MW Mobile Blog

For friends, family and the random search engine visitor. This blog started as an experiment in mobile blogging from my Palm TREO 600 700 Prē HTC Evo,Samsung 5. Now it serves as a simple repository of favorite activities. Expect bad golf, good fishing, great sailing, eating, drinking, adventure travel, occasional politics and anything else I find interesting along the way including, but not limited to, any of the labels listed here...

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Eclipse Adventure Begins

Photo by Sigrid - July 11, 1991
In July 1991 Sigrid and I embarked on one of our first great travel adventures together to Costa Rica we rented a car in San Jose, drove to the Monteverde cloud forest for a week, and then to the El Ocatel Hotel on the Pacific Coast.

There we were certified as scuba divers by Mario Vargas on our final checkout dive, and dove the Costa Rica coast with bull sharks.

On July 11, we hung out by the hotel and watched our first total eclipse of the sun on the bluff overlooking the Gulf De Papagallos.


Yesterday Harlan, Rachel and Jonah arrived from LA on their West Coast college tour and enjoyed a dinner in North Beach.

Today we continue the road trip North with intent of getting in the way of the total eclipse on August 21 in Oregon, where we hope to share the experience with a pletora of relations. First leg - Mendocino:

First Leg

May the eclipse be with us. Stay tuned...

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Cubs vs Giants at ATT Park

The World Champion Chicago Cubs are in first place in their division and in town to play a 3 game series against the Giants - who are currently 25 games below .500 and 35 games behind the division leading L.A. Dodgers. But, that does not tell the whole story. The Cubs just lost the two previous series in Wrigley field and, like most Cub fans - I am seriously angst ridden about the way they are playing in 2017:

The Cubs weren't playing at home when I was in Chicago last spring, and I won't be back to Chicago until late October. Unless they are playing in the World Series, this may be my only chance to see them play this year. The Cubs won Monday night, amid the hoopla about Barry Bonds breaking the all-time home run record 10 years before. That brought back memories, as I was at the park that night in 2007:

Roy and I decided to go the Wednesday game. It was an afternoon game and, after the Cubs lost on Tuesday,  the rubber match of the series.

The Arcade Section - Between the Field and The Bay
ATT is a great baseball park to watch a game. Probably the 2nd or 3rd best park in the country behind Wrigley Field. It's in the City, so I can walk the 4 miles from Russian Hill to proactively work off the over-priced beer and food I would indulge in the park.  Got the tickets on GameTime at 50% off of face, met Roy at MoMo's for a beer and went in to watch the Cubs lose yet another series.

They're still in first, but I have my doubt whether they'll still be playing late October. Unhappy outcome but a fun outing. Some pics from the day:

A foggy morning to start the walk from Russian Hill

Stopped to watch this guy catch a monster ray fishing along the Embarcadero

I have some video footage of that amazing catch, which I'll post later. 

Then on to MoMos to meet Roy for a a pregame beer or two.

And into the Park:

 We sat in the Arcade Section. It's the closest thing to being in the Left Field Bleacher in Wrigley.

No Chicago Style Italian Beefs, but Cheesesteak was an acceptable substitute.
It didn't turn out the way I hoped. 
I hate having to explain a Cubs loss to Giants Fans.

"Hunter Pence played 42 home games this season before launching a home run. After Wednesday, the San Francisco Giants right fielder has hit two in his last four starts. His eighth-inning, opposite-field shot gave the home team an insurance run in its 3-1 win over the Chicago Cubs in the series finale from AT&T Park. It also allowed starter Madison Bumgarner to breathe a little easier from the bench after submitting a quality start over seven innings. Bumgarner’s win wasn’t secure for most of the game."
#ThatsCub\- at least so far in 2017. 

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Lincoln Park Rehabilitation

No, not the park, my golf game. I like to return to Lincoln Park whenever I need to get my game back on track. Which is kind of odd when you think about it, as my golf game has never actually been "on track". But I used to break 100 regularly on the par 68 course, and I feel better about my game when I do break 100, so the theory is to play Lincoln and break 100 again.

Played with Bob, Rick and Stuart. Cool and foggy most of the day, with a smattering of sunshine later in the afternoon.

They started us on the 9th tee, which is apparently the weekend drill at Lincoln these days. It certainly makes the logistics of retrieving our mid-round beers from the parking lot a bit more complex and inconvenient. We figured it out.

 Some pics from the day (in no particular order):

Comparing bad golf swings on 13
Stuart tees of on 17
Rick out of the trap on 8
Stuart stripes his 2nd tee shot on 7 (this one did not land on Clement)
Bob takes aim at "Benioff's Pride " on the 7th hole approach
19th Hole
Another perfectly good theory shot to hell.

SJ - 93
BP - 96
RZ - 102
MW - 104

At least I enjoyed the vistas, the views of the Golden Gate Bridge, the companionship, the beers, and the burger in the bar. 

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

2017 Abalone Report Card 1-6 - A Sea Ranch Sojourn

By Wednesday I was convinced. Conditions were looking good for the weekend. We'd have an early minus tide Saturday through Tuesday...

...and it looked like swells would be relatively benign over the same period.

Last year I only went diving once. Got my limit of 3 abalone, but that was it for the year.  I had not been in the water yet this shortened season, and the July closure for the first half of the season was only a week away. Local rumors were flying that CA Fish & Wildlife might close the second half of the season.  It was now or never.

Reached out to the usual suspects looking for a dive buddy. No joy, but was determined to get in the water if conditions permitted. Sigrid joined me for the ride north on Saturday. Whether I got in the water or not we would enjoy the food, friends, and vistas in one of the best places on the planet.

Stayed at a friend's place at Sea Ranch - was very impressed with the new security layer on his gate keypad.

It was a weekend to get reacquainted with the locale and friends. We were invited to a wonderful dinner with Summit neighbors Peter and Bonnie, now living at the Ranch, and also invited for wine and cheese with Charlie and Kathye on their spectacular deck overlooking my favorite cove.

In the year since my last visit, there have been some changes in the area. Two Fish Baking, our favorite source for breakfast pastries relocated from Sea Ranch to Stewart's Point - which is actually more convenient. The sticky buns are just as good, but you still have to get there early before they're gone. My go-to location to get my fishing license - Baker Brothers Hardware & dive shop - closed up operations. The good news was that I was delighted to find my occasional dive buddy Jeff had taken over the Gualala Sport and Dive Rentals with his wife Kelli.  A definite upgrade over Baker Bros,and a great spot to get outfitted for a dive. MW Recommended. The bad news is that Jeff is now so busy he didn't have to time to dive.  Which brings me to the point of the post. Time to get in the water.

If I was to get any abalone this trip, it would be a solo dive. Fortunately, with benign conditions and a minus tide, it was feasible. I spent a lot of time looking over my favorite Mendocino County cove.


It looked safe enough, but visibility was poor. Without a dive buddy, I decided to go with an alternative site.

Our new Sea Ranch friend Frances offered up her private stairwell access to a neighboring Sea Ranch cove. Convenient and (relatively) easy.  Had to check the regs - the cove is within the Stewart's Point Marine Conservation Area.  No problem - regs state that "The following may be taken recreationally from shore only: marine aquatic plants other than sea palm, marine invertebrates, finfish by hook-and-line..."  blah... blah... blah.... Abalone is a marine invertebrate. We're good.

Net net - two dives over three days, a three ab limit each dive, and one happy abalone diver. Some pics from my first Sonoma County ab dive:

Load up the gear

Early start to catch low tide.
Walk down the stairs to the beach ( heh.. heh...  too cool) 
Minus tide meant navigating a field of mussel. 
Not my best look.
Minus tide entry

Diving solo in a new locale, I wasn't inclined to do any trophy hunting. Got my limit and got out as the flood tide brought a little more swell than I was comfortable with.  Two good days.

Dive day 1 - one 8 and a couple 9's

Dive day 2 - one 7, one 8, one 9
<SOAPBOX> Six abs in two dives over three days. With all the talk of a "distressed" "starving" abalone fishery, it's worth pointing out that I went 6 for 6 in an unfamiliar Sonoma cove with fat healthy abs on my first dives in a year and without a lot of effort. I did see a lot of urchins, and also plenty of abalone that were easy to spot from the surface in about 4 foot of visibility. There was a lot of kelp in the shallows. Mid-cove the kelp was sparser and seemed a little chewed up. This was my first time in this cove, so I can't compare current conditions to prior years. So there's that. </SOAPBOX>.

In between dives Bonnie and Peter joined us for an abalone feast. Of course. Tried to get Frances to enjoy the fruits of her cove, but was disappointed she would only stay for a glass of wine and some conversation.
Bonnie helps out with the piccata sauce
Good company, good food, good fun. Somehow I managed to neglect getting a group shot. I know. Hard to believe.

After our second dive we drove home to EssEff with abs in the cooler. Stopped at Washoe House for buffalo burger on the way back.  They're under new management since being purchased by the Petaluma Creamery.  I always thought the food was good but inconsistent. Now they're better. A similar menu but everything from the service to the food is better than before. A definite upgrade.

Cleaned and sliced the three abalone I picked this morning on getting home. Finished the day with my favorite treat after a successful ab hunt.

Fresh abalone sashimi
Life is good. Hopefully we'll have a second season so I can complete my report card.