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Ashby Shoal Lights Up the Bay at King ‘Low’ Tide

On Friday we let the cat out of the bag… There are people who might refer to this spot as “secret,” but too many people know about it for the secret to remain fully intact. We’re referring to Ashby Shoal, the sand bar that lies just off the Emeryville Marina and has caught more than one sailor off guard when veering too far out of the channel. This weekend the shoal was clearly visible, and was once again the staging ground for what is possibly the Bay Area’s most unique party.

beach party at low tide
There are no official invites, but everyone who makes their way to the shoal is welcomed like an old friend.
© 2023 Michael McAnaney

One group of partygoers, Michael McAnaney and Hardy Chambliss and their sons Nash, Fletcher and Atlas, joined the festivities via kayaks and paddle boards, leaving from Emeryville Marina Park. The three boys were the only kids on the temporary beach, and Michael says, “They had a blast exploring!!”

Three boys on Ashby Shoal
For Nash, Fletcher, and Atlas, the adventure continued well after sunset.
© 2023 Michael McAnaney

And while they used paddles to reach the shoal, all five are also sailors.

“Hardy is a very experienced sailor,” Michael wrote, “and I am in sailing school at Club Nautique.”

Michael is working toward daysailing on the Bay with his family, and he wants his kids to learn the skills as they grow up. Though he doesn’t own a boat yet, and Hardy owns a powerboat, both are members at Encinal Yacht Club, and Hardy’s kids are in EYC’s Junior Sailing Program.

“Hardy found out about the Shoal party from your article, and he is a Latitude 38 reader. So thank you for publishing it because it prompted us to have a great dad’s adventure!!”

SF lights from Ashby Shoal
The East Bay lights make a spectacular backdrop to the drop-in party.
© 2023 Michael McAnaney

Ashby Shoal only appears at the lowest point of a king tide, which usually happens only a couple of times a year. While it may not be the longest-lasting party, as once the tide returns you’re going to get wet, it is certainly one of the most unique parties “in” the Bay.

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Southbound Sailors
Later this month, Latitude 38 editor-at-large, Andy Turpin will be hosting Pacific Puddle Jump seminars in Mexico and Panama for those who are moving from dreaming to doing the passage south.