This past Thursday, July 21, found me once again, taking the day off of work and joining several BASK friends for the “Thursday Lunch Paddle.” We launched from Nick’s Cove. When I arrived at 10:45 the weather was looking grey, chilly and windy. I opted to wear my dry suit for a little added protection. Once we were on the water though, the wind seemed to let up a bit, and paddling across the bay put us in more protected waters. We paddled past Hog Island over to White Gulch, where paddling along some of the cliffs felt like we were in an exotic garden. Plenty of white pelicans and cormorants on Hog Island, and plenty of harbor seals in the water. From White Gulch we headed to Pelican Point where we landed for lunch, enjoying some fleeting sun light. The return paddle found us battling the wind back up the bay Hog Island, with the skies darkening a bit. Finally returning to our launch point. You can view additional photos here and a track of our paddle here.
The eve of the Fourth of July found us at the Craneway Pavillion in Richmond, picnicking with friends and listening to the Oakland Symphony. Given the divisiveness of events recently it’s a pleasure to come together in celebration. And no shortage of emotion on my part when the orchestra started to play the national anthem and the thousands of people stood and sung “Oh Say Can you See…” in honor of this place in which we live.
Rather than brave the traffic and parking for the event, we put our bikes on the car and drove to a convenient location just off the San Francisco Bay Trail, a yet-to-be completed 500 mile walking and cycling trail around the bay which passes through 47 cities and nine counties.
The entertainment started with the Oakland Symphony Youth Orchestra playing some rousing music starting with Overture to Candide by Leonard Bernstein and ending with a selection of suites from Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet. Quite an amazing group of talented young musicians. They are off to Cuba shortly.
Then the Oakland Symphony came on stage, opening with our national anthem, The Star Spangled Banner. Where else can you hear a free concert with a full orchestra ? And as the orchestra played we watched the fire works barge chug by getting in position for the evening pyrotechnic display.
The evening ended with the orchestra playing Souza marches as the fireworks exploded in all manner of colors over the harbor. Not to go unnoticed where a couple of dozen kayakers on the water. Perhaps I’ll try that next year. You can see more photos of the evening event as well as photos from our local City of Albany 4th of July celebration here.
With the tides looking good and Drakes Estero open following the spring seal pupping season we thought we’d go for a paddle. When we arrived though, there was a stiff breeze and fog, and it just looked like slogging into the weather was not going to be much fun, so we headed for Hearts Desire beach, which while only a few miles away is more protected. We had sun and blue sky when we launched our boats, and we paddled South East along the Point Reyes Peninsula, stopping on a small beach to eat lunch. It’s always a pleasure to paddle along the rugged coast. You can view additional photos here, and you can view a track of our paddle here.
I managed to get back on the water Thursday for the BASK Thursday Lunch Paddle. There were four of us with Danny, Susan, Chris and myself. We launched from Danny’s Secret Launch (Paradise Cay public boat launch). We had a bright, clear, sunny day with some haze. The bald sky, mid-day sun and haze was a challenge for photography; and taking photos from a kayak is challenging enough. Where do you put the paddle when you’re bouncing around in the chop? How do you keep water and salt off of the lens or the viewing port? What’s the best camera for kayaking photography? I’m finding at the moment, that my iPhone 6S in a Lifeproof case with the Lifeproof Lifejacket seems do do well enough. Once I had the photos back on my computer I was torn between color or black and white, so I posted both a color and a black and white conversion on my Facebook page. One of my friends suggested I leave a bit of the red in the black and white conversion, so after playing with the colors I decided to leave a bit of red and just a touch of the color of the water. You can see a selection of images from the paddle here. For the images above, I’ve included the original color, the black and white conversion and the version represented here. You can also view the track of our paddle on GaiaGPS
It seems that my weekends have become so crammed full of responsibilities that I’m experimenting with taking Thursday off as my day for recreation. Today I was on the water again with the BASK Thursday Lunch Paddle. We launched from a little beach at Point Richmond, and paddled out around the breakwater, and around Brooks Island. We were a fleet of six boats with Danny, Susan, David, Cynthia, Steve, and myself. The water was pretty close to flat calm with some nice clouds, which made for some interesting reflections.
Once rounding Brooks Island, we debated about heading to the Albany Bulb or a little beach at Barbara and Jay Vincent Park. We opted for the park, had a lovely lunch and then meandered around the underbelly of the Richmond wanterfront.
Returning to our original launch point. The facilities at Point Richmond include and outdoor shower, so we ran the boats and our dry suits through the shower to give them a good freshwater rinse. You can see additional photos from the trip here. I’ve also posted the track or our adventure here.
I was reading an article about Terry Tempest Williams and struck by the quote “Wilderness is not my leisure or my recreation… It is my sanity.” I’m not sure if San Francisco Bay qualifies at what Williams considers wilderness, but I do know that after a paddle I feel I regain my sanity.
Yesterday, I managed to put aside client work and go paddling with several fellow BASK members for the weekly “Thursday Lunch Paddle.” There were four of us, Danny, Susan, Chris and myself. We launched from the beach at the Encinal Boat Ramp, and being that there was a minus tide we had to drag our boats across the mudflat to the water. We paddled out and around the aircraft carrier Hornet, and then on to a little beach at the west end of the former naval base. With the rising tide we ate a quick lunch and got back on the water just as the beach was disappearing. I’ve posted some additional photos from our trip here on a Photoshelter galleryy. You can also view a track or our paddle on my GaiaGPS page.
We had some time on Saturday afternoon to do a little exploring around Scott’s Valley and we discovered a lovely little park, Quail Hollow Ranch County Park. We’ve visited some of the more popular state parks in the area, but this was a treat. On a three mile loop we past on other hiker. I’ve posted the track of the hike on GaiaGPS.
From the park office we took the Woodrat trail to the Sunset trail, with a short side trip to the end of the Sunset trail and back around the Sunset trail and Lower Chaparral trail returning to the park office. Despite the fact that there was a wedding going on near the park office, we only saw one hiker on the trail. The park encompasses an amazing variety of habitats, from pond and surrounding riparian to dry chaparral and the unique sandhills habitat. You cans also find cixed evergreen forests, redwoods, and grasslands. We started in a grassland meadow and meandered through redwoods and coastal chaparral. A number of plants were in bloom including Bush Poppies, Dendromecon rigida and Sticky Monkey Flower, Mimulus. This is an easy three mile hike on well maintained trails.