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Living and Writing in the Natural World

A "People's Tour" of Marin and Napa counties

China Camp village on San Pablo Bay

The entrance to San Francisco Bay through the Golden Gate is narrow, fog-shrouded, and laced with ship-ripping rocks. No wonder all the original European explorers of the Pacific Coast missed it, from Cabrillo in 1542 to Vizcaino in 1602 and others a further century on. Once you’re in, though, what a series of immense, sheltered bays! San Francisco Bay proper to the south; San Pablo Bay to the north; and to the east, beyond the even-narrower Carquinez Strait, blossoms Suisin Bay. This third bay is the life-blood of the whole system, as it conveys massive (originally) flows of fresh water from California’s two mightiest rivers, the Sacramento and the San Joaquin, into the three bays via the Delta.

As Al and I drove south through the Sacramento Valley, two kayaks strapped atop the car, our goal was a campground at the edge of the salt marshes of San Pablo Bay—specifically China Camp State Park,  Read More 

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