Buoyancy in the (sf) Bay
September 7, 2017 10:44 PM   Subscribe

I need to experience buoyancy in the bay this weekend. I could rent a kayak, but is there something cheaper?

A kayak rental at citykayak is $45 an hour. A stand up paddle board (ohgodamigoingtofallintothewater) is $35. This is.. fine, but is there something cheaper? It doesn't necessarily have to be a sea-faring vessel - maybe a raft? A floating dock that's accessible by the public? A houseboat? Assume for the purposes of this question that it must be in the ocean, not a lake. I have a bike and public transit and no car.
posted by wym to Grab Bag (11 answers total)

Next open house date unfortunately 9/24. Hang around some docks and someone might take you out?
posted by just.good.enough at 10:56 PM on September 7, 2017

Would the estuary work? California Canoe & Kayak in Jack London Square will rent you a kayak for $25 (but you'd have to get to & from on public transit if you're coming from SF, which might negate the savings.

Otherwise, how about just taking the ferry to & from SF & Alameda? It's certainly chugging along for a lot of it, but at both ends you get some stillness. How long do you need to experience buoyancy for?
posted by brainmouse at 11:05 PM on September 7, 2017 [3 favorites]

Could you buy a swimming inner tube and then just float? (You'd maybe get wet.) One option would be to hit up Emeryville Target and then the beach along the Bay Trail about halfway between Emeryville and Berkeley. I'd either confirm Target's stock or order the inner tube online first.
posted by salvia at 11:22 PM on September 7, 2017

Yeah, I'm thinking floatie tube here. You're not going to be making any voyages, but as long as you stay within swimming distance of shore you should be fine. They can be had starting at about $25.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 5:10 AM on September 8, 2017

Does Richardson Bay count as ocean-y enough? You could take MUNI to Sausalito, and rent a kayak there for $25/hr at Sea Trek.
posted by lazuli at 6:01 AM on September 8, 2017 [1 favorite]

I commute by ferry and it's become one of my favorite parts of Bay Area living. The Ferry Building - Jack London route goes under the Bay Bridge which is awesome. Fares aren't super cheap but much cheaper than renting a kayak.

If you have time to spare, this mini-adventure is pretty wonderful (I live in Oakland):
BART from Oakland to Embarcadero, bike across the GG bridge (watch out for all the tourists who love doing sudden stops to take pics!), bike through Sausalito stopping for an ice cream at Lappert's, then grab a beer/bite to eat at Tiburon while you wait for the ferry to go back to Jack London. There's also a ferry that goes to Angel Island that I've been meaning to do too.

Or you could just go to the Aquatic Cove and float on your back/pool noodle for as long as you can bear the cold water.

I've done the Sea Trek kayak rental as lazuli mentioned too, and it was surprisingly really awesome! So many seals, and the house boats are fun to look at!
posted by blueberrypuffin at 8:55 AM on September 8, 2017 [1 favorite]

Can it be an estuary? The Petaluma "river" is tidal up to the turning basin downtown. The Friends of the Petaluma River offer "Boating at the Barn" every Sunday from 10 'til 1 at the Petaluma River Heritage Center (aka the Ghirardelli barn). Come paddle a boat for free (except it'll cost you something to get here and back, but Petaluma is awesome and you were gonna come visit anyway, so...).
posted by straw at 10:47 AM on September 8, 2017 [1 favorite]

Great boating suggestions, guys, and now I have a million day trips to take in the future.

More on the free/found side, ss there any part of the SF shoreline that has some floaty bits of small infrastructure? Like a dock that's not super secure and rigid and anchored down? Can I get on any of the docks (docks, not boats) near ATT Park, or Embarcadero/Fisherman's Wharf, or Chrissy Field? Is Pier 7 wobbly at all?
posted by wym at 10:38 PM on September 8, 2017

Most of the piers/docks in SF are pretty anchored down. The launch that I think is most likely to be a bit floaty is the UCSF boathouse launch point - it's in a protected place and I don't recall ever seeing it obviously above the water line even though it's in an area where tides swing by about 2'. There is a locked gate on the access point (there is a locked gate on every dock in the Dogpatch/Mission Bay), but if there is someone working in the nearby boathouse, maybe you can get them to let you go down there without renting a kayak.

If you can BYO something floaty, there is a ramp/launch point just south of the Mariposa Hunters Point Yacht Club. I haven't ever seen someone launch a boat there, but I have seen dogs jump in the water there. YMMV.

Aquatic Cove is also sheltered and accessible. I've seen ocean swimmers there a few times; looks like you need a wetsuit but it's sheltered enough that you could BYO something unstable and give it a try.
posted by asphericalcow at 10:17 AM on September 9, 2017

And if this is a "get on something that floats" (scavenger hunt or something), how about just going on one of the boats up at the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park. Come to think of it there's a bit of a sheltered beach there for launching a floaty toy.
posted by straw at 6:08 PM on September 9, 2017

Thanks, all!
posted by wym at 7:01 PM on September 11, 2017

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