On a sunny Bay Area day in May, a handful of young blind sailors took to the waters off Marin County in kayaks. Their object was to paddle the three miles to Angel Island, in San Francisco Bay, for an overnight stay. “We wanted to provide a great opportunity for outdoor fun and kayaking is a perfect summer activity for a group of young adults,” said trip leader and LightHouse Community Service Coordinator Brandon Young.
The group met at the LightHouse and traveled by Golden Gate transit to well-loved locals, Sea Trek in Sausalito. Sea Trek rented the kayaks and equipment while young adults from the Young Leaders program at Environmental Traveling Companions provided one-on-one training and guidance both to and from the island.
Each kayak housed two passengers, a blind kayaker from our group and a guide from Environmental Traveling Companions. The paddle from Sausalito to Angel Island takes about two hours. According to Young, “it was an absolutely beautiful day: the bay was flat and calm with no wind and plenty of sun. We couldn’t have asked for better weather than this.”
With harbor seals and sea birds accompanying them as they sang sea-shanties, the group enjoyed the challenge of keeping together, but not too close together, in the water. They paddled through Richardson Bay and beyond using whistles and hand gestures to keep formation despite the current. “We didn’t bump into each other too much,” Young said with a grin. “It was all done at a very serene, unhurried pace – there were a few people trying to race a little bit but it was mostly a leisurely journey.”
After arriving and unpacking, the young people prepared and consumed a fortifying spaghetti dinner, followed by a night hike and games of cards and dice (no betting, please). They slept on the floor in sleeping bags, staying in one of the historical buildings that remain usable on the island.
The next morning they made breakfast (waffles and bacon), hiked a bit, then cleaned up their lodging and headed back out on the water. Those who craved a little more excitement got their wish as the return journey was not quite as calm. The waves were a little bigger, the current was a little stronger, the tide was, as Young put it, “argumentative”. Of course this just added to the experience, and all-in-all the young people had a great time.
For information about upcoming adventures made available through the LightHouse Adult/Senior Program, please contact Brandon Young at 415-694-7320 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn more about Sea Trek at www.seatrek.com, and Environmental Traveling Companions at www.etctrips.org.