Wednesday 17 March 2010

A day kayaking in the sun

Hi all

Today Sam and I had a special treat – we got to go kayaking on Tomales Bay, part of the Farallones Sanctuary, with several sanctuary staff. Oh yes, a  kayak is a type of canoe, just incase you were wondering. 
 Sam ansd I Kayaking

We had a really fun day – we paddled up along the coast of the bay and saw osprey, cormorants, king fishers, grebes, turkey vultures and even a couple of harbor seals like the ones back home.
Harbour seal

We stopped at Pebble Beach and had lunch, before going on a short hike through the woods along the shore. We saw many flowers and trees (including a Redwood Tree) and even saw a Banana Slug – normally a bright yellow, this one was greenish – it must have been decked out for St Patrick’s Day!
Sam has been helping me build up my skills in the water so  thought I would teach him a bit about what bears love best. Climbing trees. We started with somethiung small....
...And progressed to a redwood tree

Banana slug

One of the women kayaking with us, Yuen, was from Vietnam. She is a graduate student in Ocean Policy in Seattle and has been involved in the Sanctuary International Program in Vietnam. She is visiting some of the West Coast Sanctuaries during her Spring Break to continue her education about sanctuaries and other marine protected areas.
Sam and I took this picture of the sanctuary folks who took us kayaking. They are (left to right): Carol, Yuen (visiting from Vietnam!), Angela, Sage, Christy, Kelley and Alison. They were a really fun bunch.

I commented that Tomales Bay was an interesting shape – it is long and narrow - and learned that Tomales Bay sits on top of the San Andreas Fault and is a submerged linear estuary that runs along the North American and Pacific Plate boundaries. (The Cordell Bank offices are not far from here – where I learned a bit about earthquakes a few weeks ago.)
Estuaries are places upon which wildlife depends – not only do they offer habitat for many animals, they provide spawning and nursery areas for many fish species, and they are an important food source for many local and migrating birds.

The sanctuary has been working with the local community to protect the habitats in Tomales Bay from water pollution, habitat loss, introduced species and other human-caused disturbance to these important ecosystems. Estuaries around the world face similar issues, 60% of the world’s population lives near an estuary.
This is the estuary near my local beach at Shoreham. It may not look much but the sandy mud is full of marine worms, crabs, sea snails, bivalve molluscs and lots of tiny shrimp-like crustceans. Lots of wading birds come to the estuary to feed on these tiny animals. Infact, UK estuiaries are even more important in the winter when they are visited by thousands of migrating wading birds that come to the Uk becaue the places they come from are much colder than British winters. Many types of fish also feed on these mud living marine creatures.
Wow, a great day kayaking and many more experiences of willdife and wild places.

Yawn! I think I need a nap


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