Monday, May 30, 2011

7 Days a Week

Memorial Day Weekend kicks off our summer season. This Memorial Day Weekend was gorgeous. Saturday morning's rain was beautiful, and there was lots of wildlife activity on the Noyo River. Sunday was warm and sunny. We could see the trees blowing sideways up on the ridges, but our paddlers were happy to enjoy the protected waters on the Noyo.

We had many first timers who now are hooked on kayaking. Maybe we should put a disclaimer in our waiver forms that kayaking may become addictive.

Everyone marveled at the beauty of the river.

Our shop at Dolphin Isle Marina in Fort Bragg will be open daily from now through Labor Day with a couple of exceptions. Being a 2 person operation has its benefits and limitations. Our paddlers get personalized service from us, but there are occasions when we can't be in two places at once. Be sure to call us for reservations to guarantee we have availability.

Our weekend hours are 9-6 and weekday hours 11-6. For those that want to get a paddle in outside of our business hours, call us to make reservations for a morning tour or rental or join us on our evening wildlife watching tour - LFK's Sunset Bird Paddle.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Where's Squeaky?

Missing - a very handsome male harlequin duck. When he walks, he favors his left leg. Here's a photo of him.

He was last seen in April 15 (maybe he is fleeing the IRS) in the Noyo River near Fort Bragg, CA with a flock of mallards.

Squeaky is an odd duck that we have been watching for the past 4 years. We nicknamed him Squeaky because his calls sound like someone squeezing a rubber ducky. We suspect that he migrated north but who knows where he travels on his jaunts away from the Noyo.

We hope that he migrated north and found a mate and will return at the end of the breeding season. However with Squeaky, one never knows. Keep an eye out for him and let us know if you see him.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Low Water Run on the Eel

The TO-DO list is huge at the moment as we get ready for Fort Bragg and Mendocino's summer visitors. But after spending a rainy Monday in the office, we had to get out and paddle.

Of course an inch or more of rain in Mendocino County often means WHITEWATER!!! So we packed up our whitewater kayaks and headed to the Eel River for what would probably be our last run on the Eel until next winter.

In winter in Mendocino County, the ground is usually very saturated with water. When we get a couple of inches of rain, a lot of it runs-off quickly into our local rivers. However, after having a couple of dry weeks in the spring, the vegetation and ground are thirsty and soak up spring rain showers. This results in less flow in the river than we would anticipate in the winter.

When we got to the put-in, the water level was very low - just runnable. It was fun to see the river at this level. The flow was slow so there was plenty of time to make moves as long as you weren't trying to dig your paddle into rocks. There wasn't quite enough water in the eddies to get a good purchase with a paddle to use the eddy to feed onto a surf wave. The guys definitely tried resulting in lots of clunking sounds of paddles on rocks, but they were successful and caught a few good waves.

I sat back and took photos and video of their antics as I enjoyed the greenery of spring and the intermittent showers. It was very exciting to see a wood duck with her brood of 11 ducklings (unfortunately I had technical issues with my camera and missed the shot).

A couple of the rapids were really boney at low water and others were really fun. My favorite was the trailer rapid which at normal flows is fast and furious with a couple of nasty hydraulics to avoid. At low water, the characteristic jumble of split rocks at the bottom was visible but was otherwise a completely different rapid. Where the nasty hydraulics usually churn were giant eddies. Instead of taking the freeway line past these monsters, we could zig-zag and eddy-hop along as we negotiated the elevation drop.

Maybe we will get another good spring rain for some more local whitewater boating, but if not we won't be kicking ourselves for missing the last run on the Eel of the year.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Teaching Kayaking on the Mendocino Coast

From the classroom of College of the Redwoods to the protected waters of the Noyo River Estuary to the surf zone and rock gardens of the Mendocino Coast, Liquid Fusion Kayaking had a fun-filled weekend of teaching kayaking.

Jeff teamed up with the local unit of the Coast Guard Auxillary to offer a Paddlesmart class.

Cate was on the water teaching Essential Kayak Skills and Safety & Rescue in sea kayaks.

On Sunday, both teamed up for some surf zone teaching and play.

It is exciting sharing our love of the water and teaching the skills to make paddling more fun and safe. We love those "ahhh-haaaa" moments when our students develop new paddling skills or execute more challenging ones.

We are really excited about our teaching program gaining momentum. Check out our calendar for upcoming classes which include Kayak Surfing, Sea Kayak Rock Gardening, and Essential Kayak Skills. We also are so lucky to be able to use the beautiful swimming pool at the CV Starr Center in Fort Bragg for our private rolling lessons.

Monday, May 9, 2011

What's in the WATER?

Spring has sprung on the Mendocino Coast. Last week, we enjoyed some very warm sunny days - shorts and tee-shirts for us in Fort Bragg!!!

The wildlife activity has been phenomenal. Jeff and I have had a hard time getting things done at our shop on the Noyo River because of all the busyness of the wildlife. Of most interest - What's in the WATER?

Deer -Did you know that deer are very proficient swimmers? We regularly see them swim across the Noyo River. On Saturday, this one swam across right in front of our deck. A pair swam across the river further up in front of a couple of our kayak renters.

Deer use their swimming skills for numerous reasons. These deer were swimming to cross the river to graze on the other side. Another reason that deer swim in salt water is to help with controlling fleas, ticks, and lice. Deer are also know to swim out to rocky islands to escape predators.

Whales - We saw several Pacific Gray Whales yesterday as we were paddling along the coastline of Mackerricher State Park. It is an amazing experience to see these giants surfacing and breaching in the swells as you paddle by. We didn't get any photos or videos but here is a link to a video from the weekend that our friend Michael took in Trinidad Bay (which is 3 hours north of us).

Ducklings and Goslings - We've been seeing lots of ducklings and goslings. Although, we aren't super excited that the Canada Geese nest here, their little ones sure are cute. My favorite ducklings are the common mergansers'. We haven't seen any yet but are optimistic that we will see them soon. These tiny little mallards are newly hatched.

Harbor Seals - many of our harbor seals have had their pups. Usually these little ones are sleeping on our off-shore rocky reefs this time of the year. We caught a glimpse of a few yesterday but stay away to avoid scaring them and to allow them to rest and gain weight.

Fish -We've been seeing lots of small fingerling size fish which means food for the local piscivores. River otters, harbor seals, osprey, cormorants, kingfishers, and herons have all been actively fishing.

Kayaks - Its a great time of the year to paddle and enjoy the warmth and energy of spring. When the winds make the ocean not so fun, the Noyo River is protected from the wind and is just delightful.

Of course what's been in the AIR and TREES too has been fascinating with lots of springtime bird activity. Their colorful breeding plummage and singing makes our sunny days sparkle.