I got back on the oars at 04:48 and rowed for a while and then checked the time. It was 05:08.
I rowed for another stretch and looked left towards Ocean Beach to check progress. Time? 05:25.
Sometimes you just want to arrive, like ta-dah! But rowing, paddling, walking… these are the slowest means of transportation. They are not about arriving. You have to give up on arriving.
The sun rose. The Galen Diana was ahead, motoring back towards the bridge.
Motivation was low. Adductor muscles were in what-did-you-do-to-us-yesterday mode, so I did the seated pigeon pose until they shut up and stepped up and down from deck to footwell. (Curious eh, my muscles now have voices of their own!)
I grew sleepy.
I wanted to avoid the Snake, the current running southbound by Ocean Beach and the crab pots that litter the shoreline around 75ft deep. In hindsight I would have been better closer in. The current flowing into the bay moves faster in shallower water.
Yesterday I worried that if I took a nap post sunrise, I wouldn’t make it to the Farallons before the wind picked up (well founded, I didn’t). Today I worried that if I took a nap post sunrise I wouldn’t make it to the bridge before the tide turned.
For now, the nap was worth it!
Back on the oars, I rowed into shallower water looking for my Ladder, my magic current booster into the bay. The incoming tide wasn’t a big one and I gained a few increments of a knot at best. Then the harbour porpoises appeared around me. Oh no. The ‘Everything is going to be alright’ dolphins. I’ve nicknamed them this, because they always appear just before everything is not alright. They watch out for me these porpoises. I see them every row.
I checked the tide again. The dolfs were right. If I didn’t pick up the pace, the tide would turn on me before I reached the bridge.
I wasn’t in the mood to be blasted by a ship, so I rowed at 90 degrees to it’s channel to make my intentions clear. No blast. Thank you. The morning breeze off the land tried to shove me north of Point Bonita. I wasn’t having that either.
Inside Point Bonita the tide was already on the turn. Dear God no. I could see a nice new Beneteau bucking the current, making less progress than me close to the headland, so I wove out into the middle of the channel to ride the rumble strips. This worked. My new tactic was to weave with the undercurrent all the way to the gate, get as far into the bay as possible before turning to duck into Horseshoe Cove.
A cigarette boat roared past me. ‘I bet I see more wildlife than you,’ I thought and as if hearing me, a whale surface between me and Mile Rock. Oh WOW escaped from my lips. The whale was a Humpback and the part of the whale I saw was 20 feet long, as long as my boat.
I rowed into the cool shadow of the Golden Gate Bridge and made my turn north to row parallel with the bridge. I was rowing 3.5 knots boat speed, 1 knot over the ground. If I stopped, there would be no Horseshoe Cove anchorage nap stop. Sailboats streamed past me. Crew with cameras snapped away. I dug deep.
I was back in the bay of SF, back to being the whale.