It seems like not so long ago when everyone was complaining about the drought in California. I can say with confidence, it doesn’t feel like a drought anymore. In fact, we have more water now than we know what to do with! Dams and reservoirs are overflowing, and yet the rain is continuing to bucket down. Guess I have no excuse not to wash the boat this summer. haha.
When the weather is not so great outside, it makes a perfect opportunity to do boat work inside. Usually I catch up on baking, and hubby does something with his tools. I make every effort to stay out of his way; Lord knows I don’t want to get roped into one of his multiday projects.
I was on my way to bed, and noticed water dripping from above. Actually, it was more than a drip. It was raining inside. This had to be rectified and quickly. The next morning, we pulled out the ceiling panels and opened up crawl spaces to track down the source of the water. It was condensation, and LOTS of it. We racked our brains trying to figure out what would cause that much moisture.
As I was checking out the crawlspace behind the oven, I happened to look down. The oven wasn’t vented. When propane is burned (like in a propane oven) there are two byproducts: carbon monoxide, and water vapor. Bingo. We opened all the access panels, plugged in the dehumidifier, and hopped online to order the necessary bits to fix this. The boat dried out overnight, but I was banned from using the oven until it was vented. This is a big deal, as I bake a lot of gluten/dairy free foods for the kiddos.
Finally, our order arrived. Guess who spent the weekend with half their body shoehorned into a crawlspace, and the other half dangling out over the sink? That would be me. I drilled a hole into the outside of the boat (SCARY) and hubby and I worked together to get the vent line in. We caulked the outside hole and pronounced our project complete. Firing up the oven for a test run only confirmed the high quality of our work. Yay us!
The condensation issue is not completely resolved, but we put a big dent in it. I think we are going to install a small fan later. Until then, I’ll fantasize about a back massage and ice the new bruises that have sprung up.
Everytime there is a storm, I’m asked what it’s like being on the boat in that kind of weather. So, I figured I would break it down here. Keep in mind, this is while we are docked. It’s a whole nother matter at sea.
It’s loud. Not like “Oh it sounds like there’s a storm outside” loud. It’s more of a “storm- of- the- century- ushering- in- armageddon” kind of loud. Every. Single. Storm.
Since we are on a catamaran, we don’t move a whole lot. We do, however get occasional gusts that nudge us. There’s not a lot of movement, but just enough to remind you that you are not on land.
Wind whistles through trees, but it screams through our marina. It literally sounds like someone opened the Ghostbusters containment system next door.
Halyards slap against masts, and canvas flaps struggling to cling to its vessel. The water of the marina is whipped up into small waves that beat against the hull with a repetitive splashy/slappy sound.
It’s really, really loud.
Zippers scrape the deck, blocks rattle, and the whole boat feels the vibration of the lines oscillating in the wind. It makes an annoying humming sound.
Not sure if I mentioned it’s kind of loud.
Rain sounds like we have a tin roof, so conversations tend to become polite yelling matches as we struggle to be heard over the din.
Everyone in the marina hunkers down in their little boat cocoons giving the area an uninhabited feel.
Guess who doesn’t sleep when there is a storm raging outside? That would be me.
As the work day was coming to a close, hubby had a thought. That usually means work for me, and this time was no different. I filled the water tanks, and got things cleaned up and ready to sail. Ok, I don’t mind the work so much if there is a reward. I’m kind of shallow that way.
As soon as he arrived, we dropped the dock lines and took off for Treasure Island. We anchor there frequently, but there was something new this time. the Treasure Island Flea Market was scheduled to be opened. Additionally, in Jack London Square there was a food festival. We figured since the Flea Market was closer we would do that. We hopped into our family car, the dinghy, and zoomed to shore. There were stilt walkers, loads of food trucks, plenty of bars to pick up a libation of choice, and phenomenal weather. Vendors were selling everything from antiques, to campers, to plants. In the pet section was someone selling vegan dog food. Now that’s unusual. What’s next, carnivorous cows? I tipped my hat with appreciation to the creative endeavor and moved on.
Then I saw something that took…my…breath…away. Not kidding. It’s a suitcase that has a dollhouse built into it. There were versions that were very gender specific, others that were gender neutral, but all of them awesome. Here’s the thing, you have loads of room to use it as a suitcase. With this, you don’t need to worry about an activity for your child where you are going. The furniture is Melissa and Doug, so you know it’s good quality, and dolls are included. There is a full size, and a carryon size. Ever try to keep a small child engaged in an airport during a lay-over. Enough said.
We still had a lot of daylight, and the kids were getting hungry. Some brilliant person (me) suggested we should dinghy from Treasure Island to Jack London Square and check out the food festival. It turned out, that was sheer genius.
During our walk-through, we found Brazilian Breads. It’s gluten free little rolls that are kind of between a doughnut and a dumpling. They are HEAVEN! I’ve looked up a recipe and am going to attempt to create these lovelies.
Then we found a place called Core. All I can say is WOW. Veggies never looked so good! We had the Thai zucchini noodles with a coconut and lime sauce that put smiles on all our faces, and a coconut meat bowl with apples, cinnamon, and honey that tasted like sin. It was amazing. Our tummies were literally singing!
Hubby and I were dying for a bloody mary at this point, so we headed to Scotts, ordered our desired beverages along with steamed clams for the table, and enjoyed being out of the heat. It actually felt like a vacation.
We headed back to Treasure Island, tummies full and happy, and let the kids have some beach time. Then it was on to Reverie to watch the sun set and put the kiddos to bed.
The next day, as we were sorely lacking in any breeze, we motored back to West Point Harbor. A brief shower for Reverie to get the salt off, and we were pooped.
No, this is not a duplicate post. After our first Napa haulout, we quickly discovered that the new through hull that had been put in was leaking. Water is best kept outside of a boat, so it was pretty evident this needed to be fixed pronto.
Unfortunately, a series of events prevented us from getting put back on the hard right away, so we sailed home to Redwood City and made arrangements to return to Napa. This next trip overlapped with the school year so the girls would miss out on a few things. They were decidedly bummed, but that’s life. We would also have to do some night sailing, something we have not enjoyed in the past. This was decidedly a bummer.
I did a Costco run, got everything put away, and started on prepping the boat. With water tanks topped up, and the heads pumped (thank you Hubby!) we dropped the dock lines. None of us wanted to be out, but we found ourselves enjoying the sail. It was ideal conditions and Reverie happily sped through the water. I finally got a decent picture of the marine layer cascading over the hills into the bay.
We overnighted at Treasure Island this time and anchored without a problem, then in the morning set off for Napa.
We docked easily and found ourselves in the midst of the same neighbors as the day we left. The guys pulled us out of the water, had the part taken care of, and put us back in water in a matter of a few hours. That was the fastest haulout we have ever had! We stayed at the Embassy Suites that night, taking advantage of the swimming pool, and had dinner at a restaurant downtown called Mango.
This was our second time at this restaurant, and it did not disappoint. The pricing was very reasonable, the food was literally heaven on a plate, and the restaurant itself was a delight to be in. If in Napa you MUST go here! This was a wonderful way to celebrate the 15th anniversary of our wedding. We had a bit of a walk downtown, and returned to the hotel for the night.
The next day, we made our way to China Camp from Napa. Last time we were here, the kids didn’t get their beach time. We were determined to rectify this situation.
Hubby decided he had worked hard enough and it was time for a fun day. We were not entirely certain what we were going to do, but for the love of God it was going to be a blast. I mentioned to him the Petrified Forest we had been informed about at the TI. It was in Calistoga, so would require a bit of a drive, but what’s that to intrepid explorers of our caliber?
We hoped into the rental car and began our quest for ancient stone-ified trees. Even though the street signs were pointed the wrong way, we found our destination with little trouble.
Five minutes before opening time and there was already a small line of cars. That’s a good sign. We paid our entrance fee, familiarized ourselves with a map of the grounds, and took off on the path. Quickly, our eyes trained themselves to recognize the many pieces of petrified wood scattered all over the place. They ranged in size from tiny slivers, to chunks, and even full stumps. Then we arrived at one of the excavated trees.
There’s something quite disconcerting about touching a piece of wood that feels nothing like wood. We were even able to count the rings! This site is the location of the largest petrified trees in the world. The forest on this location 3.5 million years ago included relatives of the Giant Sequoia, Pine, and Oak. To see these mammoth trees, now stone, was awe-inspiring. We also got a nice little nature walk to boot!
Back to the gift shop and the kiddos were on a high. Since we live on a boat, souvenirs are pretty much a no-go; there simply isn’t room. Luckily, we can take photos and walk away with the best souvenirs of all, great memories and new knowledge. Sometimes the best homeschooling is done on the road.
Back to the boat yard, and Reverie was sporting a new color. The job was well done, and we were back in the water in no time. The next day, we stared our sail back to Redwood City, our hulls ready for another two years of fun on the water.
There comes a time in every boat owners life when they have to haulout. For us, that’s every 2/3 years. We finally hit that mark, which means: “Hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to haulout we go!” Unfortunately for us, our beam (the width of the boat) is 23 ft. Most boatyards can’t handle us. Napa, however, can.
For my husband, this means a week of boat projects and tinkering with his tools. For the girls and I, it’s more of a combination supportive role and vacation.
This haulout, we got a room at the Sheraton Springhill Suites in Napa and rented a car from Hertz. It was a little pricey, but I don’t feel comfortable staying on the boat while it is on the hard. It’s scary for me to watch my kids on a skinny ladder 12-ish feet in the air, knowing a fall could be serious or even fatal.
Anyway, the thing about Napa is that it is not around the corner. We have two days of sailing to get there. Four days of travel and three days on the hard equals a whole week off of work. That’s if everything goes to plan. A missing part for repairs can extend our stay for an uncomfortable amount of time. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
We took off from Redwood City in light winds and decided the time was right to do some Genaker sailing. Our last run with it was nothing short of awesome, so I was looking forward to it. It was great for a while, but wind is a funny thing, it has a tendancy to change. The wind increased in speed and changed direction to the point that we should have pulled down the genaker. Instead, we decided to tack. (turning the boat into the wind) This proved to be a poor decision, as we ended up hourglassing the sail. It seriously looked like a massive strand of DNA. This is when the wind decided to blow harder. We fought to get the sail down. (I was lifted off of the deck momentarily) It was absolutely crazy. I stuffed that genaker into it’s bag like I was giving one of the kids a timeout. That sail stayed in that bag for days.
Anchoring at China Camp was a no brainer, it cut our time to Napa down to 3 to 4 hours the next day. I was bummed that we were in such a hurry, as China Camp is a really neat place to explore. (I’ll write about that another time.) The next morning, we hauled up the anchor and headed towards the Napa River. We passed underneath a handful of bridges, only two of which we needed to have raised to accommodate our 60 ft mast. My favorite part of the Napa River is the old Mare Island Navy Shipyard. It’s closed now, but all the cranes hang over the water like they are expecting their next project at any moment. Across the river from the shipyard are rows and rows of newly built homes. It strikes me as poetic.
Finally arriving at the Napa Marina, we hit the fuel dock to top up the tanks and pump out the heads, then headed to the guest dock. We’ve been to this marina before, and found the staff there very helpful; this trip was no different. The guys popped out to help us dock up right away.
The next day, we had to wait for high tide before being pulled out. Since that wasn’t going to happen until 3pm, we had plenty of time to get a few jobs done. Hubby pulled out the Sailrite sewing machine and we tucked into some canvas work. A few straps were replaced as well as fasteners and we started prepping for the work we planned to do once we were hauled out.
A knock on the hull notified us that the guys were ready to haul us out. We dropped the dock lines, motored into position, and were maneuvered the rest of the way to the cradle by what can only be described as a wooden dinghy that thinks it’s a tug boat. I had an incredible amount of respect for the little craft, as well as it’s expert handler. Mike knocked on the hull to locate the bulkheads (the strongest part of our vessel) and got us strapped to the cradle.
This was the point where we were required to disembark. We stepped onto the little dinghy, another step onto the dock, and we were back on land. The winch was fired up, and Reverie slowly crawled out of the water.
I love my boat, but it does not look right on land. It was like looking at a nude statue; I could see the artistry of the piece, but felt a little embarrassed for it. The power sprayer was pulled out, and seeing my daughters intrigue, one of the gentlemen let our girls have a go. I think they did a pretty good job!
By this time, Hertz had delivered a car for us. I loaded the kids up, got us checked into our hotel, and took the kids swimming. Meanwhile, Hubby and the guys finished powerspraying Reverie’s hulls. When the girls and I returned, we all decided to walk around the boat yard. We found a seaplane, and some kind of house boat that captured my imagination.
The girls and I had dinner at the Oxbow Market. It was a short drive from the marina, had a great number of options to choose from, and even had a counter that was %100 gluten free! That’s pretty much a no-brainer. The place was called “C Casa”. I had a green salad with loads of fresh crab, and each of the girls had very unique tacos. Dinner did not disappoint. I picked up a beef sandwich, salad, and macaroni and cheese at the Five Dot Ranch (also in the Oxbow Market) for Hubby thinking for some reason he might want to eat as well. It turns out, I was correct and boy was he happy.
The next day, we dropped Hubby off at the marina to work, and I took the girls to find something to entertain them. We went to downtown Napa and accidentally found the local TI. A lovely lady gave us the lay of the land, a map, and highlights of the local area. “Playground Fantastico” jumped out of the list at me as a distinct possibility. We found it with a little difficulty, as it is tucked in next to a school and only accessible via a tiny driveway. But find it we did, and as usual, the girls found some lovely playmates. After an intense game of tag, we picked up some quick lunch and headed to the hotel for some swimming. When we finally made it back to the marina to pick up Daddy, we found the Reverie sporting a new look.
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.