Summer has finally arrived, and this was a very hot day. We drove up from Berkeley through the middle of the day, so I didn't go kayaking in the morning. I waited until 7:00pm, and then went out to watch the sunset from the ocean at Russian Gultch Beach. The sky was hazy at sea as I drove to the beach. The creek was almost dry, so access to this beach was getting easier, and I expected to see a lot of people. I heard people walking up the creek wash as I went down the trail, but didn't see them. By the time I got to the beach at almost 8:00pm, I only saw two groups left. I put my jacket on, even though the water looked pretty accessible, just because the swells were reported to be 7 feet. Getting into the water here was as easy as it usually is.
I went north, planning to just go a mile or so and head back in time to watch the sunset from the water before landing. Somewhere up here is a big rock with a very calm pebbly beach behind it, so I paddled around each rock looking for this again. When I found it, I discovered that this rock was now the home of a colony of cliff swallows, and they filled the air around me with their bodies and their cries as I paddled by. This spot turned out to be farther north than I had remembered, and it was almost sunset when I got there, so I turned back. I stopped from time to time on the first leg of the trip back to glance back at the sky, and then stopped to watch the sun drop behind the horizon. Wednesday was Summer Solstice, the longest day of summer, and the sun is setting far to the north. So far, in fact, that it set behind Fort Ross point instead of setting in the water! I turned out to sea and headed the rest of the way back to the beach, stopping to admire the color of the clouds to the northwest a few times. Unlike my last evening trip here, I managed to find the beach on the first pass, and landed while the visibility was still good. By the time I got my equipment back to the parking lot, it was navigational twilight (the bright stars and constellations were visible) and about 9:15pm.