I stopped in Oakland on my drive home from the Channel Islands to go on another ocean kayak trip with Maryly Snow. The weather reports indicated that the swell was up to eight feet north of us but decreasing as you moved south to the SF buoy. So we went to Muir Beach in Marin County where there is a mild place to launch close to the mild five foot swell reported off SF. The wind was already coming up when we made it to the beach for a late 3:00 PM launch and I worried about the weather getting too rough for our trip. I had originally thought we would paddle to Point Bonita and back because I had confused Muir Beach with Rodeo Beach which is only a few kilometers from the point. When we saw how far away the Point Bonito Lighthouse was, we decided to just travel down the coast a ways and turn back when it felt comfortable.
I was still in my smashed up Frenzy kayak and figured it might slow me down enough for Maryly to have less trouble keeping up. As we went around the first point south of Muir Beach the water became pretty choppy and we stayed a bit offshore. Maryly was alternately bothered and elated by the conditions. I pointed out the place where Jamie and John had smashed up their fiberglass boats on a BASK trip in this area. Past this the next point had a cave that I had been in, so I headed close to shore to look into it. Maryly held back from getting that close to shore so we turned south towards a vertical cliff past the cave.
I described to Maryly the calm you can find close to a near vertical cliff dropping into deep water, then demonstrated by paddling close to the cliff and trying to reach out and touch the rock. The cliff wasnít really vertical enough for me to reach out and touch it, so I gave up on that. But I spent a few minutes trying and bouncing up and down on the water. As I described, the water wasnít rough enough to even require bracing with the paddle to stay upright. I even stowed my paddle for a while and sat close to the cliff with no hands and no problems. This helped Maryly to get comfortable, but she wasnít foolish enough to emulate me (yet). Because she was more comfortable in the water on the way back we paddled close past a rocky section of shore that we had gone way around on the way out. Maryly talked to me about rock gardening and going behind some of the rocks, then surprised me by turning and dashing behind one herself! After this we stayed even closer to shore behind a few more rocks until we got back to Muir Beach.
Maryly side surfed one wave half way to shore, then got knocked over when another wave overtook and surprised her. She was wet and embarrassed and didnít want to get back in the water at first. I jumped back in for some surf launch practice. I found it interesting to take my time in the impact zone and find out if I could handle whatever the waves threw at me. If the waves stayed mild I would mildly paddle out to sea again. If a large wave broke in front of me I would turn and ride it back in for a while, then calmly turn out for another try. Even when a wave broke directly on me I was able to hold onto the boat (with the help of my thigh straps) and stay upright. Maryly came back out a for a while and on one large wave we did synchronized surfing, both of us riding in on parallel paths about 5 meters apart!