The Gonzo Paddle

by Dave Littlejohn. From Buzz, January 2009

Whew. What a day. Waking up at O’dark thirty and racing down to Horseshoe
Cove for a seven am-ish launch onto San Francisco Bay to further the quest
of paddling to as many islands as we can in one day. Last year we touched
twelve islands in an all day paddle-a-thon. This year, the bar is raised
another notch. Thirteen islands in one day, launching from and returning to
the same place. Thirty six nautical miles paddled in one day.

Mike “Czar of the Gonzos” Higgins researched the tides, routes, timing, etc,
and initiated the paddle, and almost anytime someone goes and waves “Gonzo”
in my face I have to rise to the challenge and assert the inner gonzo that
lays within. Despite Mike’s meticulous research of the tides and currents he
is not the Czar of the Winds so we had to deal with opposing cool breezes
for awhile. This made the day somewhat challenging and made sure we we’re
going to really have to earn that extra island this year.

The island tally: Alcatraz, Treasure Island, Yerba Buena, Brooks, Red Rock,
the brothers (2), the Sisters (2), Rat, Marin (2), and Angel.

The beautiful thing tally: Sunrise on the bay, clear blue skies, big tankers
passing close by at thirty knots, pelicans flying with their wingtips 1/4
inch off the water, sailboats coming out of the Richmond channel, the
erosion and rock layer patterns of Red Rock Island, Victorian architecture
of the Brothers lighthouse, Ruth Cooper paddling out to greet us and join
the paddle, the water currents around Rat Island, the rip roaring currents
through Raccoon Strait, Yellow Bluff while going off on an ebb at sunset,
coming into Horseshoe Cove just after the Sun had gone down and having
Dennis Holton offer to help carry the boat (it’s British, you know).

Thanks Mike! Thanks fellow Gonzos!


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