Thursday, December 31, 2009

Paddling Upstream

Sending out the old and bringing in the new this New Years Eve, we paddled up the Noyo River from our shop at Dolphin Cove. A 7.1 high tide and about 48 cfs flow enabled us to paddle further than we have ever paddled before. We had our GPS unit in hand as we started working on our 2010 project of mapping points of interest on the Noyo River.

Paddling upstream is work as the proverbial saying goes. The tide had turned on us and our next winter storm system was sending us some gusty winds. But what we love about the Noyo was true. The tide was negotiable (early in its ebb), and Noyo River Valley protected us from the majority of the wind enabling us to enjoy the river's scenery and wildlife and reflect on 2009.

2009 was a building year for our business on the Mendocino Coast. Much like paddling upstream, we worked hard but enjoyed the process and journey (mostly). We did a lot of building/producing/creating in 2009 starting with our first video productions which we posted on YouTube. Part of the pride and joy of Liquid Fusion Kayaking for us is that it is our business, We enjoy the variety and challenge of being jack of all trades (and master of none).

Creation projects of 2009 included a few more videos, our rack cards (wait till you see the 2010 revision which we just got printed), WWW Paddle Mendocino Presentation, an article in July/Aug edition of the American Whitewater Journal, a kayak program for Fort Bragg's new aquatic center, and our new "Wet and Wild - Kayaking ROCKS!!!" rock gardening tour - to name a few.

Building projects for 2009 included rebuilding our website and then building kayak storage racks, fences, signs, ect for our new location at Dolphin Isle Marina.

Whew - lots of work - but lots of fun and special moments.

We are excited about 2010 which is off to a great start already!!!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Land and Sea Adventures in Fort Bragg, California

Here's our latest video creation on YouTube featuring some of our land and sea adventures in our home of Fort Bragg on the Mendocino Coast of California. Of course, we feature kayaking but also some of our other favorite activities on the coast and in the forest including abalone diving, mountain biking, and more.

A special thanks to Brent Reitz - master instructor of the Forward Stroke - for allowing us to use Single Care as our main song. If you have taken one of Brent's Forward Stroke Clinics, you probably have immensely improved your forward stroke and probably heard him rock-out on the harmonica. Here's a link to his group - Bad Habits.

We hope that you enjoy the video - we sure had fun making it.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Into the Forest

Fly Agaric Mushrooms on the Mendocino Coast

Guess we should change our voicemail and sign outside of our shop from we are on the water to we are in the forest. Fall and winter is one of our favorite times of the year for hiking and mountain biking in the forests of Mendocino County. We have lots of great singletrack trails for mountain biking and lots of colorful and choice edible mushrooms in the forest.

Ride thru Tree

We are still paddling and enjoying the colorful migratory ducks that are visiting us for the winter on the Noyo. On Saturday in addition to the mallards, harlequin duck, green-winged teals, and 40+ buffleheads; we enjoyed watching a colorful wood duck drake.

Bufflehead drakes on the Noyo River

Our mushroom paddles were a lot of fun. We started the paddles with a short lesson on the basics of mushroom identification followed by looking at and identifying the wild mushrooms growing along the Noyo. Finding a King Bolete growing along the river was very exciting. (especially for a boletivore like me - no I didn't pick it).

Finding a King Bolete on a Noyo River Mushroom Paddle

We just finished our first session of Intro to Kayaking at Fort Bragg's new aquatic and recreation facility - the CV Starr Community Center. It is beautiful!!! We are enjoying drop in kayak night on Mondays for eskimo roll practice and kayak fun and games until January 11 when our new Intro to Kayaking Class begins.

Eskimo Rolling in the pool of CV Starr Aquatic Center in Fort Bragg, CA

Hmmm . . . wood ducks on the Noyo? I bet we write more on this subject in the future. Stay tuned.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Paddling Cats n Dogs

Bear coaches dogs on how to paddle.

Bear and Aften paddling in their new life jackets.

Emma on her first paddle.

A Kayaking Noyo Harbor Cat? Check out Tail of a Noyo Harbor Cat.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Fall Kayaking on the Mendocino Coast

Fall weather is upon us in all of its beauty. Colorful evening skies, spectacular reflections on the water, falling leaves, warm sunny days, and the beginnings of winter migration are delighting us as well as our kayaking guests.

Jeff and I have been enjoying the leaves falling and lazily drifting in the Noyo River. Windy days have been gusting and blowing much of the Mendocino Coast, but we've been lazily enjoying warm, sunny afternoons on the Noyo River.

While we have been enjoying our meandering paddles of the Noyo River, we have been actively planning for 2010 and beyond. We will soon be unveiling our new tours, classes, and rental program . . . and other creations and events of funness.

Here we are in the home office of Liquid Fusion Kayaking.

As we are still planning, please let us know if you have any suggestions or requests.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Gone to the Dogs

Liquid Fusion Kayaking has gone to the dogs.

Bear and Aften the kayaking dogs of LFK have convinced us to host a Dog Paddle for all of their friends and to benefit the Mendocino Coast Dog Park.
We will be hosting our first (hopefully to become annual) Noyo River Dog Paddle on October 11 from 1-3pm at Dolphin Isle Marina. We have special canine life jackets for paddling pooches and a special tour planned for them and their owners and friends. The Dolphin Isle Deli will have specials on hot dogs and other tasty treats for people and pups.

Hair Putter the canine ambassador for Mendocino County enjoyed his first kayak lesson with us last week and will be joining us for the Dog Paddle.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Early Rain

Talk of El Nino brings numerous speculations to the California Coast. Will we get a rainy winter?

Yesterday, we had the first rain of the season on the Mendocino Coast. It started just as we were getting ready to launch. It sprinkled then showered, and we commented that it might settle the dust. Moments later, it began to rain.

Excitement built throughout the afternoon paddle. The rain was warm and hope of a good winter warmed us further. In Mendocino County, rain means wild mushrooms and whitewater river kayaking.

Stay posted as we hope to be enjoying both mushrooms and whitewater this fall and winter. Our Mushroom Kayak Tour was mentioned in Oprah's magazine in a feature article about food festivals. And yes, we will be venturing off of the coast this winter to paddle the whitewater creeks and rivers of Mendocino County.

Friday, August 7, 2009

"We are out on the Water"

If you stopped by our Fort Bragg location at Dolphin Isle this week, you are likely to see "We are out on the Water" posted on our gate.

WOW!!! We have been having the best stretch of weather and some of the nicest people to share it with . Sunshine, new birds, lots of active wildlife, glassy waters . . . makes kayaking on the Mendocino Coast all the sweeter.

Birds as usual are on my brain as I admire the gull chicks growing big on "First Rock" in Noyo Bay, the black turnstones on the shoreline, common loons swimming about with their heads tucked under the surface. The osprey have probably been a highlight for many of our guests. We watch and as they hover and then dive for a fish. After bringing it up, they shake their feathers out and circle before heading to their perch or nest.

My highlight has been seeing oystercatcher chicks. These guys are so well camouflaged that we rarely see them. Can you see the chick in this photo? If so, sign in and leave us a comment.

Kelp forests and kelp horns, jelly fish, sea urchins, sea stars, and sea caves have dazzled us all on our coastal paddles. Yes, we are back to our antics of making kelp horns. I share my french horn lessons from elementary school with the recipients of my kelp horns . . . make a tight embouchure to produce a clear sound.

Jeff and I have enjoyed sharing kayak adventures with families and friends from near and far. Jeff enjoyed a super fun tour of Caspar Bay with Michael who lives in Caspar and wanted to kayak in Caspar Bay for his 65th Birthday. We have had numerous local friends kayaking with us as well as some passing through. Some whitewater paddling friends from San Diego joined us for a rock gardening session this week that was definitely on the WILD side.

If you are perusing our blog, I hope that you are enjoying our posts and having as amazing a summer as we are. Leave us a comment if you can see the oystercatcher chick.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Ducks in a Row

August is an exciting and busy month for us on the Mendocino Coast and beyond. We have lots of adventures planned to share our passion for kayaking and the natural world. In Fort Bragg, we are continuing to make improvements to our Dolphin Isle Location. Check out my wildlife fact photo cards on the deck.

And Eric's gate.

We have some exciting custom adventures planned this month. Saturday, we had an all day coastal exploration of the Fort Bragg Coastline. The group explored sea caves in tandem sea kayaks and meandered among the rocky channels leading up to Glass Beach. Of course a lunch break at Glass Beach was in store with beachcombing for shells and sea glass.

We are also excited about guiding a special wet and wild kayaking birthday celebration for some friends in Caspar.

Beyond the Mendocino Coast, we are preparing to present at the Bay Area Sea Kayakers' August general meeting, and Jeff is preparing for a week of kayaking instruction and fun at the Lower Columbia Kayak Round-up.

As we get our ducks in a row for a busy month, our mother ducks on the Noyo River continue to line up their little ones. The number of ducklings on the Noyo River has been amazing this year with many late hatchlings. Today we saw another brand new set of mallard ducklings. They are sooo fuzzy and cute. It is neat to see them in all stages of their development. This is the proud new mamma getting all of her little ducks in a row.

In my last blog, I mentioned the shyness of our river otters. Ha! - they beg to differ with that comment and have been quite present lately. The kits have been playing around quite a bit - but definitely not in a row. I actually got a few photos of them.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sea World Fort Bragg

Often people will compare one of our Mendocino Coast kayaking experiences to Disneyland. Lately Sea World has been the comparison. The herring and sardines are running on the Noyo River, and we are enjoying spectacular wildlife displays. Our visitors are also enjoying an escape from the fog as our Noyo River location is outside of the fog belt. This afternoon, we enjoyed a journey up the river wearing t-shirts.
Both the harbor seals and sea lions have been actively schooling fish on the river. It is pretty awesome to see the sea lions as they porpoise about in the river chasing the fish. The harbor seals are a bit more subdued by equally enjoyable. Jeff and I enjoyed our dinner one evening on the deck watching the show. Here the team from Visit Mendocino County checking out the wildlife from our deck.

Yesterday, the osprey who likes to perch in the Eucalyptus by our deck was 3 for 3 in diving for fish. I saw a different osprey snatch 2 fish from the river in one dive. This evening, a juvenile loon was enjoying some fishing time on the river. The great egrets must have heard about the plethora of fish on the Noyo as they have shown up this week. Jeff saw 4 of them this afternoon on the river.

The merganser ducklings are growing fast and the older set is just about the same size as their mother. We have several sets of late mallard ducklings that are so cute and fuzzy. The new gull chicks are starting to stretch out their wings, and we expect them to be fledging soon. It is amazing how fast they grow and develop, but they are still so far from reaching adulthood.

My odd duck - the harlequin- continues to hang around. We suspect that he is an old bird who has enjoyed wintering on the Noyo and now has selected it as his retirement community. Birders and wildlife enthusiasts continue to enjoy his presence. The mallard drakes don't appear to mind his company either.

Our otters continue to be on the shy side. I regularly see them but they are elusive to many of our guests. Perhaps they have gotten to know me and pop up to say hi but are still wary of many people as a survival skill from years ago when they were hunted. Did you know that a group of otters is called a romp? Seems fitting.

The new born fawns have not been shy and seem quite curious about us as we quietly float by.

It has been really fun to share these wildlife experiences with all ages and many first time paddlers. Kayaking has its roots in hunting wildlife, today we are using it as a vehicle to appreciate it.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

"No Name"

"No Name" ????

"No Name" is one of our favorite rock garden features in Fort Bragg's Noyo Bay. Why is it called No Name? Well it is one of our favorite play spots so it needs a name, but we really haven't settled on one.

Our rock garden features are often named for carnage like Angie's Angst, Nick's Nightmare, Brindle's Bash or other distinguishing features like the Two Towers, The Canyon, First Rock, Sinkhole Cave, Keyhole Cave.

No Name has had minimal carnage but a lot of fun. Beginners have ridden their first ride on No Name and seasoned paddlers have experienced some of their biggest rides on No Name. We ride No Name in both our sea and whitewater sea kayaks. Last summer Jeff and I first rode No Name in a tandem sea kayak.

We are open to suggestions or No Name shall remain Nameless.

Forwards, Backwards, or Sideways . . . No Name . . . but always a great ride . . .