Kayak through surreal bioluminescence

Kayaking through water that is glowing in the dark as a result of the movement of the paddle, this sounds like something from a dream. However, this weekend, 11 students and two Volunteer Guides will get to experience this first hand.

The process of bioluminescence is defined as a chemical reaction in an organism under specific conditions that results in light generation. This weekend, the Campus Recreation Outdoors Pursuits group is taking an overnight trip to Tomales Bay, about two hours from campus, to experience this natural phenomenon firsthand. Each stroke that one’s paddle makes will light up the water beneath and the kayak because of bioluminescence. 

The cost of this trip was $109 for early birds until Sept. 10 and increased to $115. These trips are open to anyone, however it is primarily Sonoma State students who sign up. Outdoor Pursuits designs all of their trips with people in mind who may not be as physically active as others so that everyone who wants to participate is able to. This particular trip was rated with a moderate degree of difficulty, so those attending should be prepared for slight challenges along the way. Yet, most should be able to do it. 

There are two Volunteer Guides on the trip, Cayla Klein and Lauren Shafer plus 11 students attending. A couple people are still on the waitlist, but spots filled up quickly within two weeks of the school year. These trips fill up fast each time so people need to remember to sign up as soon as they can.

Outdoor Pursuits provide tents for the participants however they are expected to bring their own sleeping bags. If students do not have their own sleeping bag, they can rent them through the Outdoor Resource Center. The same goes for sleeping pads for underneath the sleeping bags. 

Volunteer Guide Klein is looking forward to this excursion. 

“Participants can expect to have great food, an amazing experience and make awesome connections with not only other participants and guides but also with the outfitter,” said Klein. 

An outfitter is a member of an outside company that helps out with renting the gear and guiding the trips that are more specialized. For example, with this trip the outfitter will be specialized with kayaks and to help with any complications.  

For the Bioluminescent Kayaking Trip, they will use Blue Waters Kayaking as their outfitter and they will provide the kayaks. Kevin Soleil, who is the full-time staff for all of the Outdoor Adventure Programs, also works for Blue Waters Kayaking. 

There is the option of one or two person kayaks, however they will most likely be using the two person kayaks to promote team-bonding skills. This further gives participants a chance to challenge themselves while making new friends. 

Outdoor Pursuits is a student-run organization. They put a great deal of time and effort into planning all of their excursions to make sure that all of the volunteer guides are up to date with their certifications and skills. 

“But most of all, we work hard to make sure we provide the best trips possible,” said Klein.

The Campus Recreation Outdoor Pursuits has many other adventurous excursions planned for the remainder of the semester including multiple backpacking, climbing, hiking and biking trips. These trips provide students with not only an amazing opportunity in the outdoors, but also life experiences that they would not have gained otherwise. 

People have the ability to make new friends and learn new things about themselves and the world. For further information on these wilderness outings, check out the Outdoor Pursuits website: sonoma.edu/campusrec/programs/outdoor-pursuits.