Back in October 2016, after two years living in the Netherlands and Belgium, I made my first trip back to the US. My first stop was San Francisco, to visit friends and colleagues and my favorite sites around SF Bay and the open coast. Some of my favorite California kayaking buddies and I spent an afternoon on the water in Sausalito. Two years have passed since this trip, so this post will be more photos than words...
This is a "Time Capsule" post, meaning it describes a trip from the past which never made it to the blog. This post is short on text but has some of my favorite ever paddling photos! Enjoy :)
Our second day of Vancouver paddling, in October 2016, took us to Deep Cove (click here to see the first paddle). We rented boats from Deep Cove Kayak (at the time, 72 CAD for the day), and were pleasantly surprised by the quality of their rentals. After they heard I was an experienced kayaker, the manager said he had a boat I might like to try. He came back with a beautiful white (carbon fiber?) sea kayak from a brand I hadn't heard of before - Sterling Kayaks, made in Bellingham, Washington. I paddled the "Illusion" model. Apparently they go for $6000+! Price tag aside, it was a wonderful boat to paddle. A girl can dream, right?
I'm on vacation this week! visiting family and friends in Boston and New York. Flights to the US always seem to be on sale this time of year, and when I saw a flight to Boston for $400, I went for it! As you might have noticed, I've been blogging pretty actively through the winter. I'm not sure where this winter-y motivation is coming from, but a few cold weather adventures and a trip to New Zealand certainly didn't hurt!
With the Trip Planning 101 series almost wrapped up, I'm excited to kick off a new series in which I'll share photos and maps from trips that never made it onto the blog. I'll be focusing on particularly scenic/memorable trips from before The Naked Kayaker began (2010) and from more recent too-busy-to-blog periods. I think this idea stems from my wintery bouts of paddling nostalgia, and not wanting to lose the details I still remember. The posts will drift from the usual format (story, logistics, photos, map); they'll be shorter, informal, and focus on photos, with short snippets of text. Maybe I'll even ask a few of my fellow paddlers to weigh in with their memories! I'm tentatively calling it "Time Capsules," but if you have any wittier suggestions, please share them!
Today I'm excited to finally share some photos from a beautiful trip to Vancouver in October 2016...
After a week on the North Island, we caught the 4 hour ferry from Wellington to Picton. We would spend the next two weeks of our trip exploring the South Island. As someone who loves bobbing on waves in a tiny kayak, I'm always surprised by how quickly I get nauseous on big ships in slightly rough seas. The weather was crappy, so we couldn't spent more than a few minutes outside in the fresh air.
That evening we stayed in a scenic, walk-in, waterside Department of Conservation (DOC) campsite, where we shared the site with one other tent (see album at the end of this post). Early the next morning we drove to the kayak rental headquarters, where we emptied our belongings across their lawn and packed for our first overnight kayaking trip in New Zealand (and Henk's first overnight trip ever!). Destination: Kenepuru Sound in Marlborough Sounds on the north coast of the South Island.
Sooooo I never mentioned it ahead of time, but Henk and I just spent a month in New Zealand!! Get ready - for those of us who have (gradually and begrudgingly) become accustomed to Dutch scenery, it may take a bit of adjusting to the crazy beautiful, varying, dramatic scenery of New Zealand. We went paddling three times, so I'm planning to share three posts with you, and I'll sneak in some of my favorite non-kayaking photos at the end of each post.
For our first destination, I present you: the Bay of Islands, in the northern tip of New Zealand (-35 deg N)...
Last week Elizabeth (American roomie in the Netherlands), Sara (outdoorsy traveling buddy from Virginia), and I made an epic road trip across Croatia (known there as Hrvatska - hence the "HR" stickers on all the cars). We started in Zagreb, the capital city, and made our way towards the coast, stopping at Plitvice Lakes National Park (stay tuned) along the way. We managed to kayak twice - once near Dubrovnik and once near Split. Our first trip took us through an ancient city (and a UNESCO world heritage site) called Trogir, ~30 minutes west of Split. Click Read More to see a gallery of photos and write-up of our kayaking adventure through this historic city!
I slept in a couple hours longer than Sara to try and rid myself of a standard migraine (which usually lasts through 2 or 3pm the next day). Around 10:30 we headed into town (Eastsound) for some coffee ands discovered pistachio fig chocolates and mint ice cream. Mmmm breakfast! At a little park on the north end of East Sound, Sara made some phone calls to work and Southwest baggage. Southwest informed her that her second bag, which contained all of her camping/hiking/running gear, was considered permanently lost. Southwest agreed to reimburse her for the cost of the items, with depreciation, but it’s not clear exactly what that means. It’s a sad day :(
5am: it’s time to wake up for the earliest ferry! In classic Nena-style we (Nena/Sara/Bridget/Ale/Alex/Maria) took the first ferry from Anacortes to Friday Harbor at 6:25am. We were directed to Lane #4 where we parked, ate yogurt and cereal, and watched a gorgeous sunrise. We wandered into the waiting area and found a Seattle’s Best coffee machine, which delivered wonders for $1.50. “Now boarding the 6:25 ferry to Friday Harbor.” Oh crap, we return to the car just in time to board the ferry, parked behind another pair of kayakers and next to a massive flammable liquids truck. The ferry to Friday Harbor lasted ~1 hour.
For 4th of July Alice and I first decided to visit her favorite spot in Marin: Tennessee Valley. The hike takes you 1.8 miles from a parking lot through the lush valley to an open coast beach. Tennessee Cove lies between Muir Beach and Rodeo Beach - both of which we visited last year on a coastal paddle. Dark sand covers the narrow, steep beach at the end of the trail. Alice dodged crashing waves to run around a point and explore another narrow beach on the other side. Ten minutes later I began to wonder whether it was time to send out a rescue team, but she soon sprinted back around the point...
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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