I don't often do these kinds of paddles because they take up too much time. Usually I drive the half mile to the boat ramp closest to my house and put the boat in the water for a short, less than an hour paddle. The truth is that I don't much care for paddling any amount of distance. Distance paddling is quite frankly boring. It is like driving on the interstate across Nebraska. Lovely, but unvarying views. It can be done if one works oneself into a trance. I much prefer playing around in waves, a little surfing, some rolling and just enough paddling to get warm. Then back to the car. But the bay has no surf, just short waves and when there are waves, there is also an unpleasant amount of wind. Tribulation exceeds excitation.
The trick when trying to paddle somewhere solo is to get oneself locked into some sort of no-return situation where one has to finish the trip or might as well finish the trip when the temptation is to turn back after half an hour and go somewhere for a beer or a cup of coffee.
This is how it was on this paddle. My plan was to endure paddling for an hour and then turning back for a total time on the water of about two hours rather than doing the usual turn around after 20 minutes which would have me back at the boat ramp in under an hour.
|A nice purple boat house about two miles down the estuary.|
|Some more boat houses. Jack London used to tie up the Snark somewhere around here before he took off for Hawaii.|
|The Snark on the estuary.|
|A tug tied up to a barge. The big white thing behind it is one of the floating dry docks at Bay Ship. Off to the right, the iconic cranes of Oakland's container port, images of which turn up on tee shirts.|
|The SF to Oakland ferry passing by a scrap metal carrier. The soundtrack here is of big chunks of metal being dropped into the metal hold of the ship, creating much clanking.|
Returning to the journey, at this point I was about 45 minutes into the trip. This would have been a good time to turn back. I could have been back at the boat ramp in another 45 minutes and would not have done too much damage to the day. Instead I kept going forward since I could see the channel marker at the end of the estuary, just another mile or so off. Also, at this point I considered the option of paddling around the tip of the island over to where my shop is, taking the kayak out there and riding my bike home. More paddling but I wouldn't have to look at all the same stuff I looked at going out. And so I went.
Total mileage according to google maps, 7.6. Elapsed time, roughly 2 hours. After that, four miles home on my bicycle.
Since I don't get out in the kayak all that much, I was pleasantly exhausted, with my mind empty of thought, a wonderful state to be in, but came at the cost of spending two hours in a kayak.