Was a Record Set Here ?


They all had on pfds, and nobody died. Yay ! File under “kayaking after dark, during no moonlight, in Tomales Bay, after the 15mph west wind died down at sunset, so what could possibly go wrong, later ?”



Not that there is fog or fire smoke or anything like that stuff around, either, this weekend.

It only took the 5 Fire Depts, (Marin County,Southern Marin, Novato, Stinson Beach, Tomales) the National Park Service, and the CA Highway Patrol to pull them all out. You can never have too many rubber rafts…

Knowing just WHO called would be nice
I led a rescue class on Long Island Sound and someone called 911 to report all kayakers capsized.

They were. It was a rescue class with multiple safety boats.

Two marine patrols responded. Lesson learned… next time I called 911 dispatch beforehand myself and let them know just in case some spectator called.

Over 50 rescues… Even those maniac Watertribers couldn’t come close to those numbers…

Props to the trip leaders
who got them to the island. Water temp there is reported to be around 55-57F. I wonder how many were dressed for the water temp. Glad there was a happy ending.

Would love to read more details and the back story. This sounds like a start for an updated “Deep Trouble” volume.

The problem with Tomales Bay
aside from the sudden winds big waves and fog and the entrance to the Pacific Ocean which is extremely treacherous, is that it it REALLY shallow at low tide, in the quiet, peaceful area that kayakers like to go out on, and there is some really awesome mud.

It was low tide… hence no “let’s just send a Big Boat over to see what’s up with all the kayakers in the dark.” Literally, if the kayakers had not been careful about where they tried to beach themselves, and wisely chose an island, it could have been 54 kayakers stuck in the mud and needing extrication. In the dark.

Hence the Rubber Raft Rescue Flotilla.

aaahhhhTomales Bay

Awesome graphic
and illustrates just how swirly and erratic the winds in the bay area can be.

Tomales Bay is a challenging place, at times, and the tidal current can be strong (large tide differentials can produce 4-5 knots):


There are slack periods where it can be as calm as any protected lake, but that is deceptive. Those that go out on the bay can and will experience rapidly shifting conditions, fast tides, amazingly shallow waters, even when far from shore (combined with deep, very soft, mud), and varying winds. The water is slightly thinner than the mud floating in it, but I’m pretty sure much of the bay could be churned up with a tiller and it wouldn’t get much murkier.

Oh yes, and it’s a breeding ground for sharks. Folks in Inverness catch baby tigers all the time (often using salmon eggs). There are great whites breeding in the area as well.

I prefer Monterey Bay.