A Return to Drakes Bay

14 Oct

October 10, 2019

Drakes Bay
Anchor down 1300 local, 2200 gmt

Days at Sea: 306
Days Since Departure: 375
Total Miles: 38,978

Slowly the gale releases its grip. Overnight and as I sleep the wind comes down; the sea relaxes. By dawn Mo makes 5 knots under jib alone on a gentle undulation I can barely perceive from my bunk.

I raise the main at sunup, but the wind continues to fall away until by mid morning the sails hang limply; the sea is glass. We are under power the last miles for Drakes Bay.

“I’m sorry, Monte,” I say. “It would have been nice to sail in.”

“These things cannot be helped, Senior. You must finish the knot before the strain comes back on the line.”

Then purple ranges rise above the sea to the NE; then that bold projection, fawn-colored Point Reyes; now the water is emerald and fouled with tangles of kelp.

Hours ago we left behind the last albatross; to take his place there are pelicans, cormorants, grebes and other birds of the shore. Porpoises race along the bow and further on, the misty blow of whales and the glimmering black of their backs.

Then the rounding of the green buoy; then the pale cliffs of Nova Albion and the hills of gray autumn grasses and the familiar whiff of grazing cows. Mo eases in. Next to the abandoned fish plant, the anchor rolls down into soft mud.

We are in home waters for the first time in a year. One step remains between us and completion of the Figure 8…to sail under the golden span and return to the embrace of San Francisco Bay.

This article was syndicated from The Figure 8 Voyage


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