October News - To San Francisco and back to B.C....

Back in B.C. from San Francisco.... Happy Hallowe'en to one & all!

October turned into a mix of stress and enjoyment.  The stress was mainly due to two complications: organizing a tinned wire shipment to Sweden and shipping of the salvaged gear from the old 'Nereida' from San Francisco to the U.K.  But the enjoyment was in meeting up with & visiting so many welcoming friends from the San Francisco Bay area and, towards the end of the month, in Washington (state) and back in B.C.

Arranging for a tinned wire shipment to Sweden for the complete wiring of the new 'Nereida' in Ancor tinned wire of the correct gauge, type, colour and requisite spool length (involving changing from metric to AWG gauge and from metres to feet in all applications.... ugh!) ... all took me way longer than it should have done, the boatyard not being anywhere near as helpful as they could have been.  Then the actual ordering and shipping via an export agent also became far more convoluted than I expected (although I'd like to thank Alicia Roberts of Marinco in San Francisco for her help on the pricing of the wire).  At one point, the 'skid' had to be retrieved from inside a container truck as it paused in Tennessee on its way from N. Carolina to Michigan....!  (My grateful thanks to Alan at the Knoxville depot who went out of his way overnight to locate it & retrieve it...!!) But it finally arrived in Sweden this week in good time for the wiring to be started in preparation for the newly completed hull to arrive in the yard for fitting out in early November.

I also had to finish with the sorting through, packing and organizing of the shipping of old boatgear salvaged from Mexico - now on its way to the Port of London from San Francisco and due in England on 22nd November. I can't thank Ruben Gabriel (of 'Sparky') enough - I couldn't have managed it all without his help.  Not only did he help me by letting me store my gear in his house in Benicia after transferring it there in his truck from 'Annamarina' in Richmond in August, but he also later helped me in emptying & rinsing out a heavy, sand-filled spinnaker pole as well as with packing all my gear onto his truck again so I could take everything down to Daly City (on the south side of San Francisco, near the airport) where the shipping agent had their office.

I foolishly thought that all I had to do was to turn up with my load at the shippers' at 8.30 a.m., having got up at 5.30 a.m. in order to avoid a major hold-up crossing the Bay Bridge around sunrise in the early morning rush-hour into and out of San Francisco, and that would be the end of my involvement .... not so...!  Booked on a flight out of Oakland at 2.30 p.m. that same day, I found I had to take my load down to another place just outside SFO airport - where I met with a completely unhelpful "No, we don't offload - that's up to you."  Presented with two empty pallets, I then had to offload everything onto them and decided that, given their unfriendly attitude, more labelling on all the boxes and packages would be a good idea in order to try to reduce the chances of losing anything....  At midday, I was still busy as they brought down the shutter-doors for their hour-long lunch-break ... and I still had a few more boxes to finish with, in the heat of a lovely, sunny day.  Just in time, I drove to the nearby airport to change my flight to 6.30 p.m. .... a kind Alaska Airlines lady printed off my boarding pass (at my request, to give me more chance of making the flight) and didn't charge me for the change....   I actually managed to find my way back to my pallets without getting too lost (I had no  decent map!) - but they weren't there!!  Smilingly, a guy joked about the fact that they had been taken inside when they had opened up again after lunch.  To my relief, I now found I was dealing with friendly, helpful guys who gave me good advice and obviously knew what they were doing - they actually 'palletized' my boxes using just one pallet, not the two I was expecting, saving me money.  I felt much happier when I finally left the warehouse that I might actually get to see all my gear again, intact, in London!!

Then I had to make a mad dash to Benicia (over 50mls away!) in the empty truck to return it to Ruben's house and then pick up my hire car and luggage to get to Oakland airport (another long distance away ...) in time to catch my flight to Seattle. It was great to be able to relax and get some sleep on the plane!  Having postponed my flight, I'd missed a convenient, reserved, direct bus connection from SeaTac to Port Townsend but I got a bus to the 10pm Bainbridge ferry and then stayed overnight at Suquamish, just north of Paulsbo.   I'd accepted a lunch invitation to the Port Ludlow Amateur Radio Club's weekly Wednesday get-together and their President John came to collect me and later drove me up to Pt Townsend after I'd talked to them about my sailing, following on a lovely Mexican lunch in a Chimacum restaurant.  It was good to see friend Ed Sherman, K7UEN, again - he'd helped with my radio problems two years earlier when I'd spent the winter in Port Townsend -  and it was a very enjoyable meeting.

I was very lucky with the weather last week, having had hot sunshine in the San Francisco area (definitely to my liking!) and seeing no rain until late Thursday and into Hallowe'en Friday (and then the rain wasn't too heavy!).  The  foliage colours of the many different trees looked really beautiful in the sunshine of Washington as I drove or walked in and around Pt Townsend and on Whidbey and Orcas Islands (I made good use of the Washington State Ferry system!).  I visited several boat friends I'd not seen for some time and ended up on the Anacortes ferry to Sidney - what an excellent way to cross into Canada from the U.S. ... so easy!!

At the beginning of the month, I'd flown down to the S.F. Bay area for the wedding of Ruben to Robbie.  It was great to be able to share in such a happy occasion and the setting, high up in the hills of San Rafael with San Francisco Bay in the distance, was beautiful.  There were quite a few Single-Handed Sailing Society (SSS) friends there, so we all had a very sociable evening together - another 'Tree' in fact!  After a quick visit to Alameda that same weekend for a Dock Party in Marina Village, I settled down in Benicia to my gear-sorting.  Later in the month, I managed to look around Old Benicia one afternoon - and was pleasantly surprised by the lovely old waterside area with interesting houses surrounded by lots of trees and bushes overlooking Suisin Bay.  Another day, I went with friends to China Camp which has an interesting, but rather sad, prawn-fishing history relating to Chinese immigrants.  It's now a lovely marine park with a good anchorage (except in Easterlies) in the shallow waters of the bay.  I later drove north from Sausalito along the coast towards Pt Reyes, visiting Stinson Beach and the interesting 'hippy' town of Bolinas before returning via Muir Woods.  A very enjoyable day in beautiful scenery with some good company.

I'm now getting ready to fly to Sweden on 9/10th November from Vancouver, to oversee the start of the new boat fitting-out.  Still lots to check on, with queries on many items yet to be resolved to my satisfaction... hopefully, it can all be dealt with easily.... we shall see!

Written by : Mike

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