delivery part 3: san diego to san francisco!


As I was leaving Mele Kai to get back to Coconut, I ran into a couple I knew. I didn’t realize their boat was at the same marina I’d gotten into just the day before! We made plans do have a get together with some friends of theirs before we headed up North. I just love the sailing community, I always feel like I don’t know anyone, and all I have to do is walk around a marina and sure enough I WILL run into someone I know! I love it.

I don’t remember what day we took off, but I know we aimed to leave around noon and we pretty much did on the dot. We had a great weather window, and a Southerly was supposed to come by day two and help us out a little bit. Nothing over 15 knots of wind, though. We had plenty of charts incase we needed to stop anywhere along the coast. I’d brougt my keys from the Santa Barbara marina incase we needed them, and I had Charlie’s Charts of the Channel Islands.

Again, the gloomy days continued and the visibility seemed to shorten. It was so calm and peaceful (and monochrome) out on the water. Much less bashing, which was much appreciated. There were tons of birds who you could almost hear mutter “ugh…” as they sputtered away from our approaching vessel. Also, dolphins are really hard to photograph. I’m really jealous of people who just seem to be able to snap the perfect shot of them. Or maybe they just take 1,000 and one turns out spectacularly?

It was really magical around Point Sur, maybe day two of the trip? There were little kelp islands of birds, and where the birds were the dolphins were. And where the dolphins were, the whales were! We saw several humbpack whales, only needing to divert course a couple of times so they could pass infront of us. Sean tried fishing, but only caught kelp. I even saw an otter, but wasn’t able to catch a picture of it. They’re so quick! And cute.




The trip was going well, as we were moving steady at around 6 and 7 knots. There was no “bashing” on this stretch. I watched a movie (Grace of Monaco) which was pretty cool! I’ve not yet watched a movie underway. Spoiled, I tell you! I was really appreciating how put together Mele Kai is. It has been Sean’s home for 6 years, so he has everything pretty dialed down. I grow sligtly jealous, and feel like my dear Coconut is a giant blob of tool mess and unfinished projects. It would be nice to have some help on board, but, I’d rather be alone than with the wrong person.

For the biggest lesson I learned on this stretch, it has to do with radar. I’ve got a friend who has told me I need several radar reflectors for Coconut. He worked on container ships for several years, so he knows the other side of what it’s like when you can’t see tiny sailboats. Since I’m hardly familiar with radar, I didn’t fully grasp what the issue was. Until the very last night at sea (dun-dun-duuunnnn).

We were sailing between the shipping channel and the coast. We were beginning to see more and more sailboat traffic, which is to be expected as we approached San Francisco. When I came onto watch at 2 am, I wasn’t feeling so hot. We had just rounded Point Conception and the swells were the wide type that just kind of make you feel like you’re drunk and dizzy. I’ve learned two things about myself for when I feel sick at sea: I either need electrolytes (Gatorade) or meat. Sean is vegetarian, and the last time I’d felt like this I was also sailing with another vegetarian. I grabbed some lunch meat with me for watch to try to settle my stomach, which I was really glad I’d grabbed when we provisioned. This is when I start burping incessantly. It’s an annoying spot to be physically, but I was just taking it easy to try to settle my stomach.

I could see a bright light up ahead, but nothing was showing up on the radar. I made sure to keep an eye on it, and diverted course closer towards land as it looked like we might be on a collision course. The other vessel didn’t appear to be moving, so I guessed it was probably a squid fishing boat because of the super duper bright lights. It was odd that nothing was showing up on radar, though. For a good hour I watched and waited as we approached the boat. I feared they’d set a large net or something, I surely didn’t want to get tangled in it. I went as far away as I felt necessary without getting us too far off course, and we passed without a problem. It weirded me out that perhaps I couldn’t trust the radar, I already didn’t care for it because of the amount of times the alarms went off over objects I could see. I then took short naps for about an hour, waking up every 10 minutes and looking around to make sure we were all clear. There was maybe a mile of visiblity, so I figured naps were better than falling asleep all together.

Well… I must have gotten a little lazy because my stomach had finally felt better and I decided to get up and walk around. I hadn’t been checking the port side as often. I shit you not, as soon as I looked over to the port side, I saw a sailboat, maybe 60′, with both sails up, two yellowish ligts on the mast, appearing to be moving very slowly and parallel to us (headed south)… Directly To Our Port! What the frick!!! Again, NOTHING was showing up on radar.

I was afraid maybe the alarm was turned off, but it was on, just nothing showed up. Not even a speck. The boat was maybe two or three boatlengths away from us, and man oh man my heart was racing. I couldn’t see if there was anyone in the cockpit, but I’m sure they were there and were probably wondering who the hell was aboard our boat as I was under the dodger! I didn’t hear anything on the radio either, so… goodness, that was scary. So my friend is right, fiberglass doesn’t always show up on radar and one radar reflector certainly isn’t enough. (I plan on installing three of them for Coconut. Also I think it’s wise to invest in an AIS transponder, not just receivers, but those require an additional antennae and I’m not interested in taking the mast down again.)

We arrived to San Francisco in the morning and it was bittersweet for both of us to be back. Neither of us expected to be sailing under the Golden Gate Bridge ever again, yet here we were. We made in exactly four days! At least it was temporary. I was looking forward to seeing my friends and a couple of sites I hadn’t seen while I lived there. After a few days, I remembered how expensive and difficult everything is in the city and was ready to leave, as I just can’t afford to eat out 3x a day at San Francisco prices. Anything over $5 these days I’m up in arms at the ridiculousness! San Fran is a beautiful city to visit, and there are a lot of great progressive movements there which I am proud to have gotten to know.

I was able to meet Sean’s wife Kate and their son Leo before I took off, which was great to meet the faces I’d heard so much about on the trip! Sean also gifted me his “World Cruising Guide” which I’d only recently heard about. I’ve got some great reading material to help me get to where I want to go!

This concludes the delivery. I ended up in a different location, on a different boat, with a better idea of what I need to change or work on (boat wise and personally) which is never a bad thing. I’ve had quite a few eye opening discoveries since then when it comes to dealing with toxic people, and even though it was scary and uncomfortable, perhaps that’s what I needed in order to stop making the same mistakes over and over and over. You can’t fix what you don’t know you need to change!


coconuts’ first voyage: point reyes

What are two single sailorettes supposed to do over a long Valentines day weekend? Motor sail 40 miles up the beautiful California coast to Point Reyes, I guess! Here we are, having just spotted the anchorage in Drakes Bay, on top of the world as we’d safely completed our mission having never been anywhere near this area before. It ended up being a bit of an adventure getting up there, so a celebration was in order!


We stopped in Aquatic Park the night before heading out the gate. When living in Berkeley I used to load up the dogs and the laundry into the dinghy and I would row to the other side of the marina to do laundry. Since I’m not in Berkeley anymore, I have not used my dinghy in ages. I forgot how much the doggies love rowing around! Leann and I both kayaked over to Alcatraz, it worked out perfectly because the Port Authority was on strike so there were no cargo ships and tug boats to dodge. Unfortunately, while both toys were out overnight for some reason my custom teak ladder was gone in the morning. I was an angry mama bear without my ladder!! I wasn’t sure how to get the dogs on and off the boat without it. I mean, come on!



We scoped out the anchorage and realized that one boat had a kayak tied to it that had not been there the night before. He had to pass my boat to get to his. His boat appeared to be of scallywag material. My ladder was the only thing that could have been stolen that would have been easy to hide. We circled around his boat and I decided to board his boat and look for the ladder. Mind you, the companion way was completely open and I knew there was someone on board. I could see right into his boat, which was exactly like the one I lived on for 2 1/2 years. I knew where to look and wasted no time quietly opening the cockpit lockers.

The only problem was my ladder wasn’t in the cockpit lockers. It wasn’t inside either, from what I could see. I certainly wasn’t going to go inside. Then he woke up. My dinghy was secured to his starboard, and I was on port. I knew I’d been caught… oops? I leaped over to the other side of the cockpit and hurled myself into my dinghy where Bear and Zita were patiently (and quietly) waiting for their crazy mom to finish being crazy. As I was releasing the line attached to his cleat, a small Jewish man with longish salt and pepper wavy hair with a knit hat and welcoming eyes emerged and simply smiled at me. Before he could even say anything, I asked if he knew anything about my stolen ladder. He chuckled, and said no.

We chatted a bit and Leann and I eventually rowed away, taking the dogs to shore for a walk. Leann and I quick;y determined he was a big fat liar. He caught me snooping through his boat and he smiled at us and was so nice. Way too nice! And he said he got back to his boat at around 7 pm, but we were out in the cockpit until 9 or so and we never saw him pass.

We went back to his boat and instead of wanting trouble I kindly asked for my ladder back and promised I’d go away after that. THAT is when he went off on us. A lot. It was well deserved, I guess. He invited us up to snoop through the rest of his boat, and while I was scared to because of how angry he was, Leann kindly checked for me and it wasn’t there. Whoever stole my ladder, it’s probably going to end up at some swap meet or something. Mr. Jacobs, our new friend, later rowed past us as he was heading to shore. He told me he had a present for me, and without hesitation I asked if it was a can of Whoopass. He chuckled again and gave me a Walt Whitman book. Joy, Shipmate, Joy! he told me to read.

So that’s how we began our first ocean voyage on Coconut! I was a pirate before I even lost part of my finger. I now know Aquatic Park isn’t as safe as I thought it was.


Onward ho! We were set back an hour due to the ladder fiasco, but we were still able to take the tide out under the bridge. You see, Leann and I are both reverse sailors. We both bought boats to live on and then started learning how to sail. Neither of us trust engines. Yes, mine is a Yanmar and brand new, but the whole point of a sailboat is that it can get you around without an engine. My main is not ready to be hoisted yet, but the jib was a possibility.

Leann was getting the jib ready. The hanks were on the forstay, and she was searching for shackles to put on the cars for the tracks and for the sheets. Suddenly, the engine cut out. There was still a hum, but the loud purr was gone. F%*@! NO! We were still in between the Potato Patch and the rocky coast! If the engine doesn’t come on, whichever way the current takes us is no bueno. I removed the key and hit the STOP button and waited for what felt like an eternity. “What lines are the sheets for the jib?” “Is it this one? Or this one?”Leann asked. “I don’t know” I responded. “I have no clue, whichever one you want to use.” I’d raised the jib months ago at the dock, but only to see how big it was. I knew I had lines on board, what they were for I hadn’t a clue.

I put the key back in the ignition and turned it clockwise to hear that sweet sweet purr of the engine. It started back up as if nothing had happened! It continued for the rest of the trip without a hitch. We then relaxed and laughed at what a day we’d already had.






Once we got into the anchorage, we’d passed the only other sailboat there and asked if we really needed to anchor so far away from the shore. We did, he confirmed. We set anchor in 18′ of water and began preparations for dinner. I wasn’t feeling so hot, honestly. I was burping (my seasickness I guess) and had hardly eaten all day. After eating everything in sight and still feeling like I was wasting away, I realized I was slowly dying.

You see, Leann is a vegetarian. I bought a bunch of food she and I could share and thought since we’d been backpacking several times together and eaten the same food I’d be OK. Not the case, as the packaged meals we were eating on backpacking trips had additives to prevent a carnivore like me from death. The PB&J, the pasta and veg spaghetti sauce? Not so much. I realized in a semi-conscious state that I had eggs, which Leann kindly cooked up for me to bring me back to life.

The next morning I was feeling soooo much better, we went to shore to explore, hike, and take in the beauty of this area I knew nothing about.



It didn’t take long before I started getting lectured left and right about my dogs and the seal pups. By the end of the day, I was pretty annoyed. The laws just changed that boaters aren’t allowed to come to shore anywhere there is a seal to protect their dwindling population. Well, where are we supposed to go then? Nobody had an answer. Oh, and “dogs are SOO disruptive to wildlife.” SO ARE HUMANS! Humans are worse for God’s sake. My dogs were on leash, they weren’t picking fights or chasing birds, I picked up their poop, leave me alone dammit.





Anywho, I learned a lot about this area. Way before the Coast Guard, there used to be a lighthouse and a lifeboat saving station. There was a crew who lived at the station, and one would walk up and down the long coastline in shifts, looking for shipwrecks. When they spotted one, they’d go back to the station and everyone would carry their gear out to the wreck. I never knew anything like that existed, but I suppose wrecks were more common back then without all the technology we have today.

Also, the deal with the seal pups? It was mating season back in Feb. and the seal pups don’t have good odds at survival. Their mama stays with them the first 4-5 weeks of life. She leaves because she gets hungry, as she hasn’t eaten at all since giving birth. It takes another 4-5 weeks for the pup to figure out that there’s food in the water, even though they don’t know how to hunt or eat or anything. Only 50% of pups make it to the first year of life. Something as simple as lifting up its head to see if it’s in danger or not can waste valuable calories it needs to survive.




There were plenty of bird enthusiasts, and we were just a couple of weeks shy of whale watching season. The population of grey whales has increased significantly in the past several years due to the ban on whale hunting. I still have not seen a whale! I saw a spout of water off the pier in Santa Cruz, but mama whales with their calves would be amazing to see.





We ended the day of sight seeing and hiking with opening a bottle of home made key lime vodka. It had been marinating for well over a year, I was afraid to open it and consume it. I’m not much of a drinker, but why not celebrate such an amazing voyage? Thankfully the weather was warm enough to swim in, albeit I jumped in and swam directly to the dingy. We ended up dancing under the warm kiss of the sun, Zita did not approve as you can see. Bear was happy in his “recliner” set in the shade. We danced until we, for some reason, decided to row far far away to visit a fishing boat who was anchored out. There were two sailboats near us, but for some reason that fishing boat was calling our names.

The three men that we met, whose names now escape me, were thrilled (but not too thrilled if you know what I mean) to have us visit. We got a tour of their boat and hung out until we rowed back in the fog, to my boat, that was now too far away to see. Leann was legitimately terrified, while I was genuinely optimistic. Zita’s barks lead me the way, bless her loud little soul.


The foggy morning came and went as we made our way back to Aquatic Park where I dropped Leann off so that she could attend her classes. I met once again with Mr. Jacobs, the man whose boat I boarded. He asked if I had read the poem, Joy, Shipmate, Joy! I had not, so told me to read it to him. Out loud, him in his kayak, and me in the cockpit of Coconut, I read to him.

Joy! shipmate–joy!
(Pleas’d to my Soul at death I cry;)
Our life is closed–our life begins;
The long, long anchorage we leave,
The ship is clear at last–she leaps!
She swiftly courses from the shore;
Joy! shipmate–joy!