California Kayaking - My Family Travels

On the last four days of our 2009 San Francisco vacation an opportunity arose to experience a seemingly different world from the tightly packed city. My Dad had arranged for my brother Izaac, and I to take a kayak trip on the Inverness Bay. Years ago, my dad lived around these parts. Some friends of his from way back, John and Pamela Granatir, own a kayaking tour company called “Blue Waters Kayaking”. From a little office in Point Reyes Station, they operate two kayak launching points, one in Marshall, the other near the “town” of Inverness. Little did I know this jaunt would evolve into one of the greatest experiences of my life.

A gorgeous sunny day greets us as we arrive at Marshall. Here I make the acquaintance of the tour group, consisting of Markie, Sam, Robert, and Bret, our tour guide. With the boats loaded we begin our journey. Passing the dock, I see a breathtaking view of the bay. The waves extend toward the north for what seems an eternity, holding within it many forms of life: the Leopard Shark, Jacksmelt, Moon Jellyfish, and Red Rock Crab only scratch the surface of the diversity. A Cormorant stalks herring schools, with great guile it dives through the surface, soundless emerging with fish in beak.

As we paddle across the bay Bret suggests that if I extend my grip on the paddle I will increase my efficiency. Sure enough the moment I try this, paddling becomes far easier.

As my grandfather used to say: “There is the doing, and there is the knowing. And then there is the knowing what to do.”

I wake expecting sun like the previous day, only to be greeted by clouds and mist. After breakfast we paddle to Lairds Landing, an abandoned shack across the cove. On the way I see to my excitement a procession of three Bat Rays swoop underneath my kayak with the grace of a dancer. Within the blink of an eye they disappear. We follow a trail that leads up to a crossroad atop the mountain. The misty veil lifts and I behold a magnificent sight, mountains layered in lush greenery. I hear the distant chirping of songbirds and smell the scent of life floating on the wind. Once back at camp we ready for sleep, content with the day behind us. However this night will not end so soon.

Within the depths of night I hear branches snapping, and brush being swept aside. Out of the dark I see small bright eyes staring back at me from the gloom. Once the beast emerges into the light of the Tiki Torches we see what has frightened us so, a raccoon. We stare bewildered at our “mighty” attacker until we hear another noise coming from the ice-chests, the conniving coons have out-flanked us. Hurriedly, we grab paddles and chase after the newest assailant come to steal our provisions. After a short offensive we switch to defensive, quickly securing our food with “tie-downs”. And thus we can sleep.

As I lay in my tent allowing the sweet embrace of slumber to envelope me, I think about how very different this place is to San Francisco. The cities constant noisy streets and harsh lights, with no time of day in which one can have a sense of peace and tranquility. The simplicity of the wilderness washes over me dissolving any feelings of distress or worry. Here nature simply exists.


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