“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.
Thursday, December 1 turned out to be a perfect day for paddling. There were two of us on the BASK Thursday Lunch Paddle, Danny and myself. Seemed like we had the entire bay to ourselves with nary another boat in site. We launched from Loch Lomond Yacht Harbor, paddled out around the Marin Islands in perfect paddling conditions, nearly flat calm, and then headed to China Camp where we stopped for lunch. Our paddle covered 8.5 miles. You can view more photos here. And view the track log here.
Amidst a very busy month I managed to join my BASK friends for another Thursday Lunch Paddle. We launched from Gas House Cove near Fort Mason and paddled to Yerba Buena Island where we landed on a little beach for lunch. A perfect day, calm weather, clear skies, and the only waves we had were from the wakes of ferry boats passing by. On our return trip we paddled along the San Francisco waterfront, ducking into Pier 39 to gawk and Forbes Island, and then into the Aquatic Park to look at the Balacutha and the San Francisco Maritime Historic Park. A total of 8.3 miles. Here’s a link to some additional photos and a link to the track of our paddle.
Thursday, November 11 found me back on the water with a group of fellow BASK members. For me, amidst a variety of stressful events and a monumental backlog of client work, getting on the water is like pressing the “Reset” button. Once I’ve returned from a day’s paddling, the work load doesn’t seem so daunting, and the fears and anxieties that stress me out seem distant. The wind blows, the tide goes in and out, the sun shines. This has gone on for millions of years, and it will continue.
Thee were nine of us in eight boats, launching from the Emeryville Marina, paddling out towards Clipper Cove on the East side of Yerba Buana and Treasure Island, then around the south side of Yerba Buena to a little beach on the southwest side. Flat calm on the way out, with glassy water, and a light breeze on the way back. I managed to capture a few images with my iPhone, which along with the Lifeproof case seems to be a good option for capturing photos on the water. You can find more photos from the trip here, and a GPS tracklog of the trip here.
I managed to get back on the water today with some of my BASK kayaking friends. We launched from Ferry Point in Richmond, paddled around Brooks Island, stopped at Barbara and Jay Vincent Park for lunch. After lunch we got back in our boats, paddled through the pilings under the Craneway Pavilion and along the waterfront, slipping into Brickyard cove to say hello to a fellow paddler, and back to our launch point. The weather was quite calm with overcast which created some interesting photo opportunities with reflections on the water, soft light and the urban aspect of the Richmond waterfront. You can view a track of our paddle here and you can view more photos of our adventure here.
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.
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.