Paddle, paddle, paddle . . . I started to write my blog about a week full of paddling and ended up with more bird banter than paddle prose. Oh well, nevermymind . . . check back soon for a paddling update or take a gander at our photo gallery to see our paddling adventures.
This week, we have seen lots of great wildlife including lots of babies. On the Noyo River, the mother merganser duck and her tribe are probably my favorite, and I haven’t gotten a photo of them yet. I love the way her ducklings take turns riding on her back. The violet green swallows have been swoooping through the air eating insects and appear to have a nest in one of the pilings by our boat slip. We have seen the osprey snag fish, and the acorn woodpeckers continuing to work on their granary. Many of the black crowned night herons are in their breeding plummage, and the juveniles are just as goofy as ever.
The air around the Noyo River is filled with the melodies of happy song birds. I was really stoked to see a Western Tanager with his brilliant colors shimmering in the sun. I have been regularly hearing the black headed grosbeak and have had a couple of sightings of him. We sighted an odd duck on the river that we still need to identify. Last night when we were hiking, we saw her with ducklings on a lagoon near the river. At first we were hopeful that maybe our beloved odd duck the Harlequin had found a lady friend, but it doesn’t appear so.
Regarding the mammals on the river, we are still watching for fawns to start appearing. There is a baby sea lion traveling about these days. He looks like a skinny teenager who hasn’t grown into his body yet. We have seen some harbor seals courting and the river otters frolicing about.
I often feel as though I am immersed in a National Geographic episode but even better as there is no script.
Some call it rock gardening or extreme ocean kayaking . . . we call it FUN!!! This weekend we had a blast sharing our Mendocino Coast kayaking playground with guests from all over the country. Wind swells created lots of whitewater for us to play on in our whitewater kayaks. We are really stoked with our new whitewater sit on top kayaks – Dagger Torrents. They are super stable yet very maneuverable and perfect for beginners.
Many of our guests were first time kayakers or had kayaked just a few times. We started each session with a kayaking lesson that included basic paddling and safety skills including capsize and recovery. One of our paddlers made up the funniest scenario/story as he paddled and capsized – unfortunately I didn’t catch it on video.
After some skill work, we started to play – starting small and then going BIG!!! It is fun that each feature that we play on has different options depending upon the paddler’s comfort level. And it is just as fun to sit and watch (or take photos as I did) as it is to ride the waves. Facial expressions are priceless.
As we played in the rock gardens, we were treated to displays of the brown pelicans flying north, osprey hunting for fish, sea lions cruising about, harbor seals checking us out, and other coastal birds (I am refraining from getting too birdy here). The sun was shining and the water was wet, wild, and refreshing.
Ahhh . . . life is good.
Here’s one of my favorite photos. I took it while sea kayaking on the Mendocino Coast just outside of Fort Bragg’s Noyo Bay.
This photo is in our new photo gallery which includes photos and videos of our kayaking, Mendocino Coast, wildlife, and other adventures.
I hope that you will enjoy my labor of love.
Mendocino sea kayaking from Jared Noceti on Vimeo.
Yes, that is me in the orange sea kayak with a camera in my hands.
National Safe Boating Week is May 16-22, 2009. Check out the statistics on wearing a life jacket and survival, then watch Cold Water Boot Camp. When I saw that this video was 10minutes long, I said no way. It exceeds my attention span for a YouTube video; however, I was glued to it for the entire 10 minutes and rewatched it for information for an article that I was writing on kayaking safety.
It reminds those of us who regularly paddle in waters below 59 degrees of the importance of wearing life jackets and cold water immersion clothing. I love my Kokatat drysuit – safe, warm, comfortable, and made in the USA.
Paddle safe and have fun!!!
I recently joined the kayaking.com community and was reminiscing on my most memorable paddle. Numerous kayaking trips came to mind but 2 in particular have been on my mind lately – both included my mom.
My mom is not an athlete or paddler but an enthusiast of life. She has kayaked a couple of times while on vacation in the Caribbean, but the first time that we kayaked together was on the Noyo River in Fort Bragg, CA. She was visiting me from Pennsylvania and flaunting and enjoying the perks of her new “Senior” status. Having gone to the Botanical Gardens and visited the Skunk Train, she was ready for a new adventure. We met up with some friends and enjoyed a sunny afternoon kayaking on the Noyo River. It was on this paddle that her enthusiasm and excitement over the birds that we saw sparked my interested in birding. In particular it was a green heron that perked my interest. The next day while I was at work, she bought me my first bird book. I have been fascinated by birds ever since and now call her to report my latest sitings.
The other memorable trip that came to mind was sea kayaking from Russian Gulch to the Point Cabrillo Lighthouse. This is one of our favorite spots on the Mendocino Coast for rock gardening and exploring sea caves. My mom and Jeff shared a tandem sea kayak while my girlfriend and I paddled single boats. The ocean conditions were calm and glassy. It was so exciting for me to be able to share this special stretch of coastline with my mom. We were able to paddle into all of the sea caves and were dazzled by the vibrant colors of the caves and intertidal life. Mom still talks about the spectacular colors and the excitement of the trip. She even let Jeff take her over a couple of pour-overs (when an ocean wave washes over a rock – similar to whitewater on the river).
Happy Mother’s Day Mom, I love you!!!
Glassy ocean conditions on Thursday enticed us explore the sea caves in Mendocino Bay in our sea kayaks. The predominant swell direction on the Mendocino Coast is northwest. It creates many sea caves in our rugged coastline, but also makes many of them inaccessible to kayaking in all but the calmest conditions. Every now and then Poseidon smiles upon us and gives us that window to explore. And smile we did in return as we sea kayaked into the Mendocino sea caves.
A few nice sets rolled through and made for some fun surfing and rock gardening. The tide conditions were perfect to stand up some green-faced waves at Smuggler’s Gulch that were perfect for surfing our sea kayaks. A couple of abalone divers whistled as I took a right to carve across one of the first slow spilling waves of the day. This was not my best videoing day because I was having too much fun surfing to focus on setting up in the right location for the shot. Most of my shots were quick grabs of the camera as I was paddling back out to line up for the next set.
Much to Jeff’s chagrin, I continue to maintain my status as the wave magnet and had a couple of exciting pour-over and surge channel rock garden rides that were probably as entertaining to watch as they were to ride. One of our paddlers had a helmet cam and I will save my verdict on that until I see the footage.