We finally got organized for our Tuesday evening paddle series, although we had to do it on Wednesday for Konstantin to make it. I arrived first at Campbell Cove at the mouth of Bodega Harbor. The swell was reported at 7 feet and the wind blowing from the northwest at 20 knots. I wasn’t sure we would really want to go out in these conditions until I saw Roger’s car pull up to the dock on the other side of the harbor channel. Then I started getting into my gear. Konstantin arrived as I was pulling on my wetsuit and said “Well, if you are getting dressed I guess I have to get in the water also”. I wondered if we were all talking each other into getting in trouble. But Roger and I have been out in worse conditions.
We soon met Roger and paddled out the jetty. The wind was supposed to be coming from the northwest, but it seemed to come from several different directions. At one time it was coming directly from the east as it wrapped around the Bodega Headlands. Konstantin turned north into it at one point to make sure he could make headway into it. When we made it out between Bodega Head and the Bodega Rocks the wind finally settled down to come from the predicted direction. Roger wanted to head directly into the wind and over the waves. I found the wind to be disturbing. It was strong enough to try and pull my paddle out of my hands and to mess up my paddle stroke by tugging at the blades suddenly. The waves rose up large and threatened to break on us over the reef that extends out from Bodega head.
Konstantin dropped behind and I worked hard to keep up with Roger who was reveling in the conditions. I stopped Roger and asked him if the wanted to turn back, but his answer was “No way, I love this stuff!” Konstantin called out to us and we waited for him to catch up. His elbow was bothering him and he wanted to turn back. Roger wanted to continue but when I turned back he joined us. Konstantin was not aware that the two of us were turning back with him and he quickly pulled ahead of us. Roger suggested that we explore Bodega Rocks. But when I declined and headed straight back, Roger said he would explore them himself. Our paths started diverging, and then Roger suddenly disappeared. Looking around I caught a glimpse of him paddling back towards the big waves off Bodega Head. He must have decided to turn back into the tempest.
I followed Konstantin back to shore. He had moved at his normal fast pace so he was dressed and was putting his boat back on his car when I landed. I told him where I had seen Roger last and that I would wait for Roger to land before I left. Konstantin drove up to the top of Bodega Head and walked around looking for Roger while I paddled out again. At first I just paddled out around the end of the Jetty and looked north and south for Roger. He could have decided to paddle down to the mouth of the Estero de Americano, so I had to look everywhere. Then I slowly paddled towards Bodega Head. I took my time and made surprisingly good time across the wind. When I got past Bodega Rocks and looked north past Bodega Head, the wind came up in my face again and tried to take my paddle away. I stopped there and looked for Roger again but could not see him. Someone up on the cliff that could have been Konstantin pointed out to sea. This could mean that Roger was out there, but I was unsure. I had gone out with the intention of getting back by 6:30, since our original plan was for a two hour paddle from 4:30 to 6:30 PM. When I looked at my watch it was 6:10 and I decided to head back. I would check Roger’s car to see if he was already back, and then I would talk to the Coast Guard. Their dock was right next to the one Roger had launched from.
However, as I paddled back towards the jetty, I kept looking over my shoulder. Much to my relief I caught a glimpse of Roger coming back over the big waves around Bodega Head. I paddled out to meet him and escorted him back to shore. He had decided Bodega Rocks was too boring and had gone back out to the big waves over the reef. He had paddled back and forth in the large waves and wind just for the fun of it! On the way back to the jetty, Roger and I did our practice rolls. We both got ice-cream headaches but then we goaded each other into doing six rolls each. We waved goodbye to Konstantin, who had to hurry home for a birthday dinner, and then Roger and I went out for dinner at a restaurant on the shore of Bodega Harbor.