Friday, July 8, 2011


On Wednesday Patti and I went to Sonoma Outfitter’s to “look” at Kayaks. Unfortunately they had the very kayak that I have been looking to buy, a “Santee 116” by Hurricane. We looked at two different styles of the same boat. One with a standard cockpit and one with a more open cockpit. After sitting in both with and without life vests we opted for the standard cockpit. The standard cockpit style weighs about 37 pounds.


Patti’s is the orange one.

I took mine out yesterday. Bob and I put in at Johnson’s Beach in Guerneville and went down stream to what is called the “summer dam” and back. We spent about five hours on the river and I have to admit that my butt was a bit tired by the time we took out back at Johnson’s beach. There was a nice “breeze” blowing up stream as we paddled down stream (at this time of year, on this part of the river the current is negligible).

About a half mile down stream is a small slough on the south side of the river. It is one of my favorite bits of water here.


If you are traveling down stream you enter the slough by going under an old bridge. Suddenly you are in any jungle or swamp you want to let your imagination take you to. There are creepers and vines hanging from the canopy of Oaks, Alders and Redwoods. Of course a couple of the vines are actually rope swings. A few wooden docks jut a short way into the river and sun-browned big eyed (tourist) children watch silently as you float past. Blue Jays squawk and chatter in the trees completing the jungle feel of the slough with there raucous cries. Occasionally a Blue Heron or Egret will take flight from the shallows with a loud croak and flapping of large wings.


We traveled on down the river.


You don’t see a boat like this on the river very often but I have to hand it to the guy sailing her. He was able to sail the boat against the wind in a very narrow channel.


We stopped for lunch on a small island  and watched the sail boat.


The new boat did fine. I had a little trouble keeping up with Bob a couple of times due to the wind and the fact that Bob does this everyday and is in better shape because of it.


All in all the handling characteristics of the new boat are very similar to the Old Town “Loon” of Bob’s that I used to paddle. My new boat is about 5 lbs lighted than the Loon but where the weight makes a big difference when portaging or loading the boat. I think the heaver boat might glide a little better. Even so, the Santee is comfortable, moves through the water well and is very stable.

As always, it was another great day on the water.

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