Shimmering Paddle

Uniquely situated where the Russian River meets the rugged Pacific coast, Jenner is a shining star of kayaking…

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Uniquely situated where the Russian River meets the rugged Pacific coast, Jenner is a shining star of kayaking destinations. It’s even better when paddling here under the shining moon! WaterTreks EcoTours leads full-moon kayaking tours that are part adventure and part celestial tranquility. You’ll launch behind the Sonoma Coast State Park visitor center and glide over webs of mermaid’s hair netting the brackish surface. Great blue herons levitate on water with spectacular wings outstretched, while brown pelicans swoop down for the catch.

Hop out on Penny Island, where reptilian branches and tall grasses envelop remnants of a barn, smokehouse, and abandoned dairy, once operated by the Native American ancestors of WaterTrek’s founder, Suki Waters. Afterwards, paddle to Goat Rock Beach for another stop, atop sand dunes. Gargantuan Goat Rock and Arched Rock tower over the coast as the sun sinks lower. As the full moon rises, leave the warm river behind and paddle west towards its entry into the crashing Pacific, where the most dramatic scene is staged: Waves hurl themselves onto silhouetted sea stacks behind a colony of seals basking in the moon’s glow.

BONUS BIOLUMINSCENCE: The peak season for glowing plankton (aka bioluminescence) is near, and Jenner’s confluence of salt and fresh water make it a premier spot for seeing it. Call ahead to check conditions and the prevalence of these micro-beauties.

WaterTreks EcoTours (707-865-2249) is located in Jenner, 10438 Hwy. 1, across the street from the Sonoma Coast State Park visitor center. Full-moon tours are generally $80/person but decrease with increasing group size. Call ahead for reservations, pricing, and dates—tides determine the best viewing time, which may be several days before or after the technical full moon. Bioluminescence tours also offered mid-August through the beginning of October! Call to check conditions.

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