A friend of mine retired recently and he asked me if kayaking was a suitable sport for seniors. I’ll answer that question with a report on a recent paddle. On February 10, seven of us launched our kayaks from Windsurfer Beach, a little beach not far from the Larkspur Landing Ferry Terminal. The youngster in our group was celebrating his 70th birthday. The beach was a bit rocky given the tide, and it’s a short carry down the bank from the road.
We were on the water at 10:00 a.m. on February 10. The current was ebbing for our time on the water, with maximum ebb a little less than one knot at 11:40 a.m. at Point San Quentin. That meant we would be paddling upstream in the morning. We had a calm, sunny, beautiful day. We paddled out around Point San Quentin and turned north under the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge. Then it was north to the Marin Islands. The islands are part of the Marin Islands National Wildlife Refuge, which was established in 1992, named after a Coast Miwok man known as Chief Marin. Access to the islands is restricted, so we rounded the bigger of the two islands and headed west for Loch Lomond Marina.
We landed on the boat ramp and immediately moved our boats off the ramp so that we wouldn’t interfere with any boaters. No cake today, but plenty of chocolate treats including those provided by the birthday boy, Steve. After lunch we were back on the water making a direct line to Point San Quentin. The current was with us going back.
Once around the point we paddled back to our launch site passing San Quentin State Prison, the oldest prison in California. We logged 8.3 miles on an unseasonably warm day. Of course, part of the drill is getting the boats off the beach and on top of our cars–a total body workout. Not bad for seven septuagenarians.
On October 9 we had perfect weather for our kayaking club (BASK) rescue practice. My dry suit had just come back from Kokatat after having the neck gasket replaced. So I was looking forward to putting it to the test.
After signing in and having a brief orientation, we broke up into pods, with some of the newer members seeking basic instruction and some of the more experienced members looking for peer practice. Above is a photo of the group of paddlers watching a demonstration of how to get into a boat using a “heel hook” technique, followed by some photos of paddlers doing T-rescues.
Of course, to practice getting back into the boat you have to get wet. So over we go, upside down and reaching for the release loop on the cockpit cover. I discovered that my dry suit wasn’t keeping me dry. I could feel cold water inside my suit, pooling around my right elbow. Not a happy feeling since my suit just came back from the factory. In the future I think I’ll pay the additional fee for pressure testing. In any event, I was wearing a thick layer of expedition weight polypropylene for insulation, and this kept me comfortable despite the water.
The T-rescue with the heel hook went well. I added a twist, since I’m usually anxious to get back in the boat once I’m in the water. During this exercise I decided to pull my camera out to take a few photo from the swimmer’s perspective. Following the T-rescue, I tried a paddle float self-rescue, a technique where you put a float on one end of the paddle and use the paddle and float as an outrigger to get back in the boat. Easier said than done, but with practice it works. Finally I attempted a cowboy scramble, where you climb up on the back deck and work your way into the cockpit. With some coaching I made this work; the first time I’ve been able to get back in the boat with the scramble.
At the end of the day when I took off my dry suit I found about a cup of water in each of the socks. Not so dry, but happy to report that the insulation I wore was sufficient to keep me comfortable despite the water in the suit. Now I need to determine if I can fix the leak or if I need to send it back to Kokatat.
A few days ago I found myself in downtown Oakland. I haven’t been in downtown Oakland since the pandemic had us sheltering in place. I was surprised at all the murals on the sides of buildings. It took me a minute to realize that the murals were all on boarded up store fronts. Where there were once glass store fronts there were now murals.
Many of the store fronts in Oakland were boarded up during the unrest in the spring of 2020. Walking up and down a few blocks of Franklin Street seemed like being in an outdoor museum, with a lesson on current events mixed with the creativity and the will of people to adapt.
Here are six images I captured in the few minutes I had to walk a few blocks. You can view additional images here.
This is not a job I relish. I’d much rather be out in a kayak playing on the water or knocking about in the camper looking for spring wildflowers. Circumstances being what they are, though, perhaps this is an appropriate DIY project. My main computer died last week. I took it to the local repair shop thinking it might be a quick fix, but the diagnosis was a bad motherboard. When I asked for a quote to upgrade, the technician suggested I buy the parts myself. So here I am a week later, with most of the parts in hand to upgrade. New motherboard, new processor, RAM, and various other parts.
I built this machine in 2011 as a beast for processing photos. The fact that I got nine years of service out of a computer is amazing in itself. I’d prefer to do this when cash flow was good, not in the current negative cash flow situation with the stay-at-home order. Even with buying the parts myself, it’s a chunk of change.
I hope to be up and running again by the end of the week. Wish me luck.
It remains to be seen what effect our Global Cooling Event will have on global temperatures. If nothing else, we raised some awareness of global warming and had some fun in the process.
The event took place as part of Dance-A-Rama 2019, an annual open studio event with free dance performances. While I do not profess to be a dancer, I have been involved with Dance-A-Rama since 2003. I had been working with dancers on a dance photography project for several years and one of the dancers suggested that I do a performance piece.
At 2:45 this afternoon, I stepped out into the middle of the performance space and invited the audience to join me. After a few minutes assigning roles to the willing audience members, we had one person holding a large inflatable globe, three people with fans cooling the earth, two people holding a scroll with the words of Brother Eagle Sister Sky, an excerpt from a speech by Chief Seattle, and three people with cameras capturing images. At the sound of a chime, the earth begins orbiting the room. The fans, and photographers follow. A reader begins reading the words on the scroll. I continue to use the chime to direct the motion of the earth. When the reading ends I thank the participants and they return to their seats. I have yet to compile the video and still images into something presentable, but here are a few stills from the event.
Dance-A-Rama is sponsored by Terrain A Dance and Performance Collective. I would like to thank fellow Terrain members Mary Reid, Ruth Botchan and former Terrain member Ann Swigart for their help with today’s piece. I would also like to thank the members of the audience that were courageous enough to leave their chairs to join us on stage. Dance-A-Rama marks a 20 year anniversary with today’s event.