Push, pull. We have a bit of that tonight, the pull anticipated, the push a surprise.

Four of us meet up at Bruno’s: Gandalf, Don’t Follow Don, Silver Surfer, yours truly. Ahhh … but there’s one more. The one more’s Jay G, one of the original three 1998 Thurseve paddlers. On a short leash, from out of state on a photo shoot, Jay’s dropped by to see us off, wish us well.

Before 1998, Thurseve’s were set aside for mt. bike rides. On one of those rides, I bungled a move, screwed up my knee, am off the bike for some time. 

Sam W, another original, takes my predicament to heart, says, “Ya know, we can paddle kayaks, shouldn’t tweak your knee the wrong way.” And so, Thurseve paddles are launched.

Jay sees us off on a glorious day, summer-like, clear and sunny, windless. Only obstacle is a fast moving ebb. Our plan’s to cut straight across the bay to Pt. San Pablo Harbor, retrieve the kayak Silver Surfer bought last week. But the fast-moving ebb’s a dealbreaker for cutting straight across, she’ll rocket us far to the south of the harbor, little boats in a big slingshot.

We alter our course, plan a route like a NASA scientist using the curvature of the space-time continuum and gravity to shoot a satellite around the sun and fling it into deep space.

We head toward The Sisters, our sun, are flung around the Ladies like that NASA satellite, the ebb propelling us lickety-split to the harbor. Who woulda thought the curvature of the space-time continuum and gravity around The Sisters could be so powerful?

An aside, we paddle by Party Beach on our way to The Sisters, spot a sailboat aground. Don’t Follow Don goes ashore, inspects the derelict, judges it not seaworthy, foregoes any thoughts of salvage rights. We paddle on, leave the unhappy boat to its sad fate.

Besides propelling us to the harbor, the ebb’s sucked the harbor dry. Except for a channel leading to the dock below the Black Star Pirate BBQ, we’re bookended by mud. We follow the channel, take out at the dock.

Pet Sematary Beach inaccessible, Don’t Follow Don and I lug food and gear to the tented canopies and picnic tables a couple hundred yards away. Gandalf and Silver Surfer walk a maze of intersecting docks, collect the freshly purchased kayak, carry it back to our takeout.

Cookfire’s lit when the two catch up to us at the tents. Salad, oyster hors d’oeuvres, chopped veggies, the usual good spread. 

Dessert’s special, different, courtesy Silver Surfer. Grand-marnier -flavored blue berries and blackberries on homemade scones, the lot topped with fresh homemade whipped cream. 

Could be Thurseve’s got a new, dedicated dessert guy.

Ebb’s gone to slack when we leave the harbor, would’ve made problematic what’s planned. Here’s what’s planned: Gandalf and Silver Surfer in the double are gonna tow the new kayak behind them across the bay to Bruno’s. Slack’s the best time to do that.

Paddling alongside the towed boat, my mind drifts to the legend of San Francisco fitness guru and strongman Jack LaLanne. He had a popular tv show beginning in the ‘50s, did astounding feats of strength to attract viewers, make a name for himself.

In 1984 on his 70th birthday, on a solo mile-long swim in Long Beach, Ca, LaLanne towed 70 rowboats behind him, point A to point B. Long story abbreviated, Gandalf and Silver Surfer match LaLanne’s success, albeit less towage, though more mileage, their point A to point B 3.5 miles.

Our evening’s not over. Heading out in the channel between Pt. San Pablo and Two Brothers—the channel frequented by tugs, barges, and Cujo, the Vallejo ferry—we come across a 30-foot sailboat. The boat’s stalled in the slack current, on a dark, moonless night.

“What’s happening?” says Don’t Follow Don.

“Motor’s conked out,” says a voice from the boat.

“We’re trying to start her up,” says a second voice.

Don’t Follow Don appraises the situation, gives it as much scrutiny as he did the grounded sailboat at Party Beach. “You can’t stay here,” says he, “too many boats bigger than you come through. A dangerous place to be at night.”

“Whata we gonna do,” says the first voice.”

“We can’t move,” says a worried second voice.

What Don’t Follow Don says next I don’t think’s possible. But it is. “We’ll push ya outta the channel with our kayaks.”

Don’t Follow Don and I in singles push our bows against the big sailboat’s stern, Gandalf and Silver Surfer in the double nuzzle up to the boat’s bow, keep it to a straight line. We push the boat a hundred yards away from the channel, toward the harbor.

In a safe spot for engine repair, we take our leave amidst “Thanks” and “Good Luck,” continue on to Bruno’s.


Date: Thurseve, 4 November 2021.

Distance: Eight point five nautical miles.

Speed: One point five knots.

Time: Five point seven hours.

Spray factor: Zilch.

Dessert: Grand-marnier-flavored blue berries and blackberries on homemade scones, the lot topped with fresh homemade whipped cream.

comiX —>  https://photos.app.goo.gl/YakvWtQHPC8Rhn8YA