On January 26, 2017, the weather continues to be just GORGEOUS! Stephanie Martin and I paddled from Point San Pablo Harbor to Richmond Inner Harbor Basin. This is definitely one of the best paddles around the bay. From the rustic areas of Point San Pablo, you visit a couple of islands (one of which has a BnB), go under the Richmond/San Rafael Bridge, and then head into the semi-industrial area of the Richmond Harbor eclipsing Brooks Island Regional Reserve.
After this many days of coordinating with various people paddling and something is about to go wrong. Stephanie and I showed up at the put-in and realized that we didn't have the right fin for her inflatable board. Thank you for whoever invented the buckled strap, we jerryrigged the fin into the fin box and managed to paddle the entire 8.5 miles.
Between the east bay and Marin, there are seven islands, some small and some big. During paddle of the bay, I managed to go next to all of them. The two islands that we paddled on this day are the brothers (remember we paddled the sisters a few days earlier) and Red Rock Island. The Brothers hosts a lighthouse bed and breakfast during the season on the East Brother. It looks like an awesome place to stay except since you are staying on the lighthouse there is a fog horn going off every 5 seconds. That's enough to keep me away, but sure sounds like a romantic place to take a date.
Paddling under the Richmond/San Rafael Bridge is fun, albeit you have to deal with the ferry again. On this day we had a short stare-down with the ferry and eventually they veered off. Once you pass the bridge, you'll have to start figure out how to get to the inside of the Richmond Harbor. The harbor is quite big with various inlets and marinas, so make sure you know which marina you're going to take out.
Brooks Island is managed by East Bay Parks. The island is off limits unless you are part of the tour managed by the park because there are colonies of terns and herons roosting throughout the year. The caretakers of the island are really nice though, you can get more information about how to visit the island through the East Bay Parks website.
Stephanie and I had a great time on this paddle because once again we were blessed by great weather. We spent about 3 hours on the water with relative ease until the very end when the wind kicked up a little bit.
Hazards: Richmond/San Rafael bridge, ferries and islands.
Put-in: 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.
Take out: Richmond harbor has several places to take out. My favorite two are both in the inner basin. There is a public dock at the Marina Bay Yacht Harbor with wide ramps and docks. The unfortunate thing is that the parking lot is $5 for parking. You can also park just on the outside of the parking lot but there are only three or four spaces for free. The rest belong to the office park. The other take out is further in the marina next to the restaurant Salute. Sometimes the dock is closed though in the winter. One time I took out there and we had to climb over the rocks along shore with our new carbon boards which was not fun. There's a big grassy area next to the restaurant for hanging out after the paddle.