Starved of salt water and kayaks longer than 10 ft, Colorado Jeff flew to San Francisco for a weekend of bingeyaking (my second favorite verb, after sponyaking). The bingeyaking was certainly not spontaneous, as we spent two weeks planning our routes and finding ways to squeeze as many miles into one weekend as possible.
We had planned to paddle Estero Americano (i.e. Americano Creek) from Valley Ford Road to its confluence at Bodega Bay. Unfortunately, the weather forecast was looking pprreeettyyy miserable for Saturday, with heavy rains...
Alice and I made reasonably spontaneous plans to paddle yesterday (no cancellations and only planned 2 days in advance - that's real progress). Since we were both tired of driving, we decided to meet in the middle, at San Quentin. Yes, San Quentin State Prison. There's an easy launch spot called Jailhouse Beach that's sheltered by the prison on one side and by the Richmond bridge on the other. There are only a few parking spots along the side of the road, but we had no trouble. It's 1-hour parking, but in Alice's last 3 visits she hasn't gotten a parking ticket. Shhhh!
Alice, Stijn, Johnny, and I met at the Berkeley Marina at 9am for a very "unplanned/casual" paddle. I use quotes because it took us a week of rapid-fire emails and changing plans to reach this point. Most of us (except Johnny) had abandoned our boats for far too long. For most of us, this was our first sea kayaking trip out of Berkeley. We launched from the docks near Cal Adventures on the south side of the marina. The parking is free and the launch works well at most tide levels.
Today I'm digging into the archives to recount my first true overnight kayak camping trip in California (sad, I know). Beth, Sara, Eddie, Joel, Christina, Brian, Alice, and I camped overnight at Tomales Beach in Tomales Bay. Dane + 2 friends joined us for the Saturday paddle and lunch.
Estero: "small river," "marsh," or "estuary" in Spanish. I looked it up before agreeing to go on the trip. "Drakes" because it's the likely landing spot of Sir Francis Drake in 1579 during his circumnavigation of the world (thank you, wikipedia). We departed from the Drakes Bay Oyster Company around 10am. The Oyster Company manages a pretty extensive network of wooden racks with oyster beds throughout the Estero - when the tide reached a certain water level, we kept scraping the bottoms of our boats on wooden poles just below the surface. There's a lot of controversy surrounding the company -- oyster collection disturbs seal pups, covers eelgrass beds, and leaves some plastic waste floating around the estuary.
Just a quick post for the second paddle Ben and I did in Mt. Desert Island a couple weekends ago! We paddled north from Southwest Harbor into Somes Sound, riding the tide on the way in, and paddling a little bit against it on the way back. We stopped for lunch in Sargent Cove on the east side of the sound. On the way back, a thick fog seemed to be rolling in from the ocean, so rather than paddling around the island at the end of the sound, we headed back into the harbor.
Click "Read More" to see a map of the route.
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.