Lunch at China Camp


I joined a few of my fellow BASK members for a paddle from Lock Lomond Yacht Harbor to China Camp where we had lunch. At the launch the weather was looking a bit chilly with the potential for some wind. By lunch time thought, the weather had warmed up and the little wind we had seemed to have disappeared. We paddled out from Loch Lomond going between the Marin Island and then altered our course for The Sisters. There where we took the opportunity to “thread Gridel’s Neddle” a slot in the rock on one of The Sisters that one can paddle through.  Once through the Needle, we headed for the beach at China Camp where we broke our our lunches. After lunch we had the current with us for a quick trip back to the Yacht Harbor.  Clear skies and calm water for the day’s paddle. We get some of our best paddling weather in the fall and winter.  Our course covered nine miles. You can view the GPS track here.


What can we learn from Leonardo?


I just finished reading Leonardo da Vinci by Walter Isaacson. Isaacson paints a picture of a man that was truly a creative genius. His curiosity and his powers of observation were simply astounding. From observing the beating wings of a dragon fly to the finest brush strokes of the Mona Lisa, a painting which was still in his studio waiting for the master to provide the final brush strokes.  I’m not going to give you a book review. The book is worth the read if you have an interest in the workings of the creative mind. This is one book you’ll want to read in the hard copy version, given the many illustrations. Isaacson does provide a chapter with concluding remarks. Here are the things Issacson suggests are a requirement for living a creative life:
  • Be curious, relentlessly curious
  • Seek knowledge for its own sake
  • Retain a childlike sense of wonder
  • Observe
  • Start with the details
  • See things unseen
  • Go down rabbit holes
  • Get distracted
  • Respect facts
  • Procrastinate
  • Let the perfect be the enemy of the good
  • Think visually
  • Avoid silos
  • Let your reach exceed your grasp
  • Indulge fantasy
  • Create for yourself, not just for patrons
  • Collaborate
  • Make lists
  • Take notes, on paper
  • Be open to mystery

Any one of these could be a subject for future exploration.

Gone Seal Hunting

On Sunday, January 28, 2018 I signed up for a kayaking workshop, Traditional Paddling & Rolling with Helen Wilson; a workshop offered as part of the Paddle Golden Gate symposium. My motivation was to learn how to roll my kayak, so that if I flip over, I can get back up without assistance; a skill that is essential to seal hunters in Greenland, since flipping over in the cold water could be life-threatening given the cold water. Greenlanders typically don’t learn how to swim. They do however take their kayaking skills seriously. Traditional paddling involves using a Greenland paddle. Rather than the spoon shaped paddles commonly called a euro-style paddle the Greenand paddle looks more like a long stick. We weren’t so serious about learning how to use a harpoon, but it was fun practicing and learning about the Greenland culture. I didn’t quite mater my roll, but I came away with some exercises to practice to move in that direction.

Countdown to Africa


On February 26, 2018, we’ll be leaving on a jet plane bound for Tanzania, with a two-day stopover in Amsterdam. In Tanzania, we’ll be going on a 10-day photo safari with Africa Dream Safaris.  While most of our local adventures have much to do about what we find along the way, this trip is all about the destination. Rather than risk missing an opportunity to see big animals, we’re hiring an experienced guide. No doubt there will be plenty to see as we bounce around the Serengeti in a Land Rover. We’re hoping to share some of our experiences while on safari, but it remains to be seen where and when we’ll have internet communications. Stay tuned…

Photo for Best BLM Camping – 2017

Our camp at Keyesville Special Recreation Management Area (SRMA)
Our camp at Keyesville Special Recreation Management Area (SRMA)

A photo we posted to Campendium as part of our review of our camping experience was selected for the best BLM Camping – 2017. Check out the link here.  Campendium is one  of our go-to resources when looking for off-the-grid camping locations. This photo was taken on December 26, 2017. I wrote an earlier blog article about our visit here.

Paddle On


Here’s a photo I captured yesterday at Horseshoe Bay as the morning fog was starting to dissipate. The three kayakers in the foreground were part of the Paddle Golden Gate Symposium, and event sponsored by California Canoe and Kayak. I participated in a workshop on “Forward Stroke Refinement.” When paddling with others recently, I’ve marveled at paddlers that can go great distances without their arms falling off, and I’m motivated to learn how to do that. Who would know how much technique can go into making a kayak go forward smoothly and efficiently?  On the very basic level, you just put your paddle in the water, use it as an anchor and drive the boat forward with your feet, using your hamstrings and obliques to power the boat. Sounds simple right?

Our class had 11 participants, with folks from Boston, Port Townsend, Seattle, and Los Angeles, and three world class coaches, Sean Morley, Chris Hipgrave and Marcel Bieg. I took a quick tally of the class rosters and figured there were well over 100 boats on the water with paddlers participating in 13 different workshops. Quite an amazing event. I’m off today, catching up on some work projects, and back tomorrow for “Traditional Skills & Rolling.” I may get wet tomorrow. Stay tuned!


Monterey Bay with BASK

Paddling on Monterey Bay

The weekend of January 13 found us in Monterey, with our kayaks, for a three-day weekend. We drove to Monterey on Friday arriving at Monterey Venterans Memorial Park at 2:30. Our plan was to get there early in the event the campsites filled up. Camping is first-come and there is no reservation system. We were happy to find that there were plenty of spaces available when we arrived. By Saturday evening though there were few if any sites left. The three-day weekend with Martin Luther King day and to good weather may have had an impact. One of the camp maintenance people told me there is always room this time of year. On Saturday we had hoped to launch our kayaks on Monastery Beach in Carmel with our fellow Bay Area Sea Kayaker (BASK) members, but the surf looked a bit intimidating so we opted to launch from the Municipal Beach in Monterey. From there we paddled to the beach at Lovers Point where we landed for lunch.

On Saturday we repeated the paddle, paddling out along Cannery Row, past the Monterey Bay Aquarium and on to Lovers Point. There’s always plenty to see in Monterey Bay with sea lions, sea otters and birds. On Monday we took advantage of a very high tide to paddle on Elkhorn Slough, paddling through Rubis Creek and up the slough to Kirby Park. Kirby Park is currently closed to vehicle traffic but open to kayakers arriving on the water.

Paddling on Elkhorn Slough