Drakes Estero – Nov. 26, 2010

Policy dictates that the new kid has got to write the trip report.  After reading an entire book of BASKer John Boeschen’s Thursday Night Paddle reports as well as viewing his comix, I’m well prepared to take on the task.  I understand fully the types of information required for the report, and have no fear of fiction.

Location and Participants:  The Petaluma Paddler’s Drake’s Bay paddle started at the Oyster Farm in Point Reyes, and was led by Ray, who is a testament, nay, an entire monument to PP’s eating and drinking practices.  Joining him for the day were 14 cheerful souls.

Itinerary and Events:  After lunch and intermediate destinations were discussed, various clusters of paddlers headed west across the oyster beds, seaweed, and shifting sands of the bay and headed for Dinosaur Point.  Newbie Liz parked on one of the oyster frames and was kindly tugged backwards off the frame by Ray the Rescuer.  A few rusty-colored jellyfish were spotted as we approached the southern side of the bay, and then we swung over to the north shore to avoid the shallow waters in which the egrets were standing.  At Dinosaur Beach at the mouth of the bay, we landed to see the fossilized whale bones. Several large concretions, about 3 to 5 feet across, were perched in the eroding cliffs, and others had fallen onto the beach and were in various states of disrepair.  One irregularly split boulder displayed a whale bone on  one side and the mold on the other part. When we wandered back to the boats, there was Flo in a dry set of borrowed clothes, on account of a beaching boo-boo of some sort that left Flo in the flow, and there wasn’t much of it.  Don’t ask me how she did it.  Under the circumstances, the original lunch plan was modified to “Here and Now”.

Lunch:  Topnotch Seaweed Salad with edamame, two green garden salads, chicken, pork, some little sandwiches, assorted veggies, mystery dip, hummus, exceptional brownies, assorted crackers and yummy cheeses, oranges, mandarins, tinned oysters.

Beverages:  Water bottles seemed to stay on the boats (is there a rule about this?), and onshore beverages included several bottles of reasonably priced red wine and a cheap white Chateau Le Box (Hey, there was only one left so he figured it musta been popular!), and a couple thermoses of hot water (one with weird drink mixes and Yerba Mate, but nothing normal).

Itinerary and Events (continued):  The initial feeding frenzy, absent leopard sharks, took place around a picnic tarp.  Appetites sated, a few people wandered or paddled off and the serious drinkers got to work draining all the wine containers to ensure compliance with the Open Container law.  No tickets for this crowd!  When they were sufficiently tippy, various members practiced rolling their camp chairs.   Having completed the paddling and eating/drinking requirements, we headed for Home Bay to satisfy the final requirement for a Good Day on the Water:  wildlife viewing.  The expected leopard sharks, seals, and otters were mostly having a day off, but the birds were on the job.  The opening act was provided by a couple hundred Synchro Birds . . . the ones that turn all at once on the wing and appear alternately as a black or white flock, depending on whether you’re seeing the sunny side or the dark side.  Ray, the birding whiz, says they were Lesser and Western Sandpipers. The big show was a glorious flight of maybe 1000 Garbled Madwits and some avatars.  Oops, it was Marbled Godwits and avocets.  Several great flocks swooped over and around us for a few really good minutes.  Then we made good use of our paddles and no use of torso rotation to return to the Oyster Farm about the same time as the last of the good weather.  Clouds building, breeze stiffening, night falling . . . time to buy a nice jar of fresh oysters to share with the unfortunates who missed out on a beautiful day on the water.

Distance Paddled:  9 miles round trip

Weather:  Marbled blue and white sky with gentle breezes, mostly sunny.

Clothing:  Colorful array of paddling jackets, rubber boots, tall neoprene boots, a pair of cute patterned galoshes, caps, gloves, appropriate shirts and pants, jeans, and a sexy midriff length top (stays dry in semi-immersion).

Furniture:  rolling camp chairs, picnic tarps, cocktail table, rocks, driftwood board

Safety equipment:  lots of radios (used frequently), pumps, paddle floats, sunglasses, spare paddles, Ray

So thanks to all for a lovely day on the water.


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