with Daniel to Ayala Cove, Angel Island

On Friday morning we slept in a bit. After a shower and some breakfast, at 10:30 or so, we were ready to go. Our plan was to go to Angel Island and pick up a mooring in Ayala Cove or to drop anchor in Winslow or China Coves on the lee side of the island. We put up the sails as we left our lovely little marina/anchorage and headed south, around Treasure Island the long way. I wanted to make sure we got a chance to do some sailing, which we did.

The day started out pleasantly warm, but before too long, we found ourselves doing 7+ knots in 20 knot winds towards Angel Island.

The ride got pretty exciting, and I started to wish I hadn't shaken out the reef as the boat was heeling 20 degrees, and then 25 degrees, in gusts of 25 knots. I made sure everyone put their life jackets on as it rapidly changed from a lazy summer day into a windblown S.F. day with Mandala raising a spray as she broke thru the 2-4' chop.

It went on that way for about 45 minutes as we crossed over, and towards the end of the passage there were a few white-knuckled minutes as the wind and seas continued to build, until we finally came into the lee of Lime Point and things started settling down again. However, a boat was anchored in an inconvenient spot, and as the Ferry came roaring by, I neglected to watch the wind direction closely enough and wore off, until we accidentally gybed in light winds. I saw it coming in enough time to holler "gybe-ho" so everyone could duck, as it put the helm over hard, and was able to ease it somewhat and avoid doing any damage, but it served as a reminder of how easy it is to make mistakes when downwind.

When we got to Ayala Cove it was clear there were a few moorings available, so we parked at the day-dock and after a little while a USFS Ranger came by to collect our mooring fee. It turned out to be a bit of an effort to moor the boat, tho. We had to tie off front and back, and I wasn't sure if we had enough line. We're kind of new to moorings and thought they would be like the ones in Avalon Harbor on Catalina, with ropes ready-to-go. But these just had iron rings that you had to get a line thru and then back to the boat.

We made several mistakes, I won't list them here, but after we got 40' of line doubled back to the boat on the two front cleats, it was some 100+ feet to the back mooring ball. Hmmmm.... the only line I had that was long enough was the rode for our rear anchor, on 25 feet of chain with a 200' 1/2 nylon line permanently attached to that, so we had to lay the anchor in the cockpit and feed the line out ... and ...

Arriving Ayala Cove

...Oh yeah, we need the dinghy! So we started deploying the dinghy with the boat tied off to one mooring and us swinging 90 degrees out of line with everyone else (and increasing the distance to the back buoy). Then another boat came in and wanted to moor, but they couldn't because we were blocking the 3 moorings downwind from us. So, to the amusement of everyone who was already moored, and the patient consternation of the guy who was waiting, we got the dinghy in the water, got the motor and gas on, tied off the rode, took the rest aboard the dinghy, started the motor and endeavored to get the rope out to the back buoy. It took a long time because the rope was tangled, and it all of a sudden was really warm ... like 78'. After what seemed like forever, I finally got it thru the iron ring, and only dropped the bitter end once (requiring me to start the motor and chase the rope like a snake back to buoy again!). Then it was physical labor time, as I pulled myself towards Mandala, (and at the same time pulled Mandala towards the buoy). I was somewhat fatigued and a little embarassed as we finally got the mooring done in a record time of something like 30-40 minutes, but it all worked out o.k. We even stopped by and had a beer with the guy who had waited (on the Catamaran in the pictures above).

We had a nice time at Ayala Cove. After we got moored, Daniel and I took the dinghy for a short exploration around the cove, into the next cove, and back. After returning to the boat, I got the guitar out for the music hour and picked a few tunes.

Then we had a nice bar-b-que of hamburger and hot-dogs, and chatted to the sunset. D&S are wonderful fun to be around, and the cove was beautiful and quiet that evening. Later, after everyone was asleep, a goodly wind rose (approx 15 knots). I was worried about the mooring lines and so got up to check things out. We had left a towel on deck that got blown away, and later even the other boaters remarked that it was unusual for a night wind to blow thru the cove, but everything was o.k. so I went back to sleep.

The next morning, I fried up some eggs for breakfast and by 11:00 we were ready to go. We had no problems slipping the mooring, and were soon on our way.

Images of Angel Island