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Seacology’s first local kayaking trip is a success

May 21, 2024

We recently joined forces with the wonderful team at SeaTrek for a day of kayaking and learning about San Francisco Bay’s marine ecosystems and history. Nearly a dozen Seacology friends, supporters, and staff came out to enjoy our inaugural kayaking event.

Karl the Fog was low over the hills when we arrived at SeaTrek’s Sausalito location behind the fascinating Bay Model Visitor Center. (It features a huge three-dimensional hydraulic model capable of simulating tides and currents—worth a visit in its own right!) By the time we’d gotten our gear on, shared a little about ourselves, and had a fun and informative safety practice, the fog had begun to disperse, showing patches of brilliant blue sky. 

To get out on the bay, we had to navigate around a group of harbor seals sunning themselves on one of the boat launches. We all kept a respectful distance, though the seals seemed unfazed by humans. Some even struck the characteristic “banana pose,” lifting their heads and flippers off the deck to dry and warm themselves. 

Our SeaTrek guides, Sarah and Peter, were friendly and knowledgeable, leading us around Richardson Bay and pointing out things of both ecological and historical interest. We saw more seals, including a few adorably small pups; cormorants spreading their wings to dry; a boat that had been used to rescue World War II soldiers at Dunkirk; and an old ferry from Seattle, now turned into a houseboat Airbnb. 

We also saw beds of the local eelgrass (a kind of seagrass), a vital part of the bay’s ecosystem. The eelgrass is re-growing since 2021, when the state started mandating the removal of floating anchored homes in the area. Over time, our guides informed us, the homes’ anchors had acted as “lawn mowers,” wearing away the eelgrass, which is the foundation of this marine ecosystem.

An increasing number of Seacology projects work to save and restore seagrass habitats around islands. Seagrass acts as an incredibly efficient carbon sink—that is, it absorbs more carbon from its environment than it releases. Recent Seacology projects in Spain, the Philippines, the UK, Greece, the US, the Dominican Republic, and Thailand have helped protect or replant degraded seagrass. 

Although our two-hour journey didn’t take us to any islands, it was fascinating to see facets of a vibrant marine ecosystem up close—including the plants, the animals, and the people. While so much of our work takes place far from the US, it was very grounding to be able to connect with the communities and ecosystems in our own backyard.

We hope to lead more events like this in the future, to help our local ecosystem of Seacology friends and supporters thrive. If you would like to be notified of future events, just  subscribe to our newsletter!