Monday, April 11, 2022

Jack London sails the bay aboard the Roamer

Jack London aboard the Roamer.
Courtesy of The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.
"Always I come back to the sea,” wrote Jack London. “In my case it is usually San Francisco Bay, than which no lustier, tougher sheet of water can be found for small-boat sailing.”*
Jack London was known for his world adventures, but his training ground, muse, and lifelong love was the San Francisco Bay. As a boy he learned to sail a skiff in the Oakland Estuary, and at sixteen he ran with the oyster pirates before jumping ship to crew for the California Fish Patrol.
Read my article, "Londons Roam and Feast on the Bay Circa 1910," in Estuary News

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Sturdy Sturgeon

A sturgeon's toothless, telescoping mouth sucks up clams, crabs and shrimp like a vacuum. Wikimedia Commons. 

White sturgeon have been cruising San Francisco Bay’s murky bottom for thousands of years, and the species has been around since before T-Rex. 

Scientists believe that the fish may live to be over 100 years old. For this article I asked the question: What is the life expectancy of white sturgeon in the San Francisco Bay?

Read "Sturdy Sturgeon" in Estuary News to learn more about this fascinating fish.

Sunday, February 6, 2022

Suisun City is No Island

The daily waterfront walk

Suisun City, a small town about an hour northeast of San Francisco, has always had the waterfront and nearby wetlands at its heart. But that which is a big plus for trade and tourism now places the city in the path of sea-level rise.

In this article I delve into the challenges and opportunities of sea-level rise in my hometown.

"Suisun City is No Island," KneeDeep Times

The Magic of Winter Light


Turning In, Sergio Lopez
Turning In, Sergio Lopez

Winter light is less assertive than its summer counterpart. Hues are softer, and leafy shadows tat ephemeral quilts on the wall. More than a visual phenomenon, this subdued light affects all living things including poets, plants, and landscape painters.

"The Magic of Winter Light," Bay Area Monitor 

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

On the Bay: DFW 150 Years on Patrol, and Work Still Dangerous

Photo courtesy of the CDFW

This year marks the sesquicentennial of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Patrolling the San Francisco Bay has always been dangerous work, and continues to be risky for those protecting the natural resources of the bay today.

"DFW 150 Years on Patrol and Work Still Dangerous,"

Estuary News

Thursday, October 28, 2021

Jack London's Wheel?

The Roamer wheel
Hugh and Jeremy Wire grew up in a house on a hill overlooking the ocean in Laguna Beach, California. In their yard was a wheel said to have come from one of Jack London’s boats.

I learned about the wheel from Hugh’s daughter, Annette Williams, who has inherited the house and the wheel.

Curious about whether or not the wheel actually did come from one of London’s boats, I asked her to send me a photo of the family wheel for comparison.

The family wheel
It seemed a straightforward investigation. Aside from the rowboat and centerboard skiff London skittered about on as a youth, he owned only four boats during his lifetime: the Razzle Dazzle, the Spray, the Snark, and the Roamer. We have photos of all but one wheel.

You can read about the wheel and the boat she came from in an essay I wrote for The Call, The Magazine of the Jack London Society (Spring/Summer 2021). 

Monday, August 30, 2021

Walking the entire San Francisco Bay Trail

I love hoofing any section of the San Francisco Bay Trail. Whether in Pinole, Novato, or Burlingame, it is a treat to experience the diversity of the trail and the bay.

A small group of women, average age sixty, recently walked the entire thing, including the finished and unfinished portions of the planned 500-mile trail. It took them four years, and they did it by walking the segments contiguously one Sunday a month.

I first walked with them at their halfway point when I covered their adventure for Estuary News. I met them as a journalist and continued walking with them as a friend. 

And now they have finished! You can read about their accomplishment in my article for the Bay Area Monitor