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...
Upon arriving at the docks, Eddie discovered the lovely mud facial on the back of his boat (now dried and solidly caked). After letting him wonder how he'd managed to make this mess, I confessed and spend 5 minutes scrubbing it off. Cleaning off Bay Mud is like rinsing soap off with soft water (i.e. it doesn't work).
Back at the parking lot we were greeted by the groaning birds, as well as my car, which they had turned into a Dalmatian in the 3 hours we were gone. No wonder these convenient parking spots were available! Time for a car wash.
Date: Sunday, May 20, 2012
Time: 2 hours
Distance: ~ 8 miles