September 2 found me on the water again with fellow BASK Skills Clinic students and our amazing crew of instructors. With a heat wave baking the San Francisco Bay Area, playing on (and in) the water was the place to be. Following our intro day and four weekends of skills training, this was an optional day. We opted to spend the morning practicing paddle strokes and rescues. I typically wear a dry suit when paddling on the Bay, since the typical weather pattern is a cool wind and cool water. With temperatures approaching 100 degrees though, I opted to wear my short Farmer John and a t-shirt. Along with the spray skirt and PDF I was quite comfortable in the boat, and in the water. After spending the morning on drills, somebody suggested we paddle to Treasure Island, and off we went. Here’s a link to our track if you want to see our route. We have one more adventure left in the skills clinic; that’s an overnight kayak camping trip on September 23. Stay tuned.
There were just two of us today, Danny and myself, for the BASK Thursday Lunch Paddle. We launched from China Camp State Park Beach in a light rain with little wind, and headed south around Point San Pedro, past the quarry, paddling inside the pilings to avoid the stronger incoming current further out. We ended up at a little beach just off of San Pedro Road near the brick kilns. There we found a couple chairs and a table and broke our our lunches. A cool breeze and the overcast created a bit of a chill, so we were happy to get back in our boats to paddle back to our launch point. Back on the beach we were intrigued by a couple of guys that were arranging pebbles in various locations and taking photographs of them; reminiscent of an Andy Goldsworthy installation. You can follow a track of our paddle here and more photos here.
Being a sea kayak, my boat doesn’t have much rigging, just a few deck lines. And today as we rounded Brooks Island a gust of wind hit, creating a howling sound as it raced over the deck. Earlier, at our appointed time of 10:30 the five of us were contemplating the weather. Small craft warnings (isn’t a kayak a small craft?), steady wind of 17 knots with gusts to 25. We decided we’d launch at Ferry Point and paddle along the Richmond waterfront, protected from the northwest wind. With the wind at our backs we paddled up the shipping channel, and across to Brooks Island where we followed the shore. We rounded brooks Island, and it became clear that we had two options, paddle back to the Richmond waterfront against a strong wind, or paddle along the south side of Brooks Island and the breakwater hoping to find a little protection from the wind. Paddling along Brooks Island was a chore, but not too intimidating. We eyed several beaches hoping for a place to stop for lunch, but Brooks Island being a nature reserve, is off limits to visitors, so we continued paddling. After rounding the jetty we headed for fellow kayaker’s house in Brickyard cove, having lunch on Gordon’s new deck, overlooking the yacht harbor. As we were finishing lunch we noticed that one of our boats had taken off on adventure of it’s own, so we promptly jumped back in our boats, rounded up the rogue boat and paddled back to our launch point. Overall we paddled seven miles, starting out with a wind which eased up a bit as the day went on. More photos here and you can view a track of our paddle here.
A welcome opportunity to get away today. The last three weeks have been quite intense with clients working hard to meet a deadline for a local design competition, but with the deadline come and gone I strapped my boat on the top of the car and joined a few fellow BASK members (Bay Area Sea Kayakers), and headed for the Coast Guard Station at Horseshoe Bay, just inside the Golden Gate. Paddling out the gate is not something you do without paying attention to the wind, the tides and the current. We had good conditions with light winds and a slack tide in late morning and an incoming current in the afternoon. We paddled out past Point Diablo and then returned to Kirby Cove for lunch. Back on the water after lunch we had a fast ride with the current and wind with us for our return. I returned feeling refreshed and restored from the trials of the past few weeks. Nothing seems to charge my batteries, so to speak, more than getting out in nature. You can view more photos here and view a track of our trip here.
The weather prediction for today was 100% chance of rain, so we were expecting to get wet on our paddle; our Thursday BASK lunch paddle. The rain held off though and we had a very pleasant paddle, launching from China Camp Beach in Marin and paddling along the shore past the quarry. Our original destination was Dynamite Beach, although we decided to change plans and paddle around the Marin Islands before finding a beach near Point San Pedro, near the quarry for lunch. There were three of us on the paddle, Danny, Susan and myself. More picture here and you can view the 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.