We grew up sailing San Francisco Bay, indisputably the best sailing in the world and one we generally take for granted. On a typical day on the water we’ll motor up the estuary (which we fondly refer to as the “Alameda Riviera”) raising sails just beyond the Port of Oakland. We know all the stories associated with the local landmarks such as President Roosevelt’s refurbished USS Potomac and Jack London Square, the old Navy Base and the various Coast Guard stations.
The houseboat with the nautical twist on Sam Foss’ poem posted over the door is one of our favorites, “Let me live in a house by the sea and be a friend to man.” It’s a funky A-frame with a collection of deck adornments that have grown over the years. The big white mansion on Yerba Buena Island is home to the highest ranking Coast Guard officer on the west coast, but hubby longs to make the little storage shed on the cliff into the perfect game room. The underbellies of the bridges connecting estuary to bay and bay to ocean roar over our heads as we silently drift underneath. We know the Bay inside and out from the waterside.
We have a few “oh shit” stories … inching our way in zero visibility past Treasure Island, surfing six foot waves into the estuary with two seasick kids, the fridge sliding out of it’s closet and hubby retrieving it below decks while I was overpowered and freaking out at helm, the engine quitting right before we circled around to hook mooring balls at Angel Island … good times. LOL!
Days of hosting friends and family onboard. Champagne (and rum) cruises, KaBoom firework displays and Blue Angel air shows. First time sailors and old salts … floating in glass-like water, blazing through swells, sunbathing and rails in the water (sometimes all in one day!). Pelicans divebombing for dinner, sea lions rolling in the waves and dolphins dancing in duos. Never a dull moment or a repeat performance in our hundreds of sailing adventures.
The best of times are always at Angel Island. So much so that we chose it for the site of our wedding. We’ve been the only ones in the cove and also enjoyed the melodrama of watching inexperienced boaters moor amid a crowd. Hiked and biked, dinghied and beach combed, braved storms and lolled about in the hammock. It’s our Happy Place.
We love the Bay. It’s home. But what’s behind the Golden Gate? The Pacific Ocean and the world. We lie in our bunk at the marina and talk about the seas we will cross, the islands we will visit and the love that we will make in turquoise blue water and warm tradewinds. We are sailors. We’ll sail away from our homeport paradise in 2019 for a new chapter in living our dream.
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore! Dream! Discover!” – Mark Twain
Written for To Live & Write in Alameda’s October Flash Fiction Challenge #5, “Behind the Gate.” We had three days to write a 500 word short story and share with our group.
If you have a writer’s soul and live in Alameda, please join our group! No experience necessary … members range from those who dream of writing the Great American Novel to published authors. No dues, many free daily/weekly meet-ups, reasonably priced workshops and focus groups and retreats, and tons of encouragement and support.
Here’s the link: To Live and Write in Alameda.