What rhymes with tanker?

 Someone needs to go back to commercial vessel driving school.

As we passed underneath the Bay Bridge, a cargo ship, whose AIS vector showed that he was passing to our stern, decided he wasn’t going to pass behind us anymore. He changed course to pass to our port – by no more than 200 metres, I might add – then gave a single short blast on his horn to indicate he was turning right. Dickhead. No sooner had he blasted his horn; he signalled with two short blasts (turning left) but did nothing. We, while this nautical pantomime was going on, were holding a steady course. 

I don’t know if the driver of that ship has become used to small vessels fleeing out of the way regardless of the IRPCS (collision regulations), he doesn’t know the rules, or the bridge was understaffed, or the captain asleep. Whatever the reason, whoever is in charge of that vessel needs a few stiff blows with the attitude readjustment stick.

Fortunately, we were able to take avoiding action by turning to starboard before being clobbered by the waves from the ship. And I know that the crew saw us. I saw one of them on the bridge wing making hand gestures that only he could understand. Although I’m sure he could understand mine. 

Idiots, mavericks, pelicans and randolph hearst

Last look at San Francisco

Idiots, mavericks, pelicans and randolph hearst

Golden Gate from the bay side

After that debacle, we had a pleasant trip back out of San Francisco Bay and set course for Half Moon Bay. We are trying to see as many places as possible on the way to San Diego, dependent on weather but independent of potential attractiveness. After all, you never really know until you get there. And a few hours later we arrived at Pillar Point.

Mavericks, Pelicans and a *hit show

We could smell it before we saw it. Pelicans have made this place their home. It might not be evident in the photograph below, but the rocks are covered in Pelican guano. And it’s a pong like no other.

Pillar Point harbour wouldn’t score too high on the aesthetics front, but it scored highly for shelter. The holding is good at anchor here, and there is plenty of space – especially when only two other boats are there with you.

Idiots, mavericks, pelicans and randolph hearst

Pelican 💩

Pillar Point is also home to Mavericks Beach, where every year, the dudes used to come along to take part in the Mavericks surfing competition. Hollywood made several films about the contest, which seems to have fizzled out now. But the surf hasn’t stopped: waves here can top out at over 18 metres, which must be quite a sight. But nobody mentions the pelicans. 

Idiots, mavericks, pelicans and randolph hearst


It doesn’t look much, but the photo above is of Mavericks Beach.

Whales off Pescadero

The following day, about halfway to our next destination, we spotted whales. As usual, there was no time to reach for the camera before they disappeared way behind us. It was only the briefest of sightings but a treasured one.

Blackpool, Coney Island and Santa Cruz

We arrived at Santa Cruz on the north of Monterey Bay late afternoon on 6th October, expecting it to be packed with boats. But, on the eastern side of what looks like Blackpool pier, there was just one other yacht. So we made it two.

Idiots, mavericks, pelicans and randolph hearst

Blackpool Pier

Idiots, mavericks, pelicans and randolph hearst

Coney Island

Idiots, mavericks, pelicans and randolph hearst

Santa Cruz

The noise from any of the rides here is no competition for the raucous sea lions. Those guys are loud. We parked up as far away as possible from the end of the pier, where they had set up home, but couldn’t escape the racket: they party all night, those fellas. We left the next day for an overnight passage to San Simeon Bay.

San Simeon Bay

There’s another blow coming. But, this time, the cows, chickens and sheep and whatever else the weather forecasters use to predict wind, got it right and identified this one a few days before it arrived. So, after looking for potential hiding places to shelter from the wind, we decided on San Simeon Bay.

There’s good holding in sand here, wind protection from the north to the west. And it is a beautiful place to hang out at anchor. In some respects, the waterfront looks like Tuahata in the Marquesas. Except that Tuahata doesn’t have a winery on the seafront or Randolph Hearst’s castle on the top of a hill.

Just one other boat was in the anchorage when we arrived. The crew, Freeman and Judy, came over to Jamala on their paddleboards to say hello and have a boat tour and a beer. They too had to adjust their plans because of the weather.

Idiots, mavericks, pelicans and randolph hearst


Unfortunately, we didn’t get to sample the wines at the winery. Maria has caught a virus (not THE virus, we checked) and hasn’t felt well enough to get off the boat. But it’s been fun relaxing, watching the wildlife and occasionally doing boat jobs. And while Maria recovers from her virus, I can stay out of sight of the small children I might frighten with my face full of insect bites from Alameda. I currently look like I’m suffering the ravages of boils and pestulance.

Idiots, mavericks, pelicans and randolph hearst


Idiots, mavericks, pelicans and randolph hearst

Fishing pier

Idiots, mavericks, pelicans and randolph hearst

Pelican showing his smooth moves

When I took the photographs above, it was howling over 30 knots out at sea. In here it was just five. In fact, the only evidence of rough weather out there was a slight swell working its way into the anchorage. 

Our scheduled stop is Port San Luis – hopefully only around 7 hours away. And after that, we plan to head past Point Conception to Southern California where, according to the song, it never rains. I hope it gets a bit warmer too; we’ve had the heating on twice.