Friday December 16, 2016 Jenner CA.
It was going to be a windy day
They predicted that the river would crest at Guerneville around noon today, just below flood stage. The rain had stopped and the sun was out as I headed for Jenner this morning.
I could see the river water was real muddy and the wind was up as I drove into Jenner today. The river was flowing a bit faster than normal too.
I can handle most conditions at Jenner
The water didn’t look too bad and I knew I could handle most any water conditions at Jenner as I’ve been doing it a long time down here by now, but it still pays to be cautious.
I also knew the wind was expected to get worse, but it was going to high tide around noon and it was a 6.6 foot tide a high one for this area. High tide usually slows the river’s current in the estuary, so I was counting on that as I knew the wind would pick up.
Up the river before crossing over
Anyway, I put my boat in the water. With the current flowing a bit faster than normal, I paddled up along the shoreline a ways before crossing over to Penny Island as I knew the river current would take me a ways down stream as I crossed.
Down along the island’s edge
I stayed along the edge to stay out of the wind as much as possible and out of the current out in the middle.
Paddling onto Penny Island
When I get to the island’s end I see the water is high enough for me to paddle into the island. It looks like just barely enough water to get me through the grasses.
No respite from the wind on the island
Usually there is some respite from the wind inside the island, but not today, so I didn’t stay long and paddled back out working my way through the grasses. I lost the trail in one place and had to work pretty hard to move the boat through the grass.
The wind and the current has picked up
Penny Island upper channel
I paddled into the little channel and sat for awhile studying what the river was doing as the spot was mostly out of the wind which I’d say was blowing around fifteen miles an hour now.
Too much current to go up the river
I thought of going up the river a little further, but looking across the island’s back channel it looked like I would have to work pretty hard at it as there was a lot of current and a lot of wind. I didn’t cross.
All kinds of trees and logs and stuff were coming down the river now. They aren’t really too much trouble as the boat and the debrie move at the same speed, like on a freeway. So as long as one doesn’t get too close to them they aren’t a problem while paddling.
Hey, there go the river otters
I paddled back along the island’s edge for a bit and was surprised to see these otters swimming by. Somehow they were finding something to eat, but they swept by fast as the current carried them down river. There were four of them.
Low tide is coming so I need to do something
I was sitting around in the little channel of the island and I knew it would eventually go to low tide and the current would pick up even more, so I was thinking I better get back to the boat ramp before that happens.
But I wasn’t’ sure how to cross . Should I go down river and let the wind take me across and back up, or is the current too strong and I should go down river against the wind but with the current. I decided to try a little current on the island’s upper end and went out in it and decided the current was stronger than the wind and I should cross going down with the current.
Push into the current and let the river take me across
So, I decided to push off the upper end of Penny Island into the current and ride the waves across hoping I wouldn’t end up too far down river past the boat ramp.
It was quite a ride, but I made it
I was careful and made it across only taking a few splashes. I missed the boat ramp as I knew I would. But now that I was across I only had to work my boat up along this edge, around that tree and into a good back eddy that will push my boat right up to the boat ramp without too much work.
Monte Rio boat ramp is flooded
On the way home, I stopped at the Monte Rio boat ramp to have a look. The boat ramp is about 25 feet under the water in front of the car. That should really pile up the mud on the boat ramp and be a bit messy. At least the wind wasn’t up here.
Got the firewood in for the night
I headed on home and got some firewood in and stoked the fire as it was cool out, maybe 45 degrees F. or so.
Of course that just meant I should have a little nap after all that hard work paddling around the river.
And that was my day.