Drakes Estero – Oct. 17, 2010

From what I have read this evening most of the PPer’s get on the computer early and figure out what kind of weather to expect for the day. I had already made up my mind last night I was going to paddle today and woke up early after a late night then braved the wet oil slicked roads with all the crazy drivers on a Sunday morning.

It was just light sprinkles part of the way from Santa Rosa to Invernes,then it got a little stronger once I neared the Oyster farm coming down the hill then the blue water kayak trailer was heading back over the hill. Noticed one suv leaving with a sea kayak. Then I talked to a PPer from Sebastopol just leaving the oyster farm road and was informed Ray wasn’t there and the paddle was probably canceled? What Ray cancel the paddle just because it was sprinkling? I figured by the time we got on the water the skies would part and it would be partly cloudy.

Got to the parking area and Danny was sitting in his suv waiting for the rain to stop or ray to show up? Talked to Danny and decided to wait out the rain in our cars as we were getting pretty soaked. Waited 15 to 20 minutes then walked out to check the water, not bad just a light two to three mph breeze from the west. Danny came out and just when I thought I had him talked into just going anyways it started to pour and he passed on the paddle. I waited another 15 minutes and what do you know it stopped raining and was still just a light breeze with semi glassy conditions.

Against my better judgment I decided to paddle by myself it wouldn’t be thefirst time and not the last. Took off at 10:30 am and made a swift paddle to the mouth in an hour with the ebb starting. Paddled to the mouth and to my surprise it has moved a 1/4 of a mile to the south and the old channel is just a deep water channel that dies into the sand bar beach. I had to get out and check the surf then started back to home bay.

I hadn’t made it to one of our normal lunch spots on the left in home bay when I noticed a few boils on the surface and turned around to see if they were leopard sharks. No they were about five small 12″ skates/bat rays.Made the loop at the end of home bay and not one leopard shark. Paddled back to the oyster farm in an hour and packed up with dry skies. Paddled just about 10 miles in under three hours.This made my for days of paddling this week a total of 38 miles in four days.

I brought a whole dozen fresh donuts for the paddle — I guess I’ll have to eat them all myself?

The normal characters were spotted on the paddle:  seal, cormorants, loons, etc. Quote from Don F, I cheated death once again and kept the HEARTY in the Petaluma paddlers name.


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