Lumens…..A Very Rewarding Night

Lumens, photo plankton, phyto plankton

Lumens, photo plankton, phyto plankton, these are all the same thing here.Why do I have to state that. Well, from what I can tell phyto is the correct word, but humans type in photo plankton, in search engines, so they need help out. And lumens is what I’ve adopted to replace photo phosphorous plankton. I could of said PPP, but that doesn’t mean as much as the made up word, lumns which I first used, until my spell checker corrected me with lumens. That seemed good enough for the purpose. So that’s what you get.

Why am I going out tonight

My purpose tonight was to go up to the Marcum hole site which is about threeish miles up the river from Jenner. I wanted to check the lumens and fish in that area and compare it to the down river area, all the way to the mouth of the river. Marcum’s hole is fifty feet deep, the deepest hole in the river, I believe. I’ve noted before that there seems to be lumens associated with that hole as if that hole acts like a big storage tank for them and all the other stuff that needs salt water to live in, like krill type stuff.

Since it’s a deep hole, the salt concentrates in there. When the tide goes high enough, it seems to get replenished with salt, at lease that’s what it seemed like to me.

So, I wanted to check it out first and then get back down to the river mouth to compare the lumens and fish in that area. The high tide was around eight PM, which is about the time it was getting dark. There was about a three quarter moon, but it was foggy. The moon was trying to burst through the fog most of the time, which helped my seeing some. :O)  I got on the water just after six at the Jenner visitors center. It was fairly foggy, but not dense, the wind was down and the water was almost flat. Nothing like the night before where the ocean was rough and put foam in the river up past the visitors center and I don’t’ know how far. Very little foam tonight, although the ocean was still fairly rough.


Off We Go

I took off from the visitors center and crossed the river to the island. I usually stop here to look back and check out Jenner, but I was on a mission and would have to keep moving to get to Marcum hole by dark. I paddled until I got to what we call Otters log and pulled under the trees for a short break where I decided to take some pics while I could. When it gets toward dark, the dew point causes my camera lens to fog and picture taking comes to a stop. This is the view from this spot, note the fog and almost flat water.



I didn’t stay too long in that spot, I had to hurry a bit to make it. As I left that spot, just upstream there are some old redwood logs,  Depending on the tide, sometimes you can see them and sometimes you can’t. Well, I sure slid up on one of those guys with my yak. I tried to back off, but couldn’t, I tried several things, but I was stuck,.Darn, I needed to get up stream. Calmly think about this Bob. Let’s see, put the paddle over on the other side and on the end, push and yes, we’re off. Never know when you might run onto something like this.

This is just up from that last spot, the rock in the middle is called Paddy’s rock. I heard it was named after a man called Paddy, that’s why the spelling, instead of what other’s use, Patty Or Patti. It’s an old time name, so I don’t really know for sure, but it’s my option to call it what I want. :O)



Coming up to the highway one bridge.


I’m just going under the highway one bridge here, foggy and starting to darken a little, water is still flat, nice.



Another shot of the river heading up stream, I think it is looking toward Marcum hole which would be just out the picture on the left. Still looking nice.



That darn hole had amazing things to see in it.

I arrived at Marcum hole just about dark, I could still see fairly well, but looking over across that hole under the trees, it was still very dark and spooky. But I’d been out kayaking for several nights now, and I was getting brave. So, I decided I’d just take command of that dark spot over in the corner and sit and wait for it to get real dark. I wasn’t going to let a little dark scare me, no sir, even with fifty feet of water below me, monsters, watch out. ;O)

Boy, did I get a surprise.

So, I paddled over to that dark spot and wow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What did I see. In the dark, were a school of fish totally aglow. When they saw me they scattered and then reformed to a point like in a flower, then scattered again, but in a three sixty circle. Wow, this is really a show is what I thought. I was only planning to stay for a bit and had to go down stream, but maybe I should rethink this and just check out this hole longer. I decided I would try not to stay past nine, but got out of there around eight thirty as it was after much cruising around.

I did take command of that spot and felt well satisfied that I did. I took a break until it got darker then started from the culvert that goes under the road, down around the hole shore line and out it’s rocky point across the river to the other side, up a little and back across the river and back down along the road to where I started. I saw several schools of fish along the rocky hole side, some real big flashes as a school would go off with a flash glow as I would scare them, nice lights. I saw numerous fish off the point crossing to the other side of the river, with lots of fish on the other side, numerous, I tried to just sit in the middle of them and see what they would do, but they knew I was there and would slowly disappear. I tried this a couple times in that area. I paddled up river from that as I wanted to check the shallows where I saw lumens  and fish a few nights ago, but there where none. None until I crossed back over to the road area and got just above the culvert under the road. Even though you can’t see the culvert, the water gong though it is easy to hear, which works good in the dark. There were some bigger fish in the water in front of that culvert, hard to tell the size, but more than a foot. I paddled back and forth between the culvert area and off the point and across the river several times watching a lot of fish of different sizes. I didn’t see anything real big in those areas.

The fresh water seemed to be two or more feet deep in this area, I never did get paddle glow this night as there seemed to be more fresh water in then previous night, even down near the mouth.But there sure seemed to be good glow in that hole. Remember the tank I was talking about? I really enjoyed paddling around there in the dark. I was more relaxed from being out in this kind of stuff so I was able to slow down and really enjoy this.

Around eight thirty, I headed back down the river.

My plan was to head down the river at a fairly good pace to get to the mouth before the tide changed too much, which would let a lot of the salt water out, which would let the lumens out.

So, off I went. What’s that, ten feet from me on the rock ledge making some kind of noise. Splash. As I got closer, I saw the rock bank was wet. What was that, they came back up, looked at me and all I saw were three balls of light going in three different directions, deep under water. I backed off to see what it was. I still didn’t know what was there, as it was dark and I didn’t have my light out. Some grunts. It’s the otters, three of them. The noise I’d heard was otters eating fish. It’s sort of a crunching noise. Well, that was exciting. They were gone and I never saw them again that night.

There seemed to be more fish in the middle of the river as I left the hole area with lots of lumens. Not many fish near the shore in this area for some reason. I saw a lot of fish in the middle from the hole down to just below where the seals log up in that area, then there didn’t seem to be any lumens or fish all the way down. I picked up a few lumens and fish up right below the Willow creek put in area, but then was surprised to find mostly nothing. I got some good lumens and fish right near those houses,just above the bridge but nothing across the river.The Bridge was fairly well lit from the lights from the restaurant, but as I went down the river from there the fog closed in a bit, but the moon helped show me the way. I went down along the south side looking for lumens and fish, but didn’t see any.

As I got down just above Penny Island, I decided to cross the river over to the highway one road side to check for lumens and fish along that channel that runs in that area, as I saw a lot of fish in there some nights before. Nothing, no lumens or fish. I checked the Jenner creek area and nothing, nothing in front of the kayak launch area at the visitors center.

I was temped to call it a night, but, I needed to check the west end of the island and the river mouth area out first. I paddled over to the end of the island where there is usually lumens and sometimes fish, but nothing. Not even any seals in the water tonight. I paddled down toward the mouth and still saw nothing. By that time the moon was coming on and the fog lifted a bit more as I headed back to the visitors center, around ten PM.

I’m not sure if this pic  is the visitors center or the restaurant, but this is what things looked like to me.



Quite a night out and I saw somewhat, what I expected to see.

What did I expect to see. I expected to see lumens in Marcum hole, which I did and lots of fish, more than I expected in that hole and down below it, but not above it. I didn’t’ go too far above it, just for the record. I wasn’t disappointed there were no lumens or fish down river as I expected that, as it looks like the lumens are on their way out. I was surprised they lasted this long in the year, as it was. There may or may not be fish down there, as I can only see them if there are lumens.

Concludes the lumens thing for this year.

From watching the lumens this year, it looks like they start in the middle of August, maybe a little sooner, peak for a time, then disappear until next year. I think it’s likely nutrients in the form of ocean stuff also does the same. I would think these nutrients are food for a lot of the stuff that lives in the estuary at this time of year and would be a very important food source, that can only get into the river if the mouth is open.

One of the more interesting things I learned about this year was how the fresh river water floats on top of the ocean water. How the ocean water can slide up under the fresh river water which can shoot salty ocean living type things up to the Marcum hole. I saw how the lumens can live in Marcum hole, which means other ocean going salt loving things can live there too. Something to think about.

I plan to do a recap with some observations on what I saw and learned during the lumen time of this year soon. This article is a record, so it may seem long to some, however, that’s just the way it is.

It’s always good to think about things before one sums things up on them, But I want to get this rapped up soon, and besides this is an on going thing. I’m planning a trip to Boonville for a few days and then hoping to meet up with Marty and Kay,in Fort Bragg. RV’ing kayakers I met two years ago on the river. If all goes well, I’ll be leaving in less than a week.

Added Note on Sept. 27th.

While kayaking today, I noticed the mouth of the river is mostly closed. My note here is to indicate that the mouth may have been closed for this night of the lumens investigation. The amount of fresh water observed indicates this may have been so. I think I mentioned that there was fresh water everywhere. This would happen if he mouth was closed during this time and no lumens or much of any ocean type nutrients would enter the river at this time. And if this is the case, it makes my point of the Marcum hole being a big tank or reservoir of ocean type water. It was foggy that night and when I paddled down toward the mouth, I didn’t actually see it. But the fresh river water in that area is an indicator that it might have been closed in hindsight.

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One Response to Lumens…..A Very Rewarding Night

  1. Bill Henderson says:

    Thanks for sharing.

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