Sausalito – small willow grove

From Angel Island, we’re motoring to Sausalito.  We’ve called a few of the marinas there and they don’t accept guests (snooty folk in Sausalito!).  Which is weird, cuz their websites actually provided info on guest berthing.  But, whatever, maybe our little 34′ trawler isn’t high-end enough for them. Ha!  Wherever we go, we are the cheapest, be it RV’s, motorcycles, exotic cars, sailboats, muscle cars, etc.


Our first camper!  Ugly on the outside, gorgeous on the inside (truly)

We leave 3 voicemail messages for Schoonmaker and by the time we’re ready to head over to Sausalito, we have ZERO response from them.  I’m thinking, Negative Nellie that I can be, they must be full up.  Rick, ever the cockamamie optimist, is thinking let’s go see if they have space.

Sure enough, there’s room for us, plenty of room!  We tie up, helped by the owner of a lovely, bigger trawler.  He and his wife have only owned their boat a short time.  He looks like a regular guy and she looks like a trophy wife million bucks.  I’m feeling out-classed.

Why is it that the wives or girlfriends always look impeccable whereas I look like a hobo I’ve been hiking at Angel Island and a couple days without a shower.  Oh, maybe because that’s the truth!  Ha.

Rick heads over to the Harbor Master’s office.  There’s a sign that gives their hours as 10-3, if I recall.  Its after 12 noon and the office is closed.  And naturally, there’s no sign saying when they’ll return.  We hope they are just off at lunch (talk about part-time) and sure enough someone comes back at 1pm.  Let’s give the clerk the benefit of the doubt and say he’s an idiot he must be new to his job.  It takes him almost 45 minutes to register for 2 nights because the clerk can’t figure out how to process the form.  And he doesn’t know there is already a big fancy sedan in the berth where he wants us to move…sigh…  Fortunately, there is room to squeeze in behind the fanciness and yay! we have a place to stay and plug in, huzzah, huzzah!


Sweet spot

The plugging-in process is a matter of taking a long, heavy extension cord, plugging one end into Ms Maggie (I can hear your rude thoughts) and the other end to a box on the dock.  Unfortunately, since we are squeezing behind the fanciness (which I shouldn’t be all dissing them because when we pulled up behind, they jumped off their boat to help us tie up, nice people!), there isn’t a regular outlet to plug into into which to plug.  We have to go buy an adapter, darn it.

There’s an Ace Hardware store (Ace is the place with the helpful hardware man, um, person) only 4 blocks away and a West Marine about 2 miles away.  Since hardware stores close to marinas often have boat supplies we check it out first.  No joy.  We hop a ride with Uber and the driver hangs out in the parking lot while we pop in.  Dang it, we totally forgot to take a pic of the outlet set up.  The adapter they have in stock has some weird flange around it and we are POSITIVE that it won’t fit but its all they have so we buy it and pray it will be OK.

electrical outlet.jpg

See?  Each side is different!

It fits!  Oh, blessed day, hurrah, hurray…

We check online for restaurants within walking distance.  Here’s where we ended up, this Italian seafood restaurant with a live band!  A little confusing because it has a couple different names, Sausalito Seahorse and Cucina Toscana Supper Club.

Walking to dinner we found Susurrus!  The new owner, Richard G, has it berthed in a lovely spot right next to a little park.  Richard has it looking great, he’s spent a lot of time, energy and moolah taking it to the next step.


She’s pretty, isn’t she

The next morning we lazed around the boat, drinking coffee and watching the sun come up.   Our position had a perfect view of the comings and goings of kayaks and other small watercraft, the hills across the way and boats anchored-out in the bay.


Popular kayaking spot

Some of the boats look like miniature dumps with lots of crap items stored on the decks, piled high and willy-nilly.  I can see a bass drum on one of them, an old bicycle, suitcases, tarps, metal grills, and who-knows-what-else.  There’s hardly a sailboat to see underneath all that.

Apparently, its a real problem, these derelict boats.  Here’s an interesting blog post via Sausalito Waterfront outlining the issues – from boats having no registration to people dumping sewage overboard.


Photo from Sausalito Waterfront blog

We watched someone salvage a partially submerged old woody from out in the bay  Walking to dinner, we happened upon it in their salvage yard, a big hole in its side.


Lots of characters sailing around!

Our full day in Sausalito was spent wandering around the little historic town and window-shopping.  While on our walk we happened upon this terrific band in town for Fleet Week!


Navy band having a grand old time

We enjoy spending time just sitting, taking in the atmosphere.  We parked on a bench in a little pocket park overlooking the water and watched people and bicyclists go by.  Such a pleasant day for it, too.



yucky spider.jpg

There is an interesting Historical Visitor Center with many artifacts and stories about their infamous mayor, Sally Stanford.  She had a fascinating, if scandalous, life.  Click on the link for more info.

There have been a variety of famous people who lived in Sausalito – Otis Redding wrote Dock of the Bay while living in a houseboat. Tim Lincecum lived here, gangster Baby Face Nelson, author Amy Tan, to name a few.  Actors, Survivor contestant, authors, gangsters, liquor-makers, cartoonist, philosopher – and its less than 3 square miles.  If you visit, look past the boutique shops and restaurants and check out the history, too.

One cool thing to do is a visit to the Bay Model, an intricate 1 1/2 acre hydraulic display of the San Francisco Bay and Delta.

bay model.jpg

Photo from the Bay Model website

After Sausalito, we are off to South Beach Harbor Marina 😉






Angel Island

We pulled out of the slip on the ‘wrong’ side of Pier 39 and headed over to Angel Island.  Not 100 yards from the opening to the Pier 39 marina, we felt a little hiccup to the engine.

<>< sigh ><>

Back into the marina we go.  Rick adds a little transmission fluid to the old girl and lets it run a bit.  We think that was the problem, gotta keep the fluids topped off.  OK, that’s OK, we can deal with that.

I forgot to mention that I cooked dinner for the first time the night before.  Here’s a photo of our tiny set-up.


So, back out of the marina and off to Angel Island.  Lots to do there but we’re only spending 1 night, cuz we lost a day fixing the fuel pump on Day ONE(!)


The docks at Angel Island, pretty empty off-season


After docking we have a light lunch and hike around the park a bit.  They have done a great job restoring some of the buildings and providing insight into the lives of the people who were stuck there when it was an immigration and detention facility or as a US Public Health quarantine station – it was even a military fort for awhile.  Like I said before, a lot of history to this island.


Detention Center

You’re allowed to dock during the day but if you are staying overnight, you have to tie up to one of the buoys.  We’d never done that before.  I bet there was a YouTube video with best practices, but…oh, actually, Rick just told me that he DID watch a helpful video or two.


All went well at first.  You ‘pick up’ the buoy from the back of the boat (with this particular type, you put a rope through the metal loop at the top) and walk the line forward and tie it off at the front.  Then you back the boat toward the rear buoy and thread the rope through its ‘eye’.  Ha!  Sounds easy, right?  No, it actually doesn’t sound easy.  But I think it COULD be easy, just not for us, not this time.

Well, the current and the wind were against us plus Rick didn’t consider how much extra line is necessary at the front to be able to maneuver at the back.  After, oh, I don’t know, 6 attempts, back and forth and me hopping here and there trying to anticipate the way the boat is going, he finally gave up and added more line – like 25 more feet! – to the front.

Ta Da!  That was the key, you need lots of extra line at the front to be able to reach the back buoy, then you can snug it up once you’re tied to both.

There were 2 larger boats already moored, most assuredly the people behind those smoked-glass windows were raising their glasses to our ineptitude.  The best free entertainment is watching boats owners fail, right?  Try it on YouTube, tons of videos!  If you click on the link, fast forward to 1:42 for a few that made me giggle.

Finally, moored 😉


Ahhh, the boating life





Badabing badaBOOM

The 1st night of our stay at Pier 39 (the side where sea lions took over docks – click on the link for more of that story),


we wandered down the street toward Ghirardelli Square and stopped at Boudin Bakery – with a restaurant, store, plus history museum, AND you can watch the various types of bread being made…of course, they pipe the marvelous smell of baking bread out onto the sidewalk so we just HAD to go inside.

We had cafe’ lattes and bread for dinner…don’t snicker…


Later on we strolled back to Ms Maggie, looking forward to a relaxing evening.  Rick turned on the TV to see what over-the-air stations we could receive, dismal selection, btw.  The closest SF station didn’t even come in!  The next day, I went to a store and bought a larger antenna, which had better reception.  Rick stayed on board cuz he was still feeling the effects of the hit on the head the day before.  Criminy, was that just yesterday!?!

There was a lot of waveage (our goofy word for the effects of waves on the boat, there’s a history to that word.  I won’t go into it now), not only from the tour boats heading in and out of their slips, but also just from the bay, itself.  Most of the marina isn’t protected by an actual sea wall, but with vertical piers pilings/logs which don’t keep out the swells, I suppose they reduce them somewhat.


We were rising and falling and being shoved from side to side at an alarming rate.

We’d put out all our lines to keep the effects to a minimum and previously checked out how the other boats had tied up to see if they knew something we didn’t.  One boat – Wine Therapy – had huge bungee cords with little tires to absorb shock on the lines.  The  other boats seemed to have regular systems in place.

Now, its 10pm and we’ve gotten a little used to the rise, fall and swing from the swells.

Then, BOOM!  One of those sounds that makes you jump out of your chair.  Not to mention that we almost fell off our chairs with that waveage!

We race outside (like, its only 2 steps) and discover that 1 of our dock lines has snapped!  Fortunately, only a dark scuff is on Ms Maggie, no real damage.  Rick finds more lines – not dock lines, but at this point we’ve decided anything will help – and double ties some areas to build strength.


Rick holding the snapped line

There’s no chandlery close by, so next day we head over to Orchard Supply Hardware – only 4 blocks or so away (I love OSH).  They have a selection of dock lines and we buy more lines – more than we think we need (that’s the way I roll).  Fun fact:  the word ‘chandlery’ originally related to the business of making candles.

We stay another night on the wrong side of Pier 39 and have no other mishaps.  The last few days of our ‘Baycation’ will be on the ‘right’ side of Pier 39, where we’ve stayed before, so we don’t expect any problems there.  We have excellent breakfasts each morning at the Eagle Cafe and the Wipeout Bar and Grill, eating outside both times, of course.

Monday morning we are headed over to Angel Island.  Angel Island has a rich and varied history so the museums are fascinating.  There are hiking and biking trails, 2 cafes, marathons, live music, tent camping and you can only get there by boat.  Ferries come and go all day long, its worth the trip.


Fisherman’s Wharf isn’t far from Pier 39…we are headed to the far side of the island

Next up:  How to look like an idiot trying to use one of these 😉

boat buoy.jpg

Its a mooring buoy


A lovely, calm day on the water

Day 2 – We are motoring calmly towards the San Francisco Bay after spending an unexpected night at the Pittsburg Marina.  Btw, they don’t charge an overnight docking fee if you are towed into the marina!  That was a nice of them.  It’s a convenient location just a couple blocks from downtown and many restaurants.


Entrance to Pittsburg Marina

First, of course, there was coffee at the KiteBar Cafe   (side note:  The channel is a favorite among windsurfers, no small wonder since all the flags were pretty much flying straight out from the flagpole!)

THEN we are motoring calmly towards the San Francisco Bay after spending an unexpected night at the Pittsburg Marina.

Not much happens on Day 2 – which is a pleasant, peaceful, sunny day on the water.  Motoring along there are fascinating things to see along the water’s edge.  Cranes (the mechanical ones, not the birds), abandoned docks, derelict houses, dredging equipment.  I am glad to have a personal computer in my pocket so I can search out all these interesting things.

Like this one: SP Ferry Terminal Remains.  Oooo, and there’s free parking!  See what I mean, the things you can learn from having a personal computer in your pocket!

SP Ferry Terminal remains.jpg

SP Ferry Terminal Remains

Here’s   East Brother Light Station   Its a B&B on a big rock, although you can simply visit for the day, as well.


East Brother Light Station


Isn’t that a cool building?  Now its a B&B, for about $495/night.

Here’s a bridge.


Yeah, its a bridge, all right.


Here’s a seal basking in the sun.


What a fuzzy picture, darn…

Here’s where ferries go to die, I mean rest.  Really I have no idea what the future holds for them, I shouldn’t be jumping to conclusions.


Ferries napping

Arriving at Pier 39, we start into the marina – the right side, not the left side – which is an important distinction.  Where was I, oh right, we start into the marina, dutifully blasting our airhorn to let other boats know we are headed in – it’s a blind corner coming into marinas, what with the sea walls blocking our vision.

We’re through the opening and oh, great, a large blue and gold tour boat is headed out and they are BIG.  There’s plenty of room, no need to panic, plenty of room, see, plenty of room and thank the good Lord that the tour boat captain is used to dodging boats – boy howdy is he used to dodging boats in the SF Bay!

San Francisco Bay Cruise and Sightseeing _ Blue & Gold Fleet.jpg

Photo unabashedly stolen from their website.

We pull into our assigned spot, tie up with our usual lines and spring lines (this is important and there will be a test later) and go check in.

Ahhh, Day 2 is without incident.  Or so we thought 😉


Ms Maggie’s proud captain…see her in the distance?

Fleet Week Adventures: Drama & Trauma

Before I tell you about our trip to San Francisco Bay for Fleet Week, I’d like to set the record straight re sailboats.

We’ve rented numerous sailboats and catamarans over the years.  Mostly in the 35-40 foot range.  I wasn’t a chicken on those!  I don’t think it’s sailing, per se, that made me nervous as it was the size of the boat.

Just wanted to put that out there.

We’ve been going to Fleet Week for, I don’t know, 8 or more years?  Once the Maritime Museum had an event on the roof of their building and we brought friends and family to that.  The Museum is practically center stage so that was a nifty spot to watch the air shows.

This time it was on Ms Maggie.  We packed up provisions and such the night before so we could get on the water at the crack of dawn.


Nah, this isn’t all of it

It was going to take our little turtle-speed trawler about 9 hrs to get to Pier 39, where we were spending our first 2 nights.


Pulling away from the dock

The water was beautifully smooth and tons of tiny fish were poking at the surface!  I took a video but it doesn’t translate well to the ‘big screen’.

All was fine until we hit fog, which was completely unexpected, we turned a corner of the delta canal and plowed right into it.  Fortunately, it lasted all of about 100 feet but it was pretty dense at the water line.  Weird patch of fog just at that one spot.

We continued down familiar territory for an hour or so before turning left where we usually turn right (towards Stockton).


We’ve counted 20 or more egrets & herons in our bay

We’d planned on topping of the fuel tanks in Pittsburg and pulled into the Pittsburg Marina in the afternoon, all according to plan.

Then our plan went to hell in a handbasket.

Just about 90 seconds out from the Pittsburg marina the engine noise hesitated, and the engine died, again.  We’d just had it at the mechanics to repair the problem and here we are experiencing it AGAIN!  In the middle of the channel.  Drifting with the current.  Aargh.

Rick yells at me to drop the anchor while he opens up the hatch to the engine and climbs down – wait, that sounds too easy – its more like put this foot here and that hand there, then bend and squeeze down into the hatch.  The problem before had been diagnosed as air in the fuel line so he tops off the filters and hand pumps a little lever to move the fuel through the lines to get the air out.

We are drifting toward Channel Marker 13 (I think it was) despite the anchor.  Slowly…inexorably…drifting toward a marker with sharp edges around it and a stabby metal ladder that will cause damage.  I’m not telling Rick this, he’s got enough to worry about, down with the engine, sweating, pumping air out of a little fuel hose for 45 minutes.

William Seltzer Rice.jpg

Painting by William Seltzer Rice.

Isn’t that a pretty painting? That’s what the channel marker looked like, but scarier…

I start planning how to keep the boat from hitting the channel marker.  Adding fenders to the sides of the boat,  pulling up the anchor and trying to coast past the marker, throwing my body into the path of danger.  Something, anything!

Then, while most boats go slowly by us, seeing that we are in a bit of a fix, one boat roars by and its wake bounces us around and tosses, no, HURLS the hatch cover into the air, smashing into Rick’s head.

I throw him a towel.  You know how much head wounds bleed?  Yeah, like that.  and me?  I’m still not panicking!

He clambers out of the engine hatch to hold the towel to his head and decides that 45 minutes of effort hasn’t helped (I’ve tried to start the engine periodically during this time).  Best to call BoatUS for a tow.  I mean we are literally a stone’s throw from the marina where we got fuel.

The tow boat arrives quickly and finesses us into a slip.  They are so good at their jobs!


See the matted blood above his ear?  I was nice & didn’t take a photo of all the blood dripping down his face & neck.

During the wait we started calling around to find a diesel mechanic…on a Friday night…at 5pm.

Finally, we find a guy who says he’ll come down after rush hour.  We head off for dinner and our mechanic hero arrives about 8:30.

Long story short – or is it too late for that 😉  He is terrific, knowledgeable, friendly and helpful!  JustInTime Marine (Just In Time Marine)

Richie figures out that the problem is the fuel pump thingamajig which pushes the fuel through the line – its toast.

The pump must be original to the boat so its lasted a loooong time.  Now the issue is finding the part on a weekend…are we stuck here until Monday?

Then Just-In-Time Richie says ‘hey, you trawler guys always carry spare parts.  Let’s see what you’ve got’.  Rick gets the parts bin out and digs through it.  Low and behold, not the part but an entire fuel pump is there!

J-I-T pops it in and voila!  We are cooking with gas!  I mean, diesel!  Wow, thank you, Lowell!  (the previous owner)  What a testament to being prepared!

J-I-T leaves at 11:30pm.  Our wallets are just a bit lighter and our spirits are much lighter!  The next day we sleep in late and then shove off, headed for Pier 39, finally.


C & H (C & H), pure cane sugar (pure cane sugar), from Hawaii (from Hawaii), growin’ in the sun (growin’ in the sun )

Oh, I forgot to follow-up about Rick’s wound.  He took some pain meds, but we haven’t done anything else.  We don’t feel like trying to find an Urgent Care facility and its stopped bleeding so that’s good, right?  I don’t see his skull when I part his hair so its fine, for now  😉


The ONLY thing that makes it worth getting up early is a pretty sunrise like this.