All about kayaking from the San Francisco Bay Area

Archive for May, 2010


One down and 52 to go! That’s how many more training days I have before the Colorado 100 on Sept. 4.  Today was the “kick-off” of my official training schedule.  I was on the water by 7:10 AM.  It was a negative tide today so I headed for the Oakland estuary instead of putting in at Redwood City.  The dock was empty and I had the place to myself.  There was already a pretty good breeze; a small craft advisory was due for 11 AM.  Here’s a picture I took right before I unloaded gear and the boat.

the Oakland estuary

Once I got going I felt pretty good.  My right shoulder muscles had been a little sore from Fri.’s practice.  Today was the first day I wore the heart rate monitor.  My drinking timer worked, I got speed, distance, and recorded my route.  So the technological challenges were all a success.  I’m really glad I’ve been paddling with the watches and GPS before today.  The wind actually decreased after the first half hour or so.  I hadn’t paddled on flat, smooth water  in weeks. Effort was supposed to be at 60-75% of my MHR.  Here’s a graph of heart rate and speed.

I found it interesting that speed improved as time went by and heart rate decreased.  I suspect that was a “warming up” period. The severe drops in the graph are where I stopped for water.  Soon I won’t have to stop and put my paddle down as I will have a drinking tube attached to my PFD.  I hope Johnny has the fabrication for suspending the Dromlite behind my seat done by next Sat. That’s a 12 mile day and I’d like NOT to have to bring multiple water bottles.  Next Sat. will also be a little more than a 3 hour paddle which means I’ll begin practicing with liquid food.  So I’ll have at least one bottle on deck.

Being Memorial Day here in the States it was a pretty quiet morning as I paddled by multiple sailboats moored all along the estuary. There were a few people getting ready to go out for the day.  One couple was getting their BBQ ready on deck.  A couple powerboats went by, but all in all, I was by myself.

When I returned to the dock a few women were getting ready to go out in their sculls.  Even by 9:30 AM, it was still mostly empty in the parking lot.  I was home by 10:30 with still a full holiday of fun to follow.

5/31/2010 route

eat well, sleep well………..paddle fast

6 miles/9.6 km



Did almost 6 miles yesterday, very early out of Jack London Square. High winds were predicted by the early afternoon, so I was on the water by 7:30 AM.  Wednesday and Thursday was rain, so besides some big white clouds, it was a nice, sunny day.  Paddled with my coach/friend who has lots of kayak marathon racing experience.  He made some helpful suggestions about my forward stroke to  make it as efficient as possible.

Oakland Estuary

Here’s our route.  I’ll be paddling in this area a lot over the next 3 months.  My “official” training starts Monday with 6 miles at a moderate pace.  I’ll be going out near Redwood City Mon., but Wednesday and Thursday I’ll be back in Oakland waters after work.  All week is 6 miles with a 12 mile day on Sat.  I’m excited to have my training schedule finally start. It’s planned out for the next 3 months; I know what days are rest and which ones are on the water , and the exact miles for each and every day.

eat well, sleep well…………paddle fast!


Gone and back from southern California.  Had a good visit with my mom.  She lives near a private lake which allows powerboats and kayaks, but guests cannot utilize the lake with their own kayak.  Go figure.  Having a lab who loves to swim I use to exercise my dog by throwing sticks for her off the shore.  Now they have a rule, NO dogs in the water.  I propose the idea that powerboats and people are more polluting than my dog.  So it wasn’t much fun for either of us (me and my dog).  They also have a recreational center with a nice big pool, but they made a new rule, NO people in the pool over 40 yrs. old (just kidding :)) I was going to swim but it was VERY windy and cold with thunderstorms.  So the long and short of it is, I had a very relaxing (vegetative) visit.

Now, back to kayaking………  I have a 4-day weekend, and tonight is a pool session practicing rolling.  Tomorrow’s a very early morning paddle with a friend of mine, and Monday begins my official training for the Colorado 100.  It begins with a 6 mile paddle at moderate pace.  Wednesday is a 6 mile time trial, and Thurs. is 6 miles easy. June 5, is my first long Saturday paddle, 12 miles; a total of 30 miles the first week.

An update on kit and outrigging.  I’ve decided on a small deck bag by North Water, the Turtle Back deck bag at the front of my kayak.  It’s pretty small and will hold only essentials like chapstick, sunscreen, gels, supplements and some snacks. A  4L water bag (MSR Dromlite) will be suspended behind my seat.  A colleague at work is fabricating that set-up as we speak.  The waterbag has a drinking tube just like a CamelBak and will be clipped to my PFD.  I will use both a headlamp and a bow light.  The bow light will be affixed to a StickyPod for the night hours (no full moon this year), and I will use the headlamp only as needed.  I’ve removed the Garmin GPS from the StickyPod and will attach the GPS to the deck bag.  Also on the front deck will be my 4-6 hour feeding bottle (Perpeteum in a 24 oz. insulated water bottle).

With regard to clothing………. It’s supposed to be 100ºF, so first off I’m ditching my spray deck.  I’ll probably wear a wicking, long sleeve shirt (UPF30) and paddling shorts, hat, and sunglasses.  Haven’t decided on the attire for my feet yet.  So as the days and miles accumulate over the summer, and I test trial my equipment, rigging and products, hopefully I’ll also be building up those callouses and perfecting my technique.

eat well, sleep well………. paddle fast!


Sorry no kayaking adventures for me this weekend.  Had to work overtime both weekend days and high winds kept me off the water during the week.  Off to visit my mom end of this week so I’m really hoping I can get on the water one day before I leave.  May even RAIN tomorrow!


Today’s post has no pictures or snapshot of my route.  I did use my GPS but forgot to turn it off for the drive home. Therefore all the stats include my trip in the car.  Oh well.  I did go back and view just the route in my kayak.  Yesterday I paddled a couple miles further than ever before towards San Leandro Bay .  So I wanted to look at the geography and landmarks via a map to compare with the visual impression I had from the water.  This area is new to me, so as I plan future trips with more distance I can know ahead of time where I want to go.

I was very motivated to get a paddle in yesterday as we’ve had high winds and I hadn’t been out since the week before. Ten to 20kt winds were predicted with gusts to 25kt so I was unloaded, on the dock, and ready to put in by 8:30AM.  I’d seen the branches already swaying in the wind on the drive, so I was hoping for the winds to be blocked by Alameda Island.  It was pretty deserted when I got to the docks.  There were a couple of vehicles with empty boat racks; they obviously had beaten me to the water.  It didn’t look too bad from the dock…….I slipped into my cockpit and all of a sudden I just didn’t feel like fighting the elements, paddling in gray weather, or going solo.   I sat there a minute and figured out my “emotional” strategy for the day.  I had originally planned to go at least 8-10 miles, but now I was feeling like I just wanted to crawl back into bed.  OK, I’ll shoot for the route I’m familiar with, 6 miles, and maybe the wind will force me off the water sooner.  I’ll see how I feel if I reach the 6 mile turnaround,  maybe I’ll go further.  Once I got into the rhythm of my stroke I forgot about how I was feeling.  I was concentrating on technique and adjusting for the gusts of wind and watching for traffic bigger than me.  Then the sun came out and I forgot all about the warm, cozy bed.  I was enjoying myself.  The first 3 miles ticked off pretty fast (the wind was behind me), and I decided to keep on going.  I passed under about 4 bridges; this part of the channel narrowed and one side was all residential.  It was very pleasant and before I knew it I had gone all the way into San Leandro Bay.  If I turned around here it would be an 8 mile trip and I would have the wind in my face all the way back to the start.

So, turn around I did and the wind really picked up my last mile into the docks.  But that negative start turned into a really positive paddle!

eat well, sleep well…….paddle fast!


I woke up Saturday morning planning on going for a paddle early but I was just too tired.  Luckily I could go on Sunday, so I delayed my plans.  If you’ve read recent posts, I’ve mentioned the wind.  That meant getting out early on Sunday.  I was in the water by 10 AM (guess it’s not that early) and I only felt a slight, inconsistent breeze on my face before leaving the dock behind me.

It was a negative tide and I didn’t want to be way out near the main boating channel (which ended up happening anyways ), so I went south towards the Dumbarton Bridge.  I was feeling pretty good and was thinking of going further but I decided to turn into the wind and see how it was.  I was going to have to go against the flow and the wind on the way back.  I turned north and was surprised at the whistling of the wind through my ears!  There were a few whitecaps but I guess I hadn’t been watching the elements close enough.  I decided to turn back.

It was looking (and sounding) like the whitecaps were picking up.  I have to say it was blowing pretty hard and I was a bit surprised because high winds weren’t expected until the afternoon.  I went from 4.4 mph pace to about 2.7 mph on the way back.  I got a pretty good workout, but worst of all I got chafed pretty bad around my shoulders.  It was such a nice, sunny day I only wore my farmerjohn and pfd (and sunscreen of course).  It was time to get some sun on those arms and get rid of my “farmer’s” tan.  My pfd ended up rubbing the skin off my left, anterior shoulder.   I paid for my vanity.

Out to the bay.

After loading up for the drive home I checked the marine weather report, and there was already a small boat advisory due to wind for the next 24 hours.  That advisory has continued for most of this past week.  If you look at the satellite image above it looks like I did a pretty strange route, but actually the route was due to the tide being so low.  All that water in the image is actually land or water so shallow I couldn’t paddle without the blade hitting the bottom.

eat well, sleep well………..paddle fast!


There’s so many words to learn.  What’s funny (to me anyways) is words pop out during the day and though I know how to use them in a sentence, I’m often left wondering how that word or phrase came about.  Many times these words or phrases are from my childhood. Take “lickety-split,” for example.  I didn’t know how to properly spell it until today.  So, as I was perusing a kayak navigation book,  I realized, what a wealth of knowledge is just in the words of this book. Maybe there are others who would enjoy a “word of the day” page. Now introducing, “Word Of The Day,” found on page two.  I hope you’ll check it out.