Wednesday, January 16, 2008


Tuesday morning dawned with a thick blanket of fog covering the area, and fog horns blaring on the bay. The fog persisted until about mid-afternoon, and a light breeze came up, so we decided to head out for a sunset sail, hoping for enough wind to sail out to watch the sundown and sunset through the gate.

As we headed out about 4:15 pm, the breeze over the land was light-- only a few knots, and the sun was already quite low in the southwestern sky.

Out on the bay, a herring boat was blasting eastward. I have yet to see any of these boats actually fishing. 5-10 years ago we saw many herring boats actually catching herring during the late fall and early winter.

As we sailed westward on the light southwesterly breeze, the flags on the end of pier 39 were fluttering lightly and, fortunately, the current was mostly slack or a slight ebb and not resisting our progress.

As we sailed along, a harbor seal poked his head out and took a look around. [I love the color of the sea at this time of day!]

The city was enjoying the late afternoon sunshine and clear air.

Outside the gate, some remnants of fog persisted along the shore of the headlands.

Way over by the shore of Angel Island, a lone sailboat was enjoying the chill late afternoon air.

Our only other company on the bay comprised the usual suspects: the Alcatraz ferry loaded with departing visitors....

....the Red and White ferry with just a few people aboard....

... the Blue and Gold ferry with a few more passengers than her rival.

The plaza on Alcatraz, full of people on sunny warm afternoons, was deserted.

As we sailed past the southern shore of the island, the prison buildings took on the color of sundown and some sun reflections displayed on some of the windows.

Overhead, the half moon was brightening.

Windows on one of the Alcatraz buildings were glowing with reflected sunlight.

Another herring boat shot past, as we continued ghosting westward.

Happily, we were far enough north and west of Alcatraz that we could watch the sundown through the gate.

A truly brilliant sundown....

....followed by spectacular sunset color displays! [You can see a slideshow of all these photos and the progression of the sundown and sunset on my photo album at this url:

We came about and headed back toward home port, with the now waxing flood current assisting our progress, as the lights on shore began to brighten at dusk, including the sign that now reads GHIRACELLI.

The breeze declined to almost nothing, so we began motoring and watching the city lights brighten as darkness fell-- magic time on San Francisco Bay!

It was great to be out there for the sunset and the magic of evening sailing on the bay, despite the chill air of winter, but it was good to get back to port, and turn on the heater to chase the chill from the cabin.

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