Friday, June 1, 2012

Dow Wetlands and the Star Java

My friends and I had an exciting paddle this evening.  We left the Antioch Marina for the Dow Wetlands preserve, which is becoming a regular paddle for me because of its close proximity and it's free right now.  It's great to be able to get out on the water even if it's only for an hour or so.  Tonight's paddle was more challenging than normal due to 15-25 knot winds and what I would call "confused seas."  The wind blows hard pretty regularly in this area but tonight there were actually 2-3 foot swells coming from different directions which made it fun but challenging.  We launched shortly after the max ebb around 6:30 p.m. and headed into the wind towards the preserve.  We worked hard to get to the preserve but we were pleased to find shelter and calm waters when we arrived.
On this excursion we paddled south as far as we could and we're happy to see a family of otters playing about.  We counted five otters and we just floated and watched them until they disappeared under water.  The only other wildlife we spotted this evening were some ducks and a red winged black bird.  As we floated back towards the entrance of the preserve we were greeted by the cargo ship the Star Java passing through Antioch and into Broad Slough.  What a sight!  I looked it up on my marine traffic ap and discovered it's 198 meters long with a 32 meter beam.  I'm amazed that something that big can travel through a fairly narrow passage.

We headed back to the launch after watching the ship sail into the sunset.  We had the wind at our backs but the water was still very rough.  I tried surfing some of the waves but they were coming so fast it was difficult to ride them.  As we got closer to the ramp we watched a couple of jet skiers zip around.  The waves were so big the jet ski's were catching a lot of air.  I tried getting some shots of them jumping but it was difficult as I needed my hands on my paddle to brace for the waves. Another great evening on the water! 

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