This is the 2nd section of our trip:
Benicia May 5th 2006
Upon the completion of our stay in Petaluma, we pulled in our lines made our way down the serpentine river to the San Pablo bay. We were told that the Benicia Marina was nice and preferred to the Napa River. We decided to follow the local recommendations and give Benicia a try.
Once out in the channel, we were vexed with the contrary tide again. The Boatasaurus struggled up the bay to the Carquinez strait. By 10:30 am, the wind
had picked up and was running against the outgoing tide. Boatasaurus rocked and rolled over the waves. We could see two boats struggling behind us and a line of merry trawlers coming down the straight, speeding along with the current
to San Francisco.
We passed under the Carquinez straight bridge and beside the gigantic C&H sugar plant. Everything gets big in these parts
. Tug boats as big as Ocean Liners pushed square Barges as big as small towns. Oil
Refineries could be seen for miles on the Starboard. Oil
tankers lined up along the docks unloading their precious commodity. Fortunately, the straight was wide and had room for visitors such as us. The Port side of the channel had rolling hills with occasional houses.
Benicia Marina lay behind a small point, lined with Palm trees. Ancient commercial
tug boat wrecks lay on the Western side of the point. Once around the point, the black steel
entry to the harbor appeared. The modern Benicia Yacht Club and condominiums lay beyond. We registered and proceeded to our slip.
Once tied up, we where met our first local “Hey, I’m George, the Ancient mariner.” George hobbled down the dock
with a Cain in each hand. George continued “why, you must be the young mariner, say, can you let me out of the gate?”. I proceeded to the gate and discovered that it was locked on both sides, keeping many people out and a few in, such a George. George encouraged us to crash the yacht club’s Friday night party, where, $20 could get you all you could eat. George liked that.
Vivi and I finished tying up the Boatasaurus and headed into town. 1st St. lay just a block from the harbor and was lined with a variety Victorian era buildings. We strolled down the tree lined street admiring the colorful flags
and welcoming signage. The farmers market was setting up booths offering a variety of brightly colored fruits and vegetables. I I bought a ½ pound of dried apricots from one vendor. The local bar advertised Thursday night Jazz. Locals were quick to recommend the 1st St café for breakfast and lunches and Matsuri’s for Japanese food
. We opted for Matsuri’s. Matsuri’s offered Japanese dishes with the style and beauty found only in the best establishments. Flavors came alive in our mouths. Modern Jazz played softly in the background.
We finished our meal and walked down to the harbor. A stiff breeze was blowing and a thick black fog
tumbled over the marina. A Hunter
sail boat tied up next to our slip. A weathered couple struggled with a loose roller furling jib
. Slap slap slap the jib
As with any trip that goes on for a few weeks, we were glad for the company of our new neighbors. Janice had to leave for a get together with family
, but Barney agreed to join us for a bottle of wine, cheese and crackers. Within a short time, Barney had the Hunter
secured and he joined us. Our conversations lasted into the night. We were oblivious to the wind
and swirling fog
around our merry cabin