Thursday, September 8, 2011

Vi’s Photos from this weekend

OK, We’re back from Half Moon Bay. I haven’t gotten around to organizing our photos, but I wanted to share Vi’s from the trip. She’s professional photographer and joined on Trial Run – a Passport 40 also in the BYC. She has a very impressive eye and I always enjoy seeing the art she comes up with.

Enjoy and mine are coming soon… Actually they better, we’re planning a trip to Bodega Bay in just under two weeks…

Later, M

Friday, September 2, 2011

Half Moon Bay Labor Day 2011

This past Labor Day weekend we sailed to Half Moon Bay with A contingent of fellow BYCers. But to start the adventure off – let’s take in a little Matey-tude….

Because every adventure centers around our little girl (whether we like it or not ).

Friday was a vacation day for the both of us and departing wasn’t vacation-like – we were slipping out of the marina by 8am. The entire trip was a motorsail (with an emphasis on the motor). It was just the Davids gang on the way down and beyond a minor atercation about who had dibbs on the nap down below, was uneventful. I called it first by the way, so I was snoozing on the setee (or basically, our couch).

After arriving, we scoped out the spot Galatea chose to anchor, then snagged some recently price increased fuel and dropped anchor just off Galatea. Wholeheartedly we stood our ground while the fishing boats of HMB stalked our spot as we fueled up. One thing about sailboats is they hardley ever have fuel gauges so it’s a slow guessing game of 10 more gallons, then run down and stick a wooden dowel to see how close you are to the top of the tank….very high tech :-)…

Our little girl is very focused on the sea lions at the entrance buoy….

The afternoon (we arrived around 1ish) and evening were spent lazing around, pumping up the dinghy and meandering around for Matey to get a little stetch in her legs.

We saw this great example of the extremes of boat owners…

Just in case you forget what we look like – a self portrait…

Matey enjoying her dinghy ride:

This guy was quite beautiful and trusting. But he did get a little nervous as I did approach ever too closely with my point and shoot.

Friday, before dinner, we had a little get together aboard Pura Vida:

Saturday we lazed around in the morning (my favorite weekend activity)….then maybe walked around some more and started waiting for the rest of the BYC gang to arrive.

Love this boat and want to meet the owner to interview for a job…because I WANT TO GO TO HIS MEETINGS!!!!! What a fantastic little fishing boat. Greg and I often talk about picking up a little fishing boat like this…then we remember about maintenance and come to our senses…

Catherine and Doug of Galatea….

I love the working harbor-ishness of HMB…. I really enjoy this harbor….

So, in the afternoon, people started to arrive. Our Friend Mike was singlehanding in on his first solo sailing out the Gate adventure. As and added feature, the sailing gods decided to add an engine malfunction to his adventure (Mother Nature can be soooo Coool like that)….. that meant he was coming in under sail..though he was able to motor when he got close – he had alot on his mind. I tend to get nervous and picky when people raft up – about fenders out and at the right height…so to avoid stress, I arranged with Margeaux (who was already tied next to us) for extra fenders….well – as you can see – it wasn’t necessary. Not only was Mike sailing in without an engine, he had lined his boat with fenders all at the proper height…he is so awesome!.

After everyone arrived Saturday, we went out for a dinner – of 33 people at Mezza Luna….yummy! Then Sunday – After a loungy morning (well, I went for a run and Matey and Greg walked and socialized in the marina), we had everyone over for a raft up and games.

Trial run – Instead of walking over from the marina, packed up the boat and brought her into the raft.

The gang poses before eating…

After eats, we played a Blind Man Dinghy race which previous cruises have done and it’s been a lot of fun.

Above are the race photos. We won my a decent margin, but we were last to go and have done it before. Also, Greg is really good at doing what I tell him to do 🙂

We had such a great time, we almost missed the club’s activities Sunday night…. But we managed to drag ourselves there for a little more food, drink, music and bonfire…

Monday, we were joined early in the morning by Mike, Joanne and Lia for the trip back up the coast. Mostly it was basically a motoring trip till the passing under the Gate where the wind machine picked up and we had a fantastic sail back to Berkeley.

Video of the great sail back:

We’re headed to Bodega Bay this weekend…

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Gotta Love 4 day weekends

Report – but this will work better than the previous posting. And I’m super psyched wordbooker is working.. and I wanted to see it work again….Yeah!!!!


I’m just about bursting with excitement. Our Half Moon Bay Cruise is this weekend and I just can’t wait to be out the Gate…I would say with no land in sight, but the only way that’s going to happen is if there is fog…and I’m certainly not hoping for fog. Pray for the sun…today and tomorrow are forecasted at 71 degrees in HMB…so odds are good it’ll be better than last year. But the bar was so low last year…it was super cold and windy and Greg was working till 10:30pm every day. He sailed down there so that he could commute from there with the hopes a bunch of cruisers would stay up till 11 when he got in for a drink…which mostly happened…but most of the fun was over by the time he got there. But this year – he’s not working and it’s not looking to be windy….which isn’t exactly good for sailing, but is good for hanging at anchor rafted up with a bunch of friends. So I’l take that. Done. let’s go.

But, I have a few photos to share from the past month or two or so….highlights… Greg and I have been taking full advantage of his weekends off and sailing, sailing, sailing. It’s been fun.Sherry and John

This couple who has been running the BYC Open Mics and the First Sunday Jazz and are also good friends…have relatives in Austin who just adopted the cutest little girl. this is them..David, Erika and Alex

They were great to have aboard… here’s Alex in action..

She was even gybing with a strong following wind and she did great. For you nonsailors, it is something that takes a steady and focused hand and flirts with danger…bad things could happen if not done right 🙂

OF course I need to include that Kim – my Austin flavored friend came along….

After that spectacular day..or before…can’t really remember what came first and don’t really care to try 🙂 On another trip, we sailed to Petaluma for a music festival. Here are some highlights:

A tug with the Richmond bridge behind him.

After entering the channel with Windarra (a sistership) behind us. They are now heading south on their second cruise. you can read about their adventures here:

Windarra coming around the bend on the Petaluma river

OK – these two I can’t take photo credit for, Greg is the photographer… but I did the post processing, though admittedly, I had high quality to work with 🙂 (like the way I sneak in to get some credit for this?)… I just thought they were really beautiful shots and really captured the uniqueness of sailing up the Petaluma river.

Below are a couple of videos from the music festival. The first is the real time painter or something like that. He painted to the music when it overcame him and he was sometimes more fun to watch that the actual band. The second is of a Capoeira performance that broke out during a Brazilian band set. It was amazing to watch. I know the video is long at just under 2 minutes, but keep at it – the dancers get better and better as the video goes on…

Live Painter:


Our next adventure brings us all the way to Oakland..which doesn’t seem all that exciting, but is in the traffic sense…but first off was a light-ish sail.

Then here are various pics after lunch and on our return out the estuary. We got held up by a container ship docking – which was fascinating for me because that links together my personal and professional life. Though also fascinating for everyone else because….well, it’s just pretty spectacular. Especially from about 100 feet away.

That about catches you up with our sailing adventures. Not much you are missing about us….except Matey’s front right leg seems to be bothering her these days…we’re about to take her to Dr Mattu to check her out. She can still play ball, she just pays a price and can’t jog with me..which she misses…or maybe this is her excuse to be able to gracefully sleep in…hmmm, hadn’t thought of that. Maybe it’s true what I thought 7 years ago when we adopted her, she really is smarter than me?????

Monday, August 8, 2011

Our furry friend

About 8 years ago, Matey met one of her first friends through her dogwalker, Miriam. Gus is one of the sweetest dogs and although he and Matey took some time to develop their bond – they did and I’ll always appreciate his sensitive thoughtful presence. Gus was Miriam’s lucky doggie who got to live with a dogwalker and Matey would often hang out at their house on the crowded days when he wasn’t romping at the park with his mom, doggie sister Marina and his other pack of furry friends.

Tomorrow we will say goodbye to our friend Gus. Although we don’t see him anymore since his move with his family to the East Coast. He is still special in our heart and we will miss him.

1pm EST – We will be thinking about him and will be with him and his family in spirit as he crosses the rainbow bridge.

We love you, Gus and wish we can give you a neck nuzzle personally. But Miriam and John – please pass this on for us…

~Love, Melissa Greg and Matey

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Flashback….Whale watching to the Farallons

Way back at the end of March Greg and I led a cruise of 8 BYC boats out to the Farallon Islands to hopefully see some whales. We did this last year as part of a cruise organized by a Sausalito club….but thought since we were starting up the monthly day cruises for BYC, this would make a perfect adventurous addition to our schedule. We, on Pura Vida were only gifted a spout – but others did see actual whale blubber – fortunately not in their rigging, but in the ocean where it belongs :-).

I took photos, but we also had along Vi Bottaro who is an amazing professional photographer from the Napa Valley. My photos can’t compare with hers, so please follow this link to her blog post about our very long day:

And if you are into photography – especially boating or water related subjects, I highly recommend backing out to her main blog and subscribing. Her photos are really amazing.

Below is Greg’s Write-up for the Now Hear this….I thought it captured the day perfectly (along with Vi’s photos)…..

Farallones Whale Watching Cruise Report

On Sunday morning March 27th, well before the sun was ready to rise, 8 groups of brave and fearless crews gathered at their boats to cast off for the Farallon Islands. The agenda was to hopefully see some whales, get a close-up view of the Islands and have a fun romp in the big ocean. Even though NOAA was predicting some possibly stomach challenging seas, the following boats found the draw of adventure too strong to stay in their slips any longer: Pura Vida (Melissa & Greg Davids), Maggie (Dave Douglas), Bliss (Jolanda DeBoer & Tod Flak), Margaux (Sharon & Patrick Hind-Smith), Roxanne (Mike Mitchell), Charisma (Bob Johnson) and Mona Too (David Halaby). With us in spirit, but thwarted at the last moment with engine issues, was also Knot Studying (Lindsey Goosherst & Mike Dvorak). All of these boats were ably crewed by a list of sailors too long for this article – 38 sailors total.

After motor-sailing to a couple miles west of Point Bonita, a nice southerly breeze kicked in which allowed us to fetch SE Farallon on a close hauled port tack. This reporter found the sea state to be much nicer than feared from the forecast, though many of the larger rollers would still hide the view of other boats behind walls of water. It is rumored that a few crew members from various boats were so anxious to attract whales that they decided to see if chumming worked as well for gray whales as it does for sharks. Results from this test appear to indicate that sacrificing one’s breakfast does not result in a greater likelihood of attracting cetaceans. While we feel comfortable with accepting these findings, we have no doubt that future scientifically curious sailors will do their part to broaden the sample size of this research.

Actual whale sightings were relatively few and far between, but most everyone saw at least a few blows. There were also some reports of viewing the actual backs of close-by diving grays and one crew member on Maggie witnessed a breach. Most all of the boats completed a circumnavigation of SE Farallon and were able to enjoy the impressive views of big waves crashing on the shore of this very jagged bit of rock 26 nautical miles straight out from the Golden Gate.

We would like to give a big special thanks to BYC member, and marine biologist, Carol Keiper for an enthusiastic talk she gave to all of us at a crew meeting the Friday before. Carol imparted quite a bit of interesting information on gray whales and the Farallon Islands. While Carol was not able to sail out there with us, she nonetheless stood witness to our fleet circling the island as she was leading her own professional whale watching cruise from a chartered fishing boat.

The sail back to Berkeley was quite the fun romp. Winds picked up a bit to the 15 to 20 knot range on a starboard beam reach. All boats experienced some nice surfing on the ocean waves. A bit of drizzle on the return did not dampen anyone’s enthusiasm. Upon their return, many of the crews gathered back at BYC for Sunday “Linner”, a cold beer (or wine) and traded stories. Good times.

Let’s go on a river cruise……

Over memorial weekend, we decided to join the other BYC cruisers head up to Petaluma for what we hoped would be warm sunny river fun and relaxation. The weather had other plans….It’s been really wonky in California this year….here we are in June with a stormy day to face. But memorial weekend also had a rainy day mixed into it. But we rolled and it didn’t affect our visit.

Due to currents we needed to leave the slip by 7am and that we did. Kevin and Renee Murray joined us for the trip. We motored to just North of the Richmond Bridge where we were about to pull out some sail and turn off the engine. This lasted for a while as we threaded our way up the channel through San Pablo Bay, but shortly we rolled up the jib to motor sail up the actual river (which, by the way, is not an actual river). It’s always amazing to sail along the farmlands and vineyards.

As we entered the river we first had to deal with a nail biting moment when we passed under the fixed highway bridge. Pura Vida’s mast is 63′ tall above the water. By the time you add in the attenna, lights and wind sensor at the top, it is mor like 64’+. The published height of this bridge is 70′ MHHW. I think the drama speaks for itself. Here is a link to a video as we passed under it coming back down the river on Sunday: up the riverJust meandering and enjoying the scenery

drive the boat and chat...but scratch my butt while you're at it.........

We even got to see “Greg’s Buoy” where he got to spend the night high and dry after cutting the corner to try to win a race some years back.Greg's BuoyAhhh...the smells....can't beat the smells.......the D Street Bridge. the guy who designed this also designed the Golden Gate Bridge...learned that on the tour 🙂

When we got into the basin, there were already about 30 boats so we decided to tie up toward the outer docks. Besides adding in some local flavor, these were much quieter.Peaceful

We had a nice walkabout town with Kevin and Renee and then returned to hang at the boat. Too soon, they had to head back home to take care of their furkids. Afterward, Greg and I downloaded some walking tours of the town for the next day and turned in early.LOVE the green worm!What a face~

Saturday was the big day for BYC boats to show up, since we knew we wanted to leave early we ended up side tying with a trimaran as to not get ourselves too deep into the raft. Sharon and Tom were one of the first to show up and quickly side tied to us. Then we all headed off for our walking tour of Petaluma. I think we only made it about 2/3 of the way before we ducked in for lunch at a yummy Thai place and the rain started. Having gotten our fill of touring, we headed back to the boat to see the show of people coming in and docking. It can be pretty entertaining. As long as everyone understands, it’s a rotating show and everyone will get their turn at entertaining the anchorage/docking area – no one is immune 🙂 only fate knows who is next on the show.

By the time late afternoon rolled around, the show was almost over and the gang headed to the library where an Apollo astronaut was speaking and answering questions. We were only able to catch the tail end of it….but wish we could have heard his whole talk.

OH – Sat we discovered 24 hour fitness (where Greg and I belong) has a club right on the water complete with an outdoor hot tub that overlooks the basin….ahhh….can you say.YES……. Lovely….. oh, we know this only because we were rewarded for getting up earl on Saturday and working out. It’s a very nice club if any of you make it out there.

Sat night we had dinner at Volpi’s an old Speakeasy and Italian Restaurant which they have worked to save the look and feel of. So it even had the bar in the back – a must see ….

After dinner we strolled to Lala’s creamery ( for a quart of vanilla to go with Tom’s hommade rubarb pie……yummies were had aboard Pura Vida that night……

Sunday, not too early we headed out of the raft for our bridge opening to ride the currents back home. We were gifted favorable winds so our beating fears were unfounded. We actually had a pretty amazing sail up until about the Brothers, then it shut off and we motored home.

This is the Brothers -- or Brother...since you can't see the other.....

Another fabulous weekend….. I love cruising weekends – they make me happy 🙂Finally home...the GG viewed through Raccoon Straight