We were packed for a Bolinas outing. We’d planned to paddle the lagoon, check in on the nesting herons and egrets, maybe snag a few waves at one of the surf spots.
The sleepy little town of Stinson Beach is set against the steep western flank of Mount Tamalpais. It’s really quite the treat just standing at the shore looking out to sea, or up the coast toward Bolinas, or over your shoulder to the massive mountain that holds this little town so carefully.
We had a great breakfast at Parkside Cafe, scouted the surf for long enough to know that there might be waves at Bolinas, then hit the road for the last stretch. But by the time we got there the beach was packed, the town was heading toward bumper-to-bumper traffic and it was already 75 degrees.
We paid a short visit to Audubon Canyon Ranch. At least we could see the heron and egret rookeries. But there were none this year. There’s speculation that an increased population of bald eagles may be the culprit.
Onward to Point Reyes Station where we put in to paddle up a creek. Lagunitas creek to be precise. What we found was quite stunning. Maybe a half mile of water just deep enough to paddle. There were cormorants, turtles, and the odd cow in the rolling meadows beside the water. A few fish jumped along the way.
If only I’d brought along the GoPro. But we did visit Spirit Matters, the lovely little shop in Inverness Park that hosts so many treats for the spirit. Donna found a Kwan Yin seated on a turtle, just like the ones we saw in the creek.
The next day, back in Pacifica, I snagged a few little waves right out my own front door. Check it out, all set to some nifty little jazz. Hey, it’s only a minute.
Remember New Brighton? We’ve had so much fun there, but that was in summer with warm water and small surf.
Yesterday the surf was unruly up and down my coast, but there were hints that it might settle down in the afternoon. It was a play day and my gills were dry so I gathered my gear and hit the road. Every beach had monster waves, but I was not going to any beach, I was going to the one that might be small enough for me.
Santa Cruz was on fire with wild waves from the west side to Capitola. When I arrived at New Brighton the tide was low, and there were no fewer than 40 surfers riding smallish fast waves, with not A SUP in sight.
(SUP is an abbreviation for Stand Up Paddleboard.)
So I waited until the tide started to rise, and watched the surfers leave one by one until it was my size, and uncrowded. I caught a couple of waves and had plenty of paddling. Good thing too, since the storm is back today with heavy wind, strong surf, and sideways rain.
While getting our tickets for a fast train to Provence we spent a bit of time wandering the Gare de Lyon station in Paris. I shot this as a panorama then played with it in Snapseed as the French countryside flew by at 300 k/h.
Today my spirit was buoyed by a large ocean at high tide. The pier was closed as huge surf pounded the coast. Our local KPIX TV camera crew was on hand, and got wet as wave after wave breached the sea wall. They interviewed me with my wet camera in hand. You can see the video here.
About the wet camera. I got a new Lumix camera that has a “Worry-free splash proof / dustproof” body. Guess I’ll find out about the splash. A few year back I lost a Nikon D200 when large surf caught me by surprise and buried me and the camera with one big blast.
Today a man in full rain gear held the sea wall guard rail tight. I caught a shot of one large wave completely cover him up. Then I ran, but not fast enough.
Victoria British Columbia left its prints on me. I was only there once, back in 1973, on the return leg of a leisurely jaunt through B.C. and Alberta. The place seemed magical. I saw my first Belted Kingfisher in Victoria. It was on the west coast. There were Bald Eagles too, but the Kingfisher is the bird I remember best. There were two and they sang. They danced in the air. They flew high, and turned hard. It was a courtship of sorts, and it brought the coast alive.
We spent the late afternoon and evening at Buchart Gardens touring the grand landscape while waiting patiently for the sun to set so we could bask in the garden’s luminous evening light. It was as promised.
I hadn’t been to England yet, but in retrospect, Victoria reminds me of the quaint bits of London. Very proper, yet ever so enchanting. And they have Stand Up Paddleboarding, from flat water to surf.
And there’s great surfing up the west coast at Tofino. You can rent gear at Tofino Paddle Surf.Check out the Tofino SUP Surfing video.
If you have 8 minutes, check out the Naish SUP trip into the northwest. They paddled in flat water, SUP Surfed in Tofino, and paddled by bears. Naish has a full line of stand up paddleboards for flat, surf, downwind, and more. You can s
I lifted these lines right off his blog. What a great adventure.
“After a 4 1/2-month bicycle expedition around northwestern Europe, Joshua Sivarajah and his pint-sized paddling partner, Nero, weren’t ready for the adventure to end. So, they swapped bike for board, and embarked on a 1,777-mile journey down the Danube River—the continent’s second-longest river, nicknamed “Europe’s Amazon.” Photo: Joshua Sivarajah/ULI”
I found the site by looking for SUP sites, and sure enough he rides a SUP in some pretty interesting conditions.
As it turns out Joshua did some humanitarian work while on his trip by serving sandwiches for the Syrian refugee crisis. Check it out here.