Adulting In Half Moon Bay and Monterey

(September 16th-21st, 2017)

After my dad and Tracy left the morning of the 16th, it was just Rich and me.  The kids were still with Grandma, and we had no idea when or where we were going to get them back.  I remember standing around for a few minutes, not quite knowing what to do with myself.

One of our buddy boats, S/V Westy, was also in Half Moon Bay.  They had their son, Aksel, with them.  We also met S/V Tuwamish there, with two of their kids (number three was at home visiting the girlfriend).  We hosted a kid-boat happy hour on our boat.  The problem was, we didn’t have any kids.

So, the first order of business was to figure out when and where we were going to get the girls back.  Although we’d promised them at least three weeks with Grandma, I just wasn’t willing to wait that long.  If you count the time we were all visiting together, they got their three weeks (or close enough).  (Three weeks was what Morgan said she required before she’d be ready to come back to the boat.)  So, we decided they’d meet us at our next stop, Monterey.

We planned to stay in Half Moon Bay five days, but the weather wasn’t going to let that happen.  We arrived there on Friday the 15th, and if we didn’t leave by Monday, September 18, we wouldn’t have another chance until Friday the 22nd. Rich and I took the opportunity on Saturday the 16th to provision and figure out our schedule for the next two weeks so we could plan the girls’ return.  We decided they’d meet us in Monterey on the 21st, and booked tickets for them and my parents.  Then, on Sunday the 17th, we did some laundry, rinsed off the boat, and went the bar to watch the Seahawks game together like real adults.  We were still exhausted from our offshore passage, but forced ourselves through the motions of preparing to leave so that we didn’t get stuck in Half Moon Bay an extra five days.  The next morning, Monday, we were off to Monterey.  We motored for a while in thick fog until the fog finally lifted and the wind picked up, at which point we had a lively sail into Monterey Bay.

We hadn’t planned to stay at the dock in Monterey, but the anchorage was unprotected from the incoming weather, and the marina was unexpectedly cheap, so we pulled into the marina.  (Even though the marina was cheap, I still would have like to have saved the money and anchored, but I was still exhausted and beat up from our passage and needed the boat to stay relatively still for a few nights.) We had a devil of a time getting into our slip.  First, it was the first time we’ve seen the “full-fingered” docks, where each slip fits only one boat, rather than a double-slip for one boat on each side.  Second, our dock was blocked by several fences that effectively prevented both sea lions and sailors from landing on the dock.  Trying to hop off the boat, over the fences, and onto the dock, and then reaching over the fences to get our lines secured, proved to be difficult and clumsy at best.  Despite our difficulty, we arrived in Monterey with time to enjoy our evening.  Unaccustomed to our child-free state, we walked down the pier to check in with the harbormaster, and do some brief exploring. Somehow, we resisted the temptation to eat out.  The marina water was spectacular – clear, and teeming with life.  The girls were going to love this place.

The next day  (Tuesday, September 19), Rich and I got a rare chance to rest and play!  We started by sleeping in.  Then, we headed over to Fisherman’s Wharf to find some coffee.  We found Water + Leaves, which was a large yet minimalistic tea and coffee-house.  We ordered lattes for breakfast, and relaxed and chatted as we sipped them down.  It was a little after 10AM by the time we finished, and the shops on the wharf were starting to open.  It was at that point that we discovered the main activity on Fisherman’s Wharf – chowder tasting!

Chowder tasting on the wharf is an outing all on its own.  The wharf is lined with restaurant after restaurant, each one claiming to serve the best chowder on the pier.  To entice you into their restaurants, they offer free chowder tasting to hapless tourists wandering down the pier.  Don’t be shy – grab the chowder by the tasting bowl and taste it!  You’ll be surprised and impressed with the variety of flavors in the different chowders, all of which are good.  You’ll also get a free lunch out of it, because by the time you taste the last cup, you’ll be satisfyingly full from the quantity of free tastings offered.  I highly recommend a chowder-tasting outing when in Monterey.

After we had our fill of free chowder samples, Rich and I walked the waterfront path down to Cannery Row.  It was a great walk, especially after our week at sea. We scoped out the dining and shopping and general touristing opportunities in preparation for the girls’ arrival, and then had a nice stroll back to Fisherman’s Wharf.  There, we had a mediocre lunch with cheap margaritas, and headed back to the boat.

Earlier in the day, we’d coordinated yet another kid-boat happy hour on Mobert for that evening.  Tuwamish hadn’t yet arrived from Half Moon Bay, but we were joined by Westy, The Answer, and a new boat we’d met and its fabulous owners Jill and Brent.  Again, we felt bad that we didn’t have the kids with us to play with the other kids (especially the lovely ladies from The Answer, who Morgan and Ellie hadn’t met yet), but at least this time we knew the girls would be on their way soon.

The next day was September 20, only one day before the girls’ arrival.  It felt like there was so much to do before they arrived!  We woke up early and used the marina’s single washing machine to start washing their bedding.  Then, we headed back to the boat and I worked to unpack all their personal items that had been stowed for the passage, and essentially re-build their rooms for them.  Despite our best intentions, we were still tired from the passage down from Anacortes, and we didn’t accomplish nearly what we needed to that day.  After a few hours, we gave up and relaxed to rest up.

Then, it was The Day.  The day the girls arrived!  We expected them in the evening, around 5:30 or 6, so that gave us most of the day to get the boat put together for them.  We had our work cut out for us.

The biggest problem I kept running into while organizing their rooms was the lack of shelving in their hanging lockers.  I never understood sailboats and their hanging lockers.  Hanging is such and inefficient way of storing clothes.  I always thought the purpose of hanging clothes was to help keep them wrinkle-free, but let’s be realistic – we live on a boat, and wrinkles are the least of our concerns.  What’s more, the hanging lockers in Mobert aren’t even deep enough for a standard hanger to fit in, so everything hung in them hangs kinda diagonally in the closet, the end result being even more wasted space than a standard hanging locker.  I simply could not organize the girls’ rooms without shelving.

So, Rich and I set off on the 2-mile walk to Home Depot in Seaside.  We didn’t realize it was two miles when we started, and despite having had breakfast before we left, I was debilitatingly hungry by the time we finally arrived.  There was a nearby Chili’s, but it wasn’t going to open for another 15 minutes.  We sat on the bench outside until they opened, and then had the restaurant to ourselves as we strategized our day over lunch.

Rich carefully compares Dremel heads at Home Depot.

Despite spending an hour at Home Depot, we weren’t successful in the shelving search.  We came up with a plan to install wire shelving, and we even almost bought a tool we’d need to cut that wire shelving down to size.  But, the shelving itself, uncut, was 8 feet long.  We couldn’t carry or Uber/Lyft that back to the boat.  Running out of time before the girls’ arrival, and purchasing only a number of 3M Command Strip organizers, we left the store to get back to the boat and keep working on it.  We only had a few hours left, and I was very worried about how the kids’ reentry into boat life would go…

One thought on “Adulting In Half Moon Bay and Monterey

  • October 14, 2017 at 12:02 pm

    LOVE Monterey Bay! That is our home port (we lived in Pacific Grove)! We still have a boat on the D dock there in Monterey (presently we are in the Caribbean). Enjoy the time there. Take your kiddos to the aquarium, Dennis the Menace park, and grab a treat at MYO there on Alvarado street. Lovers Point has a great beach and views, as does Asilomar beach. Can’t beat the sunsets at Asilomar!
    =) ~Stef s/v RoundAbout (



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