Elkhorn Slough

Going to Elkhorn Slough (Moss Landing, CA) in August. Any tips? We did talk to a local kayak shop about tide/wind schedule so we know when to head out and head back. Any other helpful information?

just go - don’t overthink it
Place is amazing. You will see sea otters and seals before you even leave the rental place.

Tide isn’t that strong, but still could get currents of half mph to 1 mph.

Winds come up in afternoon off the bay. So if you do the standard of start and finish at rental place (which are near mouth), you will be fighting a head wind on the return.

Monterey Bay Kayaks (one of the rental companies - other is Kayak Connection) does have a one way trip you can do, where they will pick you up from Kirby Park, which is a few miles inland, and drive you back. No need to fight the winds if you do this. I think they charge $10 for the shuttle.

But a reasonably strong paddler wouldn’t have too much trouble with either wind or current.

Can’t help you, but we loved it back
twenty years ago when we paddled it on several occasions. We were using our OT discovery and got up close and personal with seals.

I hope it still is as good now as it was then

Jack L

Dinner at Phil’s in Moss Landing

Have Fun !
Great Place for novice paddlers. Kayak Connection is a good outfitter.

Wonderful Place to Paddle
I have a few suggestions:

Scan the shallows when you get a chance - yeah, the water is muddy and murky, but there is wildlife in there as well. Expect to see crabs, possibly nudibranchs (sea slugs), and other tidal critters there. Quiet and restful paddling will do much to keep the birds and sea lions calm. Try not to paddle directly at the animals since this is much more threatening, so an angle that shows that you are passing and not approaching will help toward that.

Don’t forget to look behind you every now and then. Harbor seals are shy and reclusive, but they are curious and will follow you. As soon as you turn to look, they’ll sink under, but they won’t go too far away.

Good luck and have fun. Elkhorn can be paddled even when there is seriously bad weather since most of the wave and swell won’t make it into the slough. A great place to practice in a storm since the wind will blast in and you’ll learn why I don’t use a feathered paddle any more :).