Log #61s San Francisco Bay Part 1

November 30, 2016 in Logs by Series, Series 61, The Logs


Log #61s San Francisco Bay Part 1

Magdelena Bay, Mexico

Dec. 3, 2016

Hi Folks,

We are currently in the southern Baja Peninsula of Mexico, enjoying good sailing and warm weather. We just bought three lobsters from a local fisherman for only $9.00 US. Mmmm! We will postpone the tuna I caught yesterday for another day. Mmmm! Rough life!

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Tuna and lobsters on our way down the Baja

At the end of this covering letter in a PS I have posted the delicious recipes I used for Pescado a La Maria for the tuna and a special lobster bisque we had for the third lobster after having the first two steamed.

We are heading southeast down the peninsula with predominantly northwest winds, allowing us to sail wing on wing for ten to twenty hours at a time. The peninsula is called Baja California (lower California) and the sea between it and the mainland is variously called the Sea of Cortes or Golfo de California, where we will be spending most of the winter. The peninsula is 750 nautical miles from Ensenada to Cabo San Lucas at the southern end. We are currently 300 miles from Cabo (Cape) San Lucas. All is well with us, although we caught a fisherman’s float in our prop, and spent a rolly night at anchor until we could clear it the next day.

This is the first of two logs about our time in San Francisco Bay. In this one I talk about the hospitality of Berkeley Yacht Club and a cruise-in we did with them, as well as the ships we toured as part of San Francisco’s Navy Week events.

Incidentally, we will be returning to Ontario in our trailer in April for the summer, and return to Veleda in the fall. I hope we can visit several of you while we are back, and perhaps enjoy some sailing with those of you with boats in the Great Lakes? More about our return as time draws near.

All the best,



1/ We are now in Puerto Los Cabos on the southern tip of the Baja as I send this on Dec. 9/16

2/ Recipe for Pescado a La Maria, now a la Millard. This was a meal I enjoyed at a small local restaurant in Turtle Bay, Mexico, originally done with a white dorado fish fillet, but I adapted for the tuna filet from the first fish I have caught in a couple of years. White fish does better with this recipe.

-Spread the fillet on a sheet of tin foil.

-Lather it with a spicy salsa.

-Layer a couple of slices of cheddar cheese.

-Cover the cheese with a couple of slices of onion, the onion on top.

-Wrap the tinfoil around the fish and bake in a hot oven for a few minutes, then turn down low for 20 minutes.

-Unwrap, spice more with a hot sauce or salt and pepper to taste, and enjoy! -Rice and tortillas go well with this dish. We are in Mexico after all!

3/ Delicious Lobster bisque. This recipe I got from the Joy of Cooking for a Charleston Crab Soup but used steamed lobster instead.

·         Melt in a sauce pan 3 tablespoons of butter, and whisk in 3 tablespoons of all purpose flour for about 3 minutes on high then medium heat until toasted but not browned.

·         Add three cups of milk or one cup of cream plus two cups of water

·         1 teaspoon of Worcestershire Sauce

·         3/4 teaspoon of a hot red pepper sauce

·         Bring to a boil and whisk reducing the heat for about five minutes

·         Add a pound or so of the chopped steamed lobster (or any shellfish)

·         Add two tablespoons of dry sherry

·         Add 3/4 teaspoon of salt to taste

·         Heat gently until lobster is warmed through

·         Garnish with sliced scallions or green onions

·         Enjoy!

Log #61s San Francisco Bay
Turtle Bay, Mexico
Nov. 30, 201

We entered beneath the Golden Gate Bridge at 1425 (2:25 pm), Sept. 26, after a 136 mile passage from Fort Bragg.

Going beneath the Golden Gate Bridge looking towards San Francisco

On crossing the bay we went north of Alcatraz Island,  and flew the genoa for the 90 minutes it took us to motor sail the seven miles across the bay over to Berkeley, where we refueled and pumped out our holding tank before going alongside the Berkeley Yacht Club (BYC).     61s-13

Going north of Alcatraz Island

We were to stay three weeks in the San Francisco Bay area at anchor and as reciprocal guests of the Berkeley Yacht Club and the Aeolian Yacht Club. Berkeley has a policy of two free days and then a nominal $10.00 a night for reciprocal yachts. We used our membership in the Canadian Forces Sailing Association  (CFSA) from the Esquimalt Squadron which they recognized. In our three weeks in the bay area we paid for one night in a marina and three extra nights at BYC, the remaining nights were at no cost, as guests of the yacht clubs or at anchor.

San Francisco Bay is a large natural harbour with docks all over for container and other merchant ships. The US Navy once used San Francisco as a major base, but no longer. There is no navy presence here other than a few AOR supply ships mothballed up the Sacramento River. The “bay” area is actually composed of four major bays, plus the delta estuary of the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers. On entering through the Golden Gate Bridge is the Central Bay. To the south of the Oakland Bay Bridge is San Francisco Bay proper, extending down beyond the Hayward-San Mateo Bridge into the south bay.  Going north from Central Bay, above the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge is the large but shallow San Pablo Bay, with the dredged channel going through Carquinez Strait into Suisun Bay which has the Montezuma Slough estuary to the north, and the delta of the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers to the east, permitting large ocean-going merchant and container ships to ply another 30 miles up the delta, as far inland as Stockton.
We were welcomed and enjoyed the hospitality of the Berkeley Yacht Club for the first five days alongside with water and power available.

While alongside, we did a few maintenance tasks such as re-riveting the upper shroud tang at the top of the mast. Of course the rivets we had were the wrong size and I had to dinghy over the basin to a chandlery, leaving Judy up the mast until I returned.


Judy up the mast at BYC

We also took down the genoa and restitched several seams and the UV cloth with our Sailrite sewing machine on a table at the dock.  We had full use of the club’s facilities, including their WiFi, lovely showers and washrooms, bar (with free morning coffee), and a couple of pot luck suppers.

Judy stitching the genoa

The first weekend there we joined several BYC boats for a cruise-in over at Clipper Cove on Treasure Island in the middle of the Oakland Bay Bridge. We formed a raft with eight boats from the club, and enjoyed lasagna and hospitality of several of the boats. We were the only blue hulled boat there.

BYC boats rafted together

Treasure Island was originally built up from sand dredged from the bay in the early 1900’s. It was a major terminal for the Pan American Clipper flying boats, thus the name Clipper Bay. It is a very good well-sheltered anchorage that we used several more times during our stay in the bay area. It was also the site for the San Francisco World’s Fair in the late 1930s, and a major US navy processing base during WW II and the Korean and Viet Nam wars. Thousands of military personnel were stationed here for short periods of time before being sent overseas or upon their return. There is no navy on the island now, and the barracks and other buildings are managed by the city of San Francisco for housing, several businesses, and a large fairground that had a major rock concert while we were there one time. We didn’t go to the concert.
Being beneath the Oakland Bay Bridge we had a beautiful view of the dramatic bridge, and especially enjoyed the light display of the illuminated bridge at night. This picture was taken by Olga, an attractive Russian woman who was on one of the boats with us. The central tower was a new design for the bridge to withstand earthquakes.

The next week was Navy Week in San Francisco, even though there is no navy presence. It consisted of a couple of navy ships that came into port and hosted open ship tours for a few days. One ship was a large US Navy Ro/Ro transport ship that could accommodate a large number of marines and their helicopters, amphibious tanks and support vehicles, able to be launched offshore for invasion or humanitarian purposes. It was quite interesting seeing the vehicles and helicopters used
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Flight deck looking forward                          Flight deck looking aft

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Amphibian Armoured personnel Carrier                                               Two machine gun ports on each side

The above pictures show some of the several amphibian vehicles aboard and a Black Hawk helicopter with some serious machine gun capability. The pictures below show the stern platform which can open and submerge to allow vehicles to exit or board the ship, and another of the large medical sick bay for casualties  military or civilian in case of disaster relief.

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     Submersible stern platform                       One of several sick bays


Civilian craft are not supposed to get within 500 yards of any military ship and they have armed rib boats patrolling around their ships to ward off any other craft, such as the patrol boat below

This of course is the aftermath of the attack on the USS Cole in the Middle East several years ago.
  Damaged USS Cole

The Canadian ship, HMCS Calgary was the other ship for open house. We went aboard, but it was only an flight deck and focsle tour, not very interesting. We should have done a much better job in showcasing the Royal Canadian Navy. I have sailed on these city class frigates and they are state of the art warships, although we are still having problems equipping them with modern helicopters.
  HMCS Calgary

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Flight deck (no helicopter)                                                               Focsle of HMCS Calgary
One of the other ships I boarded was the SS Jeremiah O’Brian, a WW II liberty ship. Thousands of these ships were produced in WW II to transport needed supplies to Britain and the allies. This ship is still operational in that its engines are in working order and the ship can sail out under its own power for various occasions as it did this weekend. It was a fascinating trip though a 1940’s cargo ship.
           SS Jeremiah O’Brian
(the Golden Gate Bridge in the background)


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                 Engine room pistons                             Boiler room

Wheel house with engine telegraph and magnetic compass

   Cargo deck with gun sponson enclosed in concrete

The use of concrete was because of the shortage of steel and that concrete would not allow ricochets as much as steel. Later versions also had gyro compasses as well as the magnetic binacles.

In one of the cargo bays was a museum with information on the role of the liberty ships in WW II along with displays of jeeps and other cargo carried. Regarding the Battle of the Atlantic in the museum, there was a model of a Canadian corvette, HMCS Snowberry, pictured below. Note that the British White Ensign was flown on Royal Canadian Navy ships in WW II, and in the  Korean War, up to 1967 when we got the current Maple Leaf Canadian flag. Incidentally, the HMCS designation for our ships means Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship, or in the case of HMCS Snowberry it was His Majesty’s Canadian Ship.

Model of the RCN corvette HMCS Snowberry

I will present more of our time in the San Francisco Bay area in my next log.