B A Y  C U R R E N T S
the newsletter of the ETC Sea Kayak Program
Week of December 18, 2017
Celebrating a Successful Year!

2017 was a fantastic year for the ETC Sea Kayak Program!  We served 1,853 participants over the course of 135 trips, with a season that went from February to mid-November.  Most of these individuals had never kayaked or had the chance to explore the Bay before, and they came away with new senses of accomplishment, empowerment, connection, and stewardship!  A HUGE THANK YOU to all of our partner agencies and friends, both old and new, that joined us to make this epic season possible!  We made it through strong currents caused by all the winter runoff, unusually fierce and prolonged summer winds, and the traumatic North Bay fires in October.

All these outdoor experiences would not have been possible without our wonderful community of Volunteer Guides - both the new class of 2017 and our awesome returning guides - our field interns, and the myriad contributions of JonMichael Rich and Justine Schmidt, who led many of this year's trips.  Check out the link below to see ETC's 2017 Special Report, which shares some stories about the impact of our work.

Trip Report:
Drake's Estero Guide Paddle
On Saturday, December 9, a group of 23 sea kayak guides made their way out to Drake's Estero in Point Reyes National Seashore.  Conditions were ideal, with a morning ebb, minimal winds, lots of hauled out seals, and beautiful light and an afternoon flood to bring us back.  Guides brought food to share while relaxing on the beach near the mouth of the estero.  As Magen Kuzma writes:

As I laid down on the sandy beach after paddling 4.5 miles through calm waters, I listened to waves and my fellow guides laughing. It was an absolutely perfect day to celebrate the kayak season on one of the bay's most beautiful gems.

It was a great reminder of the vitality of our amazing guide community - thanks to everyone who came out to make this perfect celebratory day happen!

Cool New Bay and Watershed Maps
The San Francisco Bay Area Water Trail has released a beautiful new series of waterproof maps of San Francisco Bay that show many boat launching locations to help encourage people to get out and explore.  We'll have copies of these maps in Sausalito in 2018.  On the reverse side of each map is a beautiful illustration, pictured above, that shows the interconnectedness of a watershed, as water moves from creeks and rivers, through marshes and sloughs, to the open bay and coast.  Drawn by Blaze Syka, this drawing and its descriptions really brings things to life!  You can check out downloadable PDFs of these maps by clicking on the link below.
Kayak for Sale!  

We have one more triple for sale th is year - perfect for getting out on the Bay with:
  • two adults and a child
  • two adults and a dog
  • an adult and two children
  • an adult and two dogs
  • an adult, a child, and a dog
  • three adults
  • two adults and gear in the middle cockpit
  • etc
This is a great boat that can carry a lot of gear, and it's ready for its next life chapter. We are asking $700 OBO.

In This Issue
Looking Ahead to 2018

As soon as one season is wrapped up, it's already time to start preparing for the next one!  2018 should be another great year for the Sea Kayak Program.  Several partner agencies have already booked trips, with the first trip of the year currently on Feb. 10.

Take a look at the preliminary schedule here - of course, much more will be added in the weeks and months to come!  And remember, it's never too early to book a trip, or to sign up to guide on one!

We have started volunteer recruitment for 2018 - so if someone you know might want to join the fun, please send them to our Volunteer Page and have them submit a Volunteer Guide Application.

Finally, some great news is that Justine Schmidt will be returning for another year as the Sea Kayak Program Associate - I'm excited to have her back in the field and helping out in office world in 2018!
Trip Report: Baja

The magic of Isla EspĂ­ritu Santo in Baja California Sur, Mexico, is hard to capture in words. On ETC's November Shared Expedition, offered in partnership with No Barriers USA, 20 of us jetted off across the pristine waters of the beautiful national park, which we were lucky to call our home for the next seven days. Each day was full of an abundance of inclusive adventures: snorkeling with the playful sea lions over stunning coral reefs and marine life, kayaking to local beaches and around smaller islands, learning about ecosystems and local history along the way, margaritas at sunset, and sunrise fishing each morning. Over the course of the week together, the ETC and No Barriers crew created unforgettable memories full of laughter, joy, and friendships to last a lifetime.  - by Sari Lesem
Aramburu Island Restoration
In November 2007 the  Cosco Busan hit one of the pilings of the Bay Bridge and spilled 54,000 gallons of bunker fuel, oiling 69 miles of shoreline, closing fisheries and killing more than 6,800 birds. From this mess came a $44 million settlement fund that has helped to turn Aramburu Island in Richardson Bay into prime bird habitat.

Aramburu is actually a grouping of three man-made islands that are the result of development and dredging of the Strawberry Spit area. Once choked with non-native plants such as thistle, French broom, Harding and pampas grass, those invasives have been largely cleared. In their place natives were planted, causing birds and other species to flock to the island, and the ecosystem is now thriving.

"It now provides pristine habitat for birds, harbor seals, oysters and native plants," said Steve Gonzalez, spokesman for the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.  Read the Marin Independent Journal's full article about this success story here .