It’s true. A million dollar view for a dime. Not even that – we didn’t pay anything for it.
And yet, it is about that little “but” up there in the title that I will write about on this post. Read on.
(before I proceed: I will still post an update on the passage from Eureka to San Francisco. It’s really worth it. But we had this experience on wednesday and I just had to let it out of my system)
After spending the first night in San Francisco Bay at a beautiful anchorage off Angel Island, we decided to move Pesto to the Aquatic Park Cove, at the doorsteps of San Francisco’s downtown. This is a manmade basin, round shaped, created to foster water sports among the populace of the city, I suppose. In fact, the place is full with swimmers (that’s it, real humans swimming with nothing more than their speedos in the frigid waters of the bay). Moreover, access to the cove is obtained by permit only, and only granted to sailboats under certain conditions. The proximity to the city and these restrictions lured us. We applied, obtained the permit, and went straight for it.
We arrived there at dusk on Tuesday. After negotiating the entrance with three swimmers, were made our way in, found a suitable spot, and dropped our anchor on a 15ft bottom, while being blasted by a cold 30kt wind coming straight from the bay’s entrance.
Sure enough, the view is stunning. The cove is literally inside San Francisco’s downtown area. A few yards from where we were anchored there was Ghirardelli’s headquarters, the Aquatic Park’s attractions (a couple beautiful historical ships) and the Fisherman’s Wharf. We gazed at the city’s spectacular skyline as the night downed on us.
It also caught our attention that Pesto was the only large cruising sailboat anchored there.
Then we went to sleep, with Pesto rocking decisevily all night to the wakes of all passing craft going in and out of the Bay, and with the wind howling on the rig and rigging. We woke up the next morning a bit tired, but still amazed by the view of the surroundings wrapped up in the usual morning fog of the bay.
Later on, we put the dinghy on the water to go to shore. Our plan was to visit the Park’s attractions and then head for dinner with our friends from Adagio. And that’s when we discovered the fine print … there is no place to tie the dinghy to near the cove. We spent one hour roaming inside and outside it trying to find a place to stop. On one of them, we tied to a dock on what appeared to be a small yard, only to find it was shut down and there was no way out. Later on, we tried a fishing marina. But it was gated. One of the fishermen suggested Adriana that we jumped the gate on our way back, but we thought it didn’t feel right.
So, with mixed feelings, we decided to cancel our dinner appointment, and leave the Cove for a regular marina. We had originally planned to stay there until Saturday, but without being able to go to shore, it was just not practical. We didn’t come prepared for it. We had the expectation to use the Cove as a base for our errands on shore. Besides, Pesto’s supplies had reached critical level and we needed to reprovision ASAP.
It was already late afternoon and we wanted to reach the marina on the other side of the Bay while there was still some sun light. The wind was blowing between 20 and 30 kt, and we had a fun-filled ride there.
And then, when we were literally just a few yards away from the marina, we ran aground. Paulo, Adriana and I were engaged on a lively conversation about World War 2, and didn’t read correctly the markers to the entrance to the marina. Pesto stopped suddenly digging her keel in the soft muddy shoal and we got stuck. As I wrote before, some days a really better than others.
Luckily, the tide had just reached its low level when that happened, and we just needed to wait for it to flood again. In fact, one hour later Pesto’s keel snapped out of the mud and we finally got to the marina.
As soon as Pesto was tied to the dock, we went straight to a restaurant nearby and treated us to a well deserved steaming hot pizza. What a day!