Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Eve Kids

Christmas Eve 2013, we had a household full of friends and family. Now that we have reached Grand parent status, it is tons of fun to watch our children interact with each other. Travis and Lisa have two children (Mela, 7 and Daxon, 3), and Bennett and Brittany are expecting their first (a girl) in April. Joining us were; my Dad, and the Neelands-Gentry and Beckett families. Katia Beckett grew up with Travis and Lisa, the closest thing to a daughter we had until Emily's entry in '92. Susan and I were so pleased to host with long-time friends Cindy and Ross (parents of Katia). Here's a pic of our combined progeny:
Bottom row: Katia Beckett (it's a boy!), Alisa Harrell, Emily Harrell, Brittany Harrell (it's a girl!) Back row: Bennett Harrell, Dustin Beckett, Travis Harrell

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Perfect Weekend

The weekend of November 17 and 18 was great for paddling. On Saturday friends Lorelei and Ron and I paddled from Morro Bay into a slack tide and out toward Baywood/Los Osos. There were duck hunters along the sand spit, so we kept more to the middle of the bay and made a nice circuit, stopping at the point across from the State Park Marina for coffee and crackers. On Sunday morning, with high tide a bit later, we paddled from the Baywood Pier, crossing over to the Sweet Springs area and following the coastline around past the Cuesta inlet and out to Shark inlet, which we avoided as there were duck hunters there. The bay was dead calm and the skies sunny, which made for easy paddling. We drifted around near the sand spit and had some coffee and snacks before heading back across to Baywood. On the return trip, we had just the slightest of warm breezes at our backs. Perfect weekend.

Sunny with a chance of seals in Morro Bay

I'm usually all covered up to protect from the sun, but it was just too warm, so a few minutes of exposure felt great. It's always fun to send these pics to friends back East; right after the first snowfall. Yes, it was warm and windless on a perfect central coast Sunday (Oct. 6) morning. We paddled to our heart's content and had some fun watching a group of seals frolicking around the back bay.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Santa Ana day in Morro Bay

Saturday, October 5 was an unusually warm day at the central coast. When the thermometer on the shady side of the house read 70 degrees at 8:15 in the morning, I assumed it had broken. I was wrong. The Santa Ana winds came to the central coast and made for a different kind of kayaking. There were two main differences: the winds were from the east, and they were warm. Lorelei, Ron and I paddled from the dock the marina on the embarcadero in Morro Bay, hitting the water at around 9:30 AM. The tide was heading toward a high of 4.6' that peaked at 11:14, so we headed south on the incoming tide. Our plan was to paddle to the back bay and hang out until the tide turned and then paddle back. We paddled slowly along the sand spit and kept our southerly heading where the spit goes SSW. This put us a few hundred yards offshore. The winds really picked up, and we had 1-2' wind waves on our port side, which made for some nice rolling and splashing; also requiring close attention to position. After a bit, we decided to head down-wind (west) and take out on the spit for a short hike to view the ocean side. With the winds from the east, the breakers would spray back up and behind the waves, an interesting look. We took our time and enjoyed Lorelei's home-grown apples. When we returned to our boats, the tide had started going back out, and the wind had died down. We crossed the bay to the eastern side and then continued north past the museum and back to the dock.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

High tides and good times

Three paddles in three days; vacation is good! I paddled from the Baywood Pier on a high tide early this morning. The temp was 40, the tide 5.7'. For only the second time in memory, I was able to drop my boat right off the pier and climb in without ever getting even my big toe wet. I paddled out across the flooded estuary, over sections that are normally above the waterline, and then along the peninsula south of the State Park Marina where they have recently built a long boardwalk for hikers to better experience the area. The picture posted here is of a downed tree that is usually sitting on top of the pickleweed in the area on the north end of the estuary. With the reflection, I thought it had a fish-like (albeit an odd one) appearance. I continued up past the museum and then across to the sand spit and eventually back to Baywood, where the water level had receded to more usual levels and necessitated a beach landing. It was sunny and windless, and definitely a good time to go out, as the wind really picked up later on. My hike at Montana de Oro was so windy in the afternoon that almost no one else was out, and, although I am always blown away by Montana de Oro, I literally was today. Back to the real world tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

I rock, Sorber rolls

Today, I had the good fortune to paddle with my friend John Sorber. We set out from the beach at Port San Luis, me in my Necky Kyook and John in his homemade Greenland style kayak "Abi" and hand-carved Greenland paddle. The surf was small, so I didn't even have on my spray skirt, which was a mistake as I took a small wave over the bow and had to pump out and paddle wet. John was decked out in a wet suit and his Tuilik, a necessity, since his boat is extremely tippy by design, and he loves to roll it; sometimes in mid-sentence. We paddled out through the harbor at Port San Luis, and out to the point were the old lighthouse was, doing a bit of cruising along the headlands to enjoy the rocks and small caves. From there, we headed out across open water south towards Pirate's Cove, playing around near some of the big rock features, keeping just outside the break (with a wary eye for bigger swells). John got quite a treat while we were in the kelp, as he startled a sleeping sea lion that he did not know was right next to his boat. Both John and sea lion demonstrated their surprise! With some larger swells coming in, we decided not to beach at the cove, and after a while went out beyond the kelp and paddled back to our put in, taking a fairly direct course through the oil company pier. Along the way, John rolled quite a few times, mostly intentionally. Before we headed into the beach, he demonstrated a number of cool rolls. Our landing was un-eventful, and we packed up for the day. Three hours and approximately 5 miles of paddling with a friend is a great way to spend a school vacation day. Back to work soon.

New Year's Paddle 2013

In keeping with tradition, I hoped to get out and paddle on New Year's Day. This year, it was doubly good! Ron, Lorelei and I paddled on a full moon and high tide from the Baywood Pier; we were in the water at 11:45 PM on New Year's Eve. It was pretty cold, and plenty dark, despite the full moon (cloud cover). We paddled around the back bay until 1 am, celebrating the turn of the new year with glow sticks provided by Lorelei. On New Year's Day, we paddled out on the next high tide around noon, making our way to Shark Inlet, along the sand spit and back to Baywood. It was considerably warmer and sunnier than the night before ;). I think it was the 4th year that a paddling outing was done on the first of the year. What a great start.