Category Archives: Trip Report

2nd Beginner’s Class Report – June 2016

2nd Beginner's Class 6-16

Good weather and sunshine welcomed the last Club-AA subsidized class for this summer. 24 people took part in these classes this summer, a great start to this partnership between our club and Aqua Adventures in teaching skills to our members. AA has sold a lot of our gear. The hats are so popular they have sold out again! More are on order and should be there in a few weeks.

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Jen, with the help of Billy Kroll, led the paddlers through drills in the “Draw Stroke”, “Sculling”, the “Low Brace”, assisted and self-re-entry techniques, and boat handling. Jen demonstrated the stand-up paddle board technique in a kayak (amazing), and everyone said they really enjoyed the class. Many thanks to Jen, and thank you Billy for assisting in this class.

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June 2016 Leadership Class Report

Click to enlarge photos

Click to enlarge photos

Six people took part in the first Leadership Class offered by the joint effort of the club and Aqua Adventures (AA). Jen Kleck conducted an excellent classroom session covering the topics of Leadership Characteristics, the Role of the Leader, Risk Assessment, Preparation for a paddle, and what to go over with the group prior to a paddle.

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The group looked at a map of Mission Bay and the anticipated paddle route while Jen discussed the various factors to consider on each leg of the trip. The group then formulated a “Trip Plan”, taking into consideration the different risks involved.

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The water session consisted of each member taking a turn at leading the group, and also involved a rescue practice in the open bay. Jen did an amazing job in both the classroom session and the water practicum. She teaches with authority, focus and energy. If you ever have an opportunity to take a class from her, you will not regret it. Be sure to check out all the courses AA has to offer to advance your paddling skills. The club thanks her greatly for her involvement with us.

These joint-effort classes are partially subsidized by the ongoing sales of our club gear at AA, so go in and buy some gear and help contribute to future skills classes for our members. The more gear sold, the more classes we will offer.

Note: The content of this course will be presented in detail soon, and found under the not-yet-created “Skills” tab at the top of this web page.

June 2016 Navigation Class Report

Robin Kedward conducted an interesting morning session at AA on the basics of navigation, covering the topics of magnetic vs true north, latitude and longitude, charts, measuring distance on a map, compass rose, taking and following a bearing, course correction, the parts of a compass, tides and how to deal with them, and the “Rule of 12”. The notes from this class will become a posted article found in our skills group soon.

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Click on photos to enlarge

After the classroom session we went over to the dirt lot and everyone practiced “walking a bearing”. Jane Hardy came by to visit for a while, as she is briefly in town between trips to Wales and Scotland. We also took a minute to present Robin with a club hat and T-shirt as a “thank you” for his many years of service to the club and fellow paddlers.

Thank you Robin for all you do

Thank you Robin for all you do

SDKC Sponsored Beginner’s Class Report


The first class subsidized by the club hat and T-shirt sales at Aqua Adventures was conducted on Saturday, May 21, and was a big success. Six people took advantage of a good deal and excellent instruction by Jen Kleck, who went through the basic strokes, boat handling, and assisted re-entry. More details on these procedures can be found by scrolling down to our skills practice session reports.

Click on photos to enlarge

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Lois, Theresa, Johnny, Mary Sue, Carol and Mike were all fast learners, and no one tipped over. After some practice of basic strokes at the AA dock, the group proceeded over to the Life Guard Station. The sales of our club hats and T-shirts are the reason these classes will be offered at such a low cost to our members, so stop by AA and get yourself some club gear!

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After practicing the sculling draw stroke, turning and boat handling, the group went back to the AA dock for instruction in how to get back in their boats after a capsize. Steve Wilson assisted Jen during this class, and not only showed off his very cool club hat, but did a few graceful rolls. Many thanks to Steve, and especially to Jen for a very good class in the basics. This is the first of hopefully many classes that our club gear sales will subsidize, so stay tuned for the next one to be announced soon!

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February 2016 Skills Session Report

Group skills session photo

Four skills were practiced by 9 club members at Mariner’s Cove, led by Jane Hardy. Click on the photos to enlarge them.

The “Heel Hook” Re-Entry

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While your boat is being emptied of water, hang on to the other boat and your paddle. As you face your boat before the re-entry, whatever side of you the bow is on, that is the leg you but in the boat first. But before you do that, reach across the boat with that same-side hand and grab the deck lines of your boat and the other boat, then swing that leg in.  More info on this is in the other skills report, located by scrolling down on this home page.

The “Bow Lift”

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This a good way to empty the water from your boat if someone else is not near you. Grab the boat about 1 ft to 2ft from the bow, kick your feet as powerful as you can, and push the boat up by straightening your arms and hold up the bow for a few seconds. You may have to do this a second time, then while holding the bow up, flip the boat over. You can use your paddle to perform this also.

The “Draw Stroke”

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A great way to move your boat sideways, practice this stroke until you are comfortable with it (without capsizing). The trick is keeping your paddle as vertical as possible while moving it back and forth, changing the blade angle each direction.  Two paddlers are using this technique in the far right photo.

The “Hand of  God” Rescue

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This is a fast way to get an unconscious person who is still in their boat back upright, or helping someone who cannot roll up. Place your paddle on your deck and reach across the capsized boat and grab the cockpit coaming. With the other hand push down on the bottom of the other boat in the area right next to you while pulling up the cockpit holding hand to start the roll, then use both hands on the cockpit coaming and pull the far side toward you. There are several good videos on the web to learn the details of doing this, along with the precautions you should consider.


Whale Paddle a Success

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Eleven paddlers went out on February 6 to see some whales, and we not only saw two of them, but we were given a wonderful show by a few Pacific White Sided Dolphins. While no photos were captured of the whales or Dolphins, the picture below is what the Dolphins were doing. They may have been chasing small fish, or just showing off, but they were coming all the way out of the water very close to us.

Pacific White Sided Dolphin

The whales were not spotted until we were on the way back, and not more than 1.2 miles from the south jetty at about the 60 ft depth. Those whales may have been heading  inside the kelp bed, but could have gone either way. We waited for a while to see the water spouts south of us, but never did.

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Click to enlarge photos

The paddle lasted about 3.5 hours and we went 7.2 NM with an average moving speed of about 2. 2 knots. John and Scotty were on paddle boards, and Matt and Justine were in their new two  person inflatable kayak, in which they had no problem keeping up with the group. Good weather and a great time on the water.

Photo by Rheta Schoeneman

Photo by Rheta Schoeneman


Sea Lion Trip to Santo Tomas Baja California

This is a short report with photographs regarding a trip to Santo Tomas, Baja California. We departed San Diego on Dec 10th and drove to Ensenada via Tecate BCN.

The intent was to paddle out to a small group of rocks offshore called Rocas Soledad which are a known haul out for California Sea Lions and to count them and to examine as many as we could for evidence of physical damage from plastics and fishing gear. The trip was undertaken over 4 days with 2 days being spent on site. Seven counts were made by two observers and a total of 69 (plus or minus 9) Sea lions were counted. None showed any evidence of physical damage from fishing gear, nets or Monofilament line.

Santo Tomas

Santo Tomas

Santo Tomas is a small fishing village 40 kms south of Ensenada, Baja California in Mexico and 29 kms out to the coast on a dirt road. There had recently been a rain event which had put over 8 cms of heavy rain into the small valley. In some places there was over 30 cms of mud. It took about 6 hours to cover the 29 kms to the coast due to the hard going. We spent a total of 3 nights camping in the Santo Tomas Valley. It should be noted that the settlement in this valley antedates the city of Ensenada by some 150 years and that at one time this was the only Hispanic settlement on the west coast of California south of Monterey.


The trip was completed with the aid of a Volkswagen Vanagon and 2 Polypropylene Ocean Kayaks.

Rocas Soleded seen from Punta Riff, a small headland about 3 kms north of Santo Tomas.

Rocas Soleded seen from Punta Riff, a small headland about 3 kms north of Santo Tomas.

Rocas Soleded are about 1.5 kms offshore. They do not appear on the current DMA chart for the area but do appear on some local charts.

The paddle out to the rocks takes about 40 minutes headed just about due West (270 degrees Mag) and sea-lion observations were began at about 1000 hrs.

Sea-lions were evident on all three rocks . Evidently the rocks have been a haul-out for millennia as the base of all the rocks show evidence of smoothness and rounding that comes from continuous use by Pinnipeds. This is similar to other Sea lion haul-outs observed on Los Coronados Islands and Guadalupe Island BCN. Roosting populations of Brandt and Double-Crested Cormorants have covered the rocks in an abundant layer of Guano.This thick white material indicates that a goodly quantity of small fish are available for sea-lion predation locally. Several Black Vented Shearwater were observed flying offshore and identified by their characteristic “Flap -flap – glide” flight pattern.


A total of 7 counts were made over a space of 45 minutes which resulted in a population count of 69 (plus or minus 9). All of the Sea Lions were observed closely through 8x 20 binoculars for damage from fishing gear and nets and no damage was observed.The sea-birds were also examined for signs of fishhooks and monofilament line in their beaks and wings and none was found. The return journey was made through and over some very extensive Kelp beds that border the Santo Tomas Bay.


The second day was spent doing a search of the coast between Punta Riff and Puerto Tomas (5kms) looking for evidence of Sea lion haul-outs on the mainland. Only 1 sea lion was observed on the coast however there was much evidence of sea-lion haul-outs.

Plastic debris and the coastline viewed from Punta Riff:

Plastic debris and the coastline viewed from Punta Riff:

Regrettably, a small beach at Punta Riff was discovered to be completely inundated with plastic debris ranging in size from a block of Styrofoam nearly 1 meter cubed to small bits of Styrofoam < 1 cm. It included plastic bottles, fishing floats,old footwear, medical waste and miscellaneous plastic rubbish. The weight of this material was estimated at 30 kg. This debris was collected and destroyed in a fire. In retrospect it would have been better to have collected it and disposed of it in a landfill but access to a landfill was 120 Kms away and that landfill is merely a place where rubbish is buried in a river valley with no precautions taken to prevent to materials leaching into the groundwater.The photograph represents only a small portion of the total plastic found.


A small lonely gravesite was discovered out on the headland at Punta Riff with the date 3-18- 1913 carved into the crosspiece. On the right is the remains of the adobe walls of the Dominican Mission do Santo Tomas de Aquino several kilometers inland.

Historical note:

On the return journey 1 night was spent camping near the washed out remnants of the Dominican Mission which was founded in the Santo Tomas Valley circa 1760 and abandoned some 60 years later. The adobe walls stand about3/4 meter high. During a short search of the area we discovered what must have been the walls of the old kitchen garden marked out on the level sward. Just for fun the magnetic compass alignment of the mission was measured and found to be 88 degrees true which indicates that the Dominican Padres were pretty close in their choice of alignment for the Mission.


The return journey took place on December 14th.