The Smokey City

The San Francisco Bay area has been shrouded in a haze of smoke and ash since the devastating Camp Fire started in Butte County two weeks ago. The air quality here has been classified as ‘very unhealthy’ and many people around the city have been wearing masks.  On Wednesday this week the long awaited rain finally arrived and very quickly the air began to clear. By Thursday we could see the sky again and the city revealed itself once more.


Watching the sun set over the Smokey City from Treasure Island


The Oakland Bay Bridge disappears into the smoke

The kind folks at the Treasure Island Development Authority gave us a long term anchoring permit so that we could stay in Clipper Cove as we waited for a suitable weather window to head south.  The marina in the cove also allowed us the use of their dinghy dock which meant getting ashore was much easier as we had been dragging the dinghy up the beach, not easy with a 50kg engine mounted on the transom.

Treasure Island has an interesting history, it’s a man-made island of about 400 acres created in 1936 to hold the Golden Gate International Exposition, a world fair held from 1939-40 celebrating the city’s newly built bridges (Oakland Bay Bridge opened in 1936 and Golden Gate in 1937).  After the exposition had ended, the island was intended to be used as the municipal airport for the City but in 1941 it was taken over by the US Navy as America prepared for WWII. It remained in the hands of the Navy as a major training centre until the late 1990’s when it was leased to the City and is now undergoing substantial redevelopment to provide 8,000 residences and leisure facilities. 


One of the original buildings from the Exposition, built in 1938 to house the administrative centre for the world fair. Now home to the Treasure Island Redevelopment Authority it is still a beautifully grand building.

We have certainly been made to feel very welcome here, the dock master Anthony has not only helped us ordering and collecting a part for our autopilot but also invited us to join the local Yacht Club for Thanksgiving dinner.  We had a wonderful afternoon and a fantastic dinner with a great variety of dishes all contributed by members of the club, everything was absolutely delicious. A very big thank you to the Treasure Island Yacht Club for allowing us to join them and for making us feel so welcome.

So after a couple of days of some pretty heavy rain our weather window is almost here, the wind is turning favourable today and with 15-20 knots forecast from the NW for the next few days we should be able to make headway under sail to San Diego for a brief stopover. 


Thank you to Joe and Allison, our neighbours in the anchorage, for sending us this wonderful photo. The lights on the bridge reveal the smokey haze.

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5 Responses to The Smokey City

  1. Rachel says:

    I hope you still enjoyed San Fran. despite the terrible smoke… my favourite place is San Diego so have a great time when you get there… xx


    • Susie says:

      Hi Rach, We did still have a lovely time in San Fran although we were pleased to have arrived a few days before the smoke did so that we could see the area in all its glory, bathed in sunshine! We have just arrived in San Diego along with some rain, so are looking forward to doing some exploring when this blows over! Lots of love to you both xx


  2. Such devastation from the fires…but I enjoyed your post, and the photos were interesting. I am new to you bog and find it good reading so far so will carry on reading more! Good sailing.


    • Susie says:

      Thank you Cynthia, we are certainly having a great adventure and Joy is taking us to so many wonderful places. The whole trip has been so educational, meeting so many lovely people and learning about different cultures and languages has made this a life-changing experience. We thoroughly enjoyed Alaska and BC and were so pleased we made the effort to sail there. I’m now looking forward to exploring the Sea of Cortez before crossing the Pacific next year.

      Liked by 1 person

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