September 28, 2010

A fall sailing adventure on San Francisco Bay - in warm weather

ALAMEDA ISLAND, Calif., USA - Friday was a glorious day on San Francisco Bay, sailing with amigos Pat and Sanders Lamont on board their fine sailing ship, Good News. The ship hasn't seen much sailing action this year - a direct function of how busy the Lamonts are up in Camp Connell.

But after a late breakfast at the deli by the docks in Marina Village, we motored out of the Oakland Estuary, catching a fair breeze right outside the channel. And it was an uncharacteristically warm breeze, a nice fall day for a sail.

Even Admiral Fox said it was warm.

San Francisco ahead
San Francisco ahead

Because it was Friday, we had the bay nearly to ourselves at first. We waved to the people working in the downtown San Francisco highrise office buildings as we passed by, as well as thousands of fall tourists scuttling along the Embarcadero.

Then we sailed up the west side of Treasure Island, nearly intersecting with a sailboat race out of Berkeley. The money invested in just the sails on some of those boats could buy a nice automobile.

Kevlar sails abound
Expensive kevlar sails were the norm on the race boats

As part of the tour, we cruised home along the east side of Treasure Island, noting a new (at least new to us) Oracle company building and lots of apparent construction in the marina area.

We also pushed our way through an ebbing tide to slide under the Bay Bridge - as well as the new part still under construction.

It was more than 20 years ago that the Loma Prieta earthquake shook the bridge so severely, causing much damage and prompting the expensive rebuilding.

I'm not an engineer, but it looks like driving a car across that new span is five years away - at least.

Bay Bridge under construction
Bay Bridge - still under construction

Here's a short video of the under-sail adventures Friday.

September 19, 2010

A busy fall: teaching, grandkids, kids, amigos, music & dancing

SACRAMENTO, Calif., USA - The fall is whizzing by - and it isn't even actually fall yet.

But since returning to Sacramento nearly four weeks ago, Admiral Fox and I have barely stood still long enough, to, well, stand still.

We've visited with our amigos and hosts, Steve and Pam, a lot, (though their schedules rival ours). We've also hit the Bay Area (where we visited with son Dylan and Dan & Lorraine Olsen), seen Chief Engineer Scott Noble and his wife, Counsel Jen Noble, several times, and as much as possible, visited with daughter Anne and family.

Last week we went to a fundraiser luau for granddaughter Sami's softball league. It was a riot, even when Sami tagged her father square in the head with a whipped cream pie tin that turned out to be a little harder on the edge than it was supposed to be.

You can see the result of her pitching arm - and how much head wounds do bleed - in this video.

Kami lifting tickets from Granddad's pocket
Kami lifting luau game tickets - while I'm not looking

Steve with shaving cream hair
Son-in-law Steve after his turn in the pie booth

The week before that, we went to daughter Anne's casa in Rancho Cordova for Kami's third birthday fete. It was a lot fun, and the weather cooperated to let us be outdoors for the entire evening party.

We gave Kami some percussion instruments (a drum, mariachis, tambourine, bracelets with bells, etc), much to the chagrin of her parents and other grandparents who quickly suggested that Kami bring those toys to our house, where they could reside.

No deal, we said.

Here's a short video of that party:

Kami and b-day cake
Kami with her birthday cake

While Admiral Fox and I have been scurrying about every day - trying to keep up with full teaching loads along with all this other fun - we have squeezed in some music and dance.

The dance has been by Adm. Fox's who has become addicted to an exercise class called Zumba. This   new dance program is getting worldwide notice. She hits three or four Zumba classes a week and has signed up to become certified as a Zumba instructor next month.

Hang on Mexico, Zumba and Adm. Fox will arrive in December.

My dancing has been limited to shuffling around our upstairs apt. most often to Frank Sinatra singing New York, New York or some other sedate tune. But I have picked up the ukulele plenty I and hope to get back into it much more, now that life has settled down.

Settled down. Who am I kidding?

In and among all this fun, we have also been dealing, long distance, with our Mexico land problem and have moved ahead - along with a number of our neighbors in Tenacatita - to file for federal injunctions against the developer who seized the entire Tenacatita beach area, evicting 800 people in the process.

Mexican media have been covering for nearly two months as a national story. It's a land grab that is breathtaking even for Mexico. Canadian media recently ran the story, too. So far, despite all my contacts in the American press, no major newspaper or wire service has picked it up.

Too busy chronicling the hijinks of the Tea Party, I suppose.

But for people interested in a relatively depressing update, well, here's the link:

LINK: Vancouver Sun on the Tenacatita takeover

September 5, 2010

We say goodbye to cruising amigos - but will see them in Mexico

ALAMEDA, Calif., USA - Adm. Fox and I sojourned to the San Francisco Bay area Friday to visit with cruising buddies Dan and Lorraine Olsen, only to discover that longtime cruising amigos Roger and Diana Frizzelle were ready to cut the dock lines, too.

So Saturday, at 7 a.m., we waved goodbye to the Frizzelles who expect to be in Mexico later this fall.

We hope to catch up with them when they come to Tenacatita Bay or when we arrive in Puerto Vallarta in December.

The Frizzelles left to go cruising some years back, but returned to work for several years at Farrallone Yachts, getting other people set up on sailboats to live their dreams.

Saturday morning, it was their turn.

It was a fun-filled 24 hours, with a great dinner at the famous Delancy's restaurant in San Francisco with Dan and Lorraine and their two sons. (It was blackened Cajun meatloaf for me with creme brulee for dessert). We also met up with son Dylan Saturday for breakfast in Oakland.

But while in Alameda, staying at a hotel right by the water, we got to see the other end of the cruising dream from the Frizzelle's, a former proud yacht up for sale at auction. It belonged to a member of the yacht club who fell behind in his rent payments for dockage - more than $25,000 behind. The hull and mast are wood.

And while the boat was once a glorious yacht, lack of repairs have made it a maintenance nightmare. Maybe it's a repair nightmare. It might end up being cut up and perhaps burned.

Someone's dream boat
Someone's dream boat

Later today Admiral Fox and I are heading out to daughter Anne's casa for a birthday party for three-year-old Kami. We got a her some musical presents, sure to delight everyone.

And today's party comes in the wake of great party Saturday night here at Dr. Pam and her husband Steve's house, at which there were children running everywhere, swimming in the pool - all having a great time, while the adults watched. Pam and Steve's son Dominic and his three-year-old son Julio are here for the weekend and right in the thick of things.

As I write this, Julio is pedaling his brand-new bicycle up and down the sidewalk, as proud of his wheels as if he was on a Harley. For him, I guess it is.

Kami at Rubios
Kami in her ballerina outfit