The River’s Mouth Gets Breeched and the Visitor Center Gets a New Roof

Monday November 2, 2015 Jenner CA.

New roof

This was my view as I drove into the Jenner visitor center this morning. A bunch of state maintenance guys were tearing off the center roof. I asked them what kind of roof they were going to put on and they said comp, which didn’t surprise me. I was hoping they’d stick with the shake roof, but that’s old style and expensive, I would guess.roofwork


Breeching the mouth

I talked with a guy that said they were going to open the river’s mouth today as he saw the notice and he saw the excavator down there. I put my boat in the water to a windy day and it was supposed to get windier. I decided to go down and have a look what was going on at the river’s mouth, so I headed that way. I stopped at the lower end of Penny Island and couldn’t see the excavator down that way.mouth


I started down towards the mouth and spotted the excavator stopped over behind that mound of sand. I think they were waiting for the tide to change to a bit higher and for the waves to calm down a bit for safety reasons.river


Lotsa birds

I decided to head on down to the mouth area just the same where I could see lots of birds resting and flying around. Mostly seagulls, some brown pelicans and some cormorants.birds2


As I paddled closer I could start to make out some of the birds.pels


Busy overlook

I looked up to the overlook, up on the highway to see quite a lot of people up there as the opening gets a lot of attention. Biologists, seal watchers and fish and game and some spotters for the excavator as well as just people watching the action.overlook


John’s pacemaker

It was getting windier, so I didn’t stay long and started back up the river when I saw John, in his yard, who lives here, so I went over to chat. I asked how he was doing. Not so good, his pace maker was firing off the defibulator while he was sleeping and he was concerned about that.john


Excavator moves in

While we were talking I noticed the excavator was making it’s appearance across the river from us. They were getting ready to start the opening of the river’s mouth. The guys in green are spotters necessary to watch for big waves and any sand starting to move that might make things unsafe for the excavator. That’s the first time I’ve seen them in this new green outfit and they also have a sand buggy there now too.excavator


Watching the action

I left John and went back over and found a calmer place by the shore, under the overlook to sit and watch for a bit. He’s just getting started here. Starting to dig a ditch from the river to the ocean. Note the big wave breaking on the jetty’s rocks behind them. It’s possible for a big one to come in and cause a bunch of trouble for the guys, but one didn’t while I was there.digin



I watched for a bit more, but knew the whole operation was anticlimactic as they cut a small ditch which breeches the sand, but doesn’t wash out big time until the ocean goes to low tide. Near low tide, the watery sand starts to move like water, then things really wash out at a fairly rapid rate and the estuary water level drops pretty fast after that.

I left them at it and paddled over to the flooded Penny Island.dig


Flooded Penny Island

With the water level up to almost nine feet and the wind blowing good, the nice flat water on the flooded island wasn’t very calm today. I could see the waves gong all the way into the back, but entered anyway hoping to find a spot out of the wind.island3


I paddled all the way to the back of the flooded island and didn’t find any spot to get out of the wind, so headed back out where I could see the excavator had made some progress.breech


The estuary water level should be down tomorrow and all the shoreline exposed and stinking some. The bald eagles usually show up around this time, they may smell the stink. Its’ also a good time for other critters to show up and hunt for dead stuff along the exposed shoreline.

Winds up more

It was real windy now, so I let the wind blow me up the back channel of Penny island where I found a windless spot in the channel on the upper end of the island where I sat for a good time. I could see the wind was really blowing on up the river so  decided not to go up that way again today.riverup


There was a seal taking it easy there too. It kept an eye on me as we both took it easy out of the wind. It might be Coco, but I’m not sure.seal3


I didn’t really want to go in yet, so I explored around the flooded part of the upper end of the island a bit and paddled in here, but couldn’t really go anywhere as the brush was real thick.island


When I got out of the brush, I looked across the river to see the roofer guys working away on the visitor center.roofjob


Choppy water

I had to cross over some choppy water and through the wind and was doing ok, almost to the boat ramp when a wave washed over me from the back and got my butt wet. That’s expected as I paddle without a skirt. A little water doesn’t hurt much. When I was landing on the ramp, I needed to charge in to put my boat up on the cement as much as possible, but there was a guy standing there by the edge. I said, I’m coming in, watch out, but he didn’t get it, so stood there, so I had to slow down and didn’t push my boat out of the water far enough so the waves hitting me from the back wouldn’t get me. Some did and I got a bit wetter.

I now had wet pants and I needed to stop at the store on the way home to do some shopping, but so what. I looked like I wet my pants, but this is Guerneville and anything goes, so,so what. :O)

I did my shopping and didn’t see anyone give me any weird looks and then I went on home.

That was pretty much my day.

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4 Responses to The River’s Mouth Gets Breeched and the Visitor Center Gets a New Roof

  1. Patti Godwin says:

    Hey Rick. It took us 3 years for all the pieces to line up! Keep working at it.

  2. Rick says:

    Wow, interesting, and that makes perfect sense. Thanks for the information.

    My wife & I can’t wait to retire out there in a few years. We’ve been looking for a house and/or some land for a little over a year now, but havne’t found the “right one,” yet.

    I look forward to meeting you on the river some day :)

  3. admin says:

    Hi Rick,
    They used to use one man on a bulldozer to do it and now that guy runs the show. They’ve been doing it with an excavator for about ten years now. If they didn’t do it, some low houses would flood and it would close highway one at Jenner as that’s a low spot in the road. They also used to open it when the gage at the visitor center reached seven feet and recently moved that up to nine feet as they want to keep the estuary up at a higher level for a longer period of time.

  4. Rick Jeffery says:

    Hi Bob ~

    My wife & I really LOVE seeing your blog post and pictures every day! It really helps us connect to the place we love most :)

    I had no idea they used an excavator to open up the river mouth? Is this something they do every year? We can’t wait for our next visit in December. Best – Rick

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