I was supposed to go surfing with Don “Duct Tape” Barch this weekend but he fell off the scaffolding while installing a solar panel on a house! He’s mostly OK, but had a bum heel that did not let him sit inside a confining river kayak for surfing. Instead, Don suggested going on a flat water paddle in the San Francisco Bay. I met Don and Ingrid Ramsey at the rowing club in Corte Madera where we used the public dock to launch a double for Don and Ingrid and my Coaster for me.
While the flood tide calmed down to slack, we cut straight across it and across The Bay to Red Rock Island where we stopped for lunch. Then before the ebb tide had time to get very strong we paddled north to The Brothers Islands. We ferried across the channel (meaning paddling with the noses of our kayaks pointing upstream to counteract the current) and sat in front of the East Brother Island for a minute. We crossed over to the West Brother Island where I ducked into the eddy and surfed the standing wave over some rocks.
As the ebb current started going in earnest, a big eddy current swirled behind each island. We used the one behind West Brother Island to pull us north and west against the main current to get as far west as possible. We expected a free ride most of the way home on the ebb, but wanted to go under the west most end of the Richmond San Rafael Bridge. On our way to the bridge we passed close to a buoy that was REALLY MOVING FAST upstream. It looked like you could seriously damage your boat or your self by running into that thing. I was afraid even to paddle over the churning water behind it for fear of getting tangled up in its wake.
Under the bridge we turned upstream again and paddled against the current coming out the Corte Madera Creek to get back to the dock. A guard in a tower at San Quentin State Prison hailed us on our way by and exchanged pleasantries about the weather. We had to hurry on upstream because the public dock can end up completely high and dry, or high and muddy as the case may be in this creek, at low tides. We made it just in time and there was still a few inches of water left around the dock.