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Guide to Boating The California Coast : Bayside to the Pacific Ocean and the Potato Patch

Bay Side to the Pacific Ocean

Bayside fish

One of the most beautiful of the Presido' Trails is the Coastal Trail, which starts south of the Golden Gate Bridge toll plaza. The Coastal Trail winds its way south along the clifftops through groves of eucalyptus and cypress in the presidio, past abandoned batteries, and along Lincoln Boulevard. The stretch of land from the Golden Gate to the Cliff house is some of the most unique landscapes in the world and the entire West Coast. The California Coast does not have an uninterrupted break until the end of the Baja Peninsula.

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So when standing at the edge of lands ends, you can see all the geographic changes over time that cause some severe tidal currents and rough seas. For example, the famed Potato Patch is a shoal that forms a formidable shipping hazard outside the Golden Gate Bridge. On stormy days, the vast expanse of the relatively shallow reef looks like white frosting on a cake that has fallen on the floor a venerable mess of aquatic hell.

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The Potato Patch sits menacingly waiting for all those who challenge it with water depths ranging between 7-11 meters (23-36 feet). Its turbulence is renowned in the area. For boaters, you have to be especially experience and ready for sailing through the Potato Patch. Atomic Tuna's Wayne Goldman says to "stay away, but you can go up the Bonita channel that is the route closest to shore.


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