The enthusiastic staff at Bass Lake Water Sports furnishes a fleet of water-recreation vessels that are ideal for friends and familial units bound for five-hour H2O excursions. Get vertical on a paddleboard, balancing atop its smooth surface while using the long oar to bop back-talking waves on their heads. Canoes and kayaks slice through the lake's pristine waters and provide boaters with ample glimpses of the surrounding scenery, and paddleboats encourage leg muscles to propel them on an aqueous jaunt toward meet-and-greets with watercraft-loving otters. The five-hour rental time allows partakers ample opportunity to exercise as well as relax, much like running a marathon before watching a movie marathon.
Zephyr Whitewater Expeditions has been soaking up water-dousing revelry since 1973 with an assortment of safe aquatic adventures on California’s scenic rivers. No experience is necessary for this half-day voyage, which begins at noon and typically concludes about 5:30 p.m., on the Kings River, one of the last undammed and unspoiled rivers flowing out of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. At the Zephyr base-camp meeting place, groups of water wanderers 7 years and older receive a brief prepping on the journey ahead before donning a life vest and joining a CPR-certified guide in a six- to eight-person paddle raft. River explorers then embark on a 10-mile journey full of untamed splashes and feral rubber duckies, and seasoned guides answer any questions and fish-themed riddles that come up along the way. Between each lively bit of rapids, which can vary in classification from season to season, calm stretches give rafters the opportunity to reflect on the Kings River’s tremendous beauty or newly acquired life-vest tan lines. Victorious paddlers end the day with a complimentary snack and beverage before a Zephyr shuttle returns them back to their vehicles.
When it comes to size, the blue whale trumps anything that has ever walked, swam, or flown across planet Earth. Stretching roughly 80 feet long, these titanic creatures swim deep below the Pacific Ocean, feeding on thousands of tiny krill at a time?but like all aquatic mammals, they eventually have to come up for air. That's when they meet Blue Ocean Whale Watch.
Aboard a 60-foot sightseeing vessel, naturalist Kate Cummings spouts the aforementioned whale facts and much more. However, it's not until whales breach the surface or jump into the air that passengers truly comprehend their massive size. Even the naturalist herself?who has been on countless voyages?can't help but take a picture each and every trip. Ms. Cummings works alongside Captain Jim Davis, who's navigated the ocean currents and Poseidon's construction zones for more than 30 years.
The two head out in search of blue whales, humpback whales, and other marine life, including dolphins and sea turtles. The stars of the tours change throughout year (during the spring, summer, and fall, humpback whales make their way to Monterey Bay to feed on krill and anchovies), but passengers can always catch views and photos from the upper deck.
The experienced staffers at H2O Craft Rentals tend a fleet of fully equipped patio boats, Yamaha jet-skis, ski boats, and XCR series fishing boats. Each craft comes equipped with amenities that suit its purpose, with patio boats featuring with barbecues for grilling the day's catch and fishing boats bearing a fish finder to garner an advantage in games of Marco Polo. Customers can launch right from the marina or take advantage of the tow-and-go service and load vessels onto a trailer to ferry to a different body of water. This service enables boaters to cruise a range of area waters, whether coasting across the California Delta, Don Pedro Lake, and Lake Camanche, or plumbing the waters of Lake Tahoe for mackinaw trout and salmon.
The folks at Kayak Connection outfit visitors with sea kayaks and standup paddleboards before leading them on guided tours or sending them out to explore Santa Cruz Harbor and Elkhorn Slough on their own. Tours vary from romantic sunset paddles to trips designed for families and include one tailored to getting glimpses of local birds. Intermediate and advanced paddlers can head out onto open waters to paddle past the Golden Gate Bridge, Point Lobos State Marine Reserve, and Monterey Bay Crossing.
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Elkhorn Yacht Club Youth Sailing Foundation has educated fleets of aquatic explorers in the nuances of sailing along the picturesque Monterey Bay for more than half a century. During three-hour introductory lessons, certified instructors lead students through the fundamentals of wind-powered boating, covering everything from safety procedures to tying knots around the ankles of pirates. After a series of land drills, students and their sailing sensei embark upon the calm waters of the harbor to test learned skills, including trimming the jib, reading the weather's Twitter feed, and confidently handling their simply rigged Lido 14 skiffs.