Friday, July 31, 2009

San Francisco Here I Come!

I guess it's not surprising that all the photos I seem to have of San Francisco are of sailboats on the Bay, and I have lots of them. I spent years sailing and also as a photojournalist in the field of sailboat racing, in this fine city.

Tomorrow morning early I head south. Tomorrow night, I will attend a 65th birthday party for a man I worked for way back around 1970. We've managed to remain friends through all my travels, although we rarely meet in person. This is worth a trip!

I already had planned a trip to Napa in the middle of next week, so in reality I only upped my plans by a few days. I am so grateful to my dear friends in Napa for offering me the use of their studio apartment in San Francisco for my visit -- I could never have afforded to go otherwise.

This is Sandpiper, a wonderful aluminum boat designed by her owner, Jim DeWitt. Sadly, she was burned in a senseless arson attack on Jim's houseboat/studio sometime after her 1971 TransPac race from Los Angeles to Honolulu, where she was the smallest boat entered. She finished, too! That was quite a party -- but a story for another day. I'll also be visiting Jim, enroute to Napa, at his studio in Point Richmond. The photo below was taken when I lived in Point Richmond in the early 1970's.

Sunsets from our home in Point Richmond were generally spectacular. For this one, I drove down the street where the view was unobstructed and snapped what may be my all-time favorite photo of all the ones I've taken. This, believe it or not, is the Standard Oil Long Wharf, which never looked so good. In the distance is Marin County.

I have lots and lots of photos of the Napa Valley, but they are slides and only a few of them are scanned and on my computer, so this is a fall shot -- but one of my favorites. I lived here for 7 glorious years from 1979 to 1986, when living here was fun and not outrageously expensive. Now, I can only visit and again, am grateful to my dear friends whose guest I will be for a few days.

I'll return home on the 9th. In the meantime, assuming I can cadge a wireless signal in San Francisco, I'll be updating here daily with photos and tales of my 4 wonderful days on the ground in San Francisco. It's been about 25 years since that has happened, and I can't tell you how much I am looking forward to seeing the city I love most in the world once more.

Stay tuned -- even if it all happens after I return.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Dang it!

I think the crabs are trying to tell me something. I've been down to the port a couple of times recently and watched all the people crabbing, some successfully, so today I worked up the nerve to go down there myself, crab gear in hand. Working up nerve is necessary because I don't enjoy looking like a fool in front of people, and while I'm learning this new 'skill', I pretty much look like a fool. But -- off I went.

First, I had to buy more line and tie the two together, because this big dock is rather high and you have to toss the trap way out. The little dock I've been to before is right on the water, so takes less. I expect I'll be going back to that one.

There are rocks off this big dock and I know you have to be careful when pulling the trap in, so it doesn't get caught. That's the beauty, supposedly, of the little butterfly trap over a bigger, heavier one. The first couple of tosses, it came in just fine -- sans crabs. I don't think they liked my bait. The third toss I didn't get it out as far as previously, and was a little concerned about that, but left it awhile.

Yep, when I tried to pull it up, it was caught on rocks or other lost traps or something. One of the guys down there tried to wrestle it up, but the knot that held the line to the trap didn't hold under that much pressure (although my splicing knot did!). All I have left is 100' of line.

I was already thinking of trying a crab ring, which is bigger and a bit heavier but much easier to bait with whole fish carcasses. Yesterday, I watched a guy down there pull up a couple of those and felt envy. He also had two keepers. Now, I would never be able to toss one of those rings far enough at this dock, but I can go back to my lonely, but easy-to-use dock, or even the big commercial fishing dock, and not have the rock problem. This big dock is too crowded for me anyway.

Either way, don't think I'll do it yet. The guy who tried to free it from the rocks said he'd gotten a keeper a few days ago and there was no meat in it -- they are either just over molting season or just going into it, so they are not very meaty. I've heard both versions, haven't a clue which is correct. Point is, it'll be better in a couple of months, so I'll try then.

If and when I do actually catch a keeper, it's going to one darned expensive crab!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Mill Beach

Still chasing those 10,000 daily footsteps, I set out this morning after my weight workout and breakfast to explore a different area of town. One of my neighbors told me yesterday about this beach, with vague directions. Once I reached the general area, a kindly dog-walker pointed me towards the beach access. This is not state park land nor, I imagine, do many tourists find there way here. As a result, it's very natural and ungroomed and at low tide should have plenty of tide-pooling critters. Unfortunately, it's also rather heavily trashed around the access entry -- must be a hangout for local teenagers, or others who don't understand the concept of 'haul it in, haul it out'. A trash bin might help. There was no one else walking this beach today, and the only signs of recent occupancy were some deer tracks and a few big dog prints -- fortunately not in the same place. Above, the beach gives a different view of Chetco Point.

It's not an overly photogenic beach, but there are lots of rocks and shells, even a starfish that had begun to dry out (but not enough so for me to pick it up and put it in my backpack!). As usual, these and many other patterns in the sand piqued my interest.

More patterns in the sand. I'm glad to have discovered this beach that is within easy walking distance from home. The weather gods were with me -- just as I arrived the fog lifted and the sun shone bright and warm. Only about 4400 footsteps, but the day is young.