We’ve paddled by Two Brothers a buncha times over the years. We do it again this Thurseve on our way from Bruno’s to Pt. San Pablo Harbor.

The lighthouse and facilities on East Brother were converted to a B&B some years ago. Though the tiny island’s less than a half mile from Pt. San Pablo, once you’re on it, you’re on it. Surrounded by water, you’ve nowhere to go.

Pastimes paddling past, we’ve been hailed by guests leaning over the waisthigh picket fence above us, cocktails in hand. Waves and shouted “Howdies” and “Afternoons” are exchanged. On occasion, we’ve embellished our greeting with “Wouldcha toss a beer down, please.” No beer has yet been tossed down.

No one’s hanging over the picket fence tonight. The island feels deserted; no way to really be sure, just a gut feeling. Might have something to do with pandemic restrictions. For the curious, here’s a link to the island: 

A note about beer bottles tossed from on high. A couple sixpacks of years ago, we’re paddling close to shore along Raccoon Strait near Tiburon. High on the bluff above us 20-somethings, beers in hand, are leaning over the balcony of a cliff house. 

“Hey,” we shout, “toss down a beer, ok?” They do, toss down several beers, one of the bottles missing me and my boat by 6”. Hate to think what coulda happened but for those 6”. Be careful of what you ask for.

Pt. San Pablo Harbor’s a pail full of paddle strokes from Two Brothers and around the point. Tide’s high, Pet Sematary Beach gobbled up, not a good takeout, and we paddle into the harbor proper hoping the kayak dock’s still there. 

Been some concern the coastal commission’s gonna make the harbor remove the dock for lack of a permit. We’re delighted to see the big square platform’s still afloat, an easy takeout.

An easy takeout and a short, easy walk to a big come-to-meetin’ canopy tent sheltering thick, heavy wood picnic tables. Eating under the tent’s not the same as setting up a temporary beach camp, but not to sneeze at, either. Not surprising, we have the covered picnic area all to ourselves.

COVID-19 and wildfires continue to curtail our cookfires; in their stead we use small propane camp stoves. First on a stove is Dragon’s rack of lamb. Prep takes quite a while: a buncha minutes on one side, fewer minutes on the other, followed by even more time simmering, swaddled in aluminum foil.

Gandalf’s signature salad fills a chunk of the waiting and a smidgen of our appetites. The rest of the wait is taken up watching Don’t Follow Don’s spiralized veggies sizzle in his wok. Kinda like watching grass grow. Truth to tell, the stove’s propane’s running low, the flames going even lower, the sizzle fizzling.

The sizzle fizzles, but our hunger doesn’t. Dragon shows mercy, says the rack of lamb’s ready. We look at Don’t Follow Don. He shrugs, and we eat the lamb with spiralized veggies al dente. A tasty combo.

When we left Bruno’s, the sun up, temps were mid- to low-70s. Post sunset at Pt. San Pablo Harbor, temps are mid-50s. We change from cotton T-shirt’s and shorts to wool sweaters and wetsuits. Appropriate garb for a nighttime bay crossing, tonight’s crossing more winter-like than last week’s summer-like outing.

Crossing from Bruno’s, we had a west southwest breeze whistling a few degrees off our stern. Returning, the breeze still has her lips pooched, whistling just loud enough to fetch up a commotion of water a few degrees off our bow.

Sitting in the front cockpit of Gandalf’s double, I could’ve been in the lead car on the Santa Cruz Giant Dipper roller coaster. Up and down. Down and up. Up and down. The ups are ok, the downs not so much. Lotsa splash and spray on the downs.

I coulda dressed warmer.


Date: Thurseve, 22 October 2020.

Distance: Seven point three nautical miles.

Speed: One point seven knots.

Time: Four point two five hours.,

Spray factor: More than expected.

Dessert: Pineapple upside-down cake