Saturday, July 21, 2012

Kayaking into Glass Beach

All that Glitters is not Glass - A Realistic View of Kayaking into Glass Beach

We've been getting a lot of phone calls lately about renting kayaks to kayak into Fort Bragg's Glass Beach #2 site to collect sea glass.  Liquid Fusion Kayaking teaches and guides kayak adventures on the Mendocino Coast and has a fleet of kayaks for this purpose but not for paddlers to take out into the ocean on their own.

If you are thinking about kayaking into Glass Beach, here are a few tips:
1.  Connect with Captain Cass of Sea Glass Jewelry who is our local expert on sea glass and Fort Bragg's Glass Beach.

2.  Knowledge of the ocean and ocean kayaking skills are extremely important.  The paddle into Glass Beach is short (less than a 1/2 mile) but is through rock gardens that can have waves breaking through them.  Be realistic about your experience and skills and the skills of those kayaking with you.

3.  Check the marine forecast before you go.   Here is a link to our local NOAA marine forecast.  You will want to look at the forecast for CAPE MENDOCINO TO PT ARENA OUT 10 NM. 

4. Our water temperature is usually in the 52' range so wearing a full wetsuit or drysuit with adequate layers is important.  Even more important is to wear a properly fitting life jacket.  The air temperature on the coast can be as warm as 70' but is most likely to be in the upper 50's to low 60's with a cool breeze which feels even cooler when the fog rolls in. 

5.  Bring wheels for your kayak.  The path from the parking lot to a launching point is about 400 yards.

6.  Glass Beach is a popular abalone diving and spearfishing spot so please watch for divers in the water.

7.  Enjoy and be respectful of marine life including harbor seals, coastal birds, and intertidal organisms.

8.  Go with your gut instinct - If the ocean looks too rough, it probably is.  If it is really foggy, it will be difficult to watch for incoming waves.

As interest in kayaking into Glass Beach seems to be increasing, I expect that we will post more information about kayaking into this area.

Please do not call us to rent a kayak to paddle into Glass Beach.  Our ocean kayaking adventures are all guided.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Sea Kayak Rock Garden 101

This weekend, our friends the Neptune's Rangers made their annual journey to kayak on the Mendocino Coast.  With them came some other Bay Area Sea Kayakers who took advantage of our Sea Kayak Rock Garden 101 Class.

One of the students primary concerns coming into the class was that they did not want to bash into rocks.  Many of the recent videos on YouTube and tales of sea kayak rock gardening involve spectacular crashes and bashes.  We assured our students that everyone has their own style of rock gardening and they don't have to bash boats to have fun.

I still think our students were a little bit wary until after our first set of skills and drills in the rocks.  Then, the smiles and "ah-ha" moments started.

In our rock garden 101 class, we emphasize the skills that a paddler needs to control their sea kayak in the dynamic waters of rock gardens.  We teach and reinforce personal paddling skills that they can use for maximizing fun and minimizing risk.

We also emphasize safety and working together as a team - skills like spacing and looking out for others as well as etiquette for play.

Yes, we did fit some play into the day (after all that is the main draw of rock gardening).  Even better though was the next day when several of the students from the class joined us on our Second Sunday Coastal Paddle.

It was a foggy day with just enough visibility for us to handrail along part of the Fort Bragg Coastline.  The visibility and sights below the surface were as magical as the ones above.  "This is like Disneyland," commented one of our students as we floated above a bed of purple sea urchins, looking for abalone, and admiring the sea stars and anemones.

We challenged their skills as we guided them through some technical stretches of the Fort Bragg Coastline and coached them to run pour-overs and surf through slots.

Their grins were huge and their paddling skills increased exponentially.

We did tag a couple of rocks but left no trace as we enjoyed the wildlife and wonder of sea kayaking on the Mendocino Coast.

A pair of Western Gull chicks wondered about us.

Our next Sea Kayak Rock Garden 101 Class is August 11, 2012  For those that have the basics mastered, check our Liquid Fusion Kayaking's Sea Kayak Rock Garden 201 Class.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Trains, Rocks, and Birds

Yeap, Liquid Fusion Kayaking has been rocking out on the Mendocino Coast Kayak Adventures.  We've been playing with trains, coaching paddlers in the rocks, and marveling over nature's wonders (chicks, fawns, otter pups, tadpoles, and turtles).

This week, we are guiding our Tracks to Kayaks trip.

Leading Sunset Bird Paddles.
Juvenile black-crowned night heron

Teaching kayak surfing.

Playing in the Whitewater of the Sea.

Guiding and teaching sea kayak rock gardening.
Will rock gardening.
And hopefully finding some time to paddle with our friends Neptune's Rangers who are visiting the Mendocino Coast this week.

Lots of fun to be had out there!!!  Would write more but we've gotta get out there and paddle!!!