Saturday, May 30, 2009

Birds on the Brain II

Yes, I continue to have birds on the brain. Yesterday, I was admiring the cormorant chicks at the Point Cabrillo Lighthouse after helping with the Point Cabrillo Breeding Birds Survey then I went to write my woman on water blog which ended up being a banter about birds. Yesterday afternoon, I was bringing gear off of the line in our back yard, and Osprey flew over me at low altitude (about 25 feet) with a nice size salmon in her talons. I was hoping for a dropsy but no such luck. I hope that she enjoyed her salmon dinner.

Prior to meeting my guests for a Sunset Bird Paddle, I warmed up on the Noyo with my greenland paddle and found myself birding again. I was stoked to have a few moments with my camera and am excited to share my shots with you. Yes, I photographed the male harlequin again and got a couple of great shots of a handsome great blue heron in breeding plummage.My favorite photo though is of the merganser and her ducklings - in this photo one was riding on mom's back.

The swallows have been very active feeding and chittering away along the river. I had several great viewings of 3 barn swallows - close enough to see the irridescence shimmer in their blue feathers. There are a bunch of violet green swallows swooping about but elluding my camera.

And of course the mamma mallards had to parade their little ones around the marina just before we launched on our sunset bird paddle. They brought them past us in the water and then for a walk on a log floating next to the dock.

Who knows what we will see next.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Wet & Wild - Mendocino Coast Kayaking ROCKS!!!

Some call it rock gardening or extreme ocean kayaking . . . we call it FUN!!! This weekend we had a blast sharing our Mendocino Coast kayaking playground with guests from all over the country. Wind swells created lots of whitewater for us to play on in our whitewater kayaks. We are really stoked with our new whitewater sit on top kayaks - Dagger Torrents. They are super stable yet very maneuverable and perfect for beginners.

Many of our guests were first time kayakers or had kayaked just a few times. We started each session with a kayaking lesson that included basic paddling and safety skills including capsize and recovery. One of our paddlers made up the funniest scenario/story as he paddled and capsized - unfortunately I didn't catch it on video.

After some skill work, we started to play - starting small and then going BIG!!! It is fun that each feature that we play on has different options depending upon the paddler's comfort level. And it is just as fun to sit and watch (or take photos as I did) as it is to ride the waves. Facial expressions are priceless.

As we played in the rock gardens, we were treated to displays of the brown pelicans flying north, osprey hunting for fish, sea lions cruising about, harbor seals checking us out, and other coastal birds (I am refraining from getting too birdy here). The sun was shining and the water was wet, wild, and refreshing.

Ahhh . . . life is good.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

New Photo Gallery

Here's one of my favorite photos. I took it while sea kayaking on the Mendocino Coast just outside of Fort Bragg's Noyo Bay.

This photo is in our new photo gallery which includes photos and videos of our kayaking, Mendocino Coast, wildlife, and other adventures.

I hope that you will enjoy my labor of love.

Monday, May 11, 2009

National Boating Safety Week

National Safe Boating Week is May 16-22, 2009. Check out the statistics on wearing a life jacket and survival, then watch Cold Water Boot Camp. When I saw that this video was 10minutes long, I said no way. It exceeds my attention span for a YouTube video; however, I was glued to it for the entire 10 minutes and rewatched it for information for an article that I was writing on kayaking safety.

It reminds those of us who regularly paddle in waters below 59 degrees of the importance of wearing life jackets and cold water immersion clothing. I love my Kokatat drysuit - safe, warm, comfortable, and made in the USA.

Paddle safe and have fun!!!

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Sunday, May 3, 2009

Kayaking Mendocino Sea Caves

Glassy ocean conditions on Thursday enticed us explore the sea caves in Mendocino Bay in our sea kayaks. The predominant swell direction on the Mendocino Coast is northwest. It creates many sea caves in our rugged coastline, but also makes many of them inaccessible to kayaking in all but the calmest conditions. Every now and then Poseidon smiles upon us and gives us that window to explore. And smile we did in return as we sea kayaked into the Mendocino sea caves.

A few nice sets rolled through and made for some fun surfing and rock gardening. The tide conditions were perfect to stand up some green-faced waves at Smuggler's Gulch that were perfect for surfing our sea kayaks. A couple of abalone divers whistled as I took a right to carve across one of the first slow spilling waves of the day. This was not my best videoing day because I was having too much fun surfing to focus on setting up in the right location for the shot. Most of my shots were quick grabs of the camera as I was paddling back out to line up for the next set.

Much to Jeff's chagrin, I continue to maintain my status as the wave magnet and had a couple of exciting pour-over and surge channel rock garden rides that were probably as entertaining to watch as they were to ride. One of our paddlers had a helmet cam and I will save my verdict on that until I see the footage.