Paddling, Sunshine -10/365

I didn’t take any pictures on Saturday, Jan 10th. So I’ll try to describe one with words. The morning was gorgeous and sunny in Oakland, and my friend and I drove down to the estuary at Jack London for our Saturday dragon boat practice.

By the time we got there it had warmed up considerably and the sun was shining. Our team got out on the boat and we enjoyed a grueling (for me) yet refreshing paddle. The water was shimmering, the sky was blue, and there were all kinds of boats in the estuary. Tiny kayaks, houseboats, paddle boats, boats I can’t even describe, and giant US Coast Guard ships.

Our team used to practice on Lake Merritt in Oakland but now that the lake is closed for construction, the estuary is our new home.

Aside from the interesting boats, The estuary has stronger water, which is good for us as practice for race conditions. It’s much cleaner. It’s also huge, with plenty of nooks and crannies for us to paddle in. We skirt the boundaries of the island town of Alameda and the SF Bay itself.

But one thing the estuary doesn’t have much of is people. Lake Merritt is in a center neighborhood, so there were always people watching us paddle as they walked around the lake. I miss that at the estuary. People don’t go to the estuary unless they have a reason to.

After practice ended, the clouds gradually reappeared. I can’t believe how much the cloudy weather affects my mood. During practice while it was sunny, I was so happy. Happy to reunite with my teammates at the beginning of a new year, happy to be active. I felt like everything would be OK. Once the clouds return, my mood takes a nosedive. I could never live in a place where it’s cloudy for most of the year. I NEED sunshine.

I was happy when I got home. I plan to spend more time with my dragon boat teammates. The team is going to have regular potlucks throughout the year. Social isolation is a dangerous thing, something I learned the hard way last year.

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