Long time, no sea

I have several good excuses for not updating lately. First, we were away. Second, Alan had a training course. And third, the car’s playing up. The last one has contributed greatly to a lack of access to all things paddling – in fact, to all things beyond Dunoon. Of course, we could just jump into our boats at Ardyne Point, but haven’t quite worked up the motivation (in not especially great weather) as we’d really quite like to go somewhere new.

Elkhorn Slough sea ottersIt doesn’t mean to say we haven’t been paddling at all. We did in fact spend 2 glorious days on the water whilst in California. The first day was on Elkhorn Slough at Moss Landing near Monterey. This is a protected marshland reserve so there is no shortage of wildlife. We’d paddled there some 4 years ago, but there’s been a development since then. No, not the usual housing development, but the arrival of sea otters! It started with a few (allegedly) and then they invited their friends and now there are dozens of them. Considering the endangered status of these animals, it is quite a privilege to see a whole raft of males hanging out at the mouth of the Slough, or to watch mothers and pups playing throughout the reserve. And, of course, there were plenty of seals hauled up sunbathing. The conditions on the Slough were not what you might call challenging, which meant that all of one’s attention could be focused on the amazing wildlife and beautiful scenery. There were even some volunteer guides out in their kayaks ready to educate and inform other passing paddlers. I found this very useful as I realised I could not readily equate the birds I was seeing with their cousins back in Scotland. (more…)

Change of scenery

Lest anyone should think that I have nothing to report other than our kayaking lessons, we are in fact in the throes of preparing for our belated return to California. We were supposed to go last year, but got caught up in the terror alert du jour (the scary liquids one) and decided to postpone. This is our first trip back to the Bay Area since we lived there for 5 and a half years, returning to Scotland in 2003. It’s going to be fun/emotional/weird/unsettling all at once. It’ll be great to go hang out with our friends, but it will also be strange to re-visit our lives over there now that we’re back and have essentially moved on. The really fun part is returning and not having to check in to the cube farm. It is immensely satisfying to know that we are free from all that, no matter where we are located. (more…)