Reflections on San Francisco Bay: A Kayaker's Tall Tales

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Press: BookSurge Publishing (February 12, 2009)
Author Name:Boeschen, John


For a group of San Francisco Bay Area residents, Thursday nights are reserved for kayaking on the bay. 
Islands, bights, caves, and more .
no corner of the bay and its history are left unexplored.
While the tales in this volume chronicle only the paddles in 2010, they are part of a longer time flow, starting in 2000.
Better than any travel guide on San Francisco Bay, these volumes capture the flavor of one of the world's most renown bodies of water.


Sports & Outdoors,Outdoor Recreation,Kayaking,Travel,United States,West,Pacific,Water Sports

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Comment List (Total:6)

  •     I have avidly read every story John Boeschen has written. Like Charles Dickens he posted them every week and then at years end he made a volume for that year.First I was motivated to read them because I paddled with them in the early years until my back complained that it was too arduous and then my brain complained the trips were too crazy and a little dangerous. Also those guys are pretty strong paddlers and I just couldn't keep up.Now I have a vicarious secondhand experience reading the Thursdays adventures. John posts pictures of the Thurs-eve paddle on Friday and then the written report on Monday or Tuesday ..... always, day in day out, week in week out as reliable as sun and rain.There was an artist lurking in John just waiting to get out and that artist found expression in the Thus-eve paddles, first in the pictures and comic book text and then in the writing. The words just flow out, well crafted, funny, informative, and greatly exaggerated. John is an exceptional writer.Be sure to read the review by Jacob Martin, it's accurate and articulate.
  •     Move over Melville, Forester and Conrad, there's a new kid (well, old fart) at the block-and-tackle of sea-faring literature. What John Boeschen's tales of kayaking on San Francisco Bay lack in glory they certainly more than make up for in passion. And, each adventure comes with dessert!
  •     I have hard copies of volumes 7 through 10 and they make a marvelous read any time you want to venture on the San Francisco and San Pablo Bays from Marin County. Year in, year out no matter the weather or who shows up the author ventures out in search of it's not clear what and still manages to find it. Philosophizing, paddling and eating not necessarily in that order on the ever changing waters of the San Francisco Bay and environs with an ever evolving cast of characters the author makes a weekly adventure in his kayak into a lesson that ranges from the mundane to the sublime--all by a camp fire with an improvised meal and dessert reported along with the sea conditions at the end of each night's entry. My favorite entries are those rare night's when no one else shows up and the author is alone with his thoughts and the thoughts of his storm paddle strapped to his foredeck and that paddle's scathing critique of the author's inadequacies. These autobiographical sketches are the perfect length for bathroom reading. Whether in hard copy or on the Kindle the prose is never constipated.
  •     Each volume in this series is an adventure in paddling, eating and conversation. John has the ability to capture the essence and fun of a group of guys who know each other in a shared experience, exploring San Francisco Bay on Thursday Evenings. The reader comes to know the various players and their contributions to the group. What fun as they brave the evening winds and currents, not to mention ship traffic and other hazards. Each of these books is a fun read.
  •     After a bitter divorce and going through the process of leaving my old company, I found myself in the rare opportunity of reinventing myself. I felt determined to pick up Kayaking as a sister sport to my beloved mountain biking. I got a tupperware boat off Craigs List and started paddling around the bay, somewhat aimlessly. After several discussions with Will, the proprietor of Bucks Landing, my local "put-in", it was determined that I just HAD to meet John and his ThursEve paddlers. "Just show up here every Thursday and they're bound to be here eventually..." said Will. Well, that didn't work, but I ended up drinking a lot of beer at Will's establishment. I began to wonder if John and his kayaking gang were a figment of Will's imagination. Finally he gave in and handed me a book: it was Vol IV, Reflections on San Francisco Bay. I was hooked. The Tall Tales were TRUE!!! Somewhere I found the link to the Comix. From there I copied all the maps and learned the names of the launch sites and beaches favored by the fabled Thurs Eve Paddlers, along with some of the names of the regulars. An e-mail got me on the mailing list. Before long I was shaking John's hand and welcomed into the mix of motley paddlers. I was clearly out of my league. Most of the paddlers could no longer count the number of kayaks they owned on their two hands. Many had hand crafted several of their yaks and boasted hand-carved paddles and tales of high seas adventure. My tupperware Craigs List kayak and my need for my rudder did not seem to deter them, however, from welcoming me into the clan, so long as I showed up with beer and desert. The Thurs Eve kayaking blended so well with my Wednesday night mountain biking that I was soon going out as often as possible. I enjoyed the sunsets on the bay, the secluded beaches, the camp fires, the awesome upper body exercise, and the camaraderie that can only be experienced on a full stomach, lots of rum, and the salt water of the bay in my face.Since then, I've not made every paddle to be sure, but nor has a lot of folks. I've tried at times to alternate weeks, but regardless, I wait with great anticipation for the weekly Comix. I get the e-mail on Tuesdays, check my tide app on my iPhone, and guess which beach they'll dine on, hoping I can make it. True, there've been a few times when I've felt a bit unprepared for the dark bay crossings, the fast moving ferries. and huge, dark looming hulls slipping through the shipping channels at night, and I even got thrown from my yak one windy day in my own neck of the woods, my paddle broken and the wind waves pushing me out into the bay... This is not a sport for everyone.But the endless memories of awesome sunsets, warm fires, tall tales, whipped cream, and good people make for some serious fun times that I am forever grateful for and long for more.These books not only capture the essence of what it's like out there on the bay, rain or shine, but they are filled with wonderful bits of history, great prose, and just good ol' imagination to make anyone chuckle and wish they too were out there on the water. We live in such an amazing place. I am so grateful to live here, and so very grateful to have met up with this historic group of paddlers. They did not have to extend such a warm welcome to a young, inexperienced yaker as myself, but they did so regardless. It amazes us to no end when we're out there enjoying the views and experiences why there are not hundreds of folks with us. The Bay Area is home to many, MANY like-minded people who would LOVE to be there. Somehow this opportunity has eluded the masses. For over 10 years John has been putting these paddles out there... and publishing books and comixs... it's inconceivable to me why there are not more folks showing up on these paddles.Take my advice:Get a book or several, learn the names of the OTW sites and possible beach camps, as well as some of the more regular individuals, and SHOW UP! This group is welcoming beyond reason and as long as you bring a fine beverage and desert, you'll be a welcome addition to the evening.
  •     I have been reading these stories on line and in hardback form. I have also been lucky enough to show up and paddle with John and the gang on occasion. This book is the 9th in a continuum of tall tales. The places change over the years as do the various characters. The one constant is how John gets out there every Thursday and his entertaining accounting of the evening. If you cant join the gang then do yourself a favor and at least treat yourself to a read about it.

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