Russian River Dam Info and Kayaking around Jenner and the Mouth is Open

Friday May 9, 2014 Jenner CA.

2014 Russian River Dam Information

I kayaked with Ray and John today and John is a dam guy, as he works on putting in and taking out the lower Russian river dams near the town of Guerneville.

There has been some rumors that the lower dams were not going to be put in this year.

The real story is the lower dam, called the Vacation Beach dam, was maybe not going to be put in because the steel parts that hold the dam up were rusted out, but there was no question about the dam at Guerneville going in.

However, the powers that be decided to get the rusted steel replaced with stainless steel  that can  be mounted to the cement footings that the old ones were mounted to, so the Vacation Beach dam  is going to happen too.

The end result is both lower dams will be installed by June 16th, as by law water in the river can’t be backed up until that date.

The Sonoma County Parks and Recreation people are responsible for these dams.

Right now they are starting to prep for the dam installation, removing debree from the dam  structures and fixing access and will eventually move into high gear in the early part of June to put most of the dams together. The last part in the center of the dam is not installed until June 16th, when they will start to impound or back up water on that date.

Now let’s kayak Jenner

I put my boat in the water. The wind was up pretty good already today. I headed on down towards the river’s mouth area, just the same, going along the north side of Penny Island. The estuary water level had dropped since yesterday, as I suggested might happen in yesterday’s post, meaning the river’s mouth had washed open during the night.

I passed by these swallows gathering mud for their nests. They are a whorl and just never seem to stay still for more then a moment.swallows


About half way down to the mouth area, I saw a couple kayakers on the north side of the river that looked a lot like Ray and John, but I didn’t catch them until we got to the end of the river.

The Mouth is open deep

The mouth surely did open during the night. I call it, open deep, meaning the mouth sand is deep enough so the estuary follows the ocean high and low tide levels. Ocean water comes in fast at high tide and goes out fast at low tide when it’s open like this.

This is a picture of the river’s mouth open to the Pacific ocean. Some Harbor Seals on the sand on the left and some birds on the sand on the right, mostly seagulls with some brown pelicans too.rivermouth


End of the river

I caught up with John and Ray here at the end of the river where we went ashore for a bit, until Johns boat flew off. That’s Goat Rock out there on the right.kayaks


This was our view looking back up the river from the ocean beach. That’s the mouth cut in the sand on the right side.jenner


This was our view of the ocean looking over the jetty towards Goat Rock. The open river mouth is flowing in front of the rocks, but is hard to tell in this picture.jetty


Some Brown Pelicans flew in for a bit, with some harbor seals in the background.pelicans


The Brown Pelicans eventually went into the water. Notice it’s windy?seals


John gets a surprise

We were standing on the shore shooting the bull. John was up on Haystack rock and was just coming down when he noticed that his kayak had just blown in the water and was heading for the river’s mouth area were it would go out into the ocean and be gone as no one in there right mind would go out there today with the wind up like it was.

He jumped into Rays kayak, saying I’m borrowing your kayak Ray,  and tried to head off his kayak. He was able to head it off, but he didn’t have a very important rope on his kayak, a bow rope. Without it, kayaks are hard to deal with, especially when you already have a paddle in your hands. He was able to tie his kayak to Ray’s, using Ray’s bow line  and made it back ok. If he was by himself, he would have had to swim for it.

John using Ray’s kayak to retrieve his kayak before it gets to the ocean. The wind is blowing it fast.johnsboat


Headed to Penny Island to eat some berries

After the kayak rescue, we headed for the back channel of Penny Island. The wind was blowing hard enough we didn’t have to paddle, just keep the boat headed in the right direction.

This was my view as we paddled away from the mouth area, as I followed Ray to our next spot in a good wind.raywind


We were thinking it would be a good idea to go to Penny island and go for a little walk and eat some salmon berries, so we landed here on Penny island. It was a little muddy, but not too bad.kayaks2


We walked into the island and this is what it looked like from the center of the island looking across the river to the town of Jenner. You can’t see the river, as it’s behind the brush. The whole island is real brushy.jenner2


Here is John reaching up for some salmon berries.berries


Because of the high brush on the island it was a good place to hang out for a bit to stay out of the wind. We did quite a good walk and were tired out when we got back to our boats, at least I was.

Up the back channel

The wind was still howling as we put our boats back in the water and continued up the back channel to the east end of the island.

We decided we had enough for the day and fought the wind all the way back to the take out area at the visitor center.

I followed Ray and John back to Jenner in a stiff wind, gusting good too.jenner3


Nap time and some digging too

Back home for a much needed nap. Later as the sun was about to go down I went outside and did some digging on my ditch project, until my back said I better stop, then I just enjoyed the rest of the day until it started to get too dark and that was my day.

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