Adventure has an Adventure
Most of you know that David and Helen Oates have moved from San Jose to Oak Harbor in Washington’s Puget Sound. If you were at Commodore Island a couple of weeks ago, you may have heard of a blue water trip being discussed on Adventure by a handful of CIYCers. That voyage ended, happily, yesterday.
The original idea proposed by David was a delivery of Adventure from Antioch to Oak Harbor for permanent berthing. That trip would have taken a couple of weeks and we would have departed on September 13th. Plans changed a bit but the idea held firm of an ocean voyage of some duration held firm. Captain Oates assembled his original crew and a few days ago we headed off-shore for a five day, round trip excursion on the Pacific instead of the longer voyage.
Jack DiBartolo, Diane Shoff and yours truly joined David for the trip. Helen, perhaps thinking the worse, headed for Fresno or some valley town far from deep water. We left from Antioch on Monday, 9/12, and headed for SF’s South Beach Harbor where David had reserved a slip. The trip was eventful as the daily log said something like “gitt’en wet on the enclosed fly bridge!!!” Strong winds, unusually out of the southwest at 25 mph, had stirred up the seas for the entire trip. We were happy to get in the lee of Angel Island and then on over to the city- front where things were a bit more calm. The log entries for this segment were little more than scrawls as the boat was pitching every which way. But once tied up, all was well.
We departed the next day for Bodega Bay as planned -- even after Jack admitted that he had brought a banana on board! Mariners have known for centuries that bananas are bad luck on a boat (something immortalized by Harry Belafonte in his song “Day O” remembered the Captain.) Fortunately, we got out the Golden Gate in near perfect conditions and around Point Bonita without sinking. The first whale sighting was a humpback’s huge tail rising directly ahead of us before diving out of our way. Jack’s banana faux pas could have caused us to hit the beast but somehow the whale (and Adventure) survived the close call. Whales were sighted several times along the 47 miles to Bodega Harbor where we settled in early in the PM.
Bodega Bay is a quaint, fishing-oriented harbor. There were fisher people all over the docks doing what fisher people do, working on their gear, telling stories and drinking beer. They were a friendly bunch with one guy taking our lines as we entered the slip, seemingly worried that his dirty hands would mar Adventure’s pretty blue dock lines.
It wasn’t long before Jack and Diane were posting on Facebook with pictures of menacing looking birds hovering and diving all around. Diane brought up an interview with Alfred Hitchcock about the filming of The Birds. Jack then posted that there "seemed to be some kind of commotion in town" adding in a segment of the movie with birds attacking everything in sight. Great fun!
We had dinner in a little place that was to close at 5 PM, one of two near-by restaurants closing that early. We got in just as the dinner rush started. It turns out that fisher people eat early, very early. We figured that they do so because they wake up early to go fishing. Not so. The next morning broke with the finest weather imaginable. How many of the large fishing fleet went out? Maybe two.
This was to be our lay day in Bodega Bay and it was very relaxing. We walked the docks and chatted up the fisher people. It seems that fishing wasn’t all that great. One guy said he brought in 900 pounds of salmon the day before. That’s a lot of fish in my book. Why were all these fishing boats sitting at the dock?
Our Thursday return trip was to depart at 9 AM, which we did quite promptly. Heading out the long channel, we heard an unwelcome engine noise. Thinking the worst because of Jack’s banana, we turned back and got on the dock for a look see. Sure enough, a bolt had broken off on the port engine causing the belts to loosen—squealing, no tachometer, no juice from the alternator. This was not repairable unless we had the right replacement bolt and the tools to get the broken bolt out. What to do? With Jack’s curse upon us we needed to deal with this thing and get back home without more mayhem.
I found a bit of wood in the bilge (no comments here) and we managed to MacGyver a repair that took us all the way home. Jack redeemed himself on the return by scoring reservations at the glitzy Corinthian Yacht Club -- no charge, terrific showers, pass card to the bar and their daily hors d'oeuvres gig.) We were very happy to be in such a fine place until we saw that David’s drink cost $16 (an apparently very rare Scotch.) We could have bought several bottles of what the rest of us were drinking but sitting out on that deck, watching the sun set to the west, the full moon rise to the east and the city lights coming up, we were happy.
Dinner was in Tiburon at a couple of food trucks stationed at the downtown Farmer’s Market. No doubt because it was Tiburon, and a few yards from the courtly Corinthian Yacht Club, one food truck was selling Maine Lobster dishes and the other Moroccan falafels (you can’t make this stuff up.) Wallets and energy drained, we headed back to the boat and further gazing at the remarkable nighttime view.
The trip back to Antioch was uneventful. For you gear heads and navigators, we put 16 hours on Adventure’s engines, traveled 220 miles through the water and burned 223 gallons of fuel. It was a fine trip. David and Helen are now thinking through the options as they live in Puget Sound and the boat is still in Antioch. Their crew on this adventure hope that they keep the boat, enjoy it this Fall and next Spring from a distance and consider again the boat’s delivery to Oak Harbor. We would all be up for the trip.