M/V DESERT VENTURE
Northbound – 2008 Part 2
April 11, 2008
We departed San Leandro Marina around 1600. We had a later afternoon departure as we had to wait for the tide to rise. Like many of the marinas in San Francisco Bay, a portion of the entrance channel at San Leandro Marina gets very shallow at low tide. They are in the process of getting funds and permission to dredge their channel. Negative news media has deemed their channel as too shallow to be considered as a destination or marina. The truth of the matter is the marina is safely accessible with planning. Many other marinas in the bay area have the same problem. And, as with all the other places, it is prudent to time your entrance or exit with the tides. Apparently many boaters want instant and unplanned gratification. Timing an entrance channel – who has time for planning?? In boating, if you don’t plan, you will eventually have a “what we did wrong today” blog to write. We prefer to tell you about much more interesting events.
Our Plan A for the evening was to go to Angel Island – Ayala Cove – for the night. You can almost see the Golden Gate Bridge from the cove, making it the perfect pre-positioning for our next day’s voyage. Ayala Cove was a great plan, as we could pick up a couple mooring buoys, which would make it quite simple to retrieve our lines first thing in the morning, on departure. It was a really great idea, actually. (I have neglected to mention that today and the remainder of the weekend is forecast to be extreme summer weather. Wow!) This was to be our third visit to Ayala Cove in the last six months. A sort of Bon Voyage – if you will. Imagine our surprise, upon arrival, when we realized the cove was jam packed with boats and boaters planning to enjoy the first great weekend since winter! All the mooring balls were in use. In all our times we had never experienced this phenomena. Not only was it packed, but it was obvious some of the boaters were unaware of the change in layout of the mooring system, some knew and were using it, and some didn’t know there is a method to the mooring system. There was no way we felt we could hook up to the mooring system and get away safely at 0500.
Note: The rules say you can have five boats to a mooring ball. But that means all the boats have to really cooperate and work together to prevent “bumping” into each other. All boats must connect to two buoys, one fore and one aft. There is no swinging room in the cove.
This called for Plan B. In boating, you should always have a backup plan. So, with Plan A out of the picture, we went to Plan B. We went over to Richardson Bay. It is a wide open and fairly shallow anchorage. We anchored in 11 feet of water.
We had something of a Bon Voyage lunch with friends Lowell and Lori, who live on M/V RANGER, before departure. Our Hortatio’s lunch was very filling. A good thing, as by the time we got anchored it was almost 2000, and late for cooking or even later for trying to digest dinner and get to bed somewhat early. As often is the case, we chose our favorite backup “meal” – popcorn! It was a very quiet night, totally calm, and no traffic. In fact it was so quiet I awoke to listen for noise, as it is rare to have a totally quiet anchorage.