On Friday, December 9, four of us, Brett, Mark, Nick and I, launched our kayaks from Nick’s Cove and paddled to Avila beach near the entrance to Tomales Bay where we set up camp for the night. Calm water and occasional rain prevailed over the course of the trip. We were careful to set up camp high on the beach with a high tide of 6 ft predicted for 7:40 in the morning. After setting up camp we explored the beach and tide pools. A hearty pot of soup was a welcome dinner in the cool damp environment of the Point Reyes peninsula. Over the night the rain came in and dumped on us, letting up in the morning. The biggest challenge of the morning was getting started without a pot of hot coffee. Seems somebody left the coffee in the car; which was motivation to break camp and head for the Bovine Bakery in Point Reyes Station.
Back on the water we found ourselves working hard to paddle up the bay against the ebbing current and with the fog down on the deck our visibility was about a half-mile. We paddled close to shore for the sake of visibility, and once we were within sight of Hog Island we make our break to cross the Bay and head back to our launch point. Not quite lost in the fog, but cautious about our navigation. We did prove that with the right equipment to stay warm and dry you can even have fun kayak camping in the fog and rain in the middle of December on Tomales Bay. Next time it’s every man for himself when it comes to the coffee. You can see additional photos from the trip here and an approximation of our route 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.
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.
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
Log of the Shearwater. Drake’s Estero. I’ve been trying to get my kayak, the “Shearwater,” on Drakes Estero since mid-December. The estero closes from March 1 through June 30 for seal pupping. This weekend looked like a good opportunity. The weather was looking promising, with clear skies and no wind predicted, and the tides were such to give us enough water to paddle over the sand bars without dragging out boats over the sand, which we have done on occasion. High Tide of 5.6 ft at 10:45 for Blake’s Landing (Tomales Bay). We need about 3 1/2 feet of water to be able to paddle without grounding on the shoals. I was bound and determined to go, regardless of who were to join me. Solo or not. Decided I would get an early start, up at 7am, and Joann announced she would join me. Happy to have a paddling partner. Had the boats and gear ready by 8:15, dropped Carson off at Metrodog, for doggy day care, and we were on the water at 10:15, launching from the bearch at Drakes Estero. We were surprised to see that all signs of the oyster farm were gone, and least the shore based operation. No buildings, no piles of shells, no dock. No sign that they had ever existed, except for the power poles. We paddled out to Drake’s Beach, arriving on the beach at 11:25, just shy of four miles from our launch. Ate lunch on the beach. Joann was anxious to get back on the water to paddle back before the tide dropped, so without dallying long, we were back on the water paddling at noon. Met one hiker on the beach, and passed a row boat on the way back. Very quiet on the water, with a few stand-up-paddle boards and kayaks near the launch. But we didn’t see anybody else on the water. Perhaps with the Super Bowl, people are have other priorities.
Returned from our paddle feeling refreshed and tired. Nothing refreshes me quite so much as being outdoors, paddling, hiking, or just enjoying nature.