Close to 100 days, that’s how long it’s been since our last Thurseve paddle. The reason? Everyone knows the reason, it’s gone viral.

I must admit I’m not entirely comfortable reassembling the group to paddle the waters of San Francisco Bay. The virus is still lurking, though Marin County hasn’t been hard hit, been more of a grounder to shortstop than a grand slam over the left field fence.

Aged past prime, I feel a tad vulnerable to the little devil’s shenanigans. If I had a motto, it’d be “Congregate on the bay like your grandpa paddles here.” That said, I’ve taken liberties resurrecting the paddle, will try to follow through with them till things lighten up, like a vaccine.

Pre-virus, I emailed an announcement to a list of a hundred or so paddlers addressing the launch location and time. Figuring the smaller the turnout the safer the outing, I’ve narrowed that list down to four names. If your name’s not on the redacted list, so it goes.

Used to be we’d ship our paddles mid stream, raft up, share snacks. No more. Hard to keep a 6’ physical distance when your hulls are rubbing together. I’ll miss those snacks, sure I will. 

Dinner’s a conundrum wrapped in spiralized veggies and a tossed salad. Not sure how this is gonna play out. Shared food handcrafted over a cookfire’s Thurseve’s signature event. If the virus has a-word-of-the-day, one of ‘em would be “handcrafted,” the little devils masters at jumping from hand to food. BYO dinner’s the new regime, least ways for me. So it goes.

A clarification before I trudge on: bottled liquids may be shared, from bottle to cup. No limit to the sharing.

The cookfire … ah the cookfire. A wonderful thing that, the cookfire. Not just for food prep, but a rallying point for enlightened conversation, sometimes heated, the same heat a merciful draw on cold evenings. There’s the rub, that draw, a tight cluster of paddlers huddled around the cookfire, physical distancing nigh on impossible. What to do?

A hot topic face masks, but get within 6 feet of me, I’m wearing. I hope everyone else does the same, packs a face mask. I’m not saying you have to wear one because, well … freedom. But if the bugaloo bios got wind of me saying face masks are mandatory, it’d be worse than the virus. So it goes.

Here’s how it goes this Thurseve. Gandalf, 1-of-3, and the Wizard’s Daughter launch out of Bruno’s with me. The thought is to head to Red Rock, but the wind. We alter our course to Pt. San Pedro and out to The Sisters. We do not raft up for snacks.

From The Sisters, we catch a tailwind, ride it to China Camp Beach. The place is busy with beach-goers, some with face masks, most without. Ten yards from where we take out, on a thin plateau of sand, sits an unclaimed picnic table. We claim it.

1-of-3 and I don our masks. We do a BYO dinner, with one minor slippage, Gandalf’s salad to hard to pass up. We don’t have a cookfire, but we do have a bottle of bubbly to share, which we do, share a bottle of bubbly. 

The paddle back to Bruno’s is easier than the paddle to China Camp Beach, no wind. Despite the ease, I strain a muscle in my shoulder. So it goes.

Next week will be what it will be.


Date: Thurseve, 18 June 2020.

Distance: Seven point one nautical miles.

Speed: One point eight knots.

Time: Four hours.

Spray factor: Some.

Dessert: Minni bear claws.