Monday, February 22, 2010

Tomales Bay paddle

Over the weekend I led a trip on Tomales Bay. The early forecast had been for rain and that scared some folks off. But the forecast the day before was for clearing skies and light winds so I was looking forward to a nice day on the Bay. When I arrived the wind was already blowing around 10 kts so I expected it to get a fair bit windier if the sun managed to break through the heavy clouds. Luckily the clouds held together for the paddle and broke just when we were getting off the water. The wind had risen to 15 kts by the end of our paddle but was gaining strength as we were loading the boats to leave.

For the most part it was a relaxing day with good company. We followed the western shore and saw plenty of elk and lots of birds. It also seemed to be a good day for spotting starfish just under the surface - with the fairly high low tide they didn't get exposed and we didn't see the usual clammers out in the flats. All in all a very enjoyable day. Full pictures from the day here.

Now I'm off to prepare for the Golden Gate Sea Kayak Symposium this weekend from which I'll be heading south for some screenings of Paddle California in SoCal.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Home sunny home!

Back in California I have finally escaped the rain and dreariness of the northwest. During my screenings in Oregon and Washington I got some friendly debate about my claim that California has the best paddling in the world. While I readily admit (and was glad to experience) both those other states have some awesome paddling that is every bit as beautiful, challenging and dramatic as Cali (as this picture of Kilchis river on the Oregon coast shows). But I always had the trump card to through down - it's warm and sunny here for most of the year and the paddling is all the better for it. That was hard for anyone to argue with.

Last night was my final screening for the trip at Ft. Bragg. It was sponsored by Liquid Fusion Kayaking run by my friends Jeff and Cate. Before the screening they took me out for some kayak surfing which was small but fun. The show was at a nice restaurant/bar down by the water that Jeff occasionally works at - it was interesting to see the restaurant patrons curiously checking out what was happening on the other side of the bar. What was happening was about thirty local paddlers enjoying some good kayaking action.

And I got one of the best compliments so far at the Ft. Bragg screening. After the show a lady came up and introduced herself as Diane and asked if I could give her a receipt if she purchased a DVD. I said that I didn't really have the capability to print anything out and asked why she needed it. Well, turns out she's a fourth grade teacher here in California and thought the video would be great to show her class and if she had a receipt she could claim the cost as a job expense. So I quickly wrote her out a receipt by hand and I'm hoping my work may play a small roll in helping generate future generation of Cali paddlers.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Not so nice day paddle

After my screening for the Matelot club in Tacoma (which went quite well) I headed up to the stay at some friends' cabin outside Anacortes. I decided to do a day paddle out to the San Juans to save myself the ferry fare and a little time. Launch from Washington Park and cross Rosario Strait over to Lopez Island and back around Decatur Island. The forecast was for increasing winds out of the SE which I felt I could probably avoid for the most part.

Just before my turnaround I started feeling some pain in my left forearm - a tendinitis sort of thing. It had been an easy paddle and I had only gone about 10 miles so I have no idea why it started hurting. But as I turned around and fought the steady headwind on the return it just got worse. By the time I was half way across Rosario playing Frogger with the tankers in 20 kt winds and rain I started to wonder how this was actually suppose to be fun. When I finally made it back to the truck and realized I had left the beer AND the oreos back at the cabing I was in a really grumpy mood. It wasn't until I was sitting in the lazy-boy under a warm blanket that I got some perspective: it's these hard days that earn us the pleasant ones. A little pain and a little wind help develop our ability to handle hardship and this is what makes most of the other days on the water so easy and fun. Though I have to say in retrospect I would have been happier spending the day inside on the couch reading a good book.

Last night I went to the pool session for the University of Puget Sound kayak club. Arm still sore I sat on the sidelines and handed out sage advice (like: for the offside roll just do the same as the onside but flipped!). Afterwards we had a screening of Paddle California which the kids seemed to like. They have a great program going with lots of different skill levels that seem to work together well. I'm hoping to get out on the river with some of them in a couple days.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Portland Down, Tacoma on deck

The screening of Paddle California in Portland went great. We had about 35 people show up at Alder Creek and no one seemed to take offense at the focus on a rival state. Folks seemed to enjoy the show and the free beer and snacks that the shop put out.

I did a short paddle on the Columbia River before the screening and then the next day got out on the Sandy River gorge with my buddy Dave. We got a late start (put on after 1pm) but booked down the beautiful run without much difficulty. We finished just in time to drive back into Portland, grab a quick burger and head to the pool where Paul (another friend from Alder Creek) was running the polo session. It's great to see that polo is still popping up here and there and hopefully it will continue to spread until everyone has the opportunity to play in their town.

Tonight I've got a screening for the Matelot club in Tacoma and then a few days to paddle until another pool session - this time for the University of Puget Sound kayak club.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

farewell, California!!

But just temporarily - I'm up in Oregon to do a screening of 'Paddle California' tonight at Alder Creek in Portland. First time showing the film to out of staters so it will be interesting to get their response to my position that California has the best paddling in the world. But I'm not too serious about it so hopefully they will take it with a smile. (though I am ready to defend my proposition)

After Oregon I'm heading up to Tacoma for a screening with the Matelot club and a pool session with the University of Puget Sound Kayak Club. I'll be getting some paddling in as well and will get some pictures posted.

I drove up yesterday in between storms and after passing through the rain around Mt. Shasta I stopped and looked back to get a beautiful sight of the mountain. The Lonely Mountain is my favorite - the way it rises up all alone and dominates the horizon. I've only been up it once and the view from the top is as impressive and you would expect.