My third time kayaking was in the Giacomini Wetlands in the southern end of Tomales Bay. Part of Point Reyes National Seashore, the wetlands cover 550 acres. A so-called passive restoration was implemented in two phases over 2007 and 2008, consisting of the removal of agricultural infrastructure, the levees which had kept the area a dry pasture and other work. Once the levees were removed, the tide was able to reach into the land, bringing back the plants and animals of a wetland habitat. The Giacomini wetland is now the largest intact tidal marsh along the California Coast.
We explored the wetlands as part of a Point Reyes National Seashore Association (PRNSA) class put on to take advantage of tidal conditions that made the wetlands kayakable. Kayaks and gear were provided by Blue Waters Kayaking. The kayaks were the sit inside type, with a spray skirt, which was all new to me, but the guides were very helpful in setting us up, and we were in protected water all day, so it went smoothly.
The forecast had been a sketchy earlier in the week, but it ended up to be a beautiful sunny day. The first bit we were close to Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, but we soon got away from the busy road, and it was so amazingly peaceful on the water. We’re often in the area, almost always on bikes, so it was neat to experience it from a different perspective.
Tanya pointed out eel grass, pickle weed, rye grass and other plants, many of which grew on land and also partly or fully submerged! We also saw great blue herons, egrets, avocets, cormorants, vultures, hawks, a swan, an osprey and other birds. So much nature! We were early back to the landing site so paddled up river in to Lagunitas Creek a bit. It was pretty mind-boggling to think about the salmon that make that journey – continuing on all the way up to Kent Lake!
Super awesome day, such a great experience to see a familiar place in a new way.