A Fogged In Lumens Night

Saturday August 31 2013 Jenner CA.

Steve gets disorientated in the fog, more then once

I decided to go down to Jenner late today to check out what the light emitting plankton was doing.

I met Steve down there just after six PM and we put our boats in the water and headed on up the river.

It was a little breezy and the fog seemed to be coming down and getting thicker too. The high tide was about 5.3 feet at about eight PM with no moon. The mouth of the river is wide open and deep, which lets the salt water in rather fast.

This is the foggy view as we left the visitors center and headed on up the river, just after six PM.foggy


As we passed the east end of Penny Island there were some birds resting on some gravel in the fog. This is a photo of them. Some mallard ducks, merganser ducks and some sand pipers of some kind. They sat tight as we passed on by and headed on up the river.birds


We dallied here and there but not for too long as we wanted to get up to the Markum hole area before dark.

This view is just past the east end of Penny island. The fog is starting to come down, as we headed on up the river.foggedin


We passed under the highway one bridge as it was getting darker by the minute. We pushed on as I hoped to get some photos of birds and seals at Seal Heaven before it got too dark to use the camera.fogview


There were two seals at seal heaven laying on submerged redwood logs. I was only able to get a photo of one of them as it was getting too dark for the camera. This seal stayed on it’s perch as we passed about twenty feet from it.seal


We arrived at Markum hole just as it was starting to get dark, but we needed to wait awhile until it got real dark, dark enough to see the faint lumens. It has to be real dark to see them as their light is fairly weak compared to all the other light sources that can wash them out.

To give it some time to darken up we put ashore on the inside of the Markum hole turn and waited a bit until it got real dark. When it did we put the boats back in the water and looked for lumens in the real dark part of Markum hole, but there were none. Seems there was too much fresh warm water at the surface for some reason. The light emitting plankton needs salt water as that’s what these guys live in, not fresh water.

But now it got even darker and the fog really came down. We left Markum hole and turned right, into the channel just below the hole.

As we got into the channel a bit, the fog closed in around us and Steve started to get disorientated. He started to go left running into me and turning me around. I tried to stop him, but he wouldn’t believe he was heading up river. I got him turned around going down river again, but he insisted on going left for some reason, no matter what I said to him. I followed him to keep an eye on him and he kept going until he ran into the south shoreline of the river which finally made him a believer in what I was trying to tell him. We used the shore line which we really couldn’t see in the fog as a sorta guide, but Steve kept doing the left turn thing. I finally realized he did the left turn thing when ever he felt disorientated, which happened every time the fog got real thick. We kept running into the south shore line because of that.

It was real foggy alright, the foggiest I’ve seen it while being out at night.

We didn’t pick up any lumens until we got somewhere below the willow creek area, which we couldn’t find in the fog. We saw a few fish, but not a lot of them.

We had to get fairly close to the highway one bridge before we could make it out and once we passed it, it got real dark again and the fog was thick.

My job was keeping Steve in the middle of the river as we watched for Paddy’s rock, which is a real good landmark for us. Paddling in the fog makes you think you are close to something then you are, so it took a long time to get to Paddy’s rock. We were being cautious as we didn’t want to run smack into the rock, as it’s out in the water by itself.

The lumens were good in this area and we saw quite a few bigger fish, around a foot or so, just above Paddy’s rock.

Finally Paddy’s rock came into view, which was a relief as knowing where you are in the fog is relieving. :O)

From Paddy’s rock we went on down the north side of the river where there were a lot of lumens, but almost no fish.

We got our boats off the water around eleven PM.

Lumens Conclusion

This year, the mouth of the river is wide open, wide and deep too. In the past, the mouth wasn’t so wide open, especially not so deep, even shallow.

The difference in how wide and deep the mouth is open seems to have quite an effect on how the high tide salt water enters the river.

When the river’s mouth isn’t so wide open, the cold salty water comes into the mouth and dives under the fresh water near the mouth, letting the ocean water go further up the river under the fresh river water that is warmer.

When the river’s mouth is real wide open, and deep, there is so much salt water coming in so fast, it doesn’t dive under the warm fresh river water, but just pushes it up the river instead of diving under it. Because of this, the ocean water and lumens do not get up the river as far. It only seems to get up to the Willow Creek area, instead of going up past Markum’s hole, which is quite a ways above that.

We had quite an adventure and it was a good time out on the water. The fog only made it more interesting. I also find it interesting to watch how different people react to the dark and the fog. :O)

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