Sunday, June 25th found us packing our camping gear for a quick trip to the Sonoma coast. One of our goals was to look for dog friendly beaches. We had reserved a campsite at Gualala Point Regional Park, a walk-in site, since that was what was available at the late date we decided to go camping; a lovely site on the river and quiet. This park is managed by the Sonoma County Regional Parks. Unlike the state parks that are not open to dogs on trails, most of the Sonoma County Regional Parks are open to dogs on a leash. There is also beach access at a number of places along Sea Ranch. Our beach explorations took us through redwoods and along fern lined trails and out to the coast. A refreshing get-away for two humans and a dog.
With clear skies, calm wind and a mid-day high tide we decided to head for Drake’s Estero, one of our favorite places to kayak. We loaded the kayaks on the car, and headed for the Bovine Bakery in Point Reyes Station where we had breakfast. The Morning Bun Coffee Cake is something you won’t want to miss.
After a quick breakfast we headed to the Estero, only to find the gate was closed and locked. Drakes Estero is undergoing habitat restoration while the National Park Service removes the remains of the oyster farm; some seven miles of wooden racks.
So Plan B was Heart’s Desire Beach. The beach was deserted, save for a park maintenance truck. It was almost surreal having the whole park to ourselves. Without delay we launched our boats and paddled towards the ocean, stopping at a little beach for lunch, and then continuing to Marshall Beach, exploring some of the side passages that are not normally accessible at lower tides. Our journey covered six miles. You can view the track log here, and view more photos here. My wife Joann tells me that paddling a kayak on Tomales Bay is something everybody should have on there bucket list.
Kehoe Beach. Point Reyes National Seashore.
“Our greatest power as nations and individuals is not the ability to employ assault weapons, suicide bombers, and drones to destroy each other. The greater more creative powers with which we may arm ourselves are grace and compassion sufficient enough to love and save each other.” —Aberjhani
I found this quote wile reading the November-December issue of Orion Magazine. I thought this quote seemed appropriate given the season and the challenges we face.
“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.
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.
We’ve logged 102 km on our bike ride, having left the town of Cadillac on the morning of September 17th. Our ride has taken us over the rolling hills of the wine country in the Bordeaux region, past Chateaus, churches, through a variety of villages and hamlets to the small town of Origne, where we’re taking a day to just relax. The french motorists are very courteous and respectful of cyclists it seems. A contrast to riding at home. Enjoying fabulous food and wine along the way.