Isla Santa Cruz to Isla San Jose, April 12th 2009.

I was on Isla Santa Cruz a day early, and this was a layover day for everyone else. So I tried to enjoy myself by sleeping in late. I had a breakfast of an orange (to stave off scurvy) and some trail mix. I had oatmeal and cocoa but didnít bother to start another fire.

There was little wind in my arroyo for the night and morning but when I launched I encountered a strong wind from the northwest. I fought my way north up Isla Santa Cruz for two hours before I rounded the northeast tip and started south again. This side of the island had cliffs dropping straight into the water with no place to land.

I rested and ate lunch in my kayak in the lee of the southeast corner of the island. Then started the crossing back to Isla San Diego. With a forecast of a ten knot wind and observations (mine) of gusts up to twenty knots I didnít know what to expect. What I found was that the wind died down away from the islands and came back as I approached the next one. Occasionally a patch of ocean between islands would roar like a rip current and get whipped up into white water but then it would calm down again. I hypothesize that the air near the surface was generally calm below a layer of wind. The islands poke up into the windy layer and pull it down to the surface. And occasionally turbulence allowed the windy layer to come down to the surface in the middle of nowhere.

As I came back past the north tip of Isla San Jose the wind and waves rose up again with waves reflecting off the point. After I made radio contact with everyone else in camp, Andrea Wolf was able to spot me through binoculars. She said that I was disappearing behind the waves! Promises, promises. None of the waves were big enough to give me a good ride although I tried and tried. I landed in camp to hear that the wind from the north was strong all day. If I had tried to do this side trip as originally planned as a day trip, I probably would never have gone to Isla Santa Cruz.

All text and images Copyright © 2009 by Mike Higgins / contact