Wednesday December 23, 2015 Jenner CA.
Might be a bit windy today
I didn’t hear any rain this morning when I got it going, so I checked the weather report for Jenner. The wind was going to be around ten miles an hour. I can handle that. I also checked the tides as the river was up from the recent rains and flowing with a bit of current. High tide was 6.6ft. this morning around eight thirty if I remember right. High tide would back the river up decreasing the current in the lower estuary. But low tide was about –1.0ft this afternoon which meant the river current would even be greater with all the water that would be trying to get out of the estuary into the ocean from being backed up by the high tide.
Things looked pretty good as I drove into Jenner. A light wind with some clouds in the sky. The river water was fairly muddy and high, but still backed up fairly well from the earlier high tide, so the current wasn’t much as I crossed over to Penny Island and sat in the little channel on the upper end for a half hour or so, here.
Headed up river
Eventually I left the heron there and moved on up the river along the south shore, taking my time working my way up to the muskrat area. The wind was picking up a bit as I went.
I sat around the muskrat area for a spell, then started back down the river along the same shoreline. I could see the tide had changed and the river water was picking up current and making some big waves in some places.
I worked my way down by Penny Island and along it’s side to this spot where I had to cross over the river to the boat ramp over there. With the wind blowing good now, I decided not to go down the river any further.
White capping waves
The only thing was the current had picked up and so had the wind so there were some big waves moving up the river out there that I was going to have to cross. It may look mellow from this spot, but there are some fairly big waves out there white capping.
The waves were pretty big. To keep from getting waves over the side, the trick is to keep the boat near ninety degrees to the oncoming waves, which means to hit them straight on which I did as they were the biggest waves I’ve been in. I don’t use what they call a splash guard or skirt, so my cockpit is open and I have to be careful.
Because of that, I ended up way past the boat ramp, here, before I could get close enough to shore to get out of the big waves and take it easy again. Note the boat ramp is way down there, but now I can go along the shoreline where the waves are much less.
Eventually the trucks making all the noise drove out onto the beach down by the jetty.
I decided to get my boat on the car and go down to the overlook to have a look. This usually means someone got washed into the ocean or something like that.
At the overlook
I asked the people at the overlook if they knew what was going on, but none did, but they pointed out there was a kayak sitting on the beach by the jetty with no one in it.
Cal Fire shows up
Shortly after that two Cal fire trucks pulled in and stopped for a moment. I asked one of the guys that got out what’s up?
He said a kayaker went out the mouth. One kayaker was ok by the jetty, but the other one wasn’t found yet. I told him no one up here had seen anything. He said thanks and both trucks moved up the road to an overlook where a trail goes down to the north beach.
More information shows up
A car pulled in and two people got out that had some more of the story. They said they were down at the jetty and two kayakers came down the river and into the mouth and made it over to behind the jetty where there is a back eddy and it is safe. The two people said they felt relieved for the kayakers and then left for their car back at the parking lot. When they got to the parking lot, they ran into the Lifeguard trucks with the sirens headed down towards the jetty. So now we have more of the story. But the kayakers should have been safe. Did they try to play in the raging mouth? Maybe one of them did?
Our view from the overlook
Some of the rescue guys
I didn’t know at the time they’d found his boat too, but they were too busy looking for him to deal with it.
Since they now had time to deal with the boat, I assume they found the guy, but I don’t know if he made it or not. Most likely not, looking at that raging water.
Update: Checking the local paper, The Press Democrat, they found the guys body in the water around three PM about an hour after it happened. They said about one mile south, but I think they might have meant north as that is the way the current was flowing.
I puttered with a few things when I got home and that was my day.