On January 25, 2017, I paddled from Bay Front Park in Pinole to Point San Pablo Marina with Carlo Maravilla and Robin Hartford. The storms were going away at least for a few days and we were looking at several beautiful winter days with very little wind. Stoked!
In this section of the bay, there aren't too many land marks so we had to figure out the navigation by looking at the points jutting into the bay. First point was Point Pinole which is a regional park. I had originally planned to camp there illegally but decided to wimp out. It looks like a nice park with a good beach. The second point is Point San Pablo and the marina is just on the north sheltered side of the point.
Carlo has a lot of energy and we chased for a couple of tug boat waves which weren't that great. But we had some fun figure out some racing techniques. Robin headed directly for the points and hung out in the sun.
It was great to have the nice weather back. I remember lots of days like this, 60-65 degrees, 5mph wind or less, and just glassy conditions during the California drought years in the winter. This year we had been pummeled with rain and it didn't stop until May. In January more than half of the days were rains and I guess I was lucky because I got to enjoy all the south wind while I was paddling north and now I'm paddling south there aren't any storms to contend with. I was sure glad to have the good weather back!
Put-in: This section of the bay is rarely mentioned by other paddlers. I'm not sure why - maybe because it's a bit further from the population centers and also perhaps there aren't any paddling clubs outside of Benecia. There are also not that many access points, so when I found Bay Front Park in Pinole, I was really excited! This little gem is nestled next to Pinole Creek. The winter flow was ample on the creek and plenty of winter birds are nesting. It is situated next to a PG&E station but they have put in some good infrastructure in the park. I was able to find a nice little beach to take out and Lyft was easy to find as well!
Take out: If you haven't been to Point San Pablo Marina, it's a treat. And it's a very well kept secret in the Bay Area. Nestled behind Point San Pablo which is directly next to the Richmond/San Rafael Bridge, this marina is like none I have seen. First you basically need a high clearance off road vehicle to just get to the marina. And then when you get there it feels like a lawless western town. Don't worry the people at the marina are super friendly and they live on house boats and all kinds of cool yachts with a lot of character! There's a bathroom that you can use and also a cool bar during spring and summer season.