We pulled up our anchor and motored the short distance south to Capitola, making certain to avoid the kelp. (that stuff is SOOOOOO strong!) After breakfast, we dropped the dinghy and made our way to the dinghy dock.
If I were to sum up Capitola in two words, it would be “quaint” and “beachy”. We hit our favorite coffee place there, Mr. Toots. It has a really great vibe, and a balcony in the back that has a view of The Venetian, a really cool beach side hotel. Each unit is a different shade of relaxed blue, pink, or coral.
The girls were dying to get some beach time, so after walking the town and getting some lunch, my husband and I hung out in the sand while the girls chased the waves.
After cleaning the girls up at the public showers, we picked up some ice cream for the kids right next door. They finished their treats and we made our way back to the boat.
The next morning we realized we had to begin our trek back to Redwood City. We made our way to Half Moon Bay, and decided to do a little exploring. We walked over to Mavericks, of surfing fame. It was much smaller than I had thought it would be. When we were there, the waves were practically nothing, but the seashells on the beach were really lovely. Girls love seashells. It’s odd, because that’s the skeleton of a deceased animal. On one hand, that’s gross; on the other, I’m a little jealous my skeleton isn’t jewelry-worthy.
A lovely nature trail led us all the way to the city of Half Moon Bay. We spotted lizards, butterflies, bunnies, snakes, and a host of birds. A friendly lady informed us that the whales were out. By this time, the girls had seen whales and dolphins at such a close range, they were decidedly unimpressed and responded with an obligatory “Ok. Thanks.”
Half Moon Bay was a sweet, sleepy town with very few restaurants, but we did find the Half Moon Bay Feed and Supply. In the back was a hatchery for chickens. Dozens of baby chicks peeped and hopped about in their enclosures like walking balls of fluff. My daughters were enchanted. A kind gentleman who worked there gave them a crash course on raising chickens, and even let them pet one. Then he took us outside and showed us the adult chickens in the cleanest coops I have ever seen. They are sold once or twice a year in the “chicken rodeo”. He told us that people line up around the block so they can come pick out their chicken of choice from the flock. One of the most interesting tidbits he shared with us is that every chicken is born with the number of eggs she will lay in her lifetime. Once they are all layed, she has none left to give. That really blew me away. While the same is true for mammals, it had never occurred to me that avians would have a finite number of eggs. It made me appreciate that carton at the grocery store even more.
Heading back to Reverie, we parental units were bombarded by requests for food from our offspring. Luckily there was a taqueria. Once the children’s stomachs were satiated, we boarded our dinghy and whisked away to the boat.
We took off the next day with some trepidation on our way back to Richardson Bay. We were going to have to go through the Golden Gate again. The forecast was for mild conditions, but forecasting is more art than science, and mistakes are made. We were sailing along merrily when suddenly my husband called out that there were whales. We were pretty used to this now, so it had lost a lot of novelty. The girls and I looked in the direction my husband indicated. Before we knew it, we were surrounded. Literally, there was a HUGE humpback whale 30 feet off our bow, a mother with her calf to starboard, another large whale on our port, and a couple behind us. I could have hit any one of them with a thrown projectile. (this is saying something because I am a lousy shot.) We have a 40 foot catamaran, and these animals dwarfed our boat. It was simultaneously awe-inspiring and terrifying. One hit from a creature like this could sink our vessel. My husband called out to me “What do I do?”. He couldn’t speed up, slow down, or turn in any direction as we were completely surrounded.
“For the love of God, don’t run them over! They’re endangered!”, was my decidedly un-helpful advice. After some research, I confirmed they were indeed humpback whales, of which there are only 800 left in the world. So we kept our course, hoping for no collisions.
The whales eventually tired of our company, but were immediately followed by dolphins, who found our intrigue fleeting. As the dolphins left, my little one saw a shark bearing down on us. “No one fall overboard, there’s a shark!”, I yelled. It was probably not big enough to devour a human, but I had no desire to test it’s bite force. It too, quickly tired of us and moseyed on to wherever sharks mosey on to.
After this experience, the kids wouldn’t even respond to calls of whale spouts in the distance, or leaping dolphins. The bar had been raised too high. We continued on, but once we reached Point Reyes, a call came on the radio warning of high whale concentrations. There were over 2 dozen individuals, and they were all around us. As we passed under the Golden Gate bridge, we saw whales spouting and flukes next to Alcatraz. A couple of whales were following us into the San Francisco Bay, and a mother with her calf was on her way out, heading straight towards us. They dove just as they reached our starboard side. The whales behind us came within 10 feet. I was overwhelmed by the experience; it was a once in a lifetime occurance.
We made it back from Richardson Bay to Redwood city without incident, but with our lives enriched.