A MORE ENGAGING EXPERIENCE: One does not visit Eureka without admiring one of its many murals. Nor does one spend a lookie-loo day in the town without a gawk at the dramatic Carson Mansion, which sees its image show up, in dozens of ways, all around the world, when Halloween rolls around. And Humboldt Bay? It's certainly beautiful, and serene, and, per the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, one of the most "beautiful and biologically rich places in the world." But how engaged have you been with that beautiful and robust spot, on your pass-throughs of Eureka? Has it merely been a pause to glance at the water, and that's it? Or have you been out on it? A fine chance to commune with the interesting and diverse bay while being out on the waves is just ahead: Paddlefest. The Saturday, Sept. 13 happening is all about putting humans out on the H2O, in kayaks, and paddleboards. Put together by the Humboldt State University Activities and Humboldt Bay Aquatic Center, the event will see a lot of locals and students though those "further afield" are invited to participate. Call it an easy way, complete with classes and knowledgeable people standing by, to get out on the bay for the first time.
ON THE SCHEDULE: Clinics that'll happen both on the water and on land -- think stand-up paddleboard basic skills, kayak basic skills, and "dressing for the water." A Eureka Channel Fun Race happens noon-thirty, and a make-your-own-kayak to-do will be afoot (make it out of cardboard, note). As for tours? They're happening, too, including of the U.S. Coast Guard Barracuda. Even if you don't jump into the 2014 Paddlefest, it is worth remembering that Humboldt Bay isn't just for the gazing at, for a minute or two, but engaging with. Want to read more of its estuaries, wildlife, and rich, winged, fin-filled plenitude? Paddle this way.