Thursday, June 4, 2015

Last paddle on San Francisco Bay

I'm leaving town soon so when I got the call from Gretchen to do one more paddle before I left, there was one particular paddle I had in mind.  Looking at currents and weather, everything appeared perfect for a trip going west and then east.  I'd always wanted to paddle to Angel Island and hike to the top so it seemed the perfect day to give it a try.

We met in Berkeley at 5:45am with Shanna surrounded by fisherman and power boats.  By 6:50am we paddled out of Berkeley Marina right into a quartering chop.  Winds weren't strong yet, but were showing signs and it was the chop that slowed our progress.  What I predicted as a two-hour crossing turned into three hours.  Not big deal though, because we still made the island before the wind turned on.

Taking our time on the beach, we changed into dry clothes and proceeded to hike to the top of Mt. Livermore, 781ft above sea level in the middle of San Francisco Bay.  It was my first time to to the top of Angel Island and on a great day with great company.  It really couldn't have been better for my last paddle in the area.  But wait, it got better.  While we ate and relaxed, the wind did pick up and was blowing about 20mph when we re-launched on the east side of Pt. Blunt.  This was exactly what I wanted, although the wind didn't line up for perfect straight downwind rides.  It lined up well enough that we could catch some bumps, paddle south and repeat.  We zigged and zagged right back to Berkeley in ninety minutes with a bumpy mix of 2ft wind chop and swell.  We spent about 8 hours on the trip and covered 16.7 miles of paddling and hiking.  So fun to mix paddling and hiking!

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