Camp on Tomales Bay - Bio--luminescence - Camping - Night Kayaking

This proved to be the premiere event from last year.  A good paddle to the camp site.  Camping overnight and the most amazing bio-luminescent effects.  Dave Domingo did a great job last year putting this event together.  Consequently, I have reserved one campsite at the same location for up to 25 paddlers.  (I am also paraphrasing his write-up from last years event).

This is an easy to moderate paddle.  Winds can be a factor which can then make the bay more challenging.  Be considerate of your skills and boat when joining this event.

 

Lodging the night before the event:

Some folks camped out the night before.  In addition the hostel on Point Reyes has bunks for about $25 per night.

Nearby 'normal' lodging in summer and fall runs $125 to $300 a night. Click here for a lodging search/comparison tool specific to the Point Reyes area.

Linking up and launching:

We will meet at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 14th, on Chicken Ranch Beach, very close to the Blue Waters Kayaking on Sir Francis Drake Boulevard.

Those renting from Blue Waters will launch from there and paddle approx. 400 feet north to Chicken Ranch Beach to link up with the rest of the group.

Kayak owners can either (1) park for free in the spaces alongside the road at Chicken Ranch Beach, if space is available, or (2) pay Tomales Bay Resort (next door to BWK) $5 to launch and $10 for overnight parking, and then paddle to Chicken Ranch to link up.

BWK opens at 9:00, so the safety briefing and whole-group launch will likely be closer to 10:00.

Paddling on Saturday:

We will paddle approx. 6 miles north along the west shore of Tomales Bay, passing landmark beaches (Shell, Heart's Desire, Indian and Marshall) to our campsite at Tomales Beach (38°10'23.95"N  122°55'25.59"W).

Tomales Beach has pit toilets and a couple of tables but no potable water. Semi-primitive!

After dropping off camping gear, we will be free to walk on the beach or take mini trips -- perhaps to White Gulch or Hog Island (both approx. 2 miles farther north).

Bio-luminescence Saturday night:

Sept. 28th should be good night to observe bio-luminescence in the waters of the bay. The tides for that day and night are below.  Tides going out in the morning should aid in our trip to the camp site.  We will want to pay attention to tides at night by starting our luminescence paddle slightly north of our site.

Tide Height: Marshall, Tomales Bay Sat[masked] 10 11 noon[masked] 10 11 Loading...

 

The paddle back on Sunday will take some effort.

Loading...

 

Cost:

For boat-in camping on Saturday night, each person will pay an even share of the $50 campsite fee. Assuming we max out with 25 participants, it will come out to $2 per person. Should be reasonably straight forward.

Each person will also be responsible for his or her own kayak rental fee, launching fee and parking fee.

 

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  • John M.

    Great photos, too, by Liz and Jeremy.

    1 · September 30, 2013

  • Jody G.

    What a fun trip and a great group of people. After "lurking" for months, this was my first meet up. Thanks to all for being so welcoming and inclusive and such good company. Thanks especially to Jerry and John for putting this together and for ensuring the enjoyment and safety of all. I'm looking forward to meeting and paddling with everyone again soon!

    1 · September 30, 2013

    • John M.

      So glad you sucked it up and came out with us. You two fit right in like regulars (we'll include you on our bail bond insurance).

      1 · September 30, 2013

  • Seek

    I enjoyed my first ever Bio-Darkenescence paddle!

    Never thought paddling somewhere where you couldn't see anything was so much fun!

    Here are a few of my pictures...

    http://bayareakayaker.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=67&t=1123

    September 30, 2013

    • John M.

      Gorgeous pictures, and a seven-second insight into darkness. You da mang!

      September 30, 2013

  • Joanne

    this was a great trip !

    September 30, 2013

  • Jeremy

    Thanks for the great weekend....so glad to get my boat out and use it as its meant to be. Fun accepting group of people. I'm looking forward to more trips in the future.

    1 · September 30, 2013

  • Joanne

    This was such a fun weekend! Just looking at the pictures makes me laugh again. Wonderful group - great new friends - and thank you Jerry for your organizing skills. Your trips are great!

    1 · September 30, 2013

  • Brett & G.

    Ditto'ing John. The group is varied, accepting, interesting, and fun. John and Jerry, you are kind and generous with your time, for staying with us laggards and ensuring our well-being. Thank you so much. We would do that campout again a million times. (Might condition for it better next time.) Brett very much appreciated that the group was a "snacky" one. :-)

    2 · September 30, 2013

  • John M.

    My thanks, too, Jerry, for a well-managed outing. Both the weather and the paddling opportunities were varied and interesting. Greatly enjoyed the excursion to Hog Island and the nearby cove (and Eric's backgrounders), but also thought the night paddle was fun and interesting, as were the exploratory wanderings along the banks of the bay. I think going out later is, indeed, a better option. We are, also, a varied and accepting group, which makes these paddles so much more enjoyable.

    2 · September 30, 2013

    • John M.

      And, for whoever suggested it, I'd also support getting out a day or so earlier and staking out a spot.

      September 30, 2013

  • Martin F.

    ...and a GRAND time was had by all. Great people, great food, excellent setting. Thank you Jerry for setting it all up!

    1 · September 30, 2013

  • Jerry O.

    First, I felt bad about our camping situation and that fact that we didn't have the amenities we should have. (I will insure that does not happen next year. I also gave the Rangers at the Bear Valley Center my thoughts on the matter. Didn't help much, but I felt better). I was also disappointed we didn't get the full affect on the bio-luminescence compared to last year. Hopefully having fun with glo-sticks and paddling at night made up at least a little.

    Finally, I know it seems repetitive to say what a great group we have at each of these events, but its true. I have never been part of a group where everyone mixes right in. For folks who haven't joined us in the past, it feels like they have always paddle with us. Its great.

    2 · September 30, 2013

  • eric A.

    Thanks all,

    Nice to meet up with some people that know how to camp, hang out by a fire, have support for all in the group. Jerry and John thanks again.
    I'm looking forward to more tours with you all.

    1 · September 30, 2013

  • Liz

    This was so much fun, thanks Jerry for organizing this trip! And thanks to everyone who attended - great company!

    September 30, 2013

  • Mary B.

    Such a good time- the NICEST group of people, so great to see old friends and meet new ones, hear funny stories, eating around the campfire. Thanks to Jerry & John for organizing and glow sticks and getting us all together.

    1 · September 29, 2013

  • Jonathan

    Sorry bad planning..can't get there today.

    September 28, 2013

  • Jeremy

    Making my wsy...be thrre 945...blue suv and ksyak

    September 28, 2013

  • debbie c.

    Jerry..Won't be able, to make it today, woke up ill..I owe ya for the reservation...me too...have to unload,,

    September 28, 2013

  • Bang N.

    Badly, I got injured in another sport session last night. I am sorry that I can't make it to paddle with you all today. Things have been loaded, but now I will need to unload them.

    Sorry again for the late notice.

    September 28, 2013

  • Mary B.

    so is $2/ person still about right to pay you back Jerry? Just want to make sure we get you covered, esp if there's no opportunity to buy you a beer :)
    thanks!
    MB

    September 27, 2013

    • Jerry O.

      Yup, $2 should do it.

      September 27, 2013

  • Bang N.

    I will bring wine and something else too.

    September 27, 2013

  • Jerry O.

    Hi everyone, this should be my last message. The weather is looking good. As suspected we are now down to the amount of attendees we assumed would come and between the two permits we are good to go.

    Fires are allowed, however we cannot bring wood from out of state. In addition the land above our campsite is private property so please be respectful. Raccoons are usually present, so I will be recommending keeping your food in either a bear container or inside a compartment in your boat. Bring a jacket, water, headlamp if you have one and sunblock.

    Looking forward to seeing you all tomorrow.

    September 27, 2013

  • Patricia

    I am sorry to miss this outing but I have a bad case of the flu! I have wanted to kayak tomales bay for a long time ! Enjoy!

    September 27, 2013

  • Christiane A.

    Jerry
    We are bringing a couple wines too plus corn chips and guacamole to share...also a few raw veggies ... If there is room in the boat.

    September 26, 2013

  • Jody G.

    My guest just called to reserve a kayak at BWK They told her the only rentals left were for the overnight camp. Is that our group or not? any suggestions where she can rent a kayak for this trip?

    September 23, 2013

    • Jody G.

      Hi John - I called the "contact" number rather than the reserve overnight rental number and talked to another guy. He gave me the rez no problem. said the woman at the other number must be confused (?)

      September 24, 2013

    • John M.

      :^)

      September 26, 2013

  • Jerry O.

    I will be bringing a copy bottles of red wine and popcorn we can cook on a camp stove for after the evening paddle. Anyone is welcome to add to the evening.

    September 26, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Sorry folks, due to the late notice I am unable to attend this weekend paddle.

    September 26, 2013

  • bert

    Sorry to miss the paddle but I just have too many things coming up this weekend. Have fun!

    September 26, 2013

  • Joanne

    Jerry, are we allowed to have a campfire?

    September 25, 2013

    • John M.

      Yes (though I'm not Jerry) :^)

      September 25, 2013

  • John M.

    More glow bracelets will be coming from down here.

    September 25, 2013

    • Jerry O.

      A promise we can keep. Sorry you won't be with us. Hope all is well with your trip.

      September 25, 2013

    • John M.

      Jerry, I figure these might be the same as those you have (both purchased from Amazon). Our experience was that they started out dim, but they got brighter as time passed. I think we'll be good, if the night is dark.

      September 25, 2013

  • Zena

    I will be renting kayak at Blue Waters.
    Anybody else renting a kayak there? I hope we can all headout together as a group and meet the others at Chicken Ranch.

    September 6, 2013

    • Jerry O.

      Liz, I also will need to pick up a permit so I will see you at the Visitors Center. We can then head back to Chicken Ranch, and launch together. We can collect whoever has yet to leave. Perhaps John can lead the Sharks (how appropriate given his inclinations). Tomales Beach is marked on most maps so if John or someone in the forward group is confident on the site, we should be good.

      September 25, 2013

    • Liz

      Jerry, that sounds good, I'll see you at the visitor's center! I'm going to send you my cell# privately.

      September 25, 2013

  • Jerry O.

    One more note. If you are not planning to attend, please indicate so using the RSVP button. This will give us a more accurate count.

    September 22, 2013

    • Jerry O.

      Very good. I am confident that we have the bases covered for reservations. I will send out another message closer to the event.

      September 22, 2013

    • Brett & G.

      We're very excited about Saturday. Just came back from hiking Bryce and Zion NPs, and we're ready to work out a different set of muscles now. :-)

      September 25, 2013

  • Jeremy

    I'm really looking forward to my first event with this group. Hope to meet some great people and enjoy some beautiful scenery. Look for me in the blue perception acadia and say HI!

    September 25, 2013

  • Jerry O.

    Just a note that the glow sticks I got from Amazon are a little lame. (Emphasis on little). I will still bring them as if you double them up they should work. If anyone else has some spare sticks and doesn't mind bringing them along, that would be great.

    September 24, 2013

    • John M.

      Jenny got some. I'll see if she'll sell them to me (and I can reach her in Puerto Rico).

      September 24, 2013

  • MAG

    Too wiped out from moving son back to college. Oh well, glad someone else can take my place. Have a great time, everybody!

    September 24, 2013

  • Mary B.

    I'm SO bummed that Gabe has to cancel so I'm still coming but am giving up my +1 for that next person on the wait list!

    September 24, 2013

  • Zena

    Regrettably, I have to cancel. I am sorry to cancel in such short notice but I did not know until today that I have to be at work on Saturday.

    September 23, 2013

  • Liz

    About Campfires: I called to get info about campfires. A campfire permit needs to be obtained the day of the trip, and there are some days when they don't issue them due to fire danger, so don't rely on having one for your warmth or cooking. However, if it's a day when they do issue the fire permits, they do not allow any type of oak to be burned. Some wood types that are allowable are maple,pine,fir,redwood,almond. With that said, we have done a test packing of our kayaks and there is no space left for firewood. But thought I'd mention the info anyway in case anyone else has space left on their kayak.

    September 23, 2013

  • Zena

    Wow, that, is a very nice offer.

    September 23, 2013

  • eric A.

    Hello bio camper kayak hopeful new friends. My name is eric and I live in fairfax. Fairfax is about 40 minutes from the put in site. It sounds like some of you may be coming from afar, so I am extending the use of my place friday night. I have a cot, a couch, 2 baths if that is a help to any. Rusty Evans will be playing rock-a-billy and johnny cash covers at peri's silver dolar down the block friday night. Maybe see some of you there. Eric[masked]

    September 23, 2013

  • Seek

    Just an FYI for everyone... I'm planning to join the paddle (and camp), but not until around 5pm (maybe earlier). I have a school event to attend. I'm planning to put-in at the eastern side of Tomales Bay at the Miller Boat Launch [masked],[masked]). I'm not clear on what the launch or overnight parking fees are (can't find it online), but here are some things to think about...

    Pros:
    1. Riding the tides to (after 3pm) and from (after 10am) the campsite.
    2. It's only 2 miles one way. Not as scenic, but I'm only interested in the camping and bio-luminescence.
    3. If there aren't any campsites left, I can paddle two miles back to the launch and enjoy the bio-luminescence. I have GPS to get back.

    Cons:
    1. Launch and overnight parking fees.

    September 16, 2013

    • bert

      Seek are you still planning to leave late? Can I join you?

      September 22, 2013

    • Seek

      Yes Bert, I'm still planning to leave late arriving at the launch around ~5pm. Everyone is welcome. This way if they don't find a camping spot or they don't feel like camping, the paddle back to the launch is just ~2 miles.

      September 22, 2013

  • bert

    I also have some earlier commitments but would very much like to keep my "yes" and come later in the day. Seek, are you still planning to attend and depart around 5pm? Can I join you? Is anyone else leaving late?

    September 22, 2013

  • Jody G.

    I seem to remember something about a potluck saturday night. Is that correct, or did I dream it?

    September 22, 2013

  • Jerry O.

    Hi everyone, This event is coming up and wanted to give a quick update. The weather report so far looks good. (Early yet I know, but so far so good). I will be bringing glow stick 10" bracelets for your boats as well a lantern that we can use as our beacon to find our way back to the camp site. Please remember to bring warm clothes as it can be windy and cold at night. Also make sure you bring water for the weekends use. As always life vests (PFD's) are mandatory and wetsuits are recommended. See you there.

    September 22, 2013

  • Jody G.

    Trying to change my RSVP to "Yes, plus one guest." Don't see that option, so I'm doing it here.

    September 21, 2013

    • Jody G.

      the first (and only) thing I tried. the only option was to change from yes to no. oh, well

      September 22, 2013

    • John M.

      This one's tricky. You can change from yes to no and then change again from no to yes, when it will prompt you about whether it's just you or you plus "x" others (you specify). The problem, for this outing, is that it will then put you on the waiting list. Oy! :^)

      September 22, 2013

  • Michelle C

    Sorry, too late of notice about being able to go to make it now.

    September 20, 2013

  • Ron

    Argh...I have to bail out on this, have fun you guys!

    September 19, 2013

  • Kathy

    is there room for two more?

    September 15, 2013

    • Liz

      My guess is there will be...there isn't now but more people may drop out before the trip. I recommend you join the waiting list.

      September 15, 2013

  • Patricia

    I have always wanted t o kayak tomales bay! Sounds like I could set up a rental & catch up with the group. ! I hope I get the opportunity to join you

    September 11, 2013

  • Liz

    Regarding the night paddling, how does one see where they're paddling at night? Is there enough light from stars/moon to see where we're going? It seems like a headlamp wouldn't provide much vision way up in front of the kayak, especially if it's using a red night-vision light.

    September 9, 2013

    • John M.

      I was surprised at what I could see with my red headlamp. There was a fair amount of ambient light Saturday at Elkhorn Slough (Jenny and I tried out the bioluminescence there), and I could still see to navigate.

      September 10, 2013

    • Liz

      Thanks for the info everyone! I have a red light for the stern of my boat, will make sure to get glow stick or something similar for the front. Haven't decided whether to fork out the $ for a waterproof headlamp with the red setting yet.

      September 10, 2013

  • Becky

    I thought I'd have my cold weather/immersion gear by now, but I don't, so I'm changing in order to make room for those who are better prepared.

    September 9, 2013

  • Mary B.

    Oh Jenny, Too bad!! I was looking forward to paddling with you again. Oh well - next time. Work interfering in kayaking is no good!
    C u on the water, soon, I hope. Mary Beth

    August 28, 2013

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