations.

Cindy watches as Kevin and Steve get the dinghy past the surf line.

Kevin and Cindy start playing in the surf. The water is about 60 degrees.

Cindy checking out a sea lion on the beach.  We though he was dead as he didn't
move at all, even though we were yelling at him.  He wasn't dead though.  He scampered
back to the water shortly after this picture was taken.

We played on the sandy beach for a few hours.  We all got soaked getting back into the dinghy.  Kathy was wearing her inflatable lifejacket and it deployed after a wave dowsed her.  Ooops.  Another lesson learned; don't wear the inflatable if there is any chance of a surf landing.  Conventional life jackets only.

We played some games after dinner and enjoyed being on the hook again.  Although we were exposed to a SW ocean swell and none of us were used to rolling around after being tied to docks for so long.  Our stabilizer flopper-stoppers were out, but we were still rolling in the seas.  I enjoy it, but the rest of the crew isn't quite so fond of the constant motion.

Next stop.....  San Francisco!

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