We spent a somewhat rolly night anchored off East Garrison Beach, Angel Island. It was pretty calm until those dadburned (wait! how old am I?), I mean damned twin-hulled ferries would go by at 34 knots kicking up a mighty wake. Then we'd roll 10-15 degrees one side and then the other. Once you got used to it, it wasn't really all that bad. A few rolls and it would be over.
This morning it was downright calm. A nice contrast to yesterday's windy, choppy conditions. The only other boat at anchor here had departed late yesterday evening. We decided to move in a little closer to maybe get a little more protection. Besides, it seemed like we were kind of far out and I certainly didn't want to get run down by some passing boat. We repositioned and anchored in about 12 feet of water. The Rocna anchor dug in hard and the 70' of chain backed up by 20' of nylon snubber ensured that the anchor would stay dug in. We both slept like babies last night. We were that confident that the anchor was well set and we weren't disappointed.
We prefer anchoring to being in a marina or on a mooring not only because it's more private, but because we have confidence that we can do it right. The two-way headphone sets help SO much. No yelling, no stress. We do have to learn how to judge our distances when anchoring among others but maybe we'll just stay away from everybody instead.
After breakfast we assembled the dinghy, put it in the water, loaded the pack with water, snacks, and sweatshirts and got ready to head over to the island for the day. The little Suzuki refused to start on the first dozen pulls so I decided to row in before the current took us too far from shore. Rowing in was a piece of cake although I need a lot of practice to go in a straight line. We also learned a valuable and practical lesson: put your shoes and socks in the pack and dinghy in barefoot. There is NO way you're going to get out of the dinghy, and get it pulled up on the beach without getting your feet wet. Not thinking about this ahead of time, we had to start our hike with wet shoes.
I need to come up with some kind of solid eye on the bow of the portabote that I can use to tie the locking cable to. As it is, the only thing to lock to is the lock on the outboard and that means the stern has to be way up n the beach to reach something to lock to. It wasn't too bad this time but it won't always be this easy. Can't wrap the cable around the seats because they're removable. Whatever I come up with has to not interfere with folding the boat either. Hmmmmm.
Angel Island has had a couple of uses over the years. From around 1910 to maybe the late 50s, it was an Army base, Fort MacDowell. We walked around the old hospital, barracks, administration building, guard house, chapel, etc.
We followed the perimeter road on around the island. The views were spectacular. At one juncture we turned inland and headed to the top of the island, Mt. Livermore. Once we reached the top, which was tiring but not too tough a hike, the view was even better than down below. Laid out around us was San Francisco and Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge, Sausalito and Tiburon, the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, Richmond, Berkeley, Oakland, and the Bay Bridge.
We were headed down to Ayala Cove, the place we had originally planned on staying until we heard that there was no anchoring and mooring cost $20 or $30 a night. From above it looks better protected than the other so-called anchorages on the island.
But, Ayala is also the ferry landing for everyone coming over for the day. I don't know how many ferries service the island every day but it must be a bunch because they seem to come from all over. The atmosphere in Ayala Cove was summertime party. Lots of kids running around yelling and just generally lots of people. Lulu and I forgave them because we found what we didn't dare hope for: a concession that sold cold beer. OK, it wasn't all that cold but that Corona con lima tasted awfully darn good after our long hike. We were just settling in with our beers when we decided we needed a snack. One of the things on the menu was Frito pie and I've always wanted to taste this southern delicacy. But alas! The kitchen had just shut down. A few minutes later, at 3:00, the whole damn snack bar closed. What? At 3:00 in the afternoon? Apparently it's all based on the ferries. The last one leaves at 3:30 and after that there just isn't enough business from the few people here on their own boats to warrant staying open. Of course, in summer they stay open later. Until 4:00.
What with all the noise and hubbub and the confirmation that the moorings were indeed $30 a night, we were really glad to be anchored where we were. For free.
On the way back to the boat we stopped by the immigration center. This was apparently the "Ellis Island of the West". But here, people were detained and often returned to their homelands. So-called "Asiatics" (Chinese, Japanese, Filipinos, Koreans, etc.) were treated particularly shamefully, more like they were in a POW camp than an immigration center.
We finally reached the beach where the dinghy was stashed and rowed our weary feet and legs back home. We had a great day and we're really glad we didn't just rush out of the Bay without stopping here.
BTW: the hike around the island's perimeter is 5 miles. The trip up to the top of Mt. Livermore and back down again is another 5 miles or at least that's what I believe I read on the sign. Anyway, we earned those Coronas.