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Day on the River

June 21st is the official start of summer. So it would stand to some sort of reason that the beginning of June would feel at least a little summerish. Maybe not in Saskatchewan or Iceland but certainly here in California. Instead we scratched a new month down on our calendars: Junuary. And so it was on Saturday, Junuary 4th, with pouring rain and 50º that we sat in the shop looking out at the trailer we needed to load with kayaks and stand up paddleboards for the Petaluma Day on the River the following morning.

Hosted by PSC3 ( the Petaluma Small Craft Center Coalition) – a group of like minded individuals of which we are a part, working to build a community boat house on the Petaluma river – the Petaluma Day on the River is an annual event where anyone who wants, can come down to the water’s edge and try out any number of watercraft all day long. This year there were outrigger canoes, rowing shells, rowing dories and water bikes. Clavey added a dozen kayaks, a half dozen stand up paddleboards to the fray as well as a single lonesome canoe.

All our fears of bad weather were for naught (more or less) as the sun was almost breaking through the clouds when we showed up to hump boats over to the dock at 7:30 am. By 9am we had our little fleet of boats on the water and ready to go. Leigh Claxton, our stand up paddleboard yoga instructor, had an on-the-water demo starting at 9:30 but because of the weather report, her group of fair-weather yogettes had mostly all abandoned her for the comfort of their beds and some hot coffee. Our kayak tour guide, Aluxa, and a woman I refer to affectionately as “The Wife”, were not to be dissuaded and were met with practically perfect conditions when they paddled out onto the mighty Petaluma for an hour and a half of SUP Yoga. Boga Paddleboards had built these sups specifically for yoga on the water and when I saw Leigh floating by on a headstand, I thought they had probably achieved their goal.

As the weather never did get bad and was, for the most part, almost perfect for the day, the docks began to fill with individuals and families excited about getting on the water. Ever safety conscious, Jeff was sure to tell people only to go up as far as the footbridge or down to the Coast Guard boat. I was a little more vague, suggesting people might turn around if they hit San Pablo Bay.

Clavey does a lot of tours, classes and demos and this opportunity to put people on the water with PSC3 is one of our favorites. Because it’s free and there are so many different watercraft to try, we really see the community come out and take advantage of this local resource they so often otherwise overlook. Between the SUPs, kayaks, canoes, outriggers and rowing shells, Petalumans really had a chance to see the city the way we see it everyday – from the water.

Over all it was a great day with no swimmers and nothing but smiling faces. Towards the end of the day, I did put a number of smallish children on sups and watched as they scattered like dandelions on the wind. I only did this because Tom’s got a real herding instinct and gets grumpy if he doesn’t get his exercise. It was fun sitting on the dock watching as Tom raced up and down the river corralling young children back to the dock.

And of course, no day on the water would be complete without a frosty cold one waiting for us at the end.

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