Too Windy for the Gate

BASK Thursday Paddle April 25, 2019

Thursday, April 25, 9:45 am. I’m the first one to arrive at our intended launch site, Horseshoe Cove, just inside the North end of the Golden Gate Bridge. The weather prediction was for light winds and light current. When I step out of the car though, there’s a stiff wind blowing with the prediction for gusts to 25.

Our plan was to meet at Horseshoe Cove and paddle out the Golden Gate to Black Sand Beach near the Point Bonita Lighthouse for lunch. At 10:30 with several of us huddled discussing the weather we decide to go to “plan B,” which is to drive to Sausalito and launch from the public boat ramp next to Salito’s Crab House. We’re on the water by 11:30, six of us in five boats, one double and four singles.

We paddle along the shore, staying out of the wind with a little beach in mind just beyond the town of Sausalito, paddling in the direction of our original launch site. We paddle past the yacht harbor in relatively calm water, then along the Sausalito waterfront with diners on the decks of restaurants, past the ferry where we wave to the tourists and kids, and past multi-million dollar homes.

Sausalito is a popular tourist destination with many fine restaurants , shops and quaint inns. There’s also an annual Art fair which happens on the Labor Day weekend, also a number of houseboats. Richardson’s Bay has been a popular place for “anchor-outs,” but today we see few of the run-down looking boats. Tourists are out in shorts and t-shirts, many on rental bikes. I’m wearing a dry suit which is appropriate for wind and choppy water.

We find our lunch spot, but before landing several of us decide to go out to Point Cavallo to take a peek at the Golden Gate Bridge. As expected as we rounded Point Cavallo the wind hit us and we all agreed that we made the right decision to avoid going out the Golden Gate.

After lunch we paddled back to our launch point, having covered 5.6 miles. You can view more photos here and view a track of our paddle here.

Thursday Paddle

In the midst of a very busy work schedule I manged to carve out Thursday, November 1 as a day off to go paddling with a few of my BASK buddies. We gathered at the public boat launch in Sausalito and had our boats on the water at 10:30; six of us.

Being wary of the ebb current in Raccoon Straight we paddled across Richardson Bay well east of Peninsula Point. Then hugging the shore we rounded the point and paddled close to shore to take advantage of any eddies and slack current close to shore. When we felt we had paddled far enough east to compensate for the current we headed across the straight making our way to Ayala Cove.  Lunch included trying to dispose of left over Halloween candy. Then it was back on the water for the return trip. We had calm water in both directions, with no wind.

Taking photos from a kayak is always a challenge. Where to put the paddle when I’m holding the camera. Trying to compose while my paddling buddies are in constant motion. I’m always looking for something that involves a sense of design and interesting lighting. And once I pick the paddle up after taking a photo, I have to work to catch up with the rest of the group, Not to mention the rather limited point of view with an eye level 30 inches off the water. When the water is rough, it’s all about paddling and bracing, so I focus on the paddle and staying upright. On a quiet day like this I can put the paddle down briefly. Quite a contrast to spring and summer weather when the afternoon sea breeze can kick up a chop and lead to a bumpy ride, not to mention the challenge of paddling in wind.

We covered 7.2 miles on the paddle. Here’s a link to the track.

Gone Seal Hunting

On Sunday, January 28, 2018 I signed up for a kayaking workshop, Traditional Paddling & Rolling with Helen Wilson; a workshop offered as part of the Paddle Golden Gate symposium. My motivation was to learn how to roll my kayak, so that if I flip over, I can get back up without assistance; a skill that is essential to seal hunters in Greenland, since flipping over in the cold water could be life-threatening given the cold water. Greenlanders typically don’t learn how to swim. They do however take their kayaking skills seriously. Traditional paddling involves using a Greenland paddle. Rather than the spoon shaped paddles commonly called a euro-style paddle the Greenand paddle looks more like a long stick. We weren’t so serious about learning how to use a harpoon, but it was fun practicing and learning about the Greenland culture. I didn’t quite mater my roll, but I came away with some exercises to practice to move in that direction.

BASK Rescue Clinic

“There is nothing–absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.” from The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame.

So two dozen of us or so found ourselves in the South Sailing Basin at the Berkeley Marina practicing rescue techniques. Calm day, and the water was a bit chilly, but with dry suits and the proper layers underneath, we had a fun day. Some of the techniques we practiced include the cowboy scramble, T-rescues, paddle floats and a variety of others. Put on by BASK, the Bay Area Sea Kayakers, we had plenty of volunteer instructors and those eager to learn.

Tour de Albany

Sometimes you don’t need to go far to see interesting events. Today we had a bicycle race in town, and not just in town, but happening right outside our front door. This was the 32nd Annual Berkeley Bicycle Club Criterium — Red Kite Omnium Event #12.  Since I’m normally photographing architecture which is static, for the most part, I thought it would be a challenge to see what I could do with the action. You can view additional photos here.