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.
Chiddling = Chill paddling
Sponyaking = Spontaneous kayaking
Imprompaddling = Impromptu paddling
It's my favorite kind of day on the water. Never planned more than a day in advance. Simple logistics, slow pace, and good friends (none of this organized crowd-yaking with strangers nonsense). It's the kind of paddle when your PFD is the perfect beer holder. There is no purpose, destination, or expectation, so only pleasant surprises remain.
The day after Thanksgiving I made the trek from North Berkeley to the Kayak Hotel in Oakland...
Clear Lake, in Lake County, California, has been on my to-paddle list since I discovered it on a map and learned about its fascinating history a few months ago. More than a few friends responded with apathy at visiting the lake, alluding to its reputation for motorboats, rednecks, and water quality issues. While I certainly love a remote, undeveloped lake, I also enjoy exploring other flavors of paddling! Alice agreed to join the long day trip. We left the Bay at noon, drove about 2.5 hours (after accidentally "meeting up" at two different park-n-rides in Novato), and put our boats on the water around 4pm. Within 5 minutes we jumped out of our boats to refresh, ignoring the algal bloom that filled the water around us.
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.
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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