San Francisco, CA to Half Moon Bay, CA

Leaving San Francisco early in the morning I was surprised at the amount of ferry traffic – and then realised this would have been commuter ferries, shuttling people over for the start of the work day.

There was no wind, even under the bridge and I motored out

On the way over the bar I saw HMCS Vancouver (a Canadian Frigate)on her way into San Fran for fleet week. Normally she is based just down the road from Victoria, so it was nice seeing her.

The trip to halfmoon bay was a straight motor (again) into 5 knot winds from the south (again) but it was pretty interesting – all the way over the San Fran bar there were these huge shoals of small fish at the surface, what I thought were Harbour Porpoises (but in groups and a lot more bold than any I’ve seen before) and then further out I saw a group of California sea lions porpoising

There were also probably 50+ humpbacks (at least one or two were in sight the entire 5 hour trip) doing their thing, tail lobbing etc. I’d love to see a different type of whale but so far humpbacks are all I’ve seen – they are everywhere (along with Minke that I saw in BC).

The highlight was when I saw what looked like a feather sticking up out of the water, I went back around and saw what I think was a small ocean sunfish. One of the more weird fish, they grow massive (up to 1000lb) and can’t really swim very well, spending most of their lives drifting on their side on the surface, eating jellyfish (about the only thing that can’t escape them). Unfortunately, it dived (actually ‘sank’ would be a better description) before I could get a closer look. Very cool though!

Half Moon Bay is very nice and has a lovely anchorage protected by a breakwater – the first protected anchorage I’ve seen pretty much since Neah Bay. I went to the marina for one night to use their internet (it wasn’t working to my complete lack of surprise) and then have been anchored out the last few nights, waiting for the 30+ NW breeze to down die a bit. There are a lot of sealions here – one came up to the boat after I anchored and seemed to be either asking for food or trying to get on the boat.

There are also a ton of pelicans here which are probably my new favourite bird. They are massive, very weird and very cool.

They remind me of the great blue heron in a lot of ways, though a lot less shy.

I’ve spent the last few days resecuring the motor mounts, moving the aux bilge pump and other small jobs, and reading my Mexico cruising guide I picked up in San Fran and getting pumped about Mexico – lots of anchorages, swimming, snorkelling and fishing. Hells yeah.



  1. I admit that I stalked and took a few photos of the brown pelicans when I was in Westport a few weeks ago. I watched them dive headlong into the ocean with such force that I’m amazed they don’t break their necks, especially with a beak relatively the size of a spinnaker.

    I hope to hear some fishing reports soon, good luck!

    • They are pretty amazing birds! Fishing-wise, I’ve dragged a tuna lure all down the coast, but I know I’ve been in too close to shore – you can see it in the water temp, hasn’t been above 16 yet. It’s getting warmer though so should start seeing some action in the next few hundred miles!!

  2. Looking good. Cruisers tend to spend a lot of time in SF for some reason. You will probably leapfrog a bunch of them.

    I remember the pelicans…and the breakwaters that look like they are white washed but aren’t. Blech. Good luck on you next legs!

    • Yeah, I know of several people spending a few weeks there. I think they are doing Neah Bay ->SF in one go and then SF – San diego in one go maybe? I’m not sure. How long ago did you do the trip? I may go looking on your blog to see your thoughts

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