I was on my way from Berkeley to work in Marin county, so I went to repeat an old trip and take some pictures. The first time I went this route, I went from Rodeo Beach to Muir Beach and back. This time I knew that Muir has much calmer water, so I started there. When I got to the beach at 8:30am (very late in my book) the gates were locked! The sign said that they were closed at 10:0pm, but never mentioned when they were opened again. While I considered a long walk from the nearest legal spot, a lifeguard truck showed up and unloced the gate. I don't recall being denied access here before on earlier trips, so this must be new. It didn't discourage street people from camping, there were several groups of campers on the beach.
I got ready and got directly into the water. The waves at this beach were calm normally, and the swells at sea were only 3 feet this morning. I headed south past the rest of the beach and off inbetween the rocks. I think many of the sights I recalled from this area are actually things I saw south of Rodeo Beach. It was an uneventfull trip with nice cliffs, mild waves, but no caves or arches to poke into. I planned on turning back as soon as I caught sight of Rodeo Beach and perhaps going north of Muir Beach a little ways. When I got to the point where I could see Rodeo Beach, the water started doing this strange thing. Just off the point the water was very rough, and waves seemed to be rushing in towards me, but never getting all the way to shore. The water seemed to be sloping into this choppy water, like there was a huge current. I had only glanced at the tide book, but the maximum ebb out of the golden gate was very early, like 6:00am. I didn't expect the maximum flood until noon (checking later, this was correct). But here was this current moving very rapidly south, and I had to go north back to Muir Beach. So the trip back was a bit more work than I had expected. Since summer was finally here, it was a sunny morning and I was a little hot and uncomfortable to boot. I had put a t-shirt on over the farmer john part of the wetsuit, and this inhibited me from just jumping in the water to cool off. I decided to save the area north of here for another trip.
When I got back to the beach, there were a lot of people out for a day on the beach, even though it was a Thursday morning. I had sort of planned on landing closer to the center of the beach to shorten my drag back up to the car. But there were little kids swarming around the water, and I had to paddle almost clear accross the beach before finding a place to land where I wouldn't risk plowing someone under. The mild waves made for an easy landing.