Monday, September 18, 2017

California Coastal Cleanup Day Year 9

Time flies when you are having fun - or so the saying says.  We can't believe this was our 9th year hosting an on-water cleanup of the Noyo River and Harbor.  This year we had a stellar crew of 11 kayakers and 2 rowers.
California Coastal Cleanup Day - Every year - the 3rd Saturday of September.
Everyday we pick up bits of trash where ever we are . . . paddling on the river, paddling on the ocean, walking on the beach, hiking in the forest or running errands around town.  I think that many people do this.  Coastal Cleanup Day is a great opportunity for like minded folks to get together and share the care of our environment as well as get some of the bigger stuff that we can't get as individuals.
Anne hauling a load of trash and marine debris.
After last year's doozy of a project with the foam barge, we declared this year trash pick up only.  "No big projects," was my directive to the team. 
Jim and Stan inline towing a foam barge that has been breaking up and floating out to sea.  This project extended over many days and involved several dumpster refills and trips to the dump.
Turns out our cleanup team was in for a project.  Two days before coastal cleanup day, a live-aboard boat that was moored in the river sank.  Bags and bags of garbage floated from it as well as gallons and gallons of fuel.  Starting in May, we called a variety of agencies with concerns about the trash and pollution from the live aboard boats moored in the river this summer.  We know other concerned citizens called as well.  Nothing was done.
The Raven's Ghost was a live-aboard boat moored in the river.  It sank 2 days before the cleanup.
Fortunately we had a solid team and picked up as much of the trash as we could get.

Trash bags full of trash were floating in the river along with dirty diapers, toxic substances, life jackets, toys, and other household items.
After cleaning up the river from the sunken boat, we turned our efforts to the Noyo Harbor Area.  A particularly trashy spot is the South Beach under the Noyo River Bridge.  It is a collecting spot for litter, marine debris, and transient encampments.
The beach below the Noyo Bridge is a collecting spot for trash and marine debris and our last chance to pick up the trash before winter storms wash it into the ocean.
June working on filling another bag under the Noyo Bridge.

Again, our team pitched in to get the large and small trash from the beach.  A huge thanks to rowers Stan and Jim who have been with us for all 9 years of the cleanup.

Trash happens.  Everyone has had a wrapper blow out the window of the car or off our picnic table.  Thanks to everyone who picks up where and when they can.  And a huge thanks to those who coordinate cleanup events and all the participants who come out.  Together we can make a difference.

Coastal Cleanup Day crew enjoying a well earned lunch and a sunny day on the Noyo River.
On another note, I am extremely saddened by the state of affairs surrounding the sinking of the Raven's Ghost in the Noyo River and all the pollution that has resulted.  We can help with the trash and debris but not the fuel.  Our pleas to numerous agencies to help before the ship sank were heard but not acted upon.  When she sank, agencies came by and observed but still no action.  No containment measures were deployed and gallons of fuel and other toxic materials allowed to leak into the river.  I am sad that no one could or would help.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Eel River Whitewater Class

Its always a treat to get to run the Eel River in May.  With a wet winter and spring, we expected that it would be running still in May and scheduled a whitewater river kayaking class.
Whitewater kayaking class on the Eel River.
We gave first dibs on the class to several of our regular customers and then through word of mouth it filled up and we had a waiting list.

The weekend was spectacular.  We had nice weather and a fun, friendly flow for learning.

Our students built confidence and skills over the 2 day class.
Whitewater kayaking fun on the Eel River.
Several joined us for an optional day 3 of running the river.  This was a great experience for them to practice their skills from the weekend and enjoy another beautiful day on the Eel.
Tunnel 2 rapid on the Eel River.
Jeff and I got to tune up our whitewater river coaching skills.
Jeff Laxier coaching whitewater river kayaking on the Eel River..
A wildlife highlight of the weekend was getting to see lamprey's in the water - both alive and dead.  Pacific lamprey are not technically an eel but are the namesake for the Eel River.
Pacific lamprey die after spawning.
Sadly our season on the Eel is over until next year.  We are planning a variety of whitewater classes for next spring.  Our whitewater fix is not of the salty variety - whitewater of the sea!!!
Whitewater ocean kayaking on the Mendocino Coast

Friday, May 5, 2017

Spring Run Off 2017

We are back from our Spring Run Off 2017 Trip.  This year we journeyed 118 miles down Oregon's John Day River.
Jeff and Cate kayak the John Day River. Photo by Cate Hawthorne
In 2011, Jeff and I started the tradition of a Spring Run Off Trip.  In 2011, we did a Mountains to Sea Whitewater River Kayak Trip on the Eel River.  On this trip, we discovered that we both love multi-day river kayak camping trips.  Since 2011, we have scheduled a couple of weeks in April to go with the flow - down river.  Our spring run off trips have included the Eel River, the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon, the McCloud River, the Upper Sacramento, the Smith River, the South Fork Eel River, the Colorado through Black Canyon, the Owyhee River, and most recently the John Day River.
Jeff enjoying the scenery and geology of the John Day River. Photo by Cate Hawthorne
Boom - we are home now and getting ready for our busy season with our first Whitewater of the Sea Adventures and a Sea Kayak Rock Garden Class.  Next week, it is setting up our Noyo River location for our summer tour season on the Mendocino Coast.  Before we get too busy with our summer season, we look forward to sharing photos and tales of this year's spring run off trip on the John Day and will start dreaming of our next trip.  Please let us know if you have any suggestions.
A Bighorn Sheep on watches us float by on the John Day River.  Photo by Cate Hawthorne