I was still tired from my ordeal the day before, but the weather was holding out and I wanted to take advantage of it. I considered taking Jeremy out boogie boarding, but on such a nice day I figured Salmon Creek Beach would be knee-deep in surfers. While recently adding a map-based index to my WEB page I noticed that I had no pictures of the Bodega Bay area. In fact I had only ever paddled past Bodega Head once in rough seas with an overcast sky. So I decided to try a short trip paddling around Bodega Head to take some pictures in this glorious clear calm weather.
Since I was already thinking about Jeremy, I invited him to come along and join me on a kayak trip. I showed up at Jeremy's place with the USGS map of Bodega Head and we discovered that the short trip I was thinking of, Campbel Cove to Mussel Point and back, was probably a 12 kilometer round trip and probably beyond Jeremy's skill level for now. We decided to go out to Bodega Head anyway and just turn back part way around. Since we didn't get organized until after noon or out to Campbel Cove until after 1:00 PM, a short trip was in order anyway.
The tide was high but not going out yet. We paddled a short distance down to the base of the jetty, and discovered that there was a little notch in the breakwater. We were able to drag the kayaks through this and save over a kilometer paddling out to the end of the jetty and back. From here we paddled south and west along the edge of Bodega Head. The NOAA buoy was reporting 5 foot swells, and this part of the Head should have been well protected. But as we went farther and farther south some pretty large waves refracted around the head and broke into the rocks. I had hoped to take Jeremy behind all the rocks in the water here, but we had to avoid them. It is one thing to look at a wave and wonder if it is going to get me in trouble. It is entirely another type of chilling fear to look at a wave and wonder if I am leading someone else into trouble. So we got farther and farther from shore as we got out from behind the protection of the Head.
The water started to get choppy and Jeremy's arms started getting tired. I tried to talk to him about efficient paddling techniques but he was no longer having fun and not in the mood for listening. I talked him into following me far enough to see around the southern tip of the Head. We could see a large group of people on the top of the cliff watching for gray whales going by on their migration. We didn't see any sign of whales. And from our farthest reach we could not see Mussel Point. When we turned back, I discovered that the north-west wind we were promised was coming directly from the north. We had to work hard to paddle into it, and Jeremy started having even less fun. I took pity on him and let him hook his bowline to the stern of my kayak and towed him part of the way back. He paddled along with me to carry part of his load, and complained that just putting the paddle in the water to keep up with me was wearing him out!
When we slipped back into calmer water, I turned towards the shore and landed on a little sandy pocket beach tucked into the cliff. We climbed around on the rocks for a while, and I collected a few handfuls of mussels for my dinner the next day. I told Jeremy not to collect any because he doesn't have a license, but he reminded me that he is young enough to fish without a license. So he collected a few for his dad.
Once we were back in the water, I took us diagonally out to the end of the jetty. I thought it would be interesting to paddle down the length of the channel and go back a different route. But when we got out to the tip, the wind came up again and the tidal current was zipping out and around the end. In my original plan of going all the way to Mussel Point and back I had assumed the tide would be slack or even flooding back in when I returned. But this short aborted trip stuck us in a strong ebb current. Jeremy fought his way around the point and into the channel, muttering that he couldn't keep this up all the way to the beach. Then he scowled at me when I told him to "waste all that effort" (his words) and go back around the end of the jetty so we could go up the south side of the breakwater.
On this side we were protected from the wind and the current and had a much nicer time. We stopped to help untangle a crab net from the rocks. People were throwing these netted hoops off of the breakwater. After a while waiting for crabs to climb on them to eat the bait, they pulled them back in. One had tangled in the rocks on the bottom, and I was easily able to pull it loose from my angle. The tide had fallen quite a distance and we had quite a few more rocks to drag the kayaks over to get through the notch in the breakwater. We also had a much larger stretch of beach to drag the kayaks up to get back close to the car again.