burgeetree.jpg (15266 bytes) The Adventures of Lynn and Les on "Cottonwood"

   Shakedown Cruise -
             The California Delta

wheel.gif (3486 bytes)    6-20-2003 to 8-20-2003

This was our "Shake Down" cruise in preparation for our big two year adventure to do the Eastern Great Loop. We wanted to experience more open ocean, difficult seas, varied anchorages, rivers and their associated difficulties, see what is ready to break on the boat and get them fixed, and, as always, meet many new friends.  It was a great adventure.

We left Shoreline Marina, saying goodbye to our 'almost completed' new Shoreline Yacht Club clubhouse on June 20, 2003. We just missed the open house. We can't wait to see the new digs this weekend. We had many great stops up the California coast. The first was to stop and visit our daughter, Simeon, and granddaughter, Summer, in Ventura. We received great hospitality from the Ventura Yacht club, had a great meal at the club and met some fun people there.

We  then headed up to Santa Barbara and put in a night at the Marina. Then we moved up to Coho which is an anchorage just under the dreaded Point Conception to wait for good weather. Fortunately, we got a good forecast and went around the next day, in fog, but very calm seas.

We stopped at San Luis Obispo and anchored, then cruised on up to San Simeon and anchored in the very  pretty bay. We brought down the Kayak and explored. We could see Hearst Castle up on the mountain side, and got a spectacular clear starry night with a great view of the beautiful Milky Way!

The next day we headed up to Monterey where we experienced our first failure. The port engine died as we were pulling into a slip at the municipal marina. No vacuum on the fuel filter, but I changed the filters anyway and in so doing discovered cracks in the fuel bowls, air leaks? This, from my diesel 101, was my first thought. However, after ordering the bowls and two days later installing them, bleeding, etc, engine still wouldn't start. Called in the local diesel mechanic. They replaced the fuel injector, which with parts ordering, kept us in Monterey for two weeks. What a place to be stalled! Oh, well, we made the best of it, including meeting Lynn's sister and husband, who just happened to be visiting nearby Carmel. Yeah, I could live there. What a beautiful little town by the ocean. I hear there's some pretty nice places to play golf there too.

We next moved up to Pillar Point Harbor, Half Moon Bay, our last stop before heading toward the Golden Gate bridge. However, "moved up" may be a little misleading. The weather forecast was for increasing winds for the next 6-7 days, and the current forecast was for gusts to 25 knots in the afternoon. We checked the buoy 24 recordings for trends and decided to try for Half Moon before the winds kept us there a week or two. It started out fine but we got our first bashing in the early afternoon when winds on the nose registered 32 knots apparent and we took spray over the pilot house for about 4 hours. But it calmed down and we went into Half Moon with a new experience under our belt. And our little DeFever Alaskan just shrugged it off, "no big deal". We did, however, experience our next failure. We battened down everything but forgot a water pitcher, which fell over spilling water down onto our new satellite TV receiver and DVD/VCR. This would cost us $700 to replace in Sacramento.

The next day from Half Moon Bay up the coast into San Francisco was a real milestone in our cruising. However, we weren't too expectant of any great view as we had spent the entire cruise after leaving San Simeon cruising in fog, never seeing the coastline. As we arrived at the Golden Gate, totally by radar, we couldn't see the bridge, and were catching waves on the port beam that the stabilizers couldn't handle.  We had to swing out wide away from the bridge and cut back sharply toward the entry to the bridge.  Just as we got to the bridge the fog cleared and it was a spectacular view to the Golden Gate. We had planned the arrival to be 'with' the tide, so we steamed on in at 10 knots. That's flyin' in our trawler. We tried hailing someone at several ports in Sausalito, but received no responses, so we motored across the bay to Richmond which has a brand new marina. It's kind of tricky maneuvering into this marina as there is a large shoaling area just in front of the entrance. If you don't see the red buoys to your left showing where the channel veers sharply left and then right, a full draft vessel will definitely go aground. I caught it on the depth finder just in time and stopped and backed out then noticed the buoys a hundred yards to my left.

Well rested after the trip up the coast, the next day we started our first excursion into a river system, the California Delta. This was a great adventure within an adventure. Rivers are much different to navigate than the ocean. We feel very comfortable now, but were obviously a little apprehensive to start. Actually, talking to the 'River People', they were intimidated by "going out into the ocean", where we felt very comfortable.  But we only ran aground once and we did manage to push on through with no problem. We visited many marinas in the West, Middle, and Upper Delta. We didn't get to visit the East Delta. Just too many places and too little time. We experienced one more failure on the boat. Our Norcold refrigerator decided it was too hot and stopped working. We spent the remainder of our trip getting ice and using our $100 special Costco Teak cooler. We definitely would recommend visiting the marinas at Benicia on the Sacramento, and  Oxbow on the Georgianna Slough (pronounced slew). We would suggest, however, that you pick a different month as we experienced 10 days of 104 degrees and no breeze! It was HOT!
The trip back down the coast was much nicer with the wind and waves, and no fog. We spotted many whales, and some Dall Porpoises that were marked almost like a Killer Whale. they stayed with us for hours before departing. We arrived back in Long Beach on August 12, we had no slip to put our boat in, and 2 1/2 months before we leave on our two year cruise. Thanks all who let us know when slips were available. We are now in a slip in Newport Beach until we leave November 1 for Panama.

Sacramento Cottons

Old Sacramento

Keeping cool in the shade

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We return to a new Shorline YC facility

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~ Trip Pics ~
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Fueling up
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California Coastline
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Dall Porpoise
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Point Conception

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San Simeon
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Sunrise on the Pacific
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Approach to Golden Gate

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Sacramento River

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Relaxing on the Delta


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