Thursday January 30, 2014 Jenner CA.
This was the day the Sonoma County Water Agency was going to open up the sand at the river’s mouth, which let’s the backed up water out of the river and let’s the big fish come in to continue their spawning trip up the river.
As I approached Jenner, I could see that the wind was up around 25 MPH today, and the sun was out.
I decided to go on down to the river’s mouth overlook on highway 1, just past the town of Jenner to see what was going on.
There’s usually some biologists and fishermen down there watching, so it’s a good time for me to catch up with some of these people I don’t see often and shoot the bull with them.
There wasn’t much going on when I arrived. It appeared that they were waiting for the ocean to calm just a bit before starting out.
Eventually, after about an hour, the excavator made it’s entrance onto the beach and things got underway.
This picture shows the excavator heading for the area to be breached. Goat Rock in the background. Note, it’s very windy today.
Here is the excavator guy prepping the area where he is going to dig the channel though the sand. He has several spotters out to watch for danger. Some of them are on the beach and one of them is up on the overlook with us. They are watching for any sleeper big waves coming in and also to make sure the sand doesn’t do something unexpected while he is cutting the channel.
There was a lot of sand to dig out this time, so it took him quite a long time.
Here, he has the channel well under way.
He builds a little dam at the front of the channel to keep most of the river water out until the channel is dug. Then he will go back and remove the little dam you see, right at the last to open it up.
He’s getting close to getting it cut in this picture.
If I remember right, about this time a whale was spotted right out in front of us, near the shore, just to the right of where they were working. It breached the surface a couple times then was gone. I was too slow to get any pics of this event.
Some of the waves they have to watch out for.
Up close, excavator in action.
Once the channel is dug to the ocean, he comes back to remove the little dam he made at the beginning, which he is doing in this picture.
Here he is up close taking the little dam out that completes the breaching.
If I remember right, it was about three PM when he finished his job and headed the excavator back in.
The excavator is leaving for the day.
Most of the people started to leave shortly after this, except for a few of us and one lady seal type biologist. She was waiting for the big event which was yet to come. That’s when the little channel that creates the breach really opens up and really washing out and opens the river’s mouth, big time. This happens when the river goes to low tide which was around 4:30Pm today
Just of interest, while waiting, this guy goes by with his rig. I saw him yesterday about three miles away heading in this direction. I’m not sure what he was really all about, but I think he might have been hiking the coastal highway. Quite a rig to be hauling around. He’s headed up the coast, not a particularly good place of a pedestrian to be going.
I hadn’t expected to stay here the whole day, but with the wind really blowing, I wasn’t encouraged to put my kayak in the water. I was trying to stay for the big event, but was just getting too tired and needed my nap. :O)
So, at 4:30PM, I shot this last photo of the breached river mouth. If you look closely, you can see that big wave near the bottom of the channel. That’s sand just starting to do it’s wash out thing to really open this up.
Things are just starting to snowball at this point. Around 5PM or so, it was likely really wide open and most of the sand you see piled up was washed out to sea.
I had a good day talking with the biologists and the fishermen. I headed on home and I sure needed that nap.