Tuesday, February 28, 2017

A Three Hour Tour

So, this past Saturday, Jennifer and I had intended to go for a ride to Oyster Bay, a park just south of the Oakland Airport.

We'd been there before a year or two ago.  It's a fun ride along the water, and through interesting neighborhoods.  The problem is that my riding stamina isn't what it's been.

Over seven months in San Luis Obispo has taken it's toll.  I'm only riding 3 miles in the morning and three more in the afternoon.  And that's on days when it's not raining.  I still do other exercise by swimming in the hotel pool, but it doesn't quite translate.

The problem with riding in the Bay Area is that it seems like no matter what direction you go you have a headwind.  Unless your back is directly to the Golden Gate, it seems there is wind coming at your head and across you.  So by the time we go to Jack London Square, I needed a rest.

And there at one of the docks were two tall sailing ships.


It turned out that the ships were from Grays Harbor Historical Seaport, and they were giving tours.  We chatted with one of the crew members, and they also were planning a "battle sail."  We asked what that was, and were told the two ships would sail out into the Bay and fire blank cannon charges at each other.  Jennifer was all for it.  I took a little coercion, but just a little.  Our role playing group had just come had a sailing adventure.  I was a relatively easy sell.

So we had to choose which ship.  The smaller of the two was the Hawaiian Chieftain.  We were to learn that it is a class of ship called a "catch."  The other ship was the Lady Washington, which is a brig.  It looked a bit familiar, and drew us, so we chose to ride on that one.

There was another problem.  It was going to be cold, and we were dressed for a ride, so we needed to get another layer.  The closest reasonable clothing store we could locate was Ross on Alameda 6 miles away.  And we had two hours before we had to be back for boarding.

Do you remember the headwinds I mentioned earlier?

We raced to Ross.  We were huffing when we got there.  And Ross no longer had winter clothing, it being February in California and all.  Fortunately there is a Kohl's right nearby, and there, on their clearance rack we found a sweater for me and a Columbia fleece for Jennifer.

I will repeat that.  It is the last weekend in February with forecast highs for the coming week int he mid-50s, but because it is California, winter clothing is on clearance.

We stuffed Jennifer's saddle bags with the bulky clothing, and raced back to JLS.  We got there with 30 minutes to spare.  So we hit Rosenblum winery, bought picnic snacks, and rested before boarding for the battle sail.

And on the sail, we had an amazing time.

We learned all kinds of things about the ships (see the page for the stats).  It's a replica of a ship that sailed from the 1750s to 1790 when it sank off the Philippines.  It was the only real sailing ship in the movie "Pirates of the Caribbean."  And I took bunches of pictures of the rigging.








Here is where the "battle" took place:


We were at the height of the ebb tide and were struggling with the tide.  At one point were were making 0.5 knots heading south, and the Hawaiian Chieftain was heading west and we watched it sliding north with the current.  It was incredible.  Here she is later on against the Bay Bridge.


And by the time we got back to land (after our 3 hour tour), we were exceptionally grateful for our new warm clothing.  The clouds came in our last hour on the water, and the wind picked up.  And then we had our return bike ride home.

By the time we got home, our hands had lost some feeling.  The hour after we got in was spent enduring the painful pins and needles of our circulation returning.

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