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November 15, 2012

November 11, 2012

Next morning I wandered the steep bluffs of Point Reyes, blood exploding the disused veins of my atrophied sailor’s legs and my tiny sailor’s lungs pulling hard for air. Sea lions jousted on the beach. Sparrows scattered from the trail to hide in the dry grasses and in a pine, the call of a blue jay. Even at ridgetop winds were calm, the open sky letting down such warmth that I thought to remove my sweater, but did not.

The pressure off, having got below the northern winter, I could remain here a few days, I thought. It was tempting. But forecasts indicated southerlies would fill in overnight, making Drakes Bay untenable.

At eleven I moved to weighed anchor for the last time. It stuck hard in the mud. Murre shared my unwillingness.

Now wind was light from the southeast, then east. Then it faded. We motored slowly along this coast of long acquaintance, past Limantour spit and the Palo Marin hills, past Bolinas town and Stinson Beach.  As Pigeon Point lighthouse came into view, so did the Golden Gate Bridge–just the tip of its north tower. Then the carnelian sky scraper that houses Bank of America. Then the bone-white Trans America Pyramid. Small boats scurried about dropping crab pots over dangerous Potato Patch Shoal that today shone like a lake.

Then the turn, the bridge dead ahead, rocky Alcatraz behind and the green hump of Angel Island beyond.

I understood there would be no one to greet me. My arrival could not be predicted, even by me, until I’d swung behind Point Reyes, and weeks ago my wife had booked her travel. As Murre and I approached the Gate, she snoozed in a window seat, the plane carrying her to a conference in San Antonio. It could not be helped, this solo return, and I had told myself it was most fitting. Still, I wondered if an approaching tug was a fire boat rushing to shower me with congratulations, or maybe that excursion boat on a parallel course was lined with my friends come to offer escort. Did I know the couple gazing down from the bridge?

The sun, low and golden, sank behind the Marin Headlands as we tucked into Richardson Bay. We motored the marked channel toward an arranged slip in a marina Murre knew well. I moved forward to ready fenders and dock lines. I stopped. Back at the wheel I pointed Murre’s head out into the bay. I dropped anchor off Cone Rock. I sat in the cockpit. As night came on the starlight of the city sparkled like diamonds.

end

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19 Comments
  1. November 15, 2012 10:17 pm

    Hi! wow, you’re back, congratulations! or shall we pity you? We try again to leave FP, very late now. Sold Pukuri, sailed to Moorea, had troubles, the wing mast is one big trouble! went back to Taina marina to buy dyneema lines etc and are on our way again towards Bora Bora. Friends reserved a hurricane mooring for us on Savusavu/ Fiji so we have to be there soon, hopefully no storms within the next weeks! Sunny greetings from Cook’s Bay, Hannes & Christine/Ex Pukuri, sigh, now Optimist 🙂

    • November 17, 2012 9:42 am

      Christine and Hannes, greetings! I have been following your adventures on Optimist and heaved a heavy sigh when I saw your pictures from Opunohu on Moorea…still one of my favorite anchorages in the entire group of islands. Wow, such space you now have on Optimist as compared to Pukuri’s pup tent cabin…but yes, such things do come with a price.

      Best of luck on the passage to Fiji! I’ll keep a (jealous) eye on you.

      RR

  2. November 15, 2012 11:05 pm

    If I had the power to appoint you poet laureate I would make you poet laureate of the sea along with a large enough stipend to keep you sailing and writing.

    From a fan….

    • November 17, 2012 9:37 am

      Hey Tony,

      A fan, eh? Well right back at ya! I have appreciated your encouragement and correspondence along the way. And YOU are still out there plying the big ocean on Sage. Go you!

      Thanks for the offer of poet laureate, but it’s the stipend I worry about. 🙂

      Best to Connie,

      RR

  3. November 15, 2012 11:29 pm

    Welcome home sailor , You are truly my hero of my wildest adventure

    • November 17, 2012 9:34 am

      Hey Roy,

      Well, that’s quite a compliment. If I can do it, sure you can. Most of the difficulty is carried by the boat in any case, and Mariners are quite capable.

      Thanks for following along.

      Best,

      RR

  4. November 16, 2012 1:28 am

    Welcome home!! It must have been an incredible feeling to sail under the bridge. I wanted so much to be out there to welcome you. I’ll also miss your missives – you should put them all together and publish them – at least digitally – as a book.

    • November 17, 2012 9:32 am

      Hey Eric,

      Greeted by another Mariner, yes that would have been fun. Bruce on Gitana Vela and I had similar plans, but I couldn’t predict a return with enough lead time for normal folk’s calendars.

      Oh well, nice to be home even if I didn’t get the hero’s welcome! 🙂

      Best to you,

      RR

  5. November 16, 2012 12:49 pm

    Wow, you made it!! So glad to know you are home safe. It must be bitter sweet. We have enjoyed your blog very much. Now looking forward to the Best Seller! Aloha from Kauai.

    • November 17, 2012 9:30 am

      Hey Rob and Roseanne! Great to hear from you. Thank you again for all your help while I was in Kauai. And thank you for the kitty litter containers, which worked perfectly as sea water collection canisters. The University of Hawaii in Honolulu, where they were shipped from Alaska, found no nuclear radiation in the water (I think Professor Maximenko’s words were, “There’s more radiation in my wrist watch than in that water.”)

      Hope all’s well with you two,

      RR

  6. Karen & John Nieuwendorp permalink
    November 16, 2012 2:56 pm

    So enjoyed your sailings! And you write making it so interesting…always watched for the next episode on email. Thanks for letting me tag along…

    • November 17, 2012 9:26 am

      Most welcome and thank you for the felicitations. Writing up the adventure was part of the fun of having it (sometimes even more).

      Best,

      RR

  7. Lawrence Killingsworth permalink
    November 16, 2012 4:14 pm

    Welcome home, sailor. Well done.

  8. Mario permalink
    November 16, 2012 6:35 pm

    Welcome home and congrtulations. Off tot next adventure I presume. Your blog was so well written, I had a publisher read it. He was impressed. Aloha, Ericson 30

    • November 17, 2012 9:17 am

      Hey, thank you for following along. Next adventure, at the moment, is getting incorporated back into the house and the city, quite interesting enough given my last two years. I take it you publisher wasn’t too impressed. 🙂

      Best,

      RR

  9. Dan Lee permalink
    November 18, 2012 3:05 pm

    Randall,

    Welcome back! Had I known you were this close, I would have been happy to drive you up to welcome you home!

    Dan Lee

    • December 5, 2012 9:58 am

      Woops. Thought I’d replied to this long ago. Thanks for the thought, Dan, but my “misery” was of my own devising. Hope all’s well with you and yours…

      RR

  10. February 5, 2013 8:58 pm

    Say, Cap’n Reeves, what was your total mileage sailed on this trip?

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