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!