I gripped the clear plastic frosty cup in one hand and with the other held the green straw steady so I could take a sweet long pull on my drink. My eyes nearly rolled back in my head as the icy taste hit my tongue. We had held out for nearly three days after arriving in Sausalito but we couldn’t resist that green sign with the mermaid and the “free wifi” sign on the door any longer. Before we knew what was happening the four of us were sitting in Starbucks, the girls slurping down organic vanilla milks, Michael with a java chip frappacino and myself deliriously inhaling a caramel frappacino, my first in nearly three months.
Since we had arrived in Sausalito late on a Friday evening, the customs agents didn’t arrive until nearly noon the next day to clear us in. [Note to anyone sailing directly to San Francisco from Canada, or any other foreign port: do go directly to Oakland as the customs agents suggested we do, it is the fastest way to check in.] After the agents had left the boat once the five-minute check-in process was completed, our amazing crewmember Garth hightailed it to the airport to catch his afternoon flight home in time and we stayed onboard the boat for yet another hour or two just wondering what to do next. Finally we put on our shoes and walked ashore to meander down the Sausalito streets.
The land swayed underneath our feet as we made our way through the Saturday throngs of tourists. It was dizzying in other ways: it felt like we were suddenly weaving our way through millions and millions of people after not bumping elbows with a single soul for months in Canada. Cars, buses, bikes, planes, ferries hurtled by; we were overwhelmed by the huge variety of sights and sounds around us after seeing only sea, trees and rocks for so long. One thing was for sure, we were hungry for a non-home cooked meal and made our way to our favorite hamburger joint, waited in line for about a half hour and walked across the street to the park with our bag of huge, juicy handmade cheeseburgers and fries. Paradise.
We quickly adjusted though and after a day or two were dancing with joy at all the easy access to, well, everything here. Don’t get me wrong though, it’s not really the cheeseburgers, cheap delicious beer, amazing Mexican food, Starbucks, Targets, West Marines, Trader Joes (oh hallelujah!), fresh juicy produce, rich dark coffee, mail deliveries, sunshine, free anchorages, free hot showers, or copious wifi that’s got us loving life here. It’s the people, of course. Our days have been jam-packed with visiting friends both new and old. We’ve met up with fellow boats from the Northwest also on their way south, a number of close family and friends that live in the area, a huge handful of friends that we cruised with nine years ago that make their home in the Bay again, and of course, new friends.
A few days after arriving in SF we rolled out the genoa and scooted eastward across the bay to Emeryville where our kindred spirits on Convivia have been living on and readying their Cal 43 for cruising, now only days away from their own departure date. We’d only “met” online up to this point but minutes after we pulled into our borrowed slip on their dock their daughter Ruby, 7, and Leah were already skipping down the dock holding hands and making plans for their slumber party that night. We talked into the afternoon, then talked over dinner at a local Mexican restaurant, then tucked all four kids, Leah, Ruby, Miles and Holly, into bunks on Convivia while we parents sipped Tucker’s famous margaritas and talked and laughed late into the night.
The people here are the sweetest part of this city for sure.