When Dennis Krueger moved from Reno, Nevada, to Morro Bay 17 years ago, he invested in a used kayak and took it out on the tranquil water, contemplating if he should take up the sport while he paddled around the harbor and over to the sand spit that separates the bay from the Pacific.
It must have been a good day on the water because Krueger now owns a shop full of watercraft that he rents and sells, as the owner and operator of Kayak Horizons.
“I honestly feel blessed to have a business like this at this stage in my life,” Krueger said. “I’m outdoors on the waterfront. I get lots of exercise. The business is rewarding and very stimulating, but the best part is that it’s so much fun dealing with all the different people that come in to enjoy kayaking or paddleboarding.”
Krueger and his wife, Deborah, both retired from other careers, run the business together, working especially hard in the summer months to give advice to people from all over the world on where to find the otters and seals that play in the bay.
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“You definitely go home tired, but it is a good tired, usually with at least one memory of a moment that day that made you grin,” Krueger said.
Besides running the business on the bay, Krueger spends his off hours protecting it.
He and Deborah are volunteers for a UC Santa Cruz program collecting monthly data on the local sea star population, which has been drastically declining from sea star wasting disease along the West Coast.
“Sea stars along much of the North American Pacific coast are dying in great numbers from a mysterious wasting syndrome,” he said. “It’s fun going to the pier pilings and checking on them and seeing what’s happening to them. It’s great to see some baby starfish coming back to the area.”
Krueger also volunteers for the Morro Bay National Estuary Program, collecting water quality data on Chorro Creek, which feeds into Morro Bay.
“The information I collect is used by local, regional, state and even federal agencies to help them make decisions that will impact the coastal areas and the marine life in it, now and for generations to come,” he said.
“Being a volunteer gives you a little peek into how complicated it is to come to some of these huge and complex decisions that need to be made,” Krueger added. “It’s also nice having such intelligent and dedicated people that I can tap into when I have a question from my clients concerning the estuary or the sea stars along our coast. The business goes hand in hand with our volunteering.
“Moving here was the best decision we’ve ever made.”
• Accommodation and food service industries
• Retail and trade
• Health care and social assistance
• Administrative support, waste management and remediation
• Tidelands Park, Fourth of July
• Merchant’s Summer Street Fair, Aug. 7, 2016
• Avocado & Margarita Festival, Sept. 10, 2016
• Lighted Boat Parade, Dec. 3, 2016