Night Paddling in the Russian River Estuary, Looking for Lumens

Friday September 5, 2014 Jenner CA.

Looking for the phyto phosphorous plankton

The high tide was lining up for an early night kayak to Jenner to see if I could see the phyto phosphorous plankton, which I call lumens for short.

That meant I needed to do something for the day, so I decided to do some shopping, which took up most of the day.

At five PM, I headed on down to Jenner and put my boat in the water and paddled across to Penny Island. There was just a light breeze as I paddled across. I needed to kill some time until it got dark, so I napped in this spot for a half hour or so, looking down to the river’s mouth. It was a bit overcast, so it didn’t look like there was going to be a sunset, but the overcast might hide the moon light so the lumens would turn on?island


I worked my way on down the river, headed to the river’s mouth area, where the tide was just changing to high tide.

The sun was breaking though the clouds, so maybe there would be a sunset yet?sun


There were the usual birds resting on the sand, some seagulls and a few brown pelicans.birds



This brown pelican was splashing in the water taking a bath.pelican


And some harbor seals were there too.seals


The high tide was starting to come into the river faster as I sat there. I found some foam to sit in. If there is foam, it means there isn’t any current in that spot, otherwise, the foam wouldn’t be there, it would move off with the current. But finding foam, means I can park in it and not be sweep by the currents.  I sat in this area for over an hour waiting for the sun to go down.mouthsaun


The sun finally went down. As it was, the clouds were too thick, so there was no colorful sunset to watch.

I started heading back up the river to the west end of Penny Island where I could see some seagulls catching and eating Dungeness crabs in the water

This was my view as I approached the fishing seagulls.gulls


There were about a half dozen or so seagulls fishing for crab and catching them often.

Here is one of them with a crab. I watched a white herring seagull catch a crab and drop it by one of these immature seagulls to teach it to catch crab. The young seagull had to dive for it to get it to eat.seagull


Another seagull with a small crab. They were doing quite well catching and eating crab.gullcrab


It was starting to darken a little as I paddled on by the launch ramp area, headed on up the river waiting for it to get darker.flat


This was my view as I paddled along the north side of Penny Island.upviiew


I paddled on up to otters log, but it still wasn’t dark enough for the lumens to turn on. I sat at otters log for about another half hour waiting for it to darken up some more.

It got a bit darker, but the big moon was above the cloud cover and it just didn’t look like it was going to get dark enough to see lumens.

I headed on up to eagle’s landing where I thought it might be a bit darker, but the moon was still too bright shinning through the overcast sky.

I did sea some lumens on the surface at eagle’s landing and the whole place seemed to be full of them, but it was too light to turn them on, so it was just going to be an enjoyable night out kayaking.

I worked my way back down the river looking for lumens, but they were scarce.

I did realize something tonight. The lumens don’ t light up in the moon light, which I knew, but they don’t light up even with an overcast moon, which may answer my question of why I don’t see any fish lighting up sometimes from the lumens.

This was my view as I headed on in for the night, about ten thirty. The river is calm and flat. Nice.jenner

That’s it for another day.

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