Tomales Bay Day Paddle

Tomales Bay, nursery to the Great White Shark! Headlines in local paper say more sharks than usual present this September. We are stil here, so I’m guessing we did a good job of not looking like seal (we didn’t see any sharks, either).

Tomales Bay at Reyes Point

The objective of the day’s paddle was to see the Tomales Bay area and simply get in the water. A local friend suggested launching from a ramp next to Nick’s Cove (waypoint marker #1, below), about 3 miles north of Marshall and a mile south of Hamlet. This was a great choice. This is a state day use park where the ramp was free, but parking was $5 a day. Directly across the water was a bird santuary island and seal rookery. On the other side of the bay there was a rocky cove with plenty of marine life (jelly fish, starfish, crabs, anenomes) to get up close to. We spent 20 minutes in the cove (could have spent two hours or more) and did the whole paddle in about an hour and fifteen minutes.

There was a shallow area between the island and the cove, which I’ve marked in red on this satellite photo. I hadn’t checked the tides so I have no clue if this was generally a problem or not. However, even with only 4″ of draft, we felt compelled not to go right across the middle of it.

The area around Nick's Cove

The ramp was excellent and Nick’s is close enough to rack the kayaks and walk over for a late lunch and excellent bloody mary.

The launch ramp and Nick's Cove.

 It was misty and cool and the water was cold, so we elected to go for the full dry suit.

Great paddling, cozy in dry suits.

It’s 0.8 miles from the ramp to the sanctuary island and another 0.7 miles to the mouth of the cove. You get an idea of the distance here. Not very far, so it’s an easy paddle, but the fog made everything seem to disappear into the distance.

A gray day to paddle.

This is a first class paddle, even for a short afternoon. We can’t wait to get back and do some camping on the peninsula.