All about kayaking from the San Francisco Bay Area

Archive for April, 2010


I’ve decided it’s time to learn how to roll.  Well, I’ve committed to trying anyways. (:  I’m still working out some of the details but I’ve located a couple of coaches who teach in a pool only a few miles from me.  I can come home after work, load the kayak, take my lessons and be back home by 8:30 PM.

Generally I paddle on Thurs.’, but they’ve forecast 25k winds in the afternoon tomorrow, so if it all works out, I’ll be in the pool instead. Wind advisories continue in the bay and it doesn’t even look too good for the weekend.  Hopefully it’ll settle enough by Sat. that maybe I can get back on the water if I go EARLY in the morning.

I’ve pretty much decided kayaking is my major sport for life and a lifestyle I want to live.  So, in addition to learning to roll, I think I may go for some kind of certification.  Let me know what you think by voting in the below poll.

eat well, sleep well…………paddle fast!



Well I know the date for springtime has come and gone, but winter weather has not.  We’ve had lots of storms the last couple of weeks and this upcoming month I’m trying to increase my paddling days to 3x per week to get ready for the “real training.”  We’ve had another storm today but what’s even worse, several days of high winds are predicted.  I went out yesterday after work in 15k winds again and got 6+ miles in after work.  I had a headwind all the way back to the marina. Normally I’d paddle again Thurs. but 25k winds are forecast with gusts even higher.  There’s been small craft advisories all week. While reading everyone’s blogs,  I see “winter weather” is visiting lots of people around the world.

Anyways, I paddled out of Estuary Park in Oakland yesterday and south in the harbor along Alameda Island.  I did this same route a couple of weeks ago.  Still shared the water with the sculling teams, in addition to some outrigger canoes, and a couple of tugboats and a barge yesterday.  Also saw a lonely seal who let me get within 10 feet before he dove deep.  The harbor canal continues south to San Leandro Bay and as you round the southern tip of Alameda Island you can turn north and go along the west side of the island (open bay side).  I’ve been told it’s 12 miles all the way around. Soon I hope to paddle to San Leandro Bay and get to the marina about midway on the west side of the island.  We just have to get rid of this wind!

Here’s my route on Monday.

Estuary Park to Fruitvale Bridge

eat well, sleep well…………paddle fast!


It’s almost been 2 weeks since we had a sunny morning.  We’ve also had 3 or 4 spring storms roll through with some pretty large amounts of rain.  Yesterday was a pretty day.  I set out early from Redwood City Marina because I wanted to explore south out of the main channel towards Dumbarton Bridge, and winds were expected at 15k. The tide was on ebb after 10 AM, so I was going to take advantage on my way back.  Sorry no pictures today.  I do have a map of my route though.

Lots of people out.  I saw only one other kayaker putting in as I was getting out.  No one was around me in the bay except for about 15 seals as I rounded Greco Island taking advantage of the sun and bathing in it’s warmth as I passed by.  Saw a few young pups too.  All in all a nice outing of about 13km.  Still trying to get my systems down.  Set my watch to drink at 15 hours instead of minutes today; oh well.  And my Forerunner’s batteries died instantaneously.  Not sure how that happened as I charged it all night long?

eat well, sleep well………….paddle fast!


I promised I’d post a picture of my GPS attached to my kayak.  The actual contact between boat and equipment is an industrial suction cup (actually made for cameras) called a Sticky Pod. It was only $5, and there’s other models if you want something more elaborate.  I work in the trades and a colleague (thanks Johnny) fashioned an attachment with stainless steel (very light and doesn’t rust) and a bike mount for my specific GPS (Garmin GPS Maps 60csx).  I can detach the GPS with a release button on the bike mount ; the bracket which holds the GPS comes off in a second.


I had my test run last Thurs. and all worked well.  I did tether it all to my kayak, in case. I could barely get it off at the end of the day, so I’m pretty confident it’s going to stay attached (if you follow the instructions).

A GPS is on the recommended list of equipment for the race (CR100).  So this is something I will be practicing with.  I also use the Forerunner 305 because I’m working out with the heart rate monitor.  The Forerunner gives current speed (and others), which I really like.  Whereas the 60csx shows averages and maximums. I’ve compared the two for distances and I’m happy to say they’re very close to each other.  I’d love to take the Forerunner to the race but the battery won’t last that long and you can only charge it through it’s stand directly from an outlet.

Both GPS are rated IPX7, so I’m not too worried about the water.  A good rinse and dry after each paddle and I should be OK. Another paddler who wrote an article about using the Forerunner for training in a kayak mentioned the metal contacts on the back of the Forerunner and salt water.  He suggested putting some kind of lubricant there. I’ll have to look into that more.

on the deck

Here’s the 60csx on the deck.  I don’t actually have the suction cup engaged here so it would still sit a little lower.  I also put it right at the first deck line from the cockpit.  I then attach the Forerunner via the wristband to the deck line.  You can’t see the tether here, but I also attached a carabiner to the wristband of the 60csx to a deckline.

I’m thinking of using another sticky pod for the bow light.  We don’t require one for navigation, but I know there’s no moon for the race. Many racers are using headlamps.  I think I will for what I might need to see in the cockpit or while I’m on land at night.  But there’s lots of talk of bugs and I don’t want them flying all around my face while I’m paddling.  There’s a Finex flashlight with about 50-60 lumens that runs on batteries for 10 hours.  I’m probably going to use this at night to help me navigate.  I think the only other modifications I’ll be making is somehow suspending my water bag (4L) behind my seat, and possibly a deck bag which can also be suspended under the deck. It’s made by North Water.  I believe sandybottom used it in the Everglades Challenge.  I’m waiting for her reply as to how successful it’s use was.

eat well, sleep well………..paddle fast


My goal this month is to paddle 2-3 times per week.  Took the kayak to work again yesterday and got to the docks and in the water by 4:45PM.  I was out for a couple of hours.  Even though it was sunny it was a little cool with some chop from a slight wind.  I was glad I had my paddle jacket.  It was very busy; lots of sailboats, dragon boats, and sculls.  Kayaks seemed to be in the minority.  Was too tired after a day at work to do more than 6 miles.  That’s my minimum for any paddle for every day I’m out this month.

5th St. to Fruitvale Bridge

eat well, sleep well……..paddle fast


Went for a little longer paddle yesterday.  I was going to head towards the San Mateo Bridge and measure the distance. Wouldn’t you know it, I forgot my GPS!  The day I forgot my PFD the first thing I did when I got home was make a check-list.  Yesterday I forgot about the checklist. (:  Anyways another storm was due on Sun. so there was very little sun today. Here’s where I put-in.

Lots of sailors out, but the wind wasn’t too bad the first hour or so. The bridge is north of the marina so I went left out the main channel and the longer I was out the windier it got.  I went about an 1-1/2 hours and turned around going with the tide and the wind to my back.  However, there were some pretty good gusts from starboard (almost lost my hat), and a headwind once back in the channel to the marina.

Because I’m going longer I started timing my drinking; about 4 oz. every 15 min.  Today I learned I couldn’t hear my alarm to drink with my watch on my wrist.  So, I hooked it to my PFD near my shoulder. Also I was trying out a new Platypus Soft Bottle.

Soft Bottle

I thought it would be good, not only because it’s so light, but when empty you can roll it up. But, the fact that it was so pliable was a problem on the boat; even the deck lines barely held it.  So, it was a good day.  I learned 2 important things I can apply to my race: have to use solid drinking bottles and placement of my watch.  Oh, any suggestions for my memory, besides ginko?

eat well, sleep well……..paddle fast!


Well, where I work we got last Monday off as a holiday; thanks to Cesar Chavez.  I had a really nice 3-day weekend though I was sorry to see my daughter go back to school after her quarter break.  She took her car back to school, a first, as you’re not allowed a vehicle until the last quarter of your sophomore year.  Oh well, another level of freedom. Anyways, the holdiay afforded me 2 days to get out on the water.  This was recorded from my Forerunner 305; Saturday’s route into Westpoint Slough.  Saturday was nice and sunny with very little wind.  This is one possible route which may serve as my monthly time trial.

Westpoint Slough

Rain was expected by Monday evening but it didn’t look too good in the morning and high winds were predicted by the afternoon.  I decided to try to get out before the storm hit.  I launched again at Redwood City Marina and went into the bay.  The wind was definitely up and I went into a headwind so I’d have a tailwind back to the marina when I would be tired.  Unfortunately, I was going against an ebb tide and when I turned off the bay into the main channel to the marina, I again had a head wind.  I was scouting out longer workouts. The put-in at this marina is between two major bridges which cross over the bay.  So it’s a good spot to develop much longer routes when my training gets lengthy.  Here’s Monday’s route.

out to the Bay

eat well, sleep well………paddle fast