The River’s Mouth May Be Closed, But I Think Salmon are Still Getting Into the River

Tuesday October 13, 2015 Jenner CA.


The sun was out and the wind was down as I drove into Jenner this morning. It looked like it was going to be a nice day and it was. At the last minute I decided to drive down to the river’s mouth overlook just past the town of Jenner on highway one.

The river’s closed mouth

This was the view of the closed river’s mouth looking out into the Pacific ocean. Note the ocean wave coming over the closed sandy beach. This is a small one.pacific


Feasting harbor seals

I put my boat in the water and while I was doing that, I looked out to see if any harbor seals were eating any salmon today out in front of the visitor center. I was surprised to see they were still eating salmon even with the river’s mouth being closed. To me, that meant the salmon are still coming into the river, even with the mouth closed up.

I paddled on over to where I could see a seagull floating around waiting for fish scraps and waited with my camera ready for a seal to pop up with a big fish. They do most of their fish eating under water, so I wait and hope they will pop up and stay long enough for me to get some photos. Sometimes I’m successful and many times I’m not.

The seal on the left is just resting, getting air and the one on the right just came up for air and is nibbling on a big fish, likely a salmon. Shortly it was under water again.seals


I watched the seals eating that fish for about a half hour. This was the best picture I was able to get of the seal eating the fish and the seagull waiting for some scraps.



I’d seen David’s truck and trailer in the parking lot when I pulled in today. I saw him headed towards me coming from the mouth area, so I pulled out in the middle of the river where he could see me and waited. He stopped and I relayed the story of the two sand sharks that were recently found dead in the estuary thinking someone where he works, the Bodega Marine labs, might be interested. We talked a bit more about things in the estuary and then he hurried off as he had a lot to do today.david


I wasn’t too far from the little channel on the upper side of Penny island so I paddled over there intending to take a break.  These deer that mostly live on the island departed as I entered the channel.deer


After a short break, I decided to go on down to the river’s mouth area as it was just coming off high tide, so the waves might be huge from what I saw up on the overlook earlier.

On the way down, near the lower end of Penny Island I saw a seagull sitting on the water, so I paddled over to have a look. Sure enough, another harbor seal has another fish.fishseal


The seal spied me and moved off up river somewhere to eat in peace with the seagull and the other seals following so as to get their shares.

I paddled back over by the end of Penny Island where I ran into this great blue heron sitting in some reeds getting some sun.heron


Big waves

As I was heading to the mouth area, I could see the ocean was pretty rough as this was a rather big wave that made that big splash on the ocean side of the sand.ocean



As I approached the closed mouth area, I could see a lot of foam on the river’s surface which is an indicator that a lot of ocean water had been breaking over the sandy beach  as the foam comes from the ocean.foam


Lots of foam, so lots of water has been breaking over the sandy beach not too long ago. Is that how the salmon are coming into the estuary right now. I think so, as there are too many salmon getting eaten by seals for them not to be coming into the estuary right now.cormorants


Usually, the harbor seals keep the big fish moving on up the river by hunting them, so for the seals to still be catching big fish with the mouth closed, the salmon would have to be coming over the top of the sand.

There were lots of birds resting on the beach too that would all have to hop into the sky if a big enough wave broke over the sand. This is just a little wave. There were mostly seagulls and brown pelicans.birds


Here’s a little closer look at some of the birds. Note the beach behind them has been washed by waves that came over from the ocean.pelicans


Headed up river

I stayed around watching at the mouth area for an hour or so then headed back up the river. Just past Penny Island I ran into one of my seal buddies resting on a submerged redwood log. I put the boat into drift mode and let the breeze carry me by the seal while I took pictures.seal3


I paddled up to the Muskrat nest area and sat and napped for a bit, then headed on back down the river at a very slow pace.

When I got back to the island upper channel area, I headed on over there under the trees to take another break.island


These mallard ducks were doing some feeding and poking around as I sat and watched in the channel. At least I saw them when I had my eyes open. :O)mallards


After a bit, I paddled on over to the boat ramp and took my boat out for the day and went on home.

Prepping for some pipe repairs

At home, a nap was in order on the couch for about an hour. Then I went over to my Aunt’s house and cut blackberry bushes out of the way where I need to repair our main water line that crosses the creek that got washed out last winter. We have a temporary garden hose there right now.

I need to repair the main pipe crossing and install some water valves which means I need to change some pipes around. I’m prepping the job so I can figure out what I’ll need to do the job which I want to get done before winter. I can see it will mean some ditch digging to get the job done, so I need to get started on that.

After that, I was tired out, so I took what little was left of the day and just sat around and enjoyed it until it started to get dark.

Nice day.

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2 Responses to The River’s Mouth May Be Closed, But I Think Salmon are Still Getting Into the River

  1. admin says:

    Hi Rick And Laura,
    From what I can tell, there isn’t any place on earth any better than Jenner for sure and I’m very fortunate to have it for my playground.
    Welcome aboard,

  2. Hello, Bob ~

    My wife & I are SO thrilled to have found your blog, writings and pictures of the place we consider “Heaven on Earth,” Jenner!

    We are hoping to finally move there in a few years, and hope to meet you. We’ll be “tuning in” daily here, and THANK YOU for doing what you do :) Warmest Regards – Rick & Laura

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