Select Page

This shot of my previous vessel “Rhea” is the culmination of a slew of completely questionable decision making that deserves to see the light of day. 
.
While at anchor at Isla San Benedicto, Johnny and I made our best effort to recreate the photo with Zephyr but it isn’t quite as good without the insane conditions we had in the Farallon islands that evening.
.
It all started as a trip to see if Johnny @mazagranphoto, and our friend Daniel could spot a great white shark out at the Farallons. Thirty miles off the coast of San Francisco, the Farallon islands are one of the white shark capitals of the world. They show up at the islands every Fall to munch on the very healthy population of sea lions. We’d read at least one report on the internet that it was possible to anchor in a bite on the NE corner of the main island called Fisherman’s Cove. “Possible” was the operand word here…..because while it may very well be possible, it certainly should not be recommended to anyone hoping to get their anchor back….or possibly to anyone wishing to keep their vessel off the rocks. 
.
Upon arriving, the scene was a bit chaotic. The shore was a solid mass of undulating barking sea lions – aka shark nuggets. The bite was tiny and barely offered protection from the swell. We should have turned back. But, we had a mission to see a white shark and with so many seals on shore, anchoring in their highway to the ocean seemed like the best way to potentially witness some carnage.
.
The bite was so small, that it was necessary to bow-stern anchor in order to stay off the rocks. The anchors went down okay and “set” fast. Probably too fast. In the evening, as the sun was going down, We had the idea to take our little inflatable out to snap a photo of Rhea. Never mind that the inflatable, at 8ft long, was definitely smaller than some of the sea lions out there….and that we were puttering around at sunset which is notorious for increased shark activity. From below I’m sure the dinghy would have looked like a fat incapacitated sea lion lolly gagging at the surface sending “eat me” vibes to any hungry sharks below. We got the shot though 🙂
.
Through the night, the 8ft swell managed to wrap around the NE corner of the island and directly into the cove. Locked in with bow-stern anchors, the swell was directly on the beam. And so commenced the least comfortable night I have ever spent at anchor. Daniel, who was sleeping on the settee, could not find anywhere to sleep on the boat where he was not unceremoniously tossed from his bunk within minutes due to the motion. I stayed awake watching our GPS position most of the night. When we woke up, the scene was crazy with swell breaking less than 100ft from the boat inside the cove.
.
And so began the Herculean process of getting our anchors back from the rocky bottom below. First up was the stern anchor which was firmly lodged in some rocks less than 50ft from the breaking swell. After 20 minutes of the most exhausting anchoring jiggling of our lives, it finally popped off the bottom. Unsurprising, the 3 strand nylon rode was chaffed 40% of the way through in one place. Yikes! Now for the bow anchor, a big 55lb mantus anchor attached to 300ft of 3/8 chain. After 40 minutes of back and forth in massive swell, it would not come un-lodged. I remember looking up at 45 degrees from the helm at Daniel and Johnny as they both rode the bow through the crest of a wave thinking “this is nuts, I am probably going to need to get the big bolt cutters out soon”. Swimming down to go dislodge the anchor certainly wasn’t an option. Shortly thereafter, the bow anchor managed to free itself from the rocky clutches of the Farallon sea bed and we had a fantastic quiet spinnaker run down to half moon bay. A sharp juxtaposition to the chaos we’d just experienced.
.
Looking back on that day, Im certainly glad that no great harm came of it. It could have. The photo we took in San Benedicto of Zephyr present day isn’t quite as epic but it certainly was a whole lot safer due to all the lessoned learned the hard way on where to and not to anchor.

This shot of my previous vessel “Rhea” is the culmination of a slew of completely questionable decision making that deserves to see the light of day. 
.
While at anchor at Isla San Benedicto, Johnny and I made our best effort to recreate the photo with Zephyr but it isn’t quite as good without the insane conditions we had in the Farallon islands that evening.
.
It all started as a trip to see if Johnny @mazagranphoto, and our friend Daniel could spot a great white shark out at the Farallons. Thirty miles off the coast of San Francisco, the Farallon islands are one of the white shark capitals of the world. They show up at the islands every Fall to munch on the very healthy population of sea lions. We’d read at least one report on the internet that it was possible to anchor in a bite on the NE corner of the main island called Fisherman’s Cove. “Possible” was the operand word here…..because while it may very well be possible, it certainly should not be recommended to anyone hoping to get their anchor back….or possibly to anyone wishing to keep their vessel off the rocks. 
.
Upon arriving, the scene was a bit chaotic. The shore was a solid mass of undulating barking sea lions – aka shark nuggets. The bite was tiny and barely offered protection from the swell. We should have turned back. But, we had a mission to see a white shark and with so many seals on shore, anchoring in their highway to the ocean seemed like the best way to potentially witness some carnage.
.
The bite was so small, that it was necessary to bow-stern anchor in order to stay off the rocks. The anchors went down okay and “set” fast. Probably too fast. In the evening, as the sun was going down, We had the idea to take our little inflatable out to snap a photo of Rhea. Never mind that the inflatable, at 8ft long, was definitely smaller than some of the sea lions out there….and that we were puttering around at sunset which is notorious for increased shark activity. From below I’m sure the dinghy would have looked like a fat incapacitated sea lion lolly gagging at the surface sending “eat me” vibes to any hungry sharks below. We got the shot though 🙂
.
Through the night, the 8ft swell managed to wrap around the NE corner of the island and directly into the cove. Locked in with bow-stern anchors, the swell was directly on the beam. And so commenced the least comfortable night I have ever spent at anchor. Daniel, who was sleeping on the settee, could not find anywhere to sleep on the boat where he was not unceremoniously tossed from his bunk within minutes due to the motion. I stayed awake watching our GPS position most of the night. When we woke up, the scene was crazy with swell breaking less than 100ft from the boat inside the cove.
.
And so began the Herculean process of getting our anchors back from the rocky bottom below. First up was the stern anchor which was firmly lodged in some rocks less than 50ft from the breaking swell. After 20 minutes of the most exhausting anchoring jiggling of our lives, it finally popped off the bottom. Unsurprising, the 3 strand nylon rode was chaffed 40% of the way through in one place. Yikes! Now for the bow anchor, a big 55lb mantus anchor attached to 300ft of 3/8 chain. After 40 minutes of back and forth in massive swell, it would not come un-lodged. I remember looking up at 45 degrees from the helm at Daniel and Johnny as they both rode the bow through the crest of a wave thinking “this is nuts, I am probably going to need to get the big bolt cutters out soon”. Swimming down to go dislodge the anchor certainly wasn’t an option. Shortly thereafter, the bow anchor managed to free itself from the rocky clutches of the Farallon sea bed and we had a fantastic quiet spinnaker run down to half moon bay. A sharp juxtaposition to the chaos we’d just experienced.
.
Looking back on that day, Im certainly glad that no great harm came of it. It could have. The photo we took in San Benedicto of Zephyr present day isn’t quite as epic but it certainly was a whole lot safer due to all the lessoned learned the hard way on where to and not to anchor.

Welcome Aboard!

We'll be sending updates when we post upcoming blog and video content. Subcribe to keep in touch and see where this journey goes!

Right on!