Sunday, July 27, 2008

Morro Bay paddle July 27, 2008

Another beautiful day, this one with a bit more wind. I paddled from 4-5:30 PM on a 4 ft. tide, leaving from Pasadena Point and sprinting NW into the wind for 12 minutes to reach the sand spit. Resting in the lee, I pondered in which direction I would head when I spotted a red kayak that seemed to have no paddler. I watched it while I spoke with my son Bennett on the phone, finally pulling out the binoculars to discern that there was in fact no paddler on board. I searched the shore up wind from the boat, and spotted a person walking back and forth on the beach. By this time, the kayak was half way to Los Osos, so I paddled out to it and was pleased to find that it had an attached bow line with a clip (also a paddle and a pair of sandals). I attached the clip to my boat and towed it back upwind. I was met enroute by a paddler in a fine looking (wooden)CLC Chesapeake 17 who confirmed that the boat belonged to the guy on the beach. When I reached the owner, he shook my hand and told me that his name was Robert and that he had fallen asleep. He kindly offered to buy me dinner, which I politely declined as not necessary. He was a bit embarrassed, as any paddler (especially a seasoned one) would be. Just remember to pull your boat further up than you think necessary. It's a long swim from there to Los Osos. All ended well, and it was nice to have something come up that dictated where today's paddle would go.

Morro Bay paddle July 26, 2008

This was a beautiful, sunny day on the bay. I paddled with friends Jim and Linda Angelo, who have recently turned their economic stimulus check into 2 kayaks! We paddled from 3-5 pm on a rising 4 ft. tide, leaving from Pasadena Point and heading north towards the State Park Marina/museum area. On the way we spoke with gracious outrigger builder/paddler Marc Schulman, who filled us in on the types of terns that we had seen diving. We paddled west to the sand spit, and were treated to a feeding feast as 50 or more pelicans dove all around us. Amazing. From the sand spit, we eased downwind back to Pasadena Point.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Morro Bay paddle July 24, 2008

With strong winds and tight waves, this paddle was more about getting some exercise than anything else. With a 4 foot tide, I set out at 4 PM from Pasadena Point, and was one of two boats I spotted in the back bay. The other was a sailboat, and it was flying. I paddled into the wind, which was from the NW, and wound up at the sand spit, almost across from the State Park Marina. A fun, roller coaster paddle back, surfing waves that were closer together than the length of my boat. A good workout.

Kaweah Lake- July 18, 2008

Awesome bassist and first time kayaker Jeff Parish and I paddled Lake Kaweah on Friday, July 18, 2008. We drove down to the public area at Slick Rock, just before the town of Three Rivers. At Slick Rock, where the water level can be a lake or a stream, it was low enough to leave all of the big rocks exposed, so we continued down the access road that leads down toward the lake. We put in and paddled toward the lake against a pretty strong head-wind, and one that was made stronger by virtue of its confinement in the narrow section that forms the head of the lake. The day was warm, and we saw many good-sized fish jumping during our paddle. We paddled leisurely, talking and admiring the scenery. About half way up the lake, we decided to head back; the day was getting hotter, and the motorboats and jet skis became more numerous. With the wind at our backs, the return was easy, and we decided to paddle beyond the put-in to see how far up we could paddle, and to play around the rocks a bit. A quite pleasant way to spend a Friday morning. I regret that a camera was not taken.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Stone Lagoon July 12, 2008

Stone Lagoon and Big Lagoon are about 35 miles north of Eureka, up where the "Elk Crossing" highway signs are meaningful, and just south of Redwood National Forest. A seriously scenic area. Both Big and Stone Lagoons are separated from the ocean by a very narrow sand beach, maybe 100 yards wide in some places. Both lagoons are fed by creeks, but are apparently subject to sea water incursion when big storms breach the sand spit. We chose Stone Lagoon for our paddle because it was a windy afternoon, and the launch area at Stone Lagoon would make us paddle out into the wind (at our back on return). Despite the hard wind, the water was warm. I saw a seal in the lagoon; not too far to cross the beach. This is a very pretty place, and would make for an enjoyable day-long paddle with picnic and swimming combined. At Big Lagoon, the feeder creek is said to be a worthy destination, where elk are frequently seen.
From the parking area by the launch spot, you can choose to either enjoy the beach, which is very scenic with lots of driftwood and big rock features nearby, or the lagoon. There is no fee at Stone Lagoon (there is a small fee at Big Lagoon, where they also have camping), and the parking area is a short distance off of Rt. 101. There is a visitor center on the highway, but it was closed the day we were there.

Humboldt Bay July 12, 2008

A day after Clear Lake, I paddled in Humboldt Bay, which was cold and foggy on this day. I left from the public ramp in Eureka located beneath the Rt. 255 bridge. The tide was up, so I paddled NE into the large estuary part, but soon reversed direction to paddle between Woodley and Indian Islands. As luck would have it, I met up with some local kayakers, who turned out to be a couple on a tour with local guide Ed Murray of Humboats. Ed informed me that they were on a paid tour, but the couple invited me to join, which I did for only a brief time. Ed filled us in on some important bay layout knowledge, and pointed out the aerial activity around a group of trees, where an eagle was raiding an egret rookery. Eagle wins. I left the group as they turned up a channel, and paddled up past the end of the islands and over to the city of Eureka side, where I paddled up along the waterfront for a half mile or so, stopping to chat with the Captain(?) of the commercial fishing vessel Aurora, out of Morro Bay, who was waiting for decent weather to head up to Coos Bay, Oregon fishing for albacore. I turned back and paddled back to the put-in, this time between Woodley Island and the Eureka waterfront. It was a windy day with rough water. Perfect. This is also a large body of water, and would take days to see it properly. My two hour paddle was just a taste. Hiring a good guide like Ed Murray would be a great idea.

Clear Lake July 11, 2008

My Dad and I paddled for a few hours on Clear Lake today. We cut our stay there short due to the smoke from the fires 100 miles north. What we saw of Clear Lake was very pretty. It's big. Too bad visibility was about a mile. Our paddle took us south from the State Park Campground to the next peninsula point and then back following the shoreline. We had fun checking out all of the lakeside homes and boat docks, and encircled a small group of islands that were only 100 yards off shore, but featured numerous places where a constant flow of bubbles escaped from the water. On the islands, there were several places where someone had cemented natural rocks together to form baths. Warning signs were posted that warned of death (lack of oxygen) as a consequence of visiting the sulfur baths. The lake was warm, and was quite popular with motor boaters. The temperatures were over a hundred on both days we were there; this would probably be a much nicer paddling destination in cooler weather. It would take several days to explore this lake, which is approximately 18 miles long and nearly half that wide. It is somewhat hour-glass shaped.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Sailing on styrofoam

Instead of paddling today, I mixed things up a bit and took the Sea Snark down from the rafters. This boat has been out maybe 5 times in the past 20 years. If you saw it you would know why.
I bought this boat for $35 from a garage sale in the early '80s. It is nearly the same as the Sunflower sailboat that I left behind when I moved to California in '76. The Sunflower was the "deluxe" version, which meant that it had a yellow plastic coating and a spray deck. This one is pure, un-adulterated styrofoam. This model was from a Kool cigarette promotion where the smoker could turn in the ends of (10?)cartons of cigarettes and get a boat. There may have been money involved, but I doubt it. Today's sail was great, and the boat will see more water time in the future. I might want to fix the piece on the top of the mast that is presently an old film container with a hole punched through it. Then again.......

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Morro Bay Paddle with Jim Sill

On a foggy and not very warm day in Los Osos, buddy Jim Sill and I took a short hike in Montana de Oro, walking along the bluffs near Spooner's Cove, down to the tide pools, and looped around back through the bush trail. Unfortunately, the fog kept Jim from seeing the awesome panoramic views available from the hill top overlooks in the park. We did get a close up view of a rattler just off the trail. After a bit of lunch, we put the kayaks in at Pasadena Point in Los Osos and paddled across to the sand spit. A bit windy, but not bad. I noticed something odd on King dune, and we paddled down to watch a group of young men who had constructed a hundred foot long "slip and slide" from a roll of plastic on the steep dune. They doused it with water, poured liquid soap on themselves and slid their way down and into the bay. Quite amusing. We paddled north along the spit and stopped to hike up to a point where the vista is broad, but visibility was limited. Still gorgeous. Paddled back with the wind at our backs.

Some Dune Slidin'!