Here you go, the last Thurseve Paddle Report for a couple weeks, maybe longer. Who knows?
Five of us show up at Danny’s Secret Launch, come from all major points on the compass: east, west, north, south. To a paddler, we agree traffic’s way down, nothing like it’s been, no bumper-to-bumper bumps, no delays. A buncha folks aren’t commuting, maybe staying home. Even if you aren’t aware of the novel coronavirus, you know something’s up.
Harbor’s pretty quiet, too. Not as noticeably different as the highways, but, yeah, less activity here. Fewer boats coming and going, fewer people walking the docks.
Paddling the bay’s different than highway traffic and the harbor because it’s not different. Same ol’ same ol’ on the water. Commuter ferries running their regular schedules, freighters and tankers in the shipping channel, the random cabin cruiser and sailboat setting courses to here and there.
Kayakers? Just us, nobody else. Same ol’ same ol’.
Under worn blue-jean skies, with wind enuf to blow spray over our foredecks, we ride a frisky ebb south from the Secret Launch past Pt. Chauncey and the Romberg Tiburon Center to Full Moon Beach.
A pleasant evening, we tag on an extra mile or so, do an out-and-back to Bluff Pt., take a peek down Raccoon Strait for a glimpse of the Golden Gate Bridge. Not visible, the bridge, buried under a thick train of fog.
The train’s left the station at Full Moon Beach, no fog. Lots of sand showing, the ebb sucking up the bay.
St. Patrick’s Day is next week, but we’re early starters. Gandalf uncorks a growler of German dark beer masquerading as Irish green, pours the first of several toasts for 1-of-3, Don’t Follow Don, Devil’s Slide Doug, me. We do the Irish proud, finish that growler by evening’s end, utter the Irish toast “Slainte mhath” more than a couple times.
A touch of Irish garnishes our dinner menu, too: corned beef and Irish soda bread. Rounding out the menu is sea salt rosemary ciabatta bread and pan-fried peppers and onions. Desserts 1-of-3’s signature mixed fruit flambé.
Another signature dish is Gandalf’s salad. Sadly, there is none tonight, social distancing from the salad recommended; the ingredients—lettuce, pears, apples, avocados, nuts, and dried cranberries—Gandalf assembles barehanded on the beach. The fallout from possible transmission of the virulent virus is various, unexpected.
Of course we talk about the virus, the effect it’s having on everyone, not just Gandalf’s green salad. Case in point, Devil’s Slide Doug, able to make tonight’s paddle because his work’s temporarily dried up, sheltering in place.
Other chatter features rebuilding transmissions on 4-wheel-drive vehicles, the sense of accomplishment you feel climbing steep hills on electric-assist mt. bikes, the agony of racing suffer bikes up those same steep hills.
Between rebuilding transmissions and racing up steep hills on suffer bikes, we take a quiz Gandalf pulls outta his dry bag.
The quiz asks questions like “What was Leave-it-to-Beaver’s brother’s name,” “Name the tv show Howdy Doody was on,” “What was Dale Evan’s horse’s name,” and so on. The more questions you answer correctly, the closer you come to earning the prestigious title of Old Fart.
Five Old Farts are on the evening’s paddle.
Keep your distance and stay safe.
Date: Thurseve, 12 March 2020.
Distance: Five point eight nautical miles.
Speed: One point two knots.
Time: Four point eight hours.
Spray factor: Some.
Dessert: Mixed fruit flambé.