A slug fest, us vs. the ebb. Not supposed to be a slug fest, but it is.

Tuesdays I check the various charts and tables that foretell conditions we’ll encounter Thursday on the water. Wind, temperature, currents, stuff like that. Magic is what they are, those charts and tables.

Tuesday’s magic forecast says Thurseve’ll be warm till sunset, not much wind anytime, an ebbing current till around 10 PM. We’re usually back from wherever by 10 PM, a schedule that’ll discourage a north <-> south paddle this Thursday, the last of the ebb in our faces on our return north. At our end of the bay, the ebb runs south.

An east <-> west paddle works better because we won’t have to paddle against the ebb on the return, the current instead running abeam of us. A favorite east <-> west outing is Bruno’s <-> Pt. San Pablo Harbor. 

Figuring a 4:30 PM launch and a 50-60 minute crossing, we should arrive near 5:30. According to the magic current chard, the ebb’ll be 0.5 knots at Pt. San Pablo. Piece o’cake. 

That’s Thursday’s paddle from Tuesday’s perspective. The magic forecasts are spot on—warm weather, no wind—except for that slug fest at Pt. San Pablo. The ebb’s much stronger than predicted, rounding the point’s a backache.

So what happened?

Don’t Follow Don happened.

Gandalf, 1-of-3, and I pull into Bruno’s with time to spare for our 4:30 PM launch. Don’t Follow Don arrives after 4:30 PM, takes a spell to prep his boat. “How long a spell?” you ask. In the time it takes Don’t Follow Don to get ready, 1-of-3, Gandalf, and I devour an entire container of chocolate clusters. We don’t launch till 5 PM.

There’s more, of course there is. 1-of-3’s using a new paddle, a wing paddle, needs instruction. Don’t Follow Don’s a whiz with wing paddles. 1-of-3 anticipates his help once we’re out the harbor. Doesn’t happen, Don’t Follow Don and Gandalf veer off course, paddle out to Chard and Buckwheat islands while 1-of-3 and I steer a straight course for Pt. San Pablo.

Slow going is what it is, 1-of-3 experimenting with the wing paddle, oops and bloops hindering our progress. Way past time for our raft-up snack, we shout over to the other two, them barely within hearing distance, to raft up with us. We know they’ll come running because we have the snacks, shortbread cookies with cashews.

Post snacks, Don’t Follow Don offers instruction. Wing paddles not the easiest to use, demo’ing the basics takes more than a few minutes. Long story short, when all’s said and done, the ebb’s sprinting along at 1.6 knots, not 0.5 knots, when we reach the point.

Don’t Follow Don’s fault, not the charts.

Interesting aside. Just before the point sit the East and West Brothers, two small islands. Post instruction, Don’t Follow Don and Gandalf veer off again, let the ebb carry them to the south end of the islands. 1-of-3 and I continue straight ahead, north alongside the islands. 

Don’t Follow Don and Gandalf are spared the ebb’s worst because the islands partially block her flow; 1-of-3 and I are spared her worst because she rebounds off the islands and becomes a temporary flood moving us toward the point.

Once we’re around the point, the rest of the evening’s smooth paddling. From a colorful sunset (photos in the comiX at the end of this report) to a sumptuous meal on Pet Sematary Beach, what’s to complain about?

Two additional highlights. We toast 1-of-3’s granddaughter, born this Tuesday, with bubbly. More than once. Of lesser import, but significant for me, Gandalf forgets to cook up the Brussels sprouts he’s brought for dinner. I’m not fond of Brussels sprouts and, had we extra bubbly, I would’ve proposed a second toast, this one to Gandalf’s forgetfulness.

I really don’t like Brussels sprouts.


Date: Thurseve, 27 February 2020.

Distance: Six point one nautical miles.

Speed: One point three knots.

Time: Four point eight hours.

Spray factor: Nope.

Dessert: Mixed fruit flambé.

comiX —> https://photos.app.goo.gl/q6vZnC12TXfFQ3CY8