Sunny Midweek Paddle on the Russian River Estuary

Although it was foggy inland this morning, sunny blue skies shone on Jenner this morning. About a dozen harbor seals swam in the waters between Penny Island and the mouth. Four or five of them took a keen interest in my kayak and swam over to have a close look. Two of them followed close behind me.

Harbor Seal 1:27:16

This one popped up for a good look.



The tide was flooding until about half past noon. Waves from the Pacific rolled into the mouth with enough energy to gently rock my kayak. Larger waves had enough energy to create little wavelets that broke on the western shore of Penny Island.

Waves on Penny Island 1:27:16

Surf’s up on Penny Island!

Farther up the river, towards Eagle’s Landing, I ran into Ray who had launched about an hour before me. He’d been down to the mouth as well. We talked for a while and watched seals and a sea lion fishing in the hole across from Paddy’s Rock. A group of river otters played nearby.

Otters 1:27:16

River Otters on their way to the mouth

About 1:00 it was time for lunch. Ray headed off towards Eagle’s Landing. I continued upriver to a shady riverside shore and enjoyed a sandwich and a thermos of hot tea.

Lunch Grotto 1:27:16

Lunch stop

A great blue heron sunned himself on the edge of the river by the pasture.

Great Blue Heron 1:27:16

GBH by the river

The river’s mouth is now just south of haystack rock. The Pacific was comparatively calm today. This photo was taken after paddling, about an hour before sunset.

River Mouth 1:27:16

River’s End January 27, 2016

It was a fine day on the river.

A map of the trip:

11 thoughts on “Sunny Midweek Paddle on the Russian River Estuary

  1. Thank you, Richard. I grabbed some trash out of the river along the way. I look forward to paddling with you again soon.

  2. Hi Geoff—

    I use a Canon SX60HS. Camera buffs call it a point-and-shoot camera and it’s totally not waterproof. But it is easy to use, has a pretty far reaching zoom lens, auto-stabilization, auto focus, and an EVF. It works for me and I’m careful to keep it away from the water.

  3. Nice that the river is so dynamic with the river mouth moving around a bit, getting dammed up – finding its natural release over time (and tide) – makes for an interesting kayaking area.

  4. Great shot of the harbor seal. I’m always amazed at how curious/friendly they seem to be to people.

  5. Hi, David, Thanks. I’m hoping to entice you to join me on one of these paddles. Sarah went out with me last Sunday and SHE HAD A GOOD TIME! I’m learning (finally) to be sure that paddling newbies are comfortable and secure on the water.

  6. Hi, Loren—
    Thank you. I know you’re a very accomplished photographer from following your blog for many years (I love seeing your birding photos, especially) so your comment means a lot to me. I’m learning that the main thing, when taking photos from a kayak is to get as close as possible to the subject. For many creatures, (seals excepted) that often requires patience. Sitting still in one spot and trying to be as inconspicuous as possible is good practice for me.
    Next time you come down to Santa Rosa try to find time to visit Jenner. There’s lots to see there.

  7. You’re getting beautiful shots out there! Really enjoying the blog and photos . . . got to get out on the water soon . . . thanks for the inspiration!

  8. Thank you, Beachmama. I really appreciate your comment. It’s a whole lot of fun to go out there in search of a good photo—and I’ve got some good mentors out there (Bob Noble, Loren Webster) who are much better at photographing nature than I am. For me it’s fun to climb the learning curve. It’s fun, and therapeutic, frankly, to be out there in the natural world with my human and animal friends.

    If I’m able to inspire even one person to get out into nature and partake of its beauty and serenity, then I’m satisfied that my efforts have been worthwhile.

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