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.