Tuesday, December 18, 2012

King Tides Paddle Morro Bay

Mike, Ron, Lorelei and I paddled from the Baywood Pier on a 5+ foot tide on Saturday, December 15. The weather was fine and windless, leaving a glassy bay for us to explore. We paddled over to the sand spit, where we realized that the very high tide had deposited trash right at or just above the water line, making it easy to pick up and bring back with us. We took the trash that we could fit, using a 5 gallon bucket that was part of what we picked up. We did not have the capacity to bring back larger items, like the full-sized plastic trash can that we took from the water line up to higher ground. We plan to organize a more concerted effort on the next very high tide, bringing along trash bags and towing an empty sit on top or two to fill up. We continued down along the spit to the place where it hooks over toward the Morro Bay Embarcadero, and took out there to walk over the dunes to the beach side, where we enjoyed tasty snacks (fun to say peanutbutterballs). We took a more direct route back, able to paddle right through the grassy island area that was nearly totally submerged.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Just Plain Lucky

Sunday, November 18 began with rain. It rained for most of the morning, then began to break up. At the coast, it's hard to tell where the next weather is coming from, as the mountains and sea all have their own ways of surprising you with what comes next. As I did the previous day, I decided (rather spur of the moment) to go out paddling. I put in at the Baywood Pier, which was absent of the normal folks who hang out on nicer days. The restaurants were nearly empty, but the bay was full with an approaching high tide of around 5 feet. I set out in very calm, almost still, water and saw no other craft out. What was out (again) were several groups of jumping seals, followed by the birds. With no destination in mind, I floated and watched the seals, the diving brown pelicans, the floating white pelicans (I counted 36) and numerous cormorants, ducks, gulls, and more. I was watched pretty closely by a lone gray seal (was that its job?)and noticed that there was also a lone white pelican that was not with the rest of the group. I paddled around some more and headed back after an hour or so. On the paddle back, the sun was out and it was quite warm. What looked like rain turned out to be a glorious and entertaining paddle. Just plain lucky.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Rain or not

The forecast called for rain all day. Ron, Lorelei and I went out strolling around Baywood in a light rain, which came and went. The air was warm and the breeze slight, making our walk only slightly different than any other. With more rain promised, kayaking was put on a "probably not" list. We changed our minds, though, and Ron and I went paddling in the back bay just after the high tide. It never rained at all after we got in the water. We were treated to the usual sites of the back bay, paddling past Sweet Springs and out to the sand spit. We heard gun shots from duck hunters, but saw none. What we did see was a fine moving feast enjoyed by dozens of diving pelicans and breaching seals. Another perfect day.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Laura's Birthday Wish

Friends Lorelei and Ron and I had a fine paddle with birthday girl Laura (12) whose birthday wish was to go kayaking. Laura handled the kayak solo all the way from the Baywood Pier to the sand spit and back. We were accompanied by neighbor Rob who was out on his paddle board. Along the way, we watched thousands of diving/feeding birds of numerous variety who were feasting on the bait fish run in the bay. A number of seals enjoyed the feast as well, and checked us out as we paddled. On the sand spit, we snacked and "slid" on the dunes. With plenty of water and little wind, it was a fine outing. I think everyone should kayak on their birthday.

Saturday, August 25, 2012


Jim and Linda Angelo and I paddled in Morro Bay today. We had considered going to Avila, where the humpback whales have been treating folks for over a week to a spectacular show, but we heard that the whale's popularity has created huge crowds, backed up roads, etc. Instead, I paddled from the Baywood Pier, and met Linda and Jim off their starting point in the Cuesta Inlet. We paddled on a rising tide and into the wind over to the sandspit, about mid-point on its length. We hiked the dunes up to the highest point, where views are 360 degrees of the bay and ocean. We noticed that just off-shore there was a swath of bird floating the was perhaps a mile long. Soon, we noticed a lot of feeding activity off-shore, and we spotted humpback whales! There was a whale-watching boat out there too. We could see the whales breaching and spouting with the naked eye, but were afforded better views with the binoculars. What a treat! We watched until we couldn't focus any more (staring at the ocean is tiring). After a treat of peaches and pistachios, we got back in the boats (the tide had risen considerably) and paddled along the spit, into shark inlet as far as we could go. I "dropped them off" at the Cuesta Inlet and finished my paddle back into Baywood. Wow!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Dolphin in Morro Bay August 2012

I didn't plan to kayak today, but needed to go to Morro Bay to get some propane, so I decided to put my boat in at the Tidelands Marina and paddle north to the rock (Morro Rock) and back. It was a gorgeous day on the bay, and the tide was just cresting. Before I even got in the boat, three dolphin were spotted just off the dock, and heading north toward the harbor entrance. They were in no hurry. I paddled near them and took a bit of video, and then paddled up ahead and just sat with my iphone ready to record. I missed the first dolphin as it surfaced only a few feet from the bow of my kayak, and though I couldn't see what I was recording because of the glare, did manage to get a bit of them as they went by. A feel good experience. The rest of my paddle to the harbor entrance and back was very nice, and I spotted the dolphin again near the rock as they headed out toward the ocean.

Scott's first kayaking trip

While my brother Scott was visiting in Los Osos, we hiked the Montana de Oro bluffs walk, played around near Morro Rock, walked the beach and the pier in Cayucos, hiked a portion of the Estero Bluffs trail, and went out for his first kayak paddle. We paddled on a near high tide from the pier in Baywood, and over to the Shark Inlet area. It's about a mile or so, but seems farther when paddling straight into a decent wind, which is what we did. Scott managed well, and was rewarded with calm waters once we reached the sand spit area at Shark Inlet. After a bit of poking around, we paddled north along the spit and climbed up King Dune for the awesome view of the entire area; ocean on one side, bay on the other, with views of Morro Bay, Baywood, and the surrounding hills. The paddle back had a bit of wind help, but not as strong as the way over. I think we hooked another kayaker.

Pender Island July 2012

During our wonderful week in British Columbia, we had the privilege to spend 3 days with old friends John and Ted and (most of) their families. Hosts John and Cindy provided an awesome place to stay, fantastic meals, fun-filled outings and of course, the enduring companionship of great friends (since 1967 for me). One of our outings included kayaking along the shoreline of South Pender Island. The scenery must be experienced to be appreciated. We paddled from a put in spot 2 miles from their waterfront home, and switched paddlers; Ted taking my place as he and John continued for another few miles and back. Later in the day, Ted and I paddled back to the original put in.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Solo to Shark Inlet

I went out for a solo paddle on a rising tide on Saturday evening, July 14, 2012. I left the Baywood pier at 5:30 pm and paddled southwest  into the wind and across the back bay to the Shark Inlet area, which was in the lee of the sand spit dunes. It was a good, brisk paddle over, and the wind provided a pretty decent workout for me. I investigated little nooks and channels in the far corner, and found a nice place to just chill for a few minutes.
On the way back, I called my best bud Doug on the occasion of his birthday (also Bastille Day).

Friday, July 13, 2012

Two paddle day

Mike and his new Necky Manitou 14 with skeg
One day, paddling twice, very nice.
This morning (July 13, 2012) buddy Mike and I paddled from the Tidelands Marina to take his new Necky Manitou 14 out on its maiden voyage. We paddled on a receding tide to the sand spit and south past Grassy Island, with just enough water to make it through. We continued on south to the channel and then over to Baywood at Pasadena Point. From there we paddled just outside the estuary area and over to show Mike the new launch point at the State Park Marina. Paddling past the museum, we continued up the east side and back to the marina. Mike loved the new boat, and we were in the boats for about 2 1/2 hours. Much easier on his back than the scrambler. Faster too, as well as drier and quieter. Good stuff.
At 5 pm, Ron, Lorelei and I paddled into the wind from the Baywood Pier across to King Dune, where we took out and hiked to the top to enjoy a dinner of Noi's yellow curry with an ocean view. The scenery, food, company and paddle were all top notch. The tide was high, plenty of water everywhere, and Ron got to test out his boat with the rudder that he added to keep from blowing sideways all the time. It worked! 

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Morro Bay June 30, 2012

Mike and I paddled from the Tidelands Marina on an approaching low tide. We correctly estimated that we would have just enough water to cross at the north end of the sand spit and follow it south, knowing that the area near grassy island would be very shallow. We only hit bottom a couple of times, but would have had a more difficult time 15minutes later. The weather alternated between partly sunny and almost completely gray, with a slight breeze. We stopped to climb the sand spit for a look at the ocean, and were surprised to see the smallest waves I can recall. Back in the boats, we continued south to the place where the channel wraps around to meet the sand spit. From there, we followed the channel back across toward Los Osos, staying with the channel on the east side, past the museum area and returned to the marina. In all, we were out just shy of 3 hours; time well spent.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Baywood solo

Went out solo this morning. The tide was not going to be too high, leaving just a window of time for paddling in the back bay from Los Osos. I left the pier at Baywood 45 minutes before high tide and returned 45 minutes after high tide. There was little wind, the sky was grey and trying to get sunny. In the Baywood cove I spotted a couple of bat rays, with one going right under me, but couldn't get a picture worth saving. I paddled out to the estuary, trying to find the channel  and eventually turned back when I realized that it would be too easy to get stranded in 3 inches of water. I headed back and paddled along the north side of the Baywood peninsula, and down as far as 8th street, which is only 2 blocks from home. Alas, the views from this side of the hill are much bettter.... The algae bloom has begun, and should soon cover much of the shallow areas along the shoreline there and also along the sandspit. A nice paddle back and an enjoyable hour and a half. I cover a lot more distance when paddling solo, and got at least a bit of a workout. The real workout was in the yard when I returned. All good.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Quarry and Park Ridge Loop Trail

After a morning of kayaking, what better way to spend an afternoon than taking the Quarry and Park Ridge trails loop from South Bay Blvd? OK, maybe you can thing of something better, but this hit the spot for us, as Mike, Clarice, Susan and I did the 2.5-3.0 mile loop with great views of the ocean, bay and surrounding foothills. It would have been perfect except Susan and I found 7 ticks between us when we got home, despite having checked at the end of the hike. We are still hoping that 7 was all of them......
Susan on Park Ridge Trail overlooking Morro Bay

Memorial Day Weekend Paddle

Bennett and Ron dwarfed by the dredger
Well, the back bay had about a spoonful of water in it, so we headed to Morro Bay to paddle from the Tidelands Marina. Mike, Bennett, Ron, Lorelei and I headed into the breeze and into the incoming tide; destination Morro Rock. The weather just kept getting better as we paddled. Lots of rental kayaks out and people having fun. We hugged close to the rock to keep our distance from the dredger that was on its way in. We paddled over to the north jetty and along it, just checking stuff out, and eventually out into the harbor entrance itself, where, true to form the ocean showed just how powerful it is even on a calm day. The trip back was almost too easy, with the wind and tide pushing us home.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Boogie Boarding at 24th Street

Mike M. and I at the start of the Memorial Day weekend. We met fellow b-boarders Mary and Lorelei for a venture into the surf. A bit chilly today. Mike and I got beat up pretty good trying to surf the break. Lots of great rides, though.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Super Moon Paddle in Los Osos

Well, the moon appeared to me as a regular full moon (not the super moon of media coverage), but with a high tide and a windless, cloudless night, it was a great time for a moonlit paddle. Four of us headed out from the Cuesta inlet at sunset and spent 2 hours paddling the back bay along the sand spit and shark inlet. It was a beautiful night of paddling and friendship, enjoyed by all.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Paddling with friends is the best

April 7, and a fine, easy paddle with great friends and stimulating conversation. Set with the background of the back bay on a fine day, our Baywood to Cuesta to  Shark inlet to sand spit and back to Baywood paddle was the kind that puts a two day smile on your face. Thanks to Mary, Lorelei, Ron, Linda and Jim!

Surfing in the Bay

On April 5, Mike M. and I paddled out from the Baywood Pier around 10 am. The breeze was just starting to pick up and the tide was near its peak. We headed to the sand spit and got out of the wind. We paddled south into Shark Inlet, and then back up along the spit, taking out to stretch our legs and snack on pretzels and pistachios.
The wind had picked up considerably, so instead of paddling a straight line back to Baywood, we heade upwind until we had a direct wind-at-our-back ride back to Baywood, heading southeast. By this time, the bay was covered with 2+ foot wind waves that were very tight. We found ourselves surfing on the way back. I had to do some back leaning to keep my kayak nose out of the water in the trough of the wave in front of me. We really flew back, whooping and giggling.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Morro Bay January 28, 2012

Had a wonderful paddle with friend Linda Angelo today. I walked my kayak down to the Baywood pier on the cart and paddled over to meet Linda in Cuesta. We paddled to Shark Inlet and then north along the sand spit, taking out across from the estuary and hiked up to the top, where we enjoyed a picnic lunch (thanks Linda!) and great views. Pretty much perfect weather with a slight breeze. The central coast in January; priceless.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Back Bay Jan. 6, 2012

Looking East from middle of sand spit. Foggy on the mainland
For the past week, the tides have been such that there has been little water during daylight hours. By Friday the 6th, the highest tide of the day had worked up to 8 am, which meant that I needed to go out early on my last day here before returning to the "real world". Unable to find anyone else interested in an early paddle, I got up, made some coffee, apologized to the dog (who has become accustomed to morning walks) and headed down to Pasadena Point, where it was cold and windy. No matter; there was plenty of water. I paddled without pause across the bay to the sand spit, and arrived at 8:24. Not a soul was in sight on the water. It was just a bit foggy, but I could still see Baywood a mile across the bay. Well, at least I could see an outline of Baywood. On the ocean side, the surf was pounding, and the winds turned the waves into a series of crashing boils. I sat out of the wind, in a bit of sun, and enjoyed my lukewarm coffee. Note to self: Bring the thermos, not the commuter cup. The paddle back was warmer and faster, with my back to the wind. This was my 5th paddle in 6 days at the start of the new year (the non-paddle day was body boarding), so no complaints from this guy! Back to work.

Morro Bay Jan. 5, 2012

Paddled in the afternoon again with Mike. We left Tidelands Marina and paddled south toward Baywood on a zero tide. We went as far south as the State Park Marina, where we observed the rather slow construction of the new ramp (nothing has changed since the last time we looked).
Smooth water on Morro Bay
We reversed direction and headed into the incoming tide, going not quite to the harbor entrance by Morro Rock. Most of the paddle was absolutely windless, which made it that much more enjoyable. Made it home in time to wash up and get ready for the Dick Dale show at SLO Brew that night. Great show, but this is a paddling blog after all.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Morro Bay Jan. 3 2012

Mike and I paddled from the marina out to the harbor entrance today. It was pretty dicey in the harbor entrance, with breakers coming over the jetty. We took out at the south jetty and walked to the most southern jetty, along the way trying to return some large crabs to the ocean that had been washed up in the big surf. The crabs will no doubt be part of some sea bird by now. A beautiful sunny day with a great friend. It's great to be able to say that I have paddled every day this year so far. Someday, I may actually be able to do an every day of the year paddle. Something to look forward to! Tomorrow; boogie boarding if the surf is not too huge.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Morro Bay Sunset Paddle

Friend Lorelei and I paddled from the Tidelands Marina, putting in just after 3:30 and paddling until sunset. The skies were cloudy, but there was no wind at all, so we had a beautiful flat water paddle up to the rock and back. In the clear shallows just east of the rock, where the bay turns the corner, we floated and watched bat rays resting on the bottom or gliding along. We spotted about half a dozen. The seals were out, as well as a sea otter, and the requisite water birds. Peaceful and gorgeous.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year's Day Paddle

I have tried to begin the past few years with a paddle on the bay, and made it out again today. Friends Lorelei and Ron joined me for a foggy paddle in mid-afternoon. The tides left the back bay a big mud flat for much of the day, but there was enough to get in and paddle by 2:30. Unfortunately, the rising tide corresponded with the incoming fog, which turned a previously warm and sunny day (totally gorgeous, really) into a grey and cool one. Still, a fine paddle around the back bay; lots of birds, no wind, good company, and enough visibility to paddle without getting disoriented. Happy New Year!

Morro Bay Paddle with most of the band

Jeffer, Mike and I paddled from the Tidelands Marina on a low tide. We headed south past the museum and followed the channel markers as far as the data collection center off of Pasadena Point in Baywood. Dozens of seals were "sunning" on the exposed mud flats along the way, always with a spotter checking us out. It was not a sunny day. Cool enough to be cold to sit on toppers with exposed feet and legs.
We paddled back, passing our entry point, and went up along the Embarcadero so we could tie up and have lunch at The Hofbrau, which was delicious and warm. The sun came out as we got back into the boats to finish our paddle. We stopped at Kayak Horizons to look around and Mike took a spin in a 13' Necky Manitou, which seemed like a good size for the bay. Mikey likes it!
We went wine tasting later in the afternoon at Wolff Vineyards in San Luis Obispo, and finished the day with takeout from Noi's Little Thai and a couple of hours of pickin' guitars. How good can it get?