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The waters of Tomales Bay cover the border and create what is called a "liminal" place—a place of transition, of change, a magical land- and seascape that is neither here nor there, but somewhere in between. You can paddle with dolphins and bat rays, glide over jellies and seastars, and watch loons, cormorants, ospreys and herons. In migratory seasons flocks of surf scoters float in great arcs stretching almost the mile width of the Bay. When they take off the sound of their wings is like the sky itself is lifting.
Put-ins are all over the place. My favorites are Nick's cove on the northeastern end of the Bay, just off Highway 1 a few miles north of the town of Marshall. It costs $5 to leave your vehicle there. Then you can paddle out to Hog Island and to the beautiful white cliffs on the western shore—good bat ray and dolphin territory. You might spot a leopard shark in season. Right in Marshall you can put in on the beach at the kayak rental place (Blue Waters) for free. On nice weekends it can be tough to find parking. On the western shore go to the Chicken Ranch beach a mile or two north of Inverness. Blue Waters has another kayak rental place there as well. Maps of the area are readily available on the internet; just google Tomales Bay.
Heading north out of the Bay is for experienced, well-equipped sea kayakers only. Best kayaking for novices is in the morning, before winds pick up. Mid- to late-afternoons are usually windy, creating significant chop on the bay. Great for intermediate kayakers who want to expand their horizons a bit.
Guide to Sea Kayaking Central & Northern California by Roger Schumann and Jan Shriner
YakCatcher Rod Holder