We launched the kayaks from Charleston Bay -a very large harbor area for fishing boats-both professional and recreational. We paddled by fish canning plants and under the highway draw bridge. The South slough-our destination-lay about 3 miles ahead. We moved rapidly south into the South Slough pushed by the incoming tide and mild wind. We observed many seals poking their heads out to see the "invaders". The seals along with flocks of waterbirds(seagulls,Cormorants, Herons, etc.) were furiously feeding upon a rich school of fish. It was an amusing sight. One large seal rolled 10 feet away from our kayak with a loud slap that startled us. We soon encountered very shallow water and large exposed sandbars. As we wove our way through the shallow water we ran aground. Eventually we were able to find a way through. After about 3 miles we noticed the wind picked up quite a lot and was creating moderate waves and driving us forward. We decided to turn around and head back to port. It was a herculean paddle now into the wind plus the incoming tide. We ran aground two or three times as we could not see the shallows because of the waves. At times we seemed to stand still even while laboring intensely. We fought and fought against nature to make our way back. It took us over two hours and we were totally spent as we finally reached the calm waters at the launch site. We hardly noticed that it was quite cool as our labours kept us very warm. We celebrated our victory with a fabulous lunch of seafood stew,oyster stew and shrimp salad at the Portside Restaurant in Charleston, OR. The South Slough is a national Estuarine research reserve established in 1974. South Slough is managed by the Oregon Dept. of State lands. Estuaries are places where rivers meet the sea and salt and fresh waters mix. This produces a rich productive ecosystem able to support hundreds of species of fish,shellfish,and all kinds of microorganisms. It is a complete cyclical food chain. One finds Dungeness crab,salmon,herring,oysters,and shellfish. They provide stopovers where migrating waterfowl can rest and find food. Estuaries improve water quality by filtering out sediment and pollutants.

We had a special dinner tonight at one of our favorite restaurants, The Hilltop House.

It is one of the top ten restaurants in Oregon. Set on a steep hillside it overlooks Coos Bay in a very spectacular way. The grounds are filled with flowers. We had breaded Halibut with Baked Ravioli, Calamari almondine, and grilled red snapper. What a seafood treat !!!

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