Russian River Estuary is Breached by the Sonoma County Water Agency Today

Wednesday October 22, 2014 Jenner CA.

And we had a nice paddle too

Knowing that they’d likely breach the river’s mouth today, I headed on down to the highway one overlook to see what was going on. I didn’t see any excavator out on the sand, but did spy it still in the parking lot down near Goat Rock, still loaded up.escavator


I looked around for someone that might know what’s going on and I saw Andy the  biologist seal lady all set up down on the end, so I went over to see if and when they would start the breaching process.

Turned out, the guys were waiting for the ocean to settle down a bit at high tide which was just coming up, as we talked. Sleeper waves are very dangerous and can wipe out people and machines so it’s good to be very cautious.

I went back over and let the other local guys down there know what was going on and shortly, I saw the excavator out on the beach. He’s about in the middle of this picture, coming from the left where the above picture was taken. This is looking south off the overlook to Goat Rock. Nice day.goatrock


Here is the excavator that will do the job. The two guys are marking the spot to start the ditch to breach the sand bar. They will watch as spotters during the operation to keep an eye out for big sleeper waves or any sand starting to move unexpectently.



He drives into the river to start the channel at this spot.startditch


And then goes back far enough to make a little dam to keep the water out of the ditch while he’s working on the rest of the ditch. He’ll remove the little dam after he completes the ditch and let the river water flow into the ocean, thus breaching the sand bar.ditchdam


Here are some of the spectators watching the operation from the overlook area., looking up river. This is where we do a lot of information exchange with people we don’t always run into every day,which could also be called, shooting the bull. :O)overlook


Here he is working his way to the ocean, where we decided to leave him and go kayaking. He will breach the sand bar shortly, but it’s rather anticlimactic until it goes to low tide when it will really blow the sand out and that’s when it might get a bit exciting. Otherwise, it’s just a small ditch into the ocean and the estuary doesn’t hardly drop, until the low tide.bigditch


Headed off to kayak

Ray, his brother John and I put our boats into the water. John’s left arm is in a sling for a recent shoulder operation, but he does ok paddling with one arm, so we headed on over to Penny Island and on up the river to eagles landing at a slow pace, which made it real enjoyable.

Just as we were leaving the boat ramp, Mary a lady who lives just up the river and kayaks, paddled out hollering my name. Turned out she had a kayaking book she wanted to give me so I asked her to leave it on top of my car and we continued on our way.

Heading on up to eagle’s landing in this picture, just ahead. A bald headed eagle flew overhead, but I just couldn’t keep it in the view finder so didn’t get a picture of it. Seems I accidently focused on a turkey vulture that was also in the sky near it.paddle


We took our time shooting the bull all the way. The wind was really down to a light breeze so we moved along slowly, enjoying the day, if I haven’t mentioned that already? :O)

Channel on the cow pasture

From eagle’s landing we crossed over the river to the north side as I wanted to enter the water channel that had formed on the ranchers land where the cattle roam. The channel is only available to paddle when the water is real high like it is now, today. Tomorrow, the water will be down and it won’t be high enough to get into, so today was the day.

Just as we approached the channel entrance, I spied this killdeer on the shoreline watching our approach.killdeer


Ray took us through these sticker bushes to enter the channel, which goes off to the right. We made it in, after a bit of maneuvering with the boats, around a big cement


Just before the covert, these birds where taking it easy. A coot in the water, some cormorants and two merganser ducks on the right. They had a nice spot.birds


And just past those birds I spotted this bird which if I remember right is a yellow legged willet.willet


This is our view of the flooded rancher’s field that we paddled into. Also known as a cow pasture.kayaking


We sat around in that for a bit, shooting more bull of course, then headed on out towards Jenner, which can be seen in the background , as we headed on out the channel.jenner

The takeout ramp

As we approached the take out, a guy I meant before, Denis, was just putting his paddle board into the water or getting ready to.

And Mary with the book she wanted to give me came by and put the book on my car hood, under one of my tie down ropes.

We loaded our boats and said we were all going down to the overlook to see how the open mouth was doing and  Mary headed that way also.

It takes a low tie to blow open the mouth

This was our view of the breached river sand bar as we looked out over the Pacific ocean. The sand bar is breached, but not blown open yet. That usually happens at the low tide, which is just about the time this picture was taken, but the sand was just starting to move and it would be a while yet.pacific


Darn, the book

I was standing here taking this picture when I saw Mary and her husband standing over there, looking over the side. So I started to go over to talk with them when I remembered, I hadn’t put the book inside the car. In fact I forgot about it completely and worse of all, I also forgot to tie that rope on top the book to the boat to help hold it to the car. Lucky I have lots of ropes, just in case and the boat stayed on the car.onlookers


I remember just as I approached Mary so I admitted to my forgetfulness and headed back to the boat ramp, pretty sure I’d find that book along the road somewhere.

Ha, there it is on the curb, just driving into the parking lot. Someone had put it up on the curb for me. I think it might have been Denis, on the paddle board as he was just closing up his nice light blue great looking Toyota land cruiser, that I had admired as I left the parking lot.

I thought about going back to the overlook, but I needed to get some propane gas tanks filled up so I decided to go home instead. That was a hard decision as I knew things can start to get interesting when the mouth really blows wide open at the low tide. Volumes of sand flow out into the ocean, just like the water, which makes sand waves in the flow and then it all goes out and the river estuary drops rather fast. In a few hours, it’s drained.

Propane tank  forgetfulness

So, I headed on home and got the tanks and went on down to the local hardware store where they fill tanks.

I knew the guy there filling tanks, so we shot the bull some while he filled the tanks. I paid and left, but on the way home, I realized I had left one of the tanks there on the ground, so turned around and got it. Just one of those days, I guess.

A monumental thing to finish off the day

The day ended on a very good note though. I have a big pile of old computers and monitors and TV’s and printers outside under a tarp, that I finally got out of my house this summer and was looking for some organization to pick them up and wasn’t having much luck. I was about ready to load them in my car and take several trips to the city to get rid of them.

Some more searching on the internet and two phones calls and I was in business. The first call, they needed fifty computers to come out, I only had about twenty, so that didn’t work.

The next call, things all came together and they will come out to get them. I’ve collected all these old broken down computers over the years and they were taking up a lot of space in my house that I could use for other purposes, besides making it hard to clean around all the stuff, so this was monumental. :O)

Nice day, even with the mishaps.

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