My alarm was set for 4:50 am last Thursday morning. Priorities were set too; Get the water boiling for coffee, final system checks, go above to crank up the diesel, unplug and roll up the shore-power cord, grab my handheld vhf and turn it to 71, pour the coffee, then untie the lines and head toward our meeting point at the end of the historic Berkeley pier.
I had changed the oil the night before and measured the height of the mast just to make sure I knew exactly how high it was. We were headed up the Petaluma River and their is a bridge reported to be around 70 feet off the water. Turns out we have a 56′ mast with a little under 6′ of freeboard to the waterline. We’d be fine, right? 8 feet! I was up until around 1:30 am, partly out of necessity due to work related issues, partly due to boat work and largely due to my excited feelings for the 4 day trip up the river that we’d been planning with a couple of friends to celebrate a birthday and explore our surroundings.
We made our meet up point right on time. When that happens, I know I am among friends. I’ve run into this type of commitment and camaraderie when meeting up for trips with people in the climbing world and in certain types of snowboarders and river runners and I was excited that we were all right on target to start this trip. Not that it would’ve been a big deal to motor slower or have to catch up, but it was just a really cool feeling to meet up with these guys, in the spot where we did, to kick off the trip. Petaluma bound!