Monday, November 17, 2014

The Farallon Islands

Wild and Rugged Places of the World

The countdown begins.  Thirteen months from now, my travel buddy will be retired, too.  Deciding what to do and where to go is part of the fun.  Although future destinations include specific places, there is one category that remains vague, and oh so tantalizing:  More Wild and Rugged Places of the World. Like the Farallon Islands.
These islands are only 27 miles away from the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, and yet, few people have heard of them.  Fewer still, have set foot on them.  Only scientists are allowed to land and frankly, I wonder how they can stand the stench.  It's powerful! These islands are home to 250,000 seabirds.  It is the largest seabird rookery in the lower 48.

In 1980 we had the privilege of crewing on a Rafiki 37 cutter.  Our captain was a spry 76 year-old doctor who lit that wanderlust fire inside us by his tales of sailing around the world.  How I loved those coastal trips.  After a day of sailing we would drop anchor in some isolated cove and watch the fog roll in.  We'd cook dinner, open up a bottle of wine and talk into the late hours of the night.

Today, the Oceanic Society provides trips to these islands.  A naturalist on board will help you identify the birds.  There are many whale watching tours, as well, that will take you out there.  Be forewarned, it can get very rough and very cold.  Dress warmly and take some Dramamine if you're prone to sea sickness.  Oh, yeah, . . . and don't forget a nose clip!


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