MILL VALLEY RESIDEN T Bob Licht had already spent a decade leading whitewater trips all over the state when he decided to stick closer to home by opening California’s first commercial sea kayaking opera- tion in Sausalito in 1982. “I knew that Richardson Bay had abundant wildlife, great views and dynamic onditions for paddling, from mild to wild,” he recalls. “So I figured that since I loved paddling there so much, others would too.” Not coincidentally, 35 years since Licht launched Sea Trek (he handed over
the keys to son Galen in 2014), it seems there’s a kayak in every Marin garage, even if it shares cobwebs most of the time
with that other iconic Marin sports-gear item, the mountain bike. In reality, the existence of Sea Trek and Marin’s two
other paddling enterprises in San Rafael and Inverness make ownership unnecessary. Beginners and frequent kayakers
alike can rent to their heart’s content at those spots, while paddling in three distinct bodies of water.
Where do you paddle? Kayaking from Sea Trek, tucked behind Sausalito’s Bay Model, you’ll slip past yachts, houseboats,
harbor seals and cormorant colonies in Richardson Bay — with Mount Tamalpais, Angel Island and the San Francisco sky-
line as a backdrop. Paddling from 101 Surf Sports, kayakers follow the San Rafael Canal from Highway 101 to the bay before
heading north toward China Camp State Park, south toward the Richmond–San Rafael Bridge or east toward the Marin
Islands, a national wildlife refuge. From Blue Waters Kayaking in Inverness, paddlers pass a succession of quiet beaches
— Heart’s Desire, Marshall and Tomales — in Tomales Bay. Bat rays, tule elk, osprey and great blue herons are among the
creatures paddlers encounter. The drive to Inverness takes time and it’s the priciest of Marin’s kayak-rental locations ($60
Recreational kayaking is easy, safe and scenic —
BY BOB COOPER • PHOTOS BY STEVE KEPPLE
and there’s no better place to do it than here in Marin.