Alongside with Jean

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Tue 1 Dec 2015 08:32

Position: 37 39.81 N 122 22.50 W
Alongside Oyster Point Marina
Wind: east, F2 gentle breeze
Weather: mostly overcast, cool
Days run: 2.5 nm

We weighed anchor as it was getting light and motored the remaining two and a half miles to Oyster Point Marina in a flat calm sea. I followed a commuter ferry into the small man made harbour and pulled into an empty dock immediately inside the entrance. It was still to early for the office to open so I used the time to give Sylph's decks a good wash down with fresh water. At nine I walked along the marina until I found the harbourmaster's office. Immediately inside was a tall dark haired man, clean shaven, wearing a thick black overcoat and a fisherman's hat with two metal stars in its peak. I thought it might be the harbor master. “Harbor master?” I asked. “Bill?” he asked in return. “No, Bob,” I answered. “Oh, I'm Jean.”

This was most fortuitous. Jean is the man I made contact with by phone after rescuing the boat in Richardson Bay that used to belong to him which he had given to a crazy Russian. He had offered to take me to the airport to pick up a friend who is joining Sylph for a week, but it seems he had confused the day thinking that my friend was arriving today. Once that was sorted, it turned out that I had berthed Sylph in the wrong spot, so the first order of the day was to move Sylph to the guest dock. That done, the second order was for me to take a very long hot shower, the first proper shower for a rather long time. After that I got stuck into giving Sylph a thorough clean up, match my new found freshness.

This evening Jean took me for a long drive back to Sausalito in his ancient truck, a dinghy mounted on its roof for his crazy Russian friend. It seems that Jean is a very generous man. Harald and the Russian (I cannot remember his name) were waiting for us when we got to the dinghy dock that I had only left the day before. I think Harald was very surprised to see me. Harald had been helping the Russian out over the last several days, ferrying him ashore in the absence of a dinghy. Apparently the Russian had lost a previous dinghy and had been relying on an inflatable pool toy to get him to and from his boat since, a rather hazardous undertaking.  Once the Russian was in possession of his new dinghy, and quite a nice one I might add, Jean and I continued on our way to do a bit of last minute shopping before Sylph's guest arrives tomorrow morning.

I learned a little about Jean over dinner at a diner called Dennys. He was born in Puerto Rico and moved to the US with his parents when he was 17. He left home at 18 and it would seem that he has had numerous jobs, mostly revolving around boats, cars and engines. He spent a year in the US Navy (long story as to how this was possible) and during that short period of time managed to serve in the '91 Gulf War, so it seems we were in the Persian Gulf together at the same time. He was serving on the aircraft carrier, USS Ranger, and I am pretty sure that my ship, the HMAS Brisbane, acted as plane guard to his ship on occasions. For the last twenty years he has been a policeman, mainly working on identity theft. He lives on his small boat, and is planning on retiring soon and sailing off around the world. 

It has been a busy and interesting day.

All is well.