Friday, November 19, 2010

Rainy Day on Morro Bay

The weather folks said it would rain tonight and tomorrow, so I figured I needed to get out on the water this morning. The rain started just as I was getting my gear ready, but I figured "what the heck" and went anyway. I drove into Morro Bay and launched from the dock/ramp at the city marina. The tide had just turned but was on a fast drain, so I headed into the tide and rain and crossed north of Grass Island over to the sand spit. There was little wind and the rain alternated between a steady drizzle to a decent rain but no downpours. During this paddle, I appreciated the warmth and relative dryness of the Snap Dragon neoprene/nylon tunnel spray skirt that I have owned for 10 years now. The fit is still snug on the coaming. I was also appreciative for the half-fingered fold over mitten style paddling gloves that sure came in handy today. The mitten part that folds over is quick to switch, allowing use of the fingers when needed. My trusty Kokotat nylon paddling jacket is great for wind and spray but not so good for rain. It does dry quickly, though.

I spotted a few egrets and great blue herons, a couple of brown pelicans, a number of cormorants, and quite a few western grebes. There were also large numbers of (what I have assumed to be) snowy plovers, who alight en masse and fly in shape-shifting clouds that remind me of the Michael Creighton novel Prey and pass by with a gorgeous ppffftt sound. There must have been some ducks as well, as I did pass a group of hunters on the shoreline of the sand spit and later heard gun shots.

I paddled back past the museum and followed the shoreline, enjoying the ride on the retreating tide. The rain had stopped by the time I reached the dock, so I continued on down the embarcadero, where the tall ship Lady Washington was docked. I paddled back along the sand spit, listening to the barks of the sea lions and getting a good workout against the tide.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Turri Creek

The bay did a full flush today, from a high tide of 5.39 feet to a low of -0.55!

Friend Kirby and I paddled out late morning just after the peak of a high tide and headed from Pasadena Point into the estuary and under the bridge up Turri Creek. It was mostly windless on the way in, and we saw a bit of leopard shark activity in the shallows near the Elfin Forest area. It was easy going up the creek, where we spotted a fair-sized turtle hanging out on the bank. The tide was draining pretty fast, and we rode the flow back into the bay, where we sat in the now-exposed channel and enjoyed  delicious chicken salad sandwiches, complements of Gina. Thanks, Gina!
The rest of the paddle back was more of a challenge, as the wind had picked up appreciably, and of course, we were paddling into it. The temp dropped as well, requiring some added outer wear. A nice workout and a fine trip of sightseeing and conversation.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Another Awesome Day on the Bay

It rained last night, and the forecast was not great for today (Saturday, Oct. 23, 2010) but pal Mike and I planned to paddle regardless. His neighbor Kirby joined us for his initial voyage, and I'm pretty sure he's hooked. It was a GORGEOUS day; the tide was high at 4.6 ft., the bay was glass, and the temps perfect. We paddled from Pasadena Point north past the estuary, near the museum point, and then headed west to the sand spit. Along the way we enjoyed fine conversation and watched dozens of jumping seals, diving pelicans, cormorants and terns feeding on a school of (?- my neighbor says the mackerel are running) fish. There were seals everywhere, and one in particular seemed to take a liking to Kirby. Over on the sand spit side, we paddled south until we took out at a nice place to get out and walk up on the dunes to get that amazing 360 degree view of the bay and ocean. We headed back to Pasadena Point and spotted many more seals and birds on the way back. Perfect!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Sharks AND Friday the 13th

Pal Jim and I paddled the estuary in Morro Bay and up Turri Creek. We saw a lot of leopard sharks.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Back bay mini tour August 5,2010

This was a windy paddle with plenty of tight wind waves. I turned the outing into a video that resides on and is embedded below.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Port San Luis 8-4-10

I spent the better part of a sunny but very windy afternoon paddling in and around the bay at Port San Luis and Avila Beach. From the beach access at the ramp in Port San Luis, I went out through the surf and cut a diagonal to the point near the light house, cruising around the tidal features. I came back on the south side of the pier and followed the coastline down to Avila Beach and then back to the ramp. Video footage includes some shots from the cliffs above Avila.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Morro Bay 8/3/10

Due to the marine layer, summers at the central coast are often not sunny, and today was no exception. Gray is great for kayaking though, and I paddled from Baywood to Morro rock and back, making a counter-clockwise loop. Some highlights included; a few seals and sea lions, otters, lots of diving birds, a closeup of the Coast Guard cutter going by, and the towing of a kayak that had floated off from some rental customers who did not understand just how much difference there is between low and high tides. A very nice 3.5 hour paddle all around. I shot a bunch of video of diving pelicans, flying cormorants, etc., but it just looks bad without a proper zoom.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Sand Spit video July 20, 2010

This paddle was across the back bay in Morro Bay from the Baywood pier to the sand spit and back. It's about a mile across, and I paddled along the sand spit to a place I like to take out and hike up the dunes to get a 360 degree view of the Pacific Ocean and the bay. I was on a high tide of about 4.5 feet, and the trip was from around 5 pm until about 7 pm, with lots of down time to look around and play with the kayak cam. Here's a video that shows the landing on the sand spit, a view from the top, and my return landing at the pier. If the video doesn't load, you can view it on by searching for kayaxeman.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Estuary, Morro Bay 7/18/10

Arrived this afternoon and got in the water at Pasadena Point just after 5 pm. The tide had been fairly high (over 4 ft.) and had just begun to recede, so I paddled north and rounded the peninsula, following the shoreline along Baywood and back to the Elfin Forest area. I took a small channel over into the main channel of the estuary and saw a group of about 30 white pelicans hanging out on the bank. I followed the channel almost to the bridge at Turri Creek, and turned around to head back before the water got too shallow to follow the same path back. A nice way to start a three day stay at the coast.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Back Bay July 11, 2010

I couldn't bear to leave early today, so I paddled out from Pasadena Point in about 2.5 feet of water and headed over to the sand spit. I met and spoke with a couple of other solo paddlers (Gary and Jim). We enjoyed each others company and paddled to the same take out on the spit, where we took paths to different locations but wound up leaving at the same time, standing on the dune and talking for a while. A leisurely paddle back turned this into 2 plus hours; every minute enjoyable. The picture is from the top of the dune looking toward Morro Rock.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Shark Inlet July 9 and 10

Paddled from Cuesta on a rising tide (about 3.5) to Shark Inlet two evenings in row. The first evening was a bit cool and breezy, but the leopard sharks were really putting on a show. There were dozens of them cruising in the shallows and doing quick spins before jetting away from the kayaks. They would pop up everywhere, often startling kayakers who screamed and laughed. I tried to take photos with my phone, but it was next to impossible to predict when and where they would appear. The only photo (almost) worth posting only shows one dorsal fin from 12 feet or so. The leopards have (go figure) leopard-like markings on their backs, and range in length from 3-5 feet. They are quite slim and incredibly fast. It was such a great experience that I went back the next night with a video cam and only saw 3 sharks and got zero footage of any action. It was still a great day that began with body boarding off of 24th street in Cayucos where everyone was treated to 3 dolphin who lazed back and forth just beyond the break. They weren't playing today, or jumping, just cruising very slowly back and forth fishing for whatever it was that they were eating. There was also a juvenile (very small) seal out with us; one of the paddle board surfers told me that the seal surfed the same wave I did about 5 feet away. No doubt the youngster already is the better surfer.

Kayak surfing Cayucos July 2, 2010

Great friend and drummer Mike and I took our sit on top scramblers out for some surfing off of 24th Street in Cayucos. Pretty choppy from the wind and the surf was tight 3-4 feet. Some great rides and spectacular wipeouts. No pics of course; not taking my iPhone into the surf. Clarice shot some video from the beach with my flip cam, but all you can see are colored specs on the ocean. Tons of fun and loved my new wetsuit booties. What a difference warm feet make. Cowabunga, baby!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Hume Lake June 26, 2010

Hume Lake is an 85 acre man-made lake in the Sequoia National Park. The altitude is 5200'. The lake is fed by the gorgeous Ten Mile Creek, and drains back to said creek over a unique concrete reinforced multiple arch dam. Surrounded by evergreens and sandy soiled, it reminds me of Maine. The drive to the lake is easy (in summer) and scenic; any trip into the Sequoia National Forest is worth it. I took video with an HD-Flip, and it is a bit jumpy (I was in a boat on a lake after all....). I have been going here on an annual camping trip for over 20 years and it is always fantastic.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Back Bay June 5, 2010

Paddled out from the Baywood Pier at 6 pm with Lorelei and Ron, meeting Jim (coming from Cuesta)out in the water. We spotted a bat ray in the Baywood inlet, with one swimming right next to my boat. Sweet!. We paddled to the algae out at the sand spit, and worked our way toward the opening of Shark Inlet before heading back along the shoreline past Cuesta and back to Baywood. We made it out of the water and loaded on the truck just at dusk. A fine outing.

Back Bay June 4, 2010

Well, it's been a while! I have paddled numerous times between January and June, but have neglected to log the paddles to this blog. Today's paddle was from the pier in Baywood, out to the sand spit and return. I headed out around 6 pm into a pretty stiff breeze with some white caps. On the sand spit side, the algae bloom that appears each year was present (usually, the algae appears in May; whether it did or not this year I can't say because I was absent from the bay for the entire month). There were enough breaks in the algae to pick a path through. Fun. I returned in time to pick up a Pad Thai at Noi's at 7pm.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Morro Bay January 8, 2010

I was going to leave today, but Susan said "stay if you want" (thank you!) and it was just too pretty to leave. Mike and I went out for about an hour from the marina in Morro Bay and just kind of paddled around for awhile. We spoke with Dave and Claudia, avid paddlers from Port Angeles, Washington, who had been traveling down the California coast with paddles in the Elkhorn Slough and our very own bay. It's amazing how many people travel from all over the world to visit here, but who can blame them. When it's sunny and warm in January and the area is so beautiful, how could you not want to visit? Sorry about the bad picture....
I spent the later part of the afternoon walking the bluffs trail in Montana de Oro, and watching some surfers who were out in the huge swells. Fantastic! I've added this picture of the sunset in Baywood because the day was just gorgeous from start to finish.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Morro Bay January 7, 2010

This might be my last paddle for a while, as it is back to school (work) on Monday. With the tide fairly low, I decided to head for Morro Bay, and put in at the marina. I paddled into the incoming tide, and worked my way up to the area of Morro rock. I passed seven sea otters right there near the rock, in the place where they are normally seen. There was much activity from the tugs, barges and dredgers, who are working hard to keep the channels deep and clean. There is a shovel type operation up near the Morro Bay Inn, and the results are loaded on to a barge which is pushed by a tug out into the ocean off of the sand spit, where it is deposited. The outgoing barges sit barely above the water, and the incoming ones are substantially (10-12 feet?) above the water line. The photo is of an incoming barge. There is also some kind of dredging activity near the harbor entrance, and a complex of semi-submerged pipelines carries matter from one place to another. I would like to learn more about what is actually transpiring. I floated around in the area of the jetty near the rock, enjoying the fine weather and clear water, and watching the barges come and go. On my return to the marina, I met Ron, who grew up very near me in New Jersey, and had an enjoyable conversation while loading our boats. I drove from there up toward Cayucos and watched a beautiful sunset. I'm a fortunate guy. What a week.

Back Bay January 6, 2010

I paddled from Pasadena Point again at 1 PM on a rising tide on this beautiful, sunny day, and headed toward the Cuesta Inlet, where buddy Jim A. was leaving and planned to meet me out on the bay, which of course, we did. On the way there, I noticed something in the sky to the north, out over the ocean near Cayucos. I pulled out the binoculars and saw that it was a white blimp, and headed our way. It came fairly close to the sand spit on the ocean side, on its journey southward. I could not make out what it said on the side, but took several iphone pics, none of which remotely shows what looks like a blimp! In the picture, look above the bow of Jim's boat for the dot that was looking pretty big to us. The iphone is just not a good enough camera for anything far off (more than 20 feet). Jim and I paddled up along the sand spit, getting out at several spots to walk up to the top to enjoy the 360 degree vistas. We were both very grateful to be able to enjoy this fantastic place (and he gets to live here). While picking up some trash, we noticed something moving in the scrub on and watched for a bit. It turned out to be a big coyote, and it was no more than a hundred feet from us, but seemed not too worried about the guys in the kayaks floating off shore. We eventually headed back to our respective put ins, and again I found myself enjoying wine, dinner and good conversation with friends later in the evening. What a great week.

Back Bay January 5, 2010

The first paddle of 2010! Great friend Mike M. and I left Pasadena Point around 11 am on a rising 2.5 foot tide and found ourselves paddling toward the sand spit, with our heading determined by a pretty stiff breeze and accompanying wind waves. Once we reached the lee of the spit, we paddled north for a bit and hauled up about a quarter of a mile south of the point directly across from the State Park Marina. Since neither of us had ever crossed to the ocean side at that particular location, we decided to, and found that the wind had all but died. It was a beautiful day, and we walked north on the beach, eating peanuts and checking out all the stuff that had been deposited by last week's high tides. I picked up what appeared to be a solar powered light that was mounted on a 2 1/2 foot pipe. It had a bit of water in the lamp. Not wanting to just leave it, it was added to the trash that we would haul back (the usual bottles and foam pieces). We had a nice paddle back, and a great dinner made by Clarice later on. Thanks.
The next day, I decided to take the solar light apart to drain the water, and when I brought it into the garage, where it was pretty dark, the light started to blink yellow once every second. From markings that I could read on the inner parts, that is exactly what it is supposed to do. Two days later, I noticed the same type of lights mounted on pipe sitting atop some buoy markers near the rigs that are dredging the channel. Anyone need a flashing light?

Friday, January 1, 2010

Last Paddle of 2009

While much of the country was digging its way out of the snow for the New Year's festivities, some of us were paddling Morro Bay on a postcard perfect day.
I paddled from the pier in Baywood at 9:30 AM on a 5.8 ft. high tide and headed toward Shark Inlet. The sky was blue and windless as I paddled in shirt sleeves and shorts. The water was smooth and reminded me of old glass; just a bit wavy. I was able to paddle as far back in Shark Inlet as I can ever recall, and vowed to head back if I can get out on a tide over 6 feet, just to see if I could paddle into the far rushes near the trail that goes to the beach at Montana de Oro. There were plenty of water birds again today, but I didn't see any signs of the feeder fish that the birds normally follow.
I paddled north along the sand spit to King Dune and climbed up to the top, which was easier than usual because the recent rains compacted the sand on the surface and it is much easier to walk on the sand than in it, especially up the hill sides. The view from the top reminded me again of just how beautiful the coast is. The lack of wind made the surf look like you just want to be in it!
With the tide so high, it was a good day for trash picking, and I filled my boat with all manner of bottles, cans, shoes, etc. and managed to get two long pieces of washed up foam strapped to the deck fore and aft. On the return to Baywood, I met some fine paddlers who were visiting from Reno, so here's a shout out and Happy New Year to Woody and crew!