I think we would have traveled to the California coast for this trip even if we didn’t have new kayaks. It’s a beautiful place when the fog isn’t hanging around. Fall is usually the prettiest time of year with cooling temperatures inland creating conditions that keep the coastal fog at a minimum. Everyone here knows that when it’s hot inland it will be foggy at the coast. Right now there is a high pressure system inland. Guess what. It’s foggy.
We woke this morning hoping for a bit of a break, but it wasn’t to be. Today was even foggier than yesterday without even that small afternoon sun break coming through to light things up a bit. The tides were with us today, however, and we didn’t want to miss the noontime high tide. Hookton Slough is just a few miles south of Eureka where we are parked, and we checked out the launch site when we first got here on Wednesday. The dock is built to adjust to tide depth, with easy access even at low tide. It makes it a bit less likely that we would get stranded out on a mud flat somewhere when the tide receded.
This morning we realized that in our five years of kayaking, we have never attempted a dock entry to our boats. Who knows why, I guess because we never really needed to try it. Today was it, there was no other way to get in the boats since the edge of the slough was rocky and descended abruptly to deep water. Either way it would be a deep water entry. We unloaded the boats…soooo dang light….. and dropped them into the water along the dock. With life jackets on we gingerly knelt on the dock and into the boats. Easy. Experienced kayakers will laugh at this, I am sure, but it still was something new for us. It felt great to be in the boat in the water though, once there everything felt just fine.
The bay was fogged in, the estuary was fogged in, but the tide was plus eight feet! One of the highest tides in a very long time according to some local folks at the launch. It made for a very easy kayak along the south part of South Bay, and we traveled about 3 miles west to the edge of the bay. We could hear the ocean again, but this time there was no breach and the bay was quiet. By the time we got back to the launch site, the tide was receding but still was plenty high. We were out a bit less than three hours and during that whole time the fog never really lifted.
We didn’t see any river otters, although there is a family of three living near where we boated. We did see lots of shore birds, blue herons, white herons, a great egret (black legs), huge flocks of cormorants and geese, brown pelicans, and of course, lots of seagulls. With the dark and the fog, my zoomed in bird photos didn’t turn out too well, but it was still great getting out on the water. Of course, the fog and cold day made for incredible silence and beauty. It was just us and the birds out there on the water. Beautiful.