Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Random SF Bay Cruise aboard the SSS Compass Rose

The weather forecast called for snow.  So when the weekly Wednesday night meeting discussion turned to planning for the weekend, naturally the kids in the crew of the Sea Scout Ship Compass Rose wanted to take the boat out and bounce around the bay.

The plan: get underway on Friday evening and make it up as we go.  How did it go?  Story and pictures after the jump...

Friday night was a bust.  The plan (such as it was) was to high-tail it for Sausalito, moor up for the night, and wander the town the next day.  But given the predicted high winds, there was no marina there that was willing to offer any overnight guest berths.  Instead, the crew laid aboard Friday afternoon and took the chance to get the boat cleaned up and squared away.

Saturday morning broke bright and clear with no snow, no rain, and barely even a cloud.

The ship was underway shortly after 0800:

Despite the chill air, it really was a gorgeous day.

This was the first voyage with our new female adult leader Erin on board.  Here she is killing time in the galley with Sam:

We caught the outgoing tide and made great time downriver.  Here we are passing under the Highway 37 bridge at Black Point:

Leaving the Petaluma River astern:

After leaving the Petaluma River entrance channel, we conducted a man overboard drill.  The crew responded admirably and we had Oscar (the man overboard dummy) back on board in short order.  Sadly, the years of exposure to the elements had finally done him in:

Continuing south, we passed the dredge barge which is usually moored there:

Then the Brothers Lighthouse:

It was still before lunch when we'd passed under the San Rafael-Richmond Bridge:

At 1156 in the morning, the ship was moored in Ayala Cove on Angel Island.  Shortly after that: liberty call:

With all of the dire weather predictions, not many boats had ventured out onto the bay that day.  In fact, this was the only other boat visiting the island:

Once ashore, I decided to wander over to the East Garrison, an abandoned Army base that's been empty since the mid-1950's.  Everyone headed up to the perimeter road and when I turned left, the other adults turned left too.  The kids in the crew turned right and I lost track of them for the rest of the afternoon.

After snooping around through all sorts of intersting things that I neglected to take pictures of, we decided to continue down the perimeter road.  Along the way we stopped to rest for a few minutes at the picnic grounds:

Back on the road, there were all sorts of amazing views:

Somewhere along the way, we found ourselves at the former Nike Missile site.  This was one of many such sites where short-range nuclear missiles were stationed to protect the Bay Area in the event of a Soviet invasion.  At first glance, there wasn't much to see:

But after a while, we found a way inside one of the bunkers.  Inside we found everything to be surprisingly well preserved:

Leaving it behind, we stopped at Battery Drew, an army gun emplacement abandoned in 1915:
Battery Drew

After soaking up the view there, we strolled around the bend to the West Garrison, a Civil War era Army station with much of the officers' housing and other buildings still intact:

From there, we found a trail leading to the Stuart Point Lighthouse.  The island used to have three lighthouses on it.  Now the only one that still operates is Blunt Point.  The Coast Guard burned down the building where Point Knox lighthouse used to be and, as you can see in this picture, the Stuart Point lighthouse is in severe disrepair:

Back on the Perimeter Road, we realized that these bastards had been following us all day:

Returning to the boat, we found that the crew had hiked to the peak of the island, got tired, and headed back to the boat early.  Their adventure wasn't nearly as interesting as ours though.

At this point we ended up making a run over to Tiburon to pick up one more crewmember.  She was unable to join the ship the night before due to prior obligations, but it was a great excuse to pull in just long enough to hoist her aboard.

Along the way, we got another great view of Point Stuart:

And we were nearly passed by a couple rows of really fast sailboats chasing a couple of motorboats:

Once we had our wayward scout aboard, we cruised over to South Beach Seaport at Pier 40 in San Francisco.  There were plans to head out and see a bit of the city, but everyone was just tired enough to pass out on board by 2200.

Sunday morning I woke up feeling more refreshed than I have in months:

Eager to get underway, the crew were at their linehandling stations in short order and we'd cast off well before 0800:

Leaving the marina I snapped this shot of the Hawaiian Chieftan and the Lady Washington:

Both of these sailing ships now belong to the Historical Seaport and offer sailing adventure cruises if you're interested.

Crossing the Bay proved to be nice and calm:

As we headed up the River, Erin found herself a comfortable perch:
Erin AH

Safely moored back in her homeport of Petaluma, the intrepid crew of the SSS Compass Rose sat telling jokes and finishing off the perishables while waiting for their rides home:

It was a fun, safe cruise and a good time was had by all.  What's more, the new crewmembers are competent and comfortable with the ship's operation.  So much so that it's time to come up with creative new ways to challenge them...

Stay tuned...


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