|Life as a California
August 23, 2000
tan, really tan, and we’re blond, really blond. We live on a boat in
Sausalito, just across the Golden Gate from San Francisco. We wear grubby
shorts and sandals. Sometimes we’re mall rats. We try to sample all the
local wines that come our way. We even went to a country and western
concert. Mostly, we just hang out. Guess we’ve become California Boat
Bums — in just three weeks!
People ask us what the cruising life is
like, so here are some observations. Mornings we get to sleep in – and
not feel guilty! Sometimes we walk or jog the waterfront, which has a
spectacular view of San Francisco across the Bay. Sausalito in the morning
has been all sparkly water, bright sunshine and no tourist buses — yet.
Coffee drinkers are hanging out at the local Starbuck’s, reading
newspapers in the sun. We resist the temptation (and the other temptation
of mixed berry pancakes at the Lighthouse Café, our favorite greasy
spoon.) Our own deck in the sun is pretty hard to beat. Jan buys the
papers, counterbalancing the Wall Street Journal on the right with the San
Francisco Chronicle way out on the left. Only in California: a full page
ad for the new Banana Republic Store opening at Union Square, with
“valet parking, concierge service for packages, and cell phone
recharging while you shop.”
is indeed an interesting place. Here’s Signe with the two ‘welcome’
signs at the ferry dock (click on it to see the full version). Now, we
know what they mean by a ‘nuclear free zone’ (the town has a foreign
policy), but what on earth is a ‘cholesterol-free zone’??
Along about 11 o’clock, we contemplate
which projects we will accomplish or which errands we will run, or bag it
all and go exploring. The latter wins
out pretty consistently for Signe. Jan actually seems to enjoy being
covered in grease while holding a socket wrench in his hand, so he tries
to complete a couple of projects every day. Exploring has included:
numerous drive-bys of Paul and Michelle’s new house in Mill Valley, ten
minutes away from us (settlement on September 8th!), shopping
for wedding invitations with Michelle, a walking tour of Victorian houses,
a craft show, lots of farmer’s markets, lots of gorgeous ferry rides
into San Francisco (the ferry dock is three blocks away), a
trips to the Sonoma Valley for wine-tasting (Napa is next!),
and dinner with Signe’s childhood friend who lives in a home with a
panoramic view of Muir Beach. There’s also plenty of history if we start
feeling too decadent.
The weather for the first two weeks was
low cloud in the mornings, with San Francisco completely covered by fog,
followed by sun and high winds in the afternoon. I must say, there was
something sort of peaceful about hearing the foghorn on the Golden Gate
Bridge each night. Now we seem to have moved into the more typical late
summer pattern of hot weather (here in Sunny Sausalito anyway) with gentle
breezes. The microclimates of the Bay are fascinating. The weather report
each morning gives daily high temperature ranges of 30 or 40 degrees,
depending on the locale. San Francisco is always cool. We are in the
middle. Livermore, where Michelle is from is hot — in the 90’s
yesterday. We went to a Dwight Yoakam concert at Wente Vineyards in
Livermore the other night. Full moon, balmy breezes, very good food and
wine. Just your average Monday night in California! Other festive events
– there is a Friday night concert each week in the local waterfront
park. People bring their picnic baskets, their blankets, their “adult
beverages”, and their friends and hang out listening to the music until
the sun goes down over Mt. Tamalpais. Not a bad way to go.
Another night we had a sunset cruise and
wine tasting aboard Raven with Christine Wente, who introduced Paul and
plus lots of their friends. The twenty-somethings are giving us
basic lessons in “how to hang out.” We’ve also done some weekend
sailing days and barbecues at the dock with the Young
guys are enjoying going for personal best speed
records across the mouth of The Gate.
(11.7 knots so far, and that’s with the mainsail reefed!) The winds here
are pretty impressive, with 25 knots being low-average for the afternoon.
Paul and Michelle have taken to staying here some weekends, since Michelle
is the “tech” (sound, lights, cues) for a play in Marin on weekends.
Life on a boat, even if it only stays in the marina, is still better than
life in a small apartment in town.
The people-watching on the dock is always
good. We have an endless flow of tourists during the day, especially
Italians and Japanese. Of our two immediate neighbors (large boats on both
sides), one is a photographer for the Chronicle, and on the other side is
a terrifically helpful family who are taking their son back East to start
at MIT. There are a few young families juggling strollers and dock carts;
more power to ‘em. There are huge, glamorous yachts, as well as derelict
boats that look like they are going to go “glub,glub” and sink any
minute. Most people have bikes to simplify the walk to parking and to
shops. Our neighbor on one side has a little kid’s bike spray painted
pink and yellow with a clown horn on the handlebars. He tells us he is the
bike’s third proud owner in the marina, and it has never been locked. We
also have a resident blue heron and a seal that naps on our dock.
Yes, we’re having fun. Hope you are all
savoring the last weeks of summer. We’d love to hear from you when you
have a chance.
PS: Our marina has provided three new
listings for our world-famous collection of tacky boat names: Dot Calm,
Com.Seas, and Ms. Conduct.
PPS: By the way, the sun down here sure
beats the rain last summer in Alaska!