A bachelor, a sea lion, and a boat
Updated: Dec 16, 2019
I can safely deliver a vessel in my sleep. I have done it countless times over the last 10 years. All kinds of ships in many shapes and sizes. Stay with me people—we are talking about boats. I think I can honestly say that this is the first time I have had to pick up a boat that was out of commission. No exaggeration here: from the actual repair shop.
I will admit it now after-the-fact and in this public forum that I was a little nervous to find myself in this situation (yes, even an experienced captain like myself), but the novice owner of this 42-foot Carver motor vessel is a friend of the family. I had a good chuckle over this and then set off on my merry way (just another delivery, I told myself), safety equipment in hand, to pick up the ship and her owner in San Francisco Bay.
Without a functioning generator but the engine repaired, I started the task of preparing the boat for cast off. Stepping onto Happy Ours was a breath of “fresh” air...if you were a part of the Cheech and Chong era, have the movie Friday readily available at all times via DVR, or Sirius XM’s Snoop Dogg channel saved as a favorite in your car. I soon realized that I was probably aboard one of San Francisco’s finest floating bachelor pads complete with button-down shirts strewn around vicariously, rolling papers, half-eaten bags of chips, and, of course, the highly anticipated beer-stocked fridge.
I am always enamored by the feeling of being out in the open water: the small fish in a large pond syndrome. There is nothing like the “no shirt, no shoes, no problem” Jimmy Buffet Margaritaville mentality that comes along with the territory. All the more reason why our little jaunt at the St. Francis Yacht Club was so...out of place. St. Francis Yacht Club—the white elephant on the water. Formal attire required, tank tops and sandals not permitted. So with foie gras torchon (whatever that means) and wild mushroom roasted something-or-other, we were tossed abruptly back into the world that we left behind a few hours ago.
The next day, we were back at it again bright and early in the morning. One thing that could not be more perfect on this five day trip was the weather. Well, despite some fog that we had to sift through on occasion. One of my favorite things about this job (if you could even call it that) is the variety of sea life that you encounter. I cannot see myself ever growing tired of riding along side of these beautiful, sleek creatures. From the pod of whales in Monterey who surrounded us Ring Around the Rosie style so that we could not move an inch for over an hour to the rare glimpse of migrating sea lions, I was in no rush to get back home to Los Angeles. To heck with my float plan. In fact, I could even hear my daughter’s voice (time and time again mind you): “If you get lost, I am not calling the Coast Guard!”
A couple of days later, with a sweaty, room temperature bottle of Newcastle in hand (did I mention earlier that the generator was broken?), I docked the boat at one of the most memorable locales—Morro Bay. It is known for the ancient volcanic mound, known as Morro Rock, that juts out at the end of its beach. We could not wait to get a close-up of this beautiful white speckled landmass that we had been admiring from afar. Much to our chagrin, as we got closer, it was nothing more than a gigantic rock “speckled” with bird droppings. I will compare my level of disappointment to an experience I had over the recent holiday: receiving a dinky little Charlie Brown Christmas tree instead of the beautiful, decorative, pre-lit tree that was pictured online. Thank you, Amazon. Was this really your “best-selling” tree?
I do not mean to detract from this otherwise beautiful bay that reminded me of one of those old-time fishing villages captured in a Thomas Kinkade painting or featured in a Hallmark Christmas movie. Quaint buildings and shops of all different colors and classic vessels dotting the shoreline. And my favorite scene: dozens of otters floating around lazily on their backs, eating off of their protruding, sleek table-like bellies.
A thought popped into my head as we pulled into our final destination—Ventura Harbor—on the eve of the 5th day. How I love the simplicity of being out on the open ocean: nothing around for miles and miles except for a bachelor, a sea lion, and a boat.