Archive for the 'Mendocino sea cave' Category

Jul 26 2013

Whitewater of the Sea

Whitewater Rock Garden Kayak Tours on the Mendocino Coast:

A story of creation and evolution-

We love kayaking and playing in the rock gardens of the Mendocino Coast in our whitewater kayaks.  As Liquid Fusion Kayaking evolved to teaching paddlers of all skill levels, we tossed around the idea of introducing novice paddlers to rock gardening.

kayak rock garden mendocino
Jeff boof’s a pour-over in the ocean.
Our vision was to be able to share the fun of kayaking in ocean rock gardens with those who wanted an adventure in the rock gardens and sea caves of the Mendocino Coast regardless of their kayaking skills and experience.  We wanted to create a trip that could get our students riding pour-overs and playing in the whitewater features of the ocean in a 3 hour trip.

whitewater kayak rock gardening
Cate styling it in the rock gardens of the Mendocino Coast.

We experimented with some friends to see if this would be feasible (it is great having friends that love to play and are always up for an adventure).  While we liked the comfort and performance of our “old school” decked whitewater kayaks, we recognized that our athletic and water savvy non-paddling pals needed a kayak that was more user-friendly.  Inspired by the “wash deck” kayaks of the Tsunami Rangers and our own love of the maneuverability of whitewater kayaks, we decided upon the Dagger Torrent – a sit on top whitewater kayak formerly called a Perception Torrent.

Dagger Torrent Sit on Top Whitewater Kayaks

BINGO!!!  We had a winner!!!  Stable, maneuverable, easy to adjust and fitting a wide range of sizes, the Dagger Torrent gave us a user friendly craft to for introducing students to rock gardens.

whitewater kayak ocean rock gardens mendocino
Novice Paddler Rock Gardening

In 2009, Liquid Fusion Kayaking started offering ocean rock gardening adventures for paddlers of all skill levels.  We called it “Mendocino Kayaking ROCKS!!!”  We coined it as our “Wet and Wild Adventure” to contrast with our “Dry and Mild” kayak tours.

family kayak wildlife watching tour
Dry and Mild Wildlife Watching Kayak Tours on the Noyo River

In 2010, we continued the theme of Wet and Wild but changed the name to Whitewater of the Sea to convey that this is an ADVENTURE in the ocean – kayaking and playing in the waves and whitewater of the sea.  Participants usually swim at least once in the trip – unintentionally or intentionally.

Thrills and Spills!!!

We are in our 5th year of running Whitewater of the Sea Adventures.  This year, we have evolved the trip to involve more swimming.  Last week we had a blast swimming through a sea cave.

sea cave mendocino swimming
Swimming through a Sea Cave on the Mendocino Coast

The first hour of the adventure is “training” which includes instruction in maneuvering and safety skills.  Participants quickly recognize that this isn’t your average kayak tour but a fun learning adventure.  One of our students wrote about it on YELP - “One of the best classes that I have taken on any subject ever.”

instruction class whitewater kayak rock garden
Instruction and drills in rock gardening

Students leave the adventure with a better understanding of the ocean as an ecosystem and as a playground as well as tales of thrills and spills.  Each tour is different as we cater to each group (usually 4 or less participants) and the conditions.  Wildlife moments are enjoyed as they happen from checking out gull chicks to marine mammal encounters.  Humpback and gray whales have made appearances during our tours this summer as well as harbor seals, sea lions, and river otters.  This week, we watched a Peregrine Falcon stooping (diving) some Western Gulls.

Western Gull Chicks Checking us Out!

Whitewater of the Sea is an adventure and is not intended to be a substitute for kayak instruction and training.  Novice and experienced paddlers on LFK’s Whitewater of the Sea Adventure recognize the quality of instruction that is occurring.  Jeff has masterfully taken the key skills for rock garden safety and fun and condensed them into a 3 hour course that allows students to be guided in dynamic ocean waters, to run pour-overs, and to play in the whitewater.  His teaching progression builds individual and group skills.

Jeff coaching

Of course, the more skilled and able the group – the more that the group gets to do.  A special dynamic of rock gardening with a masterful leader allows skilled boaters to share a rock gardening experience with a novice paddling friend.  It is possible to have Class II and IV on the same feature and the ability for the guide to choose the challenge level for you.

Choose your adventure level!

We have had paddlers repeat our Whitewater of the Sea Adventure to learn and experience more as well as bring friends along to introduce them to the fun of paddling and playing in ocean rock gardens.  For those that really want more – our Waves n Caves Weekends are 3 days of Whitewater of the Sea.

3 Days of Whitewater Ocean Rock Gardening!!!

Of course the bottom line is that our Whitewater of the Sea Adventure is a reflection of our love for the ocean – our passion for playing in her waves and whitewater, our admiration and appreciation of the wildlife that call her home, and the privilege of getting to share it with others.

Sharing the magic of the Mendocino Coast

Are you adventuresome?  Willing to Play Hard and Get WET?  Then here’s your official invitation to come play with us in our playground.

 

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Jun 13 2012

A Rock’n Sunday Paddle

Typical windy spring time conditions are here on the Mendocino Coast.  High pressure systems make for sunny warm days but also tighten the pressure gradient and kick up winds off-shore.  Predictions of gale force conditions have been hit or miss, and this Sunday looked like another miss.  On Saturday morning, Sunday’s swell prediction of 2 feet had us giddy about the possibility of some serious sea cave exploration.  As the winds kicked up on Saturday, we knew that our paddle the next day wasn’t going to be a lily-dip sea cave exploration.
Captain Jeff

We started our Second Sunday Paddle with a little warm up in the bay and admired a handsome horned grebe (which isn’t common on the Mendocino Coast this time of the year).

As we went to exit the protected bay, seas steepened and the wind conspired to blow us off course as we tried to thread the needle through the rocky reefs guarding another protected bay.  Back into the Gulch we went.  To the delight of everyone, Sunday’s exploration became a rock garden play session.

Heather knocked the rust off and showed good form and lots of smiles.
Heck Yea!!!  Great ride Heather!!!

Dick tested his combat rolling skills.

I got a nice saltwater facial.
Cate gets a salt water facial.

Of course, Jeff styled it in his Valley Avocet who after 10 months now has a name – “The Red Scorpion”

Just another Mendo Sunday with LFK.

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Jun 01 2012

Waves n Caves

Whew!!! Our website is back up so now its time to report on our first Mendocino Kayaking Waves n Caves Weekend.

It was awesome!!!  Three days of kayaking, exploring, and playing in the sea caves and rock gardens of the Mendocino Coast in whitewater kayaks.

Five of our students had never paddled whitewater kayaks before so it was a fun introduction for them.  They were amazed at the maneuverability of these playful craft.  Sea cave exploration was a breeze in the 8-10 foot boats especially when compared to their previous experiences maneuvering 14-17 foot sea kayaks in caves.

It was fun to see our students’ confidence build and to see them playing in whitewater features with comfort and ease.

Especially cool was on the third day when we went into the Devil’s Punch Bowl.  This is a narrow tunnel that leads to a large sinkhole.  With the whitewater kayaks, we landed the whole group on the gravel beach in the punch bowl.

We also had fun paddling into a scenic beach for lunch, tidepooling, and beachcombing.

Psssst – We are having another Mendocino Waves n Caves Adventure Labor Day Weekend.  Register today for the early bird discount.

Also, Jeff and I had so much fun outfitting this trip (providing food, camping, and guiding) that we have plans to host more in 2013.  Continuing the Waves n Caves but also including a couple of sea kayak overnight trips as well as a whitewater river trip.  We have lots of options and are open to designing custom trips so drop us a line if you have some friends and want to come kayak and explore the Mendocino Coast with us.

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Jun 24 2011

Tour de Mendo June 2011

We love running Tour de Mendo trips. Each trip is different with different venues and different paddlers. The primary goal of the Tour de Mendo is to explore and play in kayaks along the Mendocino Coast – FUN, FUN, FUN!!!


Our most recent group of paddlers came from San Diego, Orange County, and LA. Of the 6 paddlers, only one had paddled the Mendocino Coast before with us so Day 1 was an instructional tour day. We launched from Liquid Fusion Kayaking headquarters on the Noyo River and headed out to the coast. Once in the ocean, we started with teaching (reviewing for some) the basics of kayaking in ocean rock gardens including safety and play.


And of course enjoyed lunch on a beach.


And lots of rock garden play.


Day 2 was a paddle out of Russian Gulch. This is probably one of the most spectacular stretches of the Mendocino Coast to explore by sea kayak. We explored many of the sea caves, tunnels, arches, and hidden coves as we paddled north to the Point Cabrillo Lighthouse.


It was an outstanding day with lots of wonder and awe as well as lots of play. Everyone’s highlight of the day was negotiating some technical routes that through rock gardens with chaotic waters. It is super fun to lead a group of skilled paddlers through these tight, technical passages.

This year it was fun to have the group staying in the vacation rental at Dolphin Isle. It is a great space for a group of paddlers. A large private deck is perfect for drying gear and the location is within 50 yards of LFK headquarters.


It was also a great staging point for food preparation for an evening potluck and campfire at LFK.


We had a very special trip in mind for Day 3. It is definitely off the beaten paddle, and we were looking forward to having a group with the skills to share it with. However, the Fog Bug that has been plaguing our cameras decided to envelope us for the day. We shifted gears and decided to go paddle and play on the Noyo River.


It was a nice relaxing rest day for the group followed by our Eel River Paddle to the Sea presentation at Silver’s at the Wharf.


We had been having unseasonably calm conditions. Wind and rough seas are typical for June so we were fortunate to have had a couple of calm days with small swells. Day 4 was more typical of spring paddling on the Mendocino Coast. The wind and the seas had kicked up. We enjoyed some really fun technical meandering along the Fort Bragg Coastline with a little bit of rock gardening and surfing play.


We returned to the Noyo Beach for some play in short boats (whitewater kayaks). This was an introduction to some members of the group and conditions had picked up so we kept things on the mellow side.


The Tour de Mendo is one of our favorite trips to guide. It is fun to share our backyard with a group of competent sea kayakers. This trip was special because it was the first one that Jeff and I got to guide together. We are looking forward to guiding more Tour de Mendo’s together (If you want to join us, we have a couple of spaces left on our September Tour de Mendo’s and offer custom/private trips).


Here is a link to our photo gallery from the trip.

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Jun 26 2010

Tour de Mendo – The Ultimate of Mendocino Coast Sea Kayaking

Kayaking in Mendocino Sea Caves

Kayaking in Mendocino Sea Caves

Imagine 4 days of sea kayaking among the rock gardens and sea caves of the ruggedly beautiful Mendocino Coast. Yes, many come to the Mendocino Coast to sea kayak and have paddled stretches of the rock gardens and sea caves but few have done a Tour de Mendo Liquid Fusion Kayaking Style.

Jane enjoying the Mendocino Coast scenery.

Jane enjoying the Mendocino Coast scenery.

Congratulations to a group of paddlers from San Diego who just completed a Liquid Fusion Kayaking Tour de Mendo.

Dennis paddles through the window arch.

Dennis paddles through the window arch.

What makes a Liquid Fusion Kayaking Tour de Mendo different from others sea kayak tours of the Mendocino Coast? We have an intimate local knowledge of the Mendocino Coast because we live, paddle, and play here. We know those special off the beaten paddle places (and the best spots for great food and live music). We instruct and challenge paddlers to improve their skills and paddling repertoire while paddling with us – be it paddling a whitewater kayak, surfing a kayak, or tossing a greenland paddle in their hands.

Jon threads his sea kayak through a labrynth of rock gardens.

Jon threads his sea kayak through a labrynth of rock gardens.

Unfortunately, I had to hold down the shop for most of the Tour de Mendo, but it was fun to get their perspective of each day’s adventure. They marveled over their exploration of intricate networks of rock gardens and sea caves and told stories of fun rides through surge channels and pour overs and moments when Jeff and the sea challenged their skills. This crew was definitely up for the challenge.

Dennis sea kayak rock gardening.

Dennis sea kayak rock gardening.

P2 on the Wave

P2 on the Wave

I did get to paddle with them one morning for a whitewater kayak rock gardening session in Noyo Bay and look forward to joining them in the fall of 2011.

C2 Flushes out of the Toilet Bowl

C2 Flushes out of the Toilet Bowl

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Mar 03 2009

Need for Water?



Just finished reading the article from Newsweek titled “Why We Need More Time in Nature.”

I couldn’t agree more and reading the comments posted indicated that many agree.

Even more interesting would be research on why many of us feel such a draw and connection to water. Perhaps it is because our bodies are over 70% water or maybe that our planet is mostly made up of water and our lives depend so greatly upon it.

Regardless, my recommendation is to get out there and enjoy it.

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