Best conditions: low tide. Current and wind have little effect on this route
Quivira Basin is mostly docks and marinas so there's plenty of slow-moving boat traffic and polite paddlers keep their eyes open and stay out of the way of bigger boats. The bait dock anchored in the middle of the basin is covered with birds and usually sea lions which will either be seen swimming alongside the dock, or basking in the sun on top of it. If there aren't any boats loading up with bait, paddle close to the dock and see if you can identify cormorants, night herons, great blue herons, snowy egrets, pelicans, and others! When you leave the bait dock, take a slightly longer route towards the edges of the basin to get out of the way of bigger boat traffic. The most dangerous spot is the narrow entrance/exit to Quivira Basin, so be sure to keep to the sides. There are often fisherman fishing on the north point, so be sure not to get tangled in their lines.
Stick to the sides in the channel - boats are traveling faster here and the water gets rougher the farther you go towards the ocean. Once past the 5 mph buoys, the risk increases significantly so stay close to shore but keep your eyes out for fishing lines! Keep your eyes out for dolphins in the channel. They aren't there all the time, but you might get lucky! If fishing boats are coming in the channel, they are often tailed by sea lions and gulls hoping for some scraps. If you cross the channel, do it quickly, and at right angles to the direction of traffic.
Mariner's Cove is a great place to see the abundant invertebrate population of Mission Bay. Low tide is better for viewing invertebrates and drifting will keep you from scaring shy creatures into their hiding places. Drift slowly very close to the rocky points to look for starfish, oysters, barnacles, periwinkles, welks, limpets, and chitons attached to the rocks, crabs skittering and bright orange garibaldi swimming among them. If you're still enough, you might be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of an eel or octopus. Drift over ell grass beds and look for the neon colors of slugs, sea hares, rays and fish. The sandy shallows are often teaming with sand dollars and snails. Least turns are commonly spotted perched on mooring buoys. Mariner's Point is a protected nesting area for this endangered species.