Trip Reports

Here We Come To Save The Day (04-Jun-2003-16-00):
4:00 PM local time, Wednesday, May June 4 (2300 June 4 UTC). Latitude and longitude on a need-to-know basis only. Temp. 66, Humidity 68%, Cloud Cover 80%. Location undisclosed due to security considerations.

Warm greetings from the crew of Maverick.

We had an easy trip up the coast from Santa Barbara, if you like motorsailing in the fog with no wind and calm seas. Considering the alternatives, it was peachy. From time to time at night we could see the loom of familiar towns through the mist, while at Point Sur the fog lifted so that the 15-second light was bright and cast a reflection on the glassy surface straight to Maverick. The last twenty miles or so we were treated to the very rare mild southwesterly, blowing the diesel exhaust into the cockpit. Welcoming us to our home waters were thousands of By-The-Wind-Sailors (Velella sp.), also known as "Purple Sails." About two inches in diameter, these the only sailboats in the animal kingdom, but unlike Maverick, they don't go to weather for beans.

We are holed up at a secret location to keep the paparazzi at bay, and see at present no reason on account of weather to change our plans to enter the Bay on Saturday. I think it's about time we get back. In the short period since the crew left the US, there has been a stock market crash, a major terrorist incident, two wars, the A's, Giants, and 49ers all choked in the post-season, George Harrison and Little Eva died, and almost everyone got older. Never fear, America, help is on the way. We have stood our last nightwatch and entered the final waypoints in the GPS. Maverick is coming home. As for a description of the approach to San Francisco, I can do no better than to quote that great American writer, the dauntless Captain of Maverick:

"When a traveler approaches the Bay from sea, there is nothing at all to give a hint of the size and importance of the cities of San Francisco and Oakland. Sutro tower is visible, and as you sail closer you can see the understated Sunset District, which could easily be mistaken for a small coastal town, sloping towards the west. Otherwise, the cities are hidden by the coastal mountains and all the mariner sees is a rugged and undeveloped coastline, and in fact the Golden Gate is such a small opening that the first several sea-going explorers of the California coast failed to notice it.

But as the sailor approaches closer to the rocks and cliffs of Land's End and finally passes under what is now the Golden Gate Bridge, the whole mass of humming activity suddenly opens up. This is particularly startling at night, when it is reminiscent of the scene in a science fiction movie where a dark cave leads to a small door which, when opened, reveals a vast, and obviously powerful, alien civilization."

We expect to sail under the Golden Gate Bridge this Saturday, June 7, at 1:00 PM local time (2000 June 7 UTC), although arriving early is a good idea if you want to see us bucking a dying ebb on our approach past Mile Rock. To get to a good vantage point in the Marin Headlands, refer to the directions sent in the previous dispatch. For you boaters, we'll be monitoring VHF 68 (along with 16, as is required). It's finally starting to look as though we're going to pull this thing off. Be there or be square, you aliens.

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