After our engagement at China Beach in Point Lobos Nature Reserve, we took a sunset sailing cruise called Bella on the Bay which I had booked the day before. As unlikely as it may seem, it made our already memorable day even more memorable. We’ve been on cruises of San Francisco bay and Seattle’s Puget sound and other harbor cruises before, but this one was unlike any other and one of the best adventures we’ve had.
It all starts with Captain Christian. An Alaskan native from a family of sailors and fisherman, he has been sailing since a little boy and immediately welcomes you with his infectious enthusiasm for sailing which will make you want to hop on board and sign up to be a second mate even if you have the worse case of hydrophobia in the world. Throughout the cruise, he does everything possible to make you comfortable. He allows you to steer and teaches you how to feel and read the wind. He even let me work the “noodles,” pulling the ropes on the sails. While you steer, he might put on a helmut cam and get great action videos of you sailing his 47 ft Italian sailboat, the Tierra Lynn (named after his daughter and grandmother).
It was so much fun, we actually went on two cruises this weekend. Normally he can take up to 6 in a group–even kids–or 8 in a private charter, however we were lucky in that it was just us both times. The first sunset cruise was an adrenaline filled rush–the winds were raging at 25 knots (28.8 mph)–to give you a perspective, gale winds are 34 knots as defined by the National Weather Service. It actually didn’t start out this way, but once we were out in the bay it really picked up and we felt like we were in the America’s Cup, speeding along with half of the boat “heeling” or leaning over to one side because of the wind. But we felt totally safe in the hands of Christian and were really riding the wind to a record of 11.7 knots, which we we’re told, is a record for the Tierra Lynn. High five’s were given all around. The second day cruise was much more relaxing with gentle breezes–we were able to ride the bow and Kim was rocked to sleep by the ocean–you can take a nap in the cabin or even a hammock strung on the boom.
We’re a food blog after all, so one other benefit of cruising with Bella on the Bay , is that Christian has a couple of crab pots out in the bay and if you’re lucky, there’s a catch which you can steam up at the end of the cruise! We only got one rock crab, but Christian really had to work hard for it–imagine pulling up a heavy steel cage crab pot that’s dropped in 300 ft. of water and how heavy it would be pulling up. Imagine the burn in your arms…He did that twice! He also has a cooler/fridge on board if you want to have adult beverages. A cold beer never tasted so good when you’re out sailing.