We spent the weekend in a faulty paradise, known as Tomales Bay (about an hour north of San Francisco). I say 'faulty' because Tomales Bay is a submerged portion of the San Andreas earthquake fault. The south side of the bay is a lushly forested area and the north side is dry and almost desert-like. The bay divides two tectonic plates displaying unique and diverse flora and fauna.
Celebrating a first and a thirty-first anniversary, we rented a two bedroom cabin in Inverness with a view of the south green ridge, a hot tub, and a full kitchen. It was a birthday/anniversary gift to our daughter, Eva, and her husband, Bryan. Friday was a lovely afternoon and we all beat the commute traffic in time to enjoy the sunset. Eva, having just graduated from culinary school, prepared a gourmet dinner of grilled wild king salmon filets with a red Thai curry sauce on a bed of jasmine rice with Asian coleslaw made with cabbage, cucumbers, mint, and cilantro. It was dressed with soy sauce and rice vinegar and sprinkled with roasted peanuts. This recipe was adapted from the cookbook of Terra , a restaurant in St. Helena. The meal was to live for and to capture on film.
I reserved four sea kayaks for our Saturday morning outing on the bay but we ended up with a double and two singles. Eva wanted a free ride in case her arms got tired from paddling. Darling son-in-law, Bryan, obliged. We headed west toward the ocean and saw a seal lolling in the calm water. I left my camera in the car wanting it to stay dry. We were told that we might see some sharks and rays but we settled with the pelicans, gulls, and ducks.
The wind came up around noon so I headed back for the rental shack, surfing the sudden waves that pushed me along with the wind and current. It was exhilarating. Sam and the kids arrived about fifteen minutes later. I had gone my own way to savor the private peace of kayaking and wearing my watch, knew when it was time for me to go back.
We returned to our cabin for lunch and a rest. A unanimous decision to go on a hike to see the Tule Elk Reserve put us at Pierce Point Ranch after a scenic twenty minute drive winding around historic dairy ranches. It's a four and a half mile hike to the end of the trail at Tomales Point but we turned back short of the full hike because of our eight o'clock dinner reservations. We were blessed by several elk sightings and a haunting symphony of the remarkable whistle calls of the rutting elk.
A gourmet dinner was enjoyed by all at the Olema Inn. We admired a large painting of a cow adorning the main dining room. Our waiter sent us on a crusade the following morning to a Point Reyes Station Art Gallery to learn more about the artist.
Our final treat of the weekend was a picnic at Hog Island Oysters in Marshall on the north side of Tomales Bay. We succeeded in scoring table space despite the "all full" warning sign. We ordered a variety tray of fifty fresh oysters to shuck and devour with our white wine, mignonette sauce, cheese, humus, and bread. It was and always is (for me) the penultimate experience of Tomales Bay.
However, the young lovebirds stayed on for one more night at Manka's Inverness Lodge and raved to me about their room and their amazing dining experience on Sunday night. Maybe we could go next year....