Two goddesses tussle, fight over which of them will commandeer us to the evening’s destination. Gandalf and I have little say in the matter.
High above us, V-shaped squadrons of cormorants have thrown in their lot with the Goddess of the Atmospheric Stream, are jetting north, flying over Pt. San Pablo Harbor.
In front of us, at paddle level, the shipping channel markers, red and green, are straining at their anchors, the Goddess of the Ebb trying to set them free, take them south to Rod Reck.
Can’t help but be envious of the cormorants, their flight effortless, an unwavering course. But the Goddess of the Ebb is too strong, overpowers the Goddess of the Atmospheric Stream, sweeps us to Rod Reck, the channel markers trying to follow.
On Rod Reck, we pay homage to the Goddess, thank her for choosing well for us—always pay homage to a goddess, forgetting could upset her and you don’t wanna upset a goddess—then we go about setting up our small makeshift camp.
The Goddess of the Atmospheric Stream is bested tonight, but she still has presence. Forecast rain doesn’t fall, not even a drizzle … but the air is laden with moisture, lots of it. The lens on my camera constantly beads up with tiny droplets, needs frequent wiping. Our clothes drip with her sweat.
More troubling than a spotty camera lens and damp clothes is the cookfire. The dry wood we bring doesn’t stay that way, draws moisture enough to make lighting problematic. Once we do get the fire lit, the only way to keep it going is with a hand-cranked bellows, us churning the crank till there’s no wood left to burn.
A stubborn fire, but hot. Gandalf’s toe still blistered from last week’s close encounter, he keeps a safe distance, close enough for warmth on a cold night, but not close enough to do a Joan of Arc.
What the cookfire does blister is a wok full of North Atlantic lobster bisque, the heat absorbed by fat rolls of ciabatta bread. My Watch Has Ended, the beer chasing the last of the bisque down our gullets, signals our departure from Rod Reck.
The return paddle’s all our own doing, no goddess taking control. The ebb’s become a mild flood heading to Bruno’s, the atmospheric stream’s still up high, wind and water not falling to bay level till early Friday morning.
Nights on the bay can be thick with dark, but not tonight. Tonight, a full moon, the Wolf Moon, snatches dark away to her den, lights our way back to Bruno’s. We howl our thanks, pay our respects, paddle on.
An aside: Last report I mentioned our Thurseve paddle date was a palindrome: 1.21.21. Adam’s Dad of San Anselmo, CA, adds to that. “Suppose you were out at 9:21—which I reckon would have been 21 minutes past 21 hours after the 1st month of the 21st year in the 21st century.” Something to think about.
Date: Thurseve, 28 January 2021.
Distance: Eight point five nautical miles.
Speed: One point seven knots.
Time: Five hours.
Spray factor: Not much,.
Dessert: Chocolate-dipped peanutbutter cookies.