Category Archives: Uncategorized

2019 June Lake Trip Report

-by Jay Murdock, SDKC Safety Editor

We had mostly great weather this year in the Sierras while watching the Aspens turn color (they were green at the campground when we arrived, and yellow when we left).

We paddled Silver Lake and Gull Lakes, and hiked to Parker Lake.

Jennifer’s parents and daughter joined us, and they entertained us with songs from the Sound of Music as we hiked. Each night we went to different restaurants for dinner and had good conversations. It was a relaxing, beautiful trip, and time well spent. Hope you can join us in the future.

Sitka Trip Report

-by Jay Murdock, SDKC Safety Editor

In June of 2019 fifteen of us ventured to Alaska, this time to a very special place with a Russian name. We had several paddles on the bay, and at a lake nearby that we were flown to in a float plane with an amazing pilot. The Swing EX inflatable boats performed well, and we are already planning our next trip in 2020 to Austria.

Kevin’s modified Cessna 185 that he has mastered the art of flight in
Mary getting ready to paddle Redoubt Lake

We were able to launch at the dock in front of our hotel, which was very convenient. After our paddles we would walk around town to the shops and museums, go on hikes, and gather at several restaurants to dine. Sitka is a very cool place to visit and a wonderful place to paddle. The water is clear and calm, protected by the many islands that dot the bay. We could see starfish 20 feet down, and got up close to several bald eagles. Everyone had a fun and memorable time.

First day getting our boats ready to launch.
Taking a lunch break on “Friendly Island”…
Janet and David looking at an eagle

We had four main sponsors for this trip. Innova Kayaks gave us a good discount on the boats, the Totem Square Hotel gave us discounts, Kevin Mulligan of Baranautica Air Service gave us special treatment and hats when flying us to the lake, and West Marine gave us cool water repellent hats and gear discounts. We also received help in letting us launch from the dock from Wayne and Joel of FishBaranof.

Thom showing he can paddle…without a paddle.
Jennifer looking good in her boat
Our hotel is just right of center. Thanks to Eric Emerson for taking this and two other photos here.
Mark took this photo after 10 pm. The fishing never stops in summer with 20 hours of daylight.

Beginner’s Class Report

-by Jay Murdock, SDKC Safety Editor

The Club hat-sales-proceeds free class for beginners held on 4/27/19 was conducted under ideal weather/temperature conditions at Aqua Adventures.

The class covered introductory basics of getting in and out of a kayak at a dock, holding the paddle, the low brace, and the forward, back, sweep, J, and scull strokes.

We then practiced the power forward stroke, using the legs and torso, and discussed some safety issues like hugging the shore, crossing a busy channel, and the signal light.

We also discussed having some second level introductory classes, which are now being planned. Those classes will be called “Basic Safety Instruction”, and will cover the wet exit, self-rescue using the paddle float, assisted re-entry using the heel-hook, T-rescue, quick tow rescue, dealing with extreme temperature, lightning, fog and wind, hugging the shoreline, using a VHF or phone, crossing a busy channel, the buddy system, group travel, using a signal mirror and/or flag, filing a Float Plan, and the signal light. These classes are open to those who have already taken the Beginner’s Class, or have evidence they know those basic skills.  

Many thanks to AA, and to Gary Billick and Jesse Nodora for assisting in the instruction.

A great day on the water…

South Bay Paddle Report

-by Jay Murdock, SDKC Safety Editor

Ten people paddled on Saturday, March 30th to see the National Wildlife Refuge in the south part of San Diego Bay.

The elusive turtles did not come to the surface where we paddled, and are rarely seen (they come up for a quick breath, then are gone). We did see fish jumping, and several birds, including a pair of Ospreys in a nest provided by the Refuge (below).

The weather was beautiful, and a slight head-wind on the way back gave us a mild challenge. We ended the paddle with some sightseeing in the Coronado Cays, then had lunch in the park where we launched. It was a good day on the water.

Whale Watch Paddle a Success

Twelve paddlers ventured out on Sunday, January 27 from Aqua Adventures on a calm ocean and perfect weather. Debbie Van Martin and Dave Beckmann led the paddle, and our thanks to them for doing that.

Three whales were spotted in the distance to the west. A few paddlers tried to catch up to them, and were able to get a little closer, but those whales were in a hurry to go south.

Our thanks to Catherine Kimball and Debbie Van Martin for these photos.

The next club paddle will be in April, launching out of the Coronado Cays to see the wildlife of the south bay. Come join us to experience the quiet openness of that area, and calm waters. There will be a picnic after the paddle. Beginners, youth 12 and up, and all boat types are welcome on this paddle.

The Club’s Future and What YOU Can Do…


Some of the people who have given much of their time and effort over the past several years have recently turned over the “reins” to others. Many thanks to Jane Hardy, Teresa Boli, and Gilbert Siegel for serving the kayak community here, and we are grateful to them. They will still be involved in club activities where they can. Jane will continue to lead some advanced skills sessions, and we will see Gilbert and Teresa on the water also.


Debbie Van MartinDebbie Van Martin has become our new “Social Events Coordinator”, and will be announcing some events in the future to bring people together in fun ways. She is high energy, a great cook, very interesting to talk to, and a lot of fun to be around.



Dave BeckmannDave Beckmann has been leading a “Meet Up” group on Wednesday nights for several years, and will now be doing that for the club also. Dave is skilled in kayaking (you can see him performing a snappy “roll” on our website in Skills), and has experienced some interesting paddles back east. Come paddle with him and others each Wednesday at 5:30pm (launch at 6pm). Boat rentals are available through Aqua Adventures at a special rate of $15 for these paddles.

You can check out Debbie’s and Dave’s “Bio” on our website:


Starting December 14th our cool club hats (in Kaki, Chrome, and Black) will be on sale again at Aqua Adventures (AA) for $20. The hat sales proceeds will be used to pay for lessons and activities to foster club growth and events, so help us in this effort by purchasing a few. They make great gifts and will help the club in many ways. We do not have any membership dues, so this is the way we will pay for things. Please help support our club in this promotional effort. It’s a win-win: you get a new hat, the club gets a new member, and someone gets a free introductory lesson.


In order to help the club grow, each hat sale will provide one free lesson to someone wanting to experience an introduction to kayaking. In a joint effort with AA, once we have at least 6 hats sold, and 6 people signed up (and signed up as new club members), we will have a Beginner’s Lesson at AA, lasting for an hour or so. AA will provide the equipment and dock help (that the club pays for), and the club will provide instructors. The lesson will go over just the basics, allowing a person to get in a kayak and learn a few paddle strokes and basic boat handling. More advanced skills lessons will then be available through AA for those who want to pursue this sport. We need club volunteers to help teach the Beginner’s Lessons, so please reply to me if you can assist in this. It would be great to have a ratio of one-on-one. This would also help new people make friends with those already in the club. Mentoring is the way to grow our club.


We need people to help lead paddles, teach the Beginner’s Lessons, and assist with social events. Let Debbie or me know what you can do to help foster our club’s events. If you are a young person, we especially want you to help lead the club’s future with the next generation, passing on this great sport to others. Anyone is welcome to contribute an article on kayaking on our club website. 


Debi Nolan is now preparing the space where the deli was for years, with plans to open sometime in April or May. There will be live entertainment on weekends and others times and will be open during extended hours. I have already discussed with Debi having a club party there, which should be very fun. Having this next to AA should bring more people to paddling, and is exciting news for everyone. She already has a cart out front to sell some food and beverage, so stop by and meet her. I don’t know if she paddles, but we will get her in a boat… J


AA has a good variety of decked and SOT boats to rent. You can find their website by the link on the club’s home web page for their shop info. They are committed to stocking more kayak items, so stop in to give any suggestions you want to see them carry. Congrats and many thanks to Craig and Ashleigh for their beautifully renovated shop, and all the hours they put in to grow the sport of paddling. We value the club’s partnership with them, and are grateful they are doing so much for us, TRR, and other worthy organizations in this area.

The Pacific Alone: The Untold Story of Kayaking’s Boldest Voyage

For you old timers who met and paddled with Ed Gillet or those who heard of the legend (the only kayaker to cross from the mainland to Maui, in 1987!), Dave Shively, the longtime managing editor of Canoe & Kayak and senior editor of SUP magazine, wrote up his story using interviews and Ed’s journal.  It was such an amazing crossing and he barely survived.

The Pacific Alone: The Untold Story of Kayaking's Boldest VoyageIn the summer of 1987, Ed Gillet achieved what no person has accomplished before or since, a solo crossing from California to Hawaii by kayak. Gillet, at the age of 36 an accomplished sailor and paddler, navigated by sextant and always knew his position within a few miles. Still, Gillet underestimated the abuse his body would take from the relentless, pounding, swells of the Pacific, and early into his voyage he was covered with salt water sores and found that he could find no comfortable position for sitting or sleeping. Along the way, he endured a broken rudder, among other calamities, but at last reached Maui on his 63rd day at sea, four days after his food had run out. Dave Shively brings Gillet’s remarkable story to life in this gripping narrative, based on exclusive access to Gillet’s logs as well as interviews with the legendary paddler himself.

Available at

For more about this book, the San Diego Union-Tribune has this article.

2018 June Lake Trip Report

Click on photos to enlarge

-by Jay Murdock, SDKC Safety Editor

The annual Fall Colors Trip in the Sierras this year had great weather and new experiences, as nine of us paddled Silver Lake, then did some exploring up the Lundy Lake canyon. Eric from the Napa area joined us on the paddle, and brought his Swing EX inflatable kayak, making five of those boats on the water (the boat we will be taking to Sitka, Alaska next June). Those paddling the Swing EX were impressed with the speed and maneuverability of these kayaks. Going up the feeder creek into Silver Lake, they made the sharp turns without any problems. I left off installing my skeg to see how the boat would track, and it did surprisingly well. Pumped up to 3 psi, these boats are rigid and have similar “skin” as Zodiacs, making them very durable. The portability of inflatable kayaks was demonstrated on this trip, as we had only one hard shell boat in our group. I did not miss looking through the tie-down ropes on the drive up and back, nor the hassle of car-topping my Legend.   


(A big thanks to Kate, Debbie, Bob and Eric for these photos)

The nice thing about the June Lake trip is the village right adjacent to the campground. Some of us camped, while others stayed in motels. We went to two restaurants, and have gone to the local brewery there also in the past. There is great hiking among the Aspens, and lots to explore and do with good friends. Every year the colors have been slightly different, and this year the trees had not yet “peaked” in color, but there were some, especially in Lundy Canyon that were deep gold. The crisp fall air, the campfire, and enjoying friendships in a beautiful setting is always a rewarding experience. Come join us next year!



5th Annual TRR Fund Raiser

Saturday, September 15 at the Mission Bay Yacht Club, many people, including several SDKC members showed up to support the work TRR does for our veterans. This location will hopefully be the future site of the “Pints and Paddles for a Cause” events because it is ideal, having a private beach and good facilities for a fun day raising money. This year there was great music, plenty of tables, several donated items for the raffle, good food and beer…and lots of laughter.

Click on photos to enlarge

The day started with a Social Paddle around Sail Bay, with several participants, then the “Khaotic Kayak Races” happened with great fun of several “Heats”. After those races, the “SUP Pandemonium” races took place.

During all this the BBQ and Ninkasi Beer were supplying food and drink to those who watched the races, or just had a chance to catch up with old friends. If you missed the event, but still want to donate to TRR’s work, here is the website:

Be sure to select San Diego as the “Target” for your contribution. And for TRR, thank you for that. Also, a big shout-out to Craig and Ashleigh at Aqua Adventures for being a huge supporter of TRR for this event, and for helping in many ways throughout the year.