|San Francisco, The Bay Bridge & Yerba Buena with cranes|
Alameda is on my left and I've moved into the bay far enough to pickup a ride from the flood tide. This entire section is new to me and I'm trying to picture it back on the google map. After passing CG ships, nesting grounds and breakwaters, I'm quickly down to Crown Beach. All of a sudden it feels like San Diego with harbor beaches and palm trees, bike paths and lots of people - quite a nice stretch to paddle. The air is starting to move a bit more and I'm happy my heading is downwind. Along the way I take a 2nd break for a quick bite, more water and a few more pics.
I round the corner and continue to ride the flood up into the backchannel. Wind is now at my side so I tuck in tight to the shore. It means losing the main flood, but also allows me to paddle in glassy waters and check out the homes along the shore. I turn again, to the north, waving to people on their boats and continue to ride the flood - but now I'm heading straight into the wind. From here till the end I'd be slogging into the wind paddling hard from wind break to wind break. It's exactly like eddy hopping up a river and I really enjoy the challenge. The wind easily outpowers the current assist and it means lowering my stance, my grip and quickening my cadence. Every stroke is critical and powerful.
Nearing the end of the route I see my finish point in the distance, glance at my watch and realize I could possibly finish in 4 hours. This prompts me to paddle harder and increase my speed to try and finish by noon. Another 20 minutes passes and land back at the dock. In the end I finished the 15.6 miles in 3hrs, 49mins. I averaged over 4mph and finished an hour faster than anticipated. Nice.