Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Morro Bay December 30, 2009

Another very high tide this morning (5.8 at 8:45 AM), but other duties kept me off the water until near noon. With an approaching 4:30 low tide of -.87, the tide was rushing out like a river, so I put in at the marina in Morro Bay and headed across toward the sand spit on the north side of grassy island, hoping to have enough water to make it across and up the spit to deeper parts. I did, but would not have if I'd left any later. The tide was running so fast that it was like a river crossing. Fun! I followed the spit south all the way up to where the channel loops to the sand spit side just north of King Dune, and then followed the channel back toward Morro Bay. I shared the channel ride with thousands of birds; large groups of coots, cormorants and grebes, as well as terns, swifts and at least a dozen white pelicans, along with the usual assortment of shore birds and sea gulls. With the tide baring land everywhere, there was the usual group of seals present at the mouth of the channel leading to the estuary. I counted at least 40 seals resting, and a few more in the water scouting me out. I always keep my distance, just to be a good neighbor. The seals were joined by an otter. Once I reached the museum, I knew that there would not be low water issues, so I coasted along with the tide and enjoyed a ham, provolone and guacamole sandwich on sourdough rye. So tasty. I watched the dredger a bit, and let the tide swirls spin me twice around at the corner of the roosting area near the Morro Bay Inn. The tide is always fun there, but was really creating some odd patterns today. After my paddle, I drove up the coast past Cayucos and hiked to the beach near the abalone farm where the creek comes in, scouting it out for a future paddle from Cayucos. It would be an 8-9 mile round trip up the coast, and there are lots of little coves to explore on the way.

Back Bay December 29, 2009

There was a 5.7 foot tide this morning at 8 am, so I got on the water around 8:30 from the pier at Baywood and paddled out toward Shark Inlet. The sky was blue and windless, temp in the high 50s. On the way to Shark Inlet, I spotted two boats adrift, and paddled over to check them out. One was a rowing skiff that sat high in the water, the other an aging Sabot style sailing skiff that had taken on a bit of water and was riding low. It was not too far from the Cuesta Inlet, and may have come from there on the high tide, so I towed it in and pushed it ashore. It had no name or markings. After paddling to the back corner of the bay, I worked my way along the sand spit, intending to eventually take a better look at the other boat, but it had drifted far off on the rapidly receding tide. The wind came up in the late morning and I headed back to Baywood, but did not spot the other drifting boat. Plenty of birds out in the water, many in flocks.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Turri Creek December 5, 2009

There was a 5 foot tide today that peaked just past noon, so I paddled out from the Tidelands Marina in Morro Bay and headed into the estuary, which was completely covered with water due to the height of the tide. Of course, some of that water was only inches deep, but I followed the channel as best I could by watching the water color. With a slight wind at my back, I paddled under the bridge at Turri Creek and followed the creek until it become impassable due to fallen trees. I got up past the sign along Turri Creek road that warns of possible flooding, which struck me as slightly humorous from my view in the water. It's a picturesque paddle past the groves of Pygmy Oaks. I assumed that the wind would pick up in the afternoon, and boy did it! I paddled out of the creek, across the estuary and west to the sand spit, stopping along the way to put on my spray skirt to try to warm up a bit and keep the whitecaps out of my lap. It was a cold, hard, wet paddle across, but grunting seemed to help! I had seen some hunters on the paddle toward the creek, but they were all gone with the strong wind and waves. More than a dozen seals checked me out in both directions (the wind doesn't seem to bother them..).
I took a break on the sand spit and stretched my legs before digging out my gloves and continuing north along the spit toward Morro Bay. On the paddle back, I watched a sea otter preening for a while, and counted nine great blue herons standing guard. With the tide so high, there was a clear line of trash along the tide line, and I grabbed as much as I could carry, including a bag filled with crushed Tecate cans that had evidently been destined for recycling but never made it (at least not the first try).
On my return, there was considerable activity at the marina, where boats and boaters were arriving for the Christmas Boat Parade.