Categories: CampingDestinations

Hipcamp Team Trip: Tomales Bay Kayaking

Every once and awhile the Hipcamp team gets together and does something awesome (ok, lately it’s been happening more often than not). One of these “moments of awesome” was had this past weekend just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

We began our journey early on Sunday morning and made way for Point Reyes. On the way we decided to stop by Tomales Bay Oyster Company ( We kind of have a thing for these little suckers and this place has ridiculously fresh ones. Also a fun fact we learned, 40% of California’s oysters come from Tomales Bay! So, we grabbed a 50 pack, some garlic sauce, a shucker and headed for the town.

We decided to stop by Blue Water Kayaking (‎) to visit our friends there. We learned that bioluminescence were in full swing and that were in for “a treat.” For those of you unfamiliar with these things, here is the wikipedia description for ya: “Bioluminescence is the production and emission of light by a living organism. Bioluminescence occurs widely in marine vertebrates and invertebrates, as well as in some fungi, microorganisms and terrestrial invertebrates. Some symbiotic organisms carried within larger organisms produce light.”

After this final stop we loaded up our gear in/on our kayaks and jumped in; heading for open water (well Bay water). The sun was shining, spirits were high and we were in closed top fiberglass kayaks…so we were flying! Alyssa and Nick were in the lead most of the way, but Eric and Li were only a couple strokes behind (we were saving our energy for the bioluminescence paddle).

The bay was serene, with only a few ripples on the water, which made paddling easy. We passed by lush green countryside and massive rock outcroppings. Small seals would swim up to us on occasion with a look of disbelief. One thing was for certain, we were in their world now. After about 1.5 hours of easy paddling we arrived at our camp , just past Marshall Beach.

We set up camp right on the beach and decided to go on another paddle. We headed north towards Hog Island, which sadly does not have hogs on it. What it does have is an insane amount of birds, seals and all sorts of other wildlife. We sat in our kayaks staring as hundreds of birds landed on a single tree. The sun was setting and we were enveloped in a golden hue. It was actually quite magical. We also kayaked past White Gulch, where we saw several elk (also staring at us in disbelief).

Once back at camp, we got the fire going and started grilling up oysters. We had a system of eating one raw oyster for every grilled one…it worked out quite well. There’s nothing like eating oysters on the beach, right next to where they are sourced from. It’s nice to get in touch with your more primal side every once and awhile.

After stuffing our faces it was time to head back out into the dark sea and hunt for the allusive bioluminescence. As we walked up to our kayaks we immediately noticed something different…our footsteps were glowing! Just like in MJ’s Billie Jean video, the area surrounding our feets were glowing away, so we danced! To our amazement, the water around the kayaks was glowing as well. After jumping in and taking a few paddles, the small glowing dots turned into brilliant streaks of color. It really is hard to describe and must be experienced first hand, but it felt like Fantasia. The paddles were our wands and if we made a splash, it turned into bright waterfall of light.

With every splash it made us feel like kids again. Unfortunately the water was way too cold to go swimming in, but nonetheless, it was awesome. We made our way back to camp, footsteps still glowing. After warming up by the fire, we decided to call it a night.

The next morning we woke up, had a small bite to eat and got back in our kayaks. It was another beautiful day and we were a bit reluctant to leave our gorgeous camp. It was the end of a short trip, but a great one. The best trips are the ones in which you have many cool experiences in a short period of time and this was exactly that. Throw in the fact that there was awesome company, well then you have yourself an epic trip!

Blue Waters Kayaking‎

(415) 669-2600

Tomales Bay Oyster Company

(415) 663-1243

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