I am writing this post from my brother’s home in Tiburon, CA. I have been here many times, but until now had only ever arrived by plane or car. My arrival to the bay area this time will never be forgotten. Haunani, my trusty crew (Thomas Lehtonen and Piño Moreau), and myself passed under the breathtaking Golden Gate Bridge on Monday morning after traveling 400 miles up the coast in 2.5 days.
I had been gearing up to make this journey for days (well, months really), and preparations were coming along well, if not getting a little down to the wire. Our projected departure date was the following Wednesday evening. We were watching the weather carefully, as this trip is renowned for its treacherous and uncomfortable conditions. On Friday morning, Thomas got a call from one of his friends who is an experienced captain, who was watching the weather for us. He reported that a perfect weather window had developed and that we should leave that day. Thomas and I looked at the weather together and saw the changes of which his friend spoke. The next 3 days were beyond perfect for this trip….almost too good to be true. Not only that, if we waited, and left when planned, we would be faced with huge winds and rough conditions. We (along with my friends Cecile and Whitall on Cecile’s boat, Aeriagnie) decided in about 5 minutes to leave that night. The mayhem that ensued is now a blur, but it was indeed mayhem. We finished a few things on the boat, provisioned, filled fuel cans, packed (me for 1.5 months), and cast off from my slip at 10pm. I could not have made this happen without my amazing friends Gabi and Silvia who rallied (as they always do) beyond the call of duty to help me on my way.
We left Marina Del Rey on a beautiful Friday night after one of the most spectacular sunsets I have seen in a long time. The trip that ensued could not have been more wonderful. Under the guidance of Thomas who has done this trip many times, we made our way safely and efficiently up the coast with only one stop in Santa Barbara for fuel. We had beautifully calm conditions, and encountered different types of whales, dolphins, and glowing jelly fish along the way. Rounding the potentially treacherous Point Conception was a breeze, and for that I was very grateful! The sunsets were spectacular as was the company. Piño and Thomas kept me in stitches the whole way, and were perfect crew-mates!
We motored for the entire trip except for a couple ambitious attempts to sail (one with an almost catastrophic spinnaker hoist in which Thomas saved the day with his mad skills). Haunani sang along the whole time with her newly tuned motor running like a charm. We arrived at the entrance to the bay around 10am on Monday under chilly overcast skies. Approaching and then crossing under The Golden Gate Bridge took my breath away. I could not believe that I was there crossing under that beautiful landmark on my own boat!
My sweet brother called me as we passed Tiburon town and was on the beach waiving at us and taking photos! He later greeted us at our marina, which will be Haunani’s home for the next 2 weeks as I prepare for the final push to the start of The Singlehanded Transpac!
I bid goodbye to Thomas and Piño on Tuesday afternoon, after a half day of hard work on my boat, and to be honest, I was a bit of a wreck. Saying goodbye to Thomas after working almost every day by his side for the past 9 months was emotional to say the least. He is so many things to me, and on top of that, his expertise and support in this endeavor have been my lifeline. I guess the reality of letting go of that tether was a bit overwhelming. I know it is necessary for me to be on my own with this now, and I embrace it, but I would be lying if I said it wasn’t (and isn’t) really heart wrenching.
Being here has made the reality of what I am about to do hit home like never before. Over the past few days, I have vacilated between excitement and nervousness on a regular basis. I find that I have to take a lot of deep breaths as I look ahead to July 2. I am feeling strong and positive, and as always am feeling so grateful for my amazing support team, friends and family! I would not be here with out each of you by my side!