FIRE UP THE MAINS | Inaugural Cruise to Morro Bay

  “Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale, A tale of a fateful trip”
– “Gilligan’s Island” Theme Song

After finding my dream yacht and buying it, we had to move it.  If you have followed this blog from my first post, prepare yourself for the story of a harrowing cruise down the coast of California.  Due to the length of this story, I will break it up into several posts.  So, don your life jackets and locate your sea legs as we set sail from San Francisco to Morro Bay!

The first crew of the Papagallo on our cruise home

A dozen of my best buddies joined me on this fateful cruise. Most were landlubbers, but we did have an experienced captain onboard to navigate the journey. Arriving at the dock on a beautiful, sunny Friday morning, there was wild anticipation and excitement in the air.  We were about to get under way!

The essential supplies had been brought onboard – snacks, sandwiches, whiskey, vodka, beer and more beer. We were ready for departure.  The broker’s agent joined me on the helm and pointed out where the start and stop switch was located along with letting me know we could load fuel at the fuel dock a quarter mile down the bay.  That was it!  He didn’t explain the various systems or what their functions were.

Not being an experienced mariner, I wondered if there shouldn’t have been just a little more training involved before heading out to sea.  But, what the hell, I had an experienced captain onboard, didn’t I?  We should be fine.

NOT SO!  Turns out this was the first of many red flags that would surface, not only on this cruise, but also on starting up Papagallo Yacht Charters.  In the back of my mind, faintly at first but growing louder, buyer’s remorse was beginning to make itself heard, coupled with doubt and fear.  What had I done?

My lifelong dream was just beginning and my stomach was in knots.  Not really that unusual – I had experienced similar feelings with each restaurant I opened – but still, this was a little different.  I knew nothing about yacht ownership, and those haunting words, “Are you crazy?” flashed across my subconscious, reminding me of a comment I heard years ago at a motivational seminar:

Fear or worry is interest paid on a debt you may not owe. – Anonymous


With that reassuring thought the lines were cast off, and after loading $2,000 worth of fuel (filling only 20% of our tanks) and setting a course to the Golden Gate Bridge, we were on our way.  The open Pacific lay ahead.

the cruise from San Francisco Bay to Morro Bay

Motoring across San Francisco Bay could not have been more spectacular.  We cruised along with beautiful sailboats tacking back and forth, supply barges pulled by tugs, and ferry boats transporting their passengers to their destinations. The Papagallo, as old as she was, cut through the light chop of the bay with magnificent elegance.  A proud, grand old girl stretching her legs across the water. Folks waved to us and the radio crackled with questions.  Who were we?  Where were we headed?

My crew of “wannabe” sailors held their beers high, delighting in the attention and expressing salutations to all as we flew by.  It was glorious for all of us, regardless of our lack of sailing experience.  I was living large and in the moment, NOW, acting upon a boyhood dream.

Closing this segment, I leave you with a favorite quote of mine. I think of it frequently and thought of it then as we were about to leave the bay and get our feet wet in the mighty Pacific:

 “Live now – you could not step twice into the same river for other waters are ever flowing onto you. Thus it is with time.”  Heraclitus – 544 B.C.

Next segment – The Pacific, Not Very Gentle

Chef Len

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