Man oh man! I think my mind’s going AWOL, up that proverbial creek without a GPS. Age related maybe, be a good excuse, my 74th b’day visible with my distance glasses.

Sitting under the big white canvas canopy at Pt. San Pablo Harbor eating our dinner, Gandalf’s playing a tape on his tiny cassette player, Don’t Follow Don and me listening, grooving (do people still use that word, “grooving”?).

What we’re grooving to is a complete album, one great song after another, instrumentals and vocals. I’m able to place the album sometime in the ‘70s, but for the life of me, I can’t remember the name of the band. Just won’t come.

The last two songs on the tape, that’s what jars that memory loose. Embarrassing is what it is, not remembering. In case you hear the album, but can’t id the band after the first couple pieces, here’re the two songs that give it away:

Everybody Needs Someone to Love 

Soul Man 

The Blues Brothers. How could I forget?

Rob, the guy responsible for the giant canopy we’re sitting under and a bunch of other cool stuff at the harbor, pedals up to us on his cruiser bike just as the last notes of Soul Man fade into the bay.

We chat about the harbor, the changes, fixes, and improvements. The reopening of the harbor cafe Nobilis, repairs and upgrades to older buildings, the vegetable garden and the harbor’s farmer’s market, a slice of land set aside for kayak campers close to a kayak-friendly dock, museum-quality sculptures planted throughout the harbor . . .

Speaking of sculptures, the creator of Burning Man’s famous Space Whale has considered the harbor as a possible home for his mother whale and her calf. “We’d be a perfect home,” says Rob, “the bay’s last whaling station a half mile west of us. It’d be a long shot, the sculpture coming here, but you just never know.”

Here’s a link to the Space Whale.

Upbeat, what Rob tells us, except for this. “San Francisco’s Bay Conservation and Development Commission won’t give us a permit for our kayak dock. They say we have to remove it.”  If the dock goes, it’d be a bummer for kayakers, no other easy, close-by takeout, particularly at low tide. Writing letters to the BCDC is in order.

Our late afternoon paddle started from the any-tide-height concrete launch ramp at Bruno’s. We pu into a lotta wind on an almost hot day, the blue sky slightly misted with smoke from the wildfires on the coast. Past Chard and Buckwheat islands, the wind mimics my memory, goes AWOL the rest of the evening.

Listening to the cassette tape of the Blues Brothers, we do our evening meal. Green salad (apples, feta cheese, tomatoes, cashews, avocados, Tzatziki cucumber dressing) and spiralized veggies (starburst squash, zucchini, onions, sweet potatoes, oyster and shiitake mushrooms, salmon, tofu). Bakery fresh almond croissants round out the menu.

During our chat with Rob, he says he’s getting into kayaking. Asks questions about boat design, paddles, gear, techniques. “What precautions do you guys take paddling across the shipping channel in the dark?” Rob says he sees lots of ships pass by when he brushes his teeth at night.

“One of us looks north and another looks south,” says I. 

“Is that enough to keep you safe?” says he.

“Most of the time.” This evening’s crossing is one of those times.


Date: Thurseve, 27 August 2020.

Distance: Seven nautical miles.

Speed: One point three knots.

Time: Five point two hours.

Spray factor: Some.

Dessert: Bakery fresh almond croissants.

comiX —>