San Francisco, California
March 29, 2002
NOVICE: If you've never kayaked before, fear not that you'll be dragged out into rough waters and either carried to sea or run over by a huge cargo ship. Richardson Bay is calm, shallow, and the perfect place to learn the basics, which will be covered in their "Scenic Sausalito" tour, at $65, with plenty of time to see the town from the water.
EXPERIENCED: Sea Trek offers more strenuous jaunts, such as Angel Island crossings or "Paddle the Gate," where guides help you avoid shipping lanes and other danger spots. There are also starlight/moonlight paddles, where you carry glowsticks.
RENTAL: Assuming you know basic kayak navigation and self-rescue techniques, the cheapest option is to explore Richardson Bay on your own, by rental. Rental rates are as above, and include all gear (though you will want to bring gloves.) If you plan on making multiple paddles or live in the area, cheapest yet is to buy a block of time- 20 hours for $150.
The pictures below chronicle a self-guided jaunt I made last fall, out of the marina, turning left to visit the Tall Ship mooring and then going past (well, actually through- what a great maze!) the houseboat colony. We then quickly paddled the seaplane crossing and ended up deep in the estuary wetlands (best to check the charts to make sure you aren't fighting the tidal flows or attempting to go at low tide.) We came across harbor seals and pelicans, herons, and other interesting birds. Our only regret was forgetting our gloves, so we had lovely blisters as souvenirs.
From journal Saucy Sausalito