I had missed opportunities the last two days to go out, and the Weather Radio was reporting that the waves were starting to get higher, 7 feet this morning. So I decided to miss the class I was planning on dropping anyway, and go kayaking instead. It was raining, there was a little wind blowing out to sea, and the Russian River was staining a large section of the ocean brown around Jenner and Goat Rock Beach. Right after I got in the water, I saw a seal swimming by. It was very black and easy to see against the brown water, and I wondered if I was going to be able to notice more wildlife against this unusual color (the seal didn't notice me). Once out in the water near Goat Rock, the wind seemed stronger than I had been lead to believe from the weather reports. The rain came down at a 45 degree angle, and blew under the brim of my hat and got my face wet all the way up to my eyebrows. I was disappointed because the hat usually does a much better job of keeping my face dry. I was also surprised to notice the taste of the water on my lips: unsalted! I'm so used to salt spray on my face while on the ocean, the fresh water tasted weird in this context. I considered hiding under the arch of the arched rock to get out of the wind and rain, but the waves in there looked rough, and I decided to save that for the return trip.
As I headed through the rocks, I saw something colorful close to shore. It turned out to be a fisherman's float, and although it was a little too close to the rocks for comfort, I went in and picked it up. It had a length of rope attached to it and I stared to pull it up, but more and more rope appeared. I was nervous this close to the rocks, so I turned and headed out to sea to deal with the rope with more room. But the rope jerked back and turned me back towards the rocks. It was apparently still attached to a crab trap! I though it was too close to the rocks for a kayak, how could a crab boat have put this here? I let the float go and hypothesized that the high tides the last few days had picked up this trap by it's float and moved it too close to shore for the boat to recover. Should I write down the number off the float and report it? Should I pick it up and see if there's a crab dinner inside for me? I decided to leave it alone in case some crazy crab trapper was really working this close to shore.
When I got past the last rock by Shell Beach, I stopped for my Power Bar (registered trade mark) breakfast, and rested to see what the wind from the east would do to me. While I munched, it managed to blow me several hundred meters out to sea. I had a brief thought about finding out where it would take me... but I know the answer: Davy Jones Locker, not some exotic foreign land.
The waves at 7 feet were a little rough for playing around the rocks, although the breakers at the shore were very mild for getting in and out of the water. Before this trip, I had been wondering if I should up my cut-off point and get in the water when the waves were higher than 8 feet. But this trip convinced me that at higher amplitudes, the waves around the rocks would be too rough, and I would not have any fun. Strange to think that as the waves get higher the trips get more boring, not more scary. On the trip back, I did go through the arch, and it was a few moments of relief from the wind and rain. Actually, I didn't notice the wind and rain go away, but noticed it coming back when I came out the other end. I'm not sure if the mild waves at shore were caused by the high tide or if the swells at sea were milder than I was told. Either way, I was able to get close to shore without getting in the breakers, and zip onto the beach between waves.