Sunday, June 29, 2008

Morro Bay paddle June 29, 2008

That's right, two paddle outings in one day. I went out just after 6 PM for an hour or more, just because there was so much water and I'm leaving tomorrow. I spent the entire time in Baywood watching bat rays. I saw many (or several many times), and tried to get some photos. Of course, the fins are only out of the water sometimes, on the "up" flap. If you paddle close, they just stay under water and avoid you. On several occasions, one would be quite near, but I never got a good shot, so the one that is posted is all there is to show for the effort. Next time.

Port San Luis 6/29/08

Got out into the ocean for a few hours today in the bay at Port San Luis (Avila). It took me two tries to get out, and for the lamest of mistakes. As I waded into the surf holding the bow up, the wind and receding wave behind me swung the stern toward the water, where it was promptly filled with an inch of water. Instead of going out already wet, I dragged the boat back on to the beach and used the pump and sponge to bail it out. I stopped once to chase my hat down the beach. Successful entry on the second attempt. The wind was really blowing off of the hills that form the bay, and paddling was slow. I paddled under the pier and hugged the shoreline, staying out of the wind and playing around some rocks. Spotted some otter out in the kelp, and lots of seals (there are hundreds here). I beached in the cove at the point by the lighthouse, and let some things dry as I had lunch. On the beach, I met Tom and Tim, who were enjoying a few brews and waiting for Tim's stuff to dry. It was his first time out in a borrowed kayak (round bottomed sit inside Wilderness Systems no longer in production) and he dumped twice before making it out through the surf. They were both good natured about it, and we all know that there are dues to be paid. Very windy on the way back, but mostly on my port side, since I paddled a straight path back to the beach. No problems beaching, but difficult to carry the boat up in the strong wind. Another great paddle.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Morro Bay paddle June 28, 2008

Wow! This paddle started out at 4 PM on a completely gray afternoon with white capped wind waves from the southwest on a rising tide at 3.5 ft. Aside from one canoe and a sailboat in the distance, it looked at the start to be one of those paddles that would be mostly just good exercise. Wrong again. I paddled due west to the sand spit, enjoying the quartering waves and stiff wind and didn't stop until reaching the spit; sheltered from the wind. I paddled leisurely north toward Morro Bay, stopping to hike up the spit for a view of ocean and bay. Continuing north, with the wind non-existent, it was a fine time to appreciate things like the dunes with steep enough slope to create paddling-depth water just inches offshore on the rising tide, and to give paddling access to areas that are usually exposed. I spotted several egrets along the shore, and in the area that is host to the blue heron rookery, counted at least 9 heron sentinels in the brush just offshore. I kept my distance, but was able to photograph a few. Near the point where the sand spit becomes property of Morro Bay, I glided over a bit of orange and paddled back around in hopes of seeing it again. The orange was a jelly fish about 12" in diameter. I took a photo, which is a poor re-creation of the original. At the point, dozens of pelicans stood on the shore, with many taking flight just overhead, then returning to stand and wait. A cormorant, using 6 flaps or more and much "running" while taking flight from the water gave me further appreciation for the larger pelican, which requires only 2 or 3 flaps to become air born. I turned back toward the south for my return to Pasadena Point, and sat watching an otter (perhaps two), do continual back flips in and out of the water. Keeping a respectful distance, I took many pictures, hoping to catch the action, but breaching otters are not cooperative with digital still cameras. I will have to read more about them in an effort to decipher what was really going on. Aerating the fur? A mating ritual? Just plain fun? No idea, but enjoyable to watch. As I paddled a few hundred yards east of grassy island (at a low tide this would still BE grassy island) a motorboat with two gentlemen on board passed between me and grassy island. I knew this was still quite shallow, and watched as they hit bottom and backed up. I paddled over and asked if they knew the area (they did not), and explained how they could travel between the channel markers and be guaranteed sufficient depth for their boat. They headed toward the channel and slowly followed it, while I made great time with steady paddling, little wind and an incoming tide. After they passed the markers at the State Park Marina, we met up again. I cautioned them not to motor into the estuary (covered with 6" deep water) and pointed out the next marker, one of the white plastic poles with red on the top. Then they asked me if the channel ran all the way to Avila! I explained that the bay was a dead end, and that they needed to go back to the rock and go out to the ocean there. I was glad not to be on that boat, and was both puzzled and amazed that anyone would go out into the ocean who didn't know where they were or what the channel markers meant. I hope they made it OK. On the way back into Pasadena Point, I sat and watched a seal and a small bat ray, then made for land, arriving at the same time as Mark from Orchid Outriggers, who had been called out to rescue a distressed Pelican (he did). I also spoke with friendly paddlers Tom and Sara(h), recent Los Osos arrivals who are avid paddlers but new to the bay. The tide was up to 5 ft. by then (7 PM), making it easy to get the boat up into the grass for loading on the cart for the walk home. Somewhere along the way, the sun had come out, and it was tempting to just put back in....

Friday, June 27, 2008

Morro Bay paddle June 27, 2008

Had fun today paddling with friends Jim and Linda Angelo. We paddled from near their home at the Cuesta Inlet and out to shark inlet; the very back corner of the bay. Plenty of water in the back bay today, with the tide rising from 4 ft. at start (approx. 4:30 PM in the water) to 4.6 ft. when we returned just before 6 PM. A nice easy paddle with a steady but light breeze from the west. We paddled across to the sand spit, then south along the spit to the corner at shark inlet. The day was warm, the scenery beautiful, and conversation among friends a defining feature. Not many birds observed; several egrets, a lone pelican, a few grebes. The lack of birds was odd, considering the numbers of small silver fish in the back corner.

Morro Bay paddle June 26, 2008

Paddled into the estuary from Pasadena Point between 4:45 PM and 6:20 PM. High tide was just at 6 PM, with a tide of 4.2 ft., enough to get to most places in the estuary. I first paddled nearly over to the State Park Marina, then headed into the estuary and paddled generally east until I wound up in the channel that becomes Turri Creek. Plenty of small birds; terns, willets(?), grebes, avocets, 1 heron, half a dozen egrets. Took a pic of a gull and a comorant standing together on a bank. The odd couple. The cormorant was still there on my return (possible hurt?). My paddle took me under the bridge at Turri Creek, where there are thousands of sparrows nesting in the bridge work. Returned to Pasadena Point, walked back home.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Morro Bay paddle June 20, 2008

This was a ridiculously hot central coast day. Mid 90s and up depending upon where you live! No wind either. Today I actually CLOSED the blinds and tested the ceiling fans, but still thought it a good day to paddle. I set out from the marina at Tidelands Park in Morro Bay; on the water at 2:45. Ten minutes in, my cell rang and it was Mike Milanesi, just arriving in town. I paddled back to the marina and awaited his arrival. We paddled out to Morro Rock, and beached there to climb up on the jetty to look at the ocean breakers. While there, gusting winds (30-40 mph?) came up, and we watched from the jetty as the wind threw our paddles out (or off) of the boats, and sent Mike's pfd into the water. We scrambled down, hit the water and retrieved it. The wind was too hard-blowing for hats (as Mike found out). Fortunately, the direction of the wind allowed us to sail back into the harbor, and it soon died down. We spent some time talking and cooling ourselves by dangling our feet in the shallows across from "The Rock". We saw 3 otters floating in the area. Hikers on the beach startled the resting birds there, and we ducked our heads and covered up as hundreds of pelicans flew directly overhead. You don't want to be crapped on by one pelican, let alone hundreds. Trust me, I've been there.
We paddled slowly back toward the marina and stopped on the sand spit directly opposite the park to rest, talk, enjoy the day, cool our feet, and delay our impending return.

Morro Bay paddle June19, 2008

Today, I paddled between 7 PM and 8:45 PM, on a tide that rose from 2.8-3.3 ft. There was only a slight breeze, and temp was still in the mid 70s. I left Pasadena Point and paddled north and east into the estuary, following the channels that were exposed by virtue of the slight wind. Where the slight wind-waves flattened out, deeper water was revealed. I paddled back to the area next to the Elfin Forest, but there was not enough water to make it to the main channel that goes under the road at Turri Creek. I contented myself with watching the pelicans that stood on the banks of the main channel, themselves apparently waiting for the rising tide to bring dinner to them. I counted 65 of them on the bank. After a while, as the water rose, many of them flew off, and the remaining 2 dozen or so glided single file in the channel, going with the tide and then back along a several hundred yard circuit. On my return, I paddled back to a spot a few hundred yards off Pasadena Point, and sat watching as the sun set. A perfect end to a beautiful day. Back on the beach, I met and spoke with Doug and Lana, recent Los Osos arrivals, who had been watching the sunset from the beach at the point. They left together on their electric scooter.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Morro Bay paddle June18, 2008

Another quick late afternoon paddle today after a day of landscaping (pathway around plantings). Out on the water from 5:30 PM - 7 PM. Sunny and warm (high 70s) with a 5-10 mph wind from the SW. Paddled into the wind and into the corner of the bay known as shark inlet. Water too low to go all the way back. Noticed almost no birds until reaching the sand spit, where a handful of egrets were fishing the shoreline. I did notice lots of little ripples and jumps from small fish, and wondered why no birds were around. It didn't take long until approx. 30 pelicans in small groups showed up and feasted, diving into the water all around me. The dives were from glides just over the surface, as the depth was shallow. Great to watch. Got my rudder adjusted, and is working fine! Tides during paddle today between 2.5 and 2.7 feet. No pics.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

San Simeon Cove

June 17, 2008

Today, I drove north from Los Osos, looking for driftwood to use to build a bench. I had no exact destination in mind, and stopped at various beaches from just north of Cayucos on up to San Simeon cove near Hearst Castle. I found a few pieces here and there, and had fun hiking them out. At San Simeon cove, I chatted with Todd from Sea for Yourself Kayak Tours, who was just stowing boats from the day's tour. He is quite knowledgeable, and easy to talk with. The cove looked so good, I decided to paddle out. The only gear I was missing was a pair of trunks. Oh well, the surf was small, and I figured that I could get out without getting my shorts wet. I was wrong, of course, but not too bad. The wind started to pick up just as I was getting in the water, and, once through the surf, dropped my rudder and began turning the opposite of where I intended. Busted a line somewhere (will find out tomorrow) and had no rudder control, so up it went. I love my Necky Kyook (the model, not a typo), but it has one major flaw. It doesn't track worth a darn without a rudder! Lots of leaning today, some one-sided paddling and sweep strokes to keep it pointed where I needed to go. After sponging out some water, I paddled across the cove to the protected shore and explored. Since I was alone, I didn't try anything risky, and stayed out of the small caves and away from the washes. Still a pretty paddle, and I plan to do it again with company (and my swim trunks and rudder). Beach landing no problem in small swell.

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Morro Bay paddle June16, 2008

Location: Morro Bay
Route: From Baywood Pier, Los Osos to sand spit
Time: 4:30 PM-5:30 PM
Tide: 2.5 ft and rising to 3.0 at 5:30
Temp: 62 F, sunny-partly cloudy
Wind: 10-15 from the northwest
Birds: Morgansers, grebes, a few pelicans
Other: one seal and dozens of crabs
Notes: A quick paddle just to get out on the water. Walked my boat down on the cart and decided to leave from Baywood Pier, which is just a bit closer. Nursing a bad back. Took a heading NW into the wind, which was blowing just hard enough for a few white caps and made for tight wind waves. Twenty minutes straight out to the sand spit. Cruised up and down the spit for another twenty or so minutes, hanging along the reeds and just off shore. Spent a few minutes watching the crabs do their crab-dance in the shallows. At one point, my presence caused a crab traffic jam that was comprised of dozens of crabs who exited in a tight group that resembled a highway full of cars. They followed a quick route and remained bunched together that reminded me of a flock of birds that rapidly changes direction but remains a group. Crabs may not be as solitary as I presumed (I obviously know nothing about crabs).
With the wind at my back, I paddled and paddle-sailed back to the pier in 10-15 minutes.