May 20th 2012 was the date of the first solar eclipse since May 10th 1994, and what better way to enjoy it than to sun-gaze from a kayak on SF Bay? Doug (oceanographer and kayaker) and I left Oakland after picking up his boat at the Kayak Hotel, which is a glorified garage for communal boat storage by the Oakland Estuary. After a quick stop at a roadside fruit stand (yum! cherries!) we met up with Eddie (coastal engineer and kayaker) on the other side of the bay. The launch site was along Chesapeake Drive in Redwood City, close to the Stanford Boathouse. We parked in the shade of some trees (free parking! and launching!) and discovered that we were joined by some unusual birds making very loud squawking/groaning noises above. The sound was so ridiculous that I found myself giggling every time they started up. I would try to spell it if I could...
We set out with no ambitions other than to outlast the eclipse and test Doug's eclipse-viewing contraption. It was a breezy day so we stayed in the narrow channels that meander through the salt marsh. Power lines cross the south bay marshes in a number of places...
Brief vent (happier discussion below): California Parks like rules, fees, and regulations.
I sometimes think that moving here has made me more conservative (in the fiscal sense). I don't remember paying for park entry, parking, or launching during the summer I paddled on the 11 Finger Lakes. If we encountered someone who told us to pay, we could drive down the next dirt road and find a free spot to put-in. Also, night paddles are not illegal in NY. What I really wanted to do on Saturday was to have a peaceful sunset paddle on the reservoir, but I had to be off the water by 6:30pm (1.5 hours before sunset)...
This is a blog about exploring the outdoors (mostly by kayak), traveling, trip planning, and coastal engineering. It currently focuses on kayaking in the Netherlands and Belgium, but previous posts cover Upstate New York, California, and much more. See the Complete List of Blog Posts for a history of the site. Looking for something specific? Search the site here.
In addition to the blog, check out the Water Nerd section, where I write about coastal engineering and hydrology.
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Click the "Read More" link at the bottom of each summary for more photos, to see an interactive map of the route, and to read about the adventure.
Maps in each blog post: Click the icons to learn more about the launch site (amenities) and destinations. Click the square in the bottom-left corner to see an aerial photo behind the route.