Steve Krueger came out again for the American Geophysical Union Annual Meeting in San Francisco, and stayed a few extra days in order to join me for another memorable adventure at Pt. Reyes. We planned to hike on Saturday with Mark and Leanne and their friend Jim, and then join up with Chris Kitting on Sunday for kayaking Tomales Bay. I drove to SF and fought the traffic to eventually link up at the Hotel Nikko. Then we navigated our way to Sir Francis Drake Rd and on to Pt. Reyes. The hostel, recently rated the #2 best hostel in the world (and my personal favorite), was a special treat for Steve, after a week of non-stop big city noise and conferencing.... it was deliciously silent. No wi-fi, no cell phone coverage, no radios, no TV's.... just the beauty of a forested mountain valley out the picture window, and lots of comfy sofa space to curl up and read. We turned in early, as most of the hostel, including us, planned to get up early for the total lunar eclipse Saturday morning. Up at 5:15am, and we drove the 2 miles down to Limantour beach, where I dashed off to the little bridge over the lagoon to shoot some pictures as the moon entered totality just 12 degrees above the horizon. Then back to the car where we drove around looking for a better site, settling for a hilltop overlook with the moon setting over the low hills north of the estero.

A few minutes before total eclipse begins, and the moon is 15 degrees above the marshland at Limantour

I ran down to the bridge for these shots, and didn't grab my remote trigger. So the few second long photos were jarred when I pressed the shutter.

A few minutes later, and the auto-white balance seems to have shifted red.

To try and get foreground reflection water, Steve and I drove a few hundred yards uphill, to the road intersection to the Ranger's home. Dawn light is beginning. The bright star left of the moon is Betelguese.

Dawn advances, and a bluer sky begins to show the cirrus clouds which would cover the last 20 minutes of the eclipse.

Back at the hostel, I took a walk to look for sunrise images...

before the morning sun hits the hostel.

A few hundred yards from the hostel, a creek shaded by alders.


Spanish moss drapes these old trees, showing off the last of the Fall colors below

I love the December sun here - it rises over a beautifully tree studded ridge

I fix a breakfast of eggs, hot oatmeal & nuts for Steve and I - then we pose for a picture

Steve gets into his spray skirt, at Blue Waters Kayak

Alas, I did not have my camera during the hike on Saturday. We did a 9 mile adventure, starting at the ridge top on Limantour Rd, hiking to Sky Camp, then working our way down to the ocean just south of Coast Camp, stopping for lunch at a spectacular overlook allowing to see the entire Drakes Bay coastline, from Pt. Reyes south to Bolinas. We then hiked along the sand, looking for a connetor to the trail back to the hostel where we'd set a car. We (Mark Stoelting and I) managed to get ourselves into poison oak at this point. But no worries, just one big poison oak scratch, which was minimized by a soapy wash at the hostel. Dinner that night was with Mark, Leanne, Steve and I, at the tony Olema Inn. Yow - $200 for dinner for 4! I had fresh local mushrooms, which were quite good. Then Mark and Leanne headed back to home in Santa Rosa and Steve and I returned for another night at the hostel. Next morning, we slept in a bit, had a big breakfast of eggs and toast w/ oatmeal, and then headed to Inverness and Blue Waters Kayak rental for Steve to get outfitted, while I set sail and joined up with Chris Kitting, who arrived at 11am at Chicken Ranch Beach a few hundred yards from Blue Waters.

For shooting on the water, I used my old Minolta A1

Chris joins us in one of his inflatable kayaks

The west side of Tomales Bay is steep granite cliffs and forests

Something or other is "this long!", but I forget what, exactly...

A secluded beach to explore


and a marshland tidal channel further north

Chris, as always, brings his marine science gear - this holiday's a write-off! Here, his compact sonar

Paddling south, back to Inverness

We paddled through an area with hundreds and hundreds of jellyfish - here, attacking my boat!

After returning Steve's kayak, we bid farewell to Chris, who stayed a couple more hours to sample sea grass at low tide, just after sunset. I drove Steve to SFO for his return flight to Salt Lake City.