As often happens, work and poorly timed weather had kept me out of the water for several weeks. Marty was up this weekend, and politeness often keeps me home. She is not fond of my kayaking hobby, and since the Black Point Beach disaster, she has refused to come out to the beach for a walk while I kayak. She doesn't want to be there to watch me try to drown myself, and doesn't want to be stuck bored on the beach waiting for me to come back from a sucessful trip either. But this Sunday, Marty was canning the last fruit and vegetables of the season, and was unable even to go for a walk outside. I got cabin fever, and had to get out of the house, or I'd just sit around watching the sappy classic movies Marty had on while working in the kitchen. I decided to go for a walk on the Kortum Trail between Goat Rock and Shell Beach.
Without Marty along, I was free to climb to the top of "The Stub", a large rock up on the flat meadow back from the cliff edge. From up there, the water looked surprisingly mild. It was afternoon, and I had expected the wind to come up by now and make kayaking out of the question. The water looked so mild, that I decided to dash home, bring the kayak out, and try landing on a bunch of the little inaccessible beaches at the bottom of the cliffs.
One reason I had not considered going kayaking, was because my VW bus was in the shop again, and not available for carrying the kayak. I tried putting a blanket on top of my "Cute Little" Honda CRX, and tying the kayak down just with a line from the prow and stern to the bumpers. On the trip out, this was inadequate to hold the kayak down. The wind of my travel, plus the wind starting up the river valley was strong enough to fly the kayak a few inches above the roof of the car. I had to hold it down with one arm out the window in the cold air. Later, on the trip back, the wind was less and I was driving with it instead of into it, so the kayak stayed down without any help. The experiment was a reasonable success, and I'm convinced that I could carry the kayak on longer trips if I was to get a good car-top rack.
It was cold and starting to get windy on the ocean when I got in the water. The wind was blowing in from the west, and I figured it would not hinder me any more on the way back than it would on the way out. I paddled south past the arched rock, (saving it for the return trip) and around the point that ends the Goat Rock beach. Like a previous trip done in mild water, I paddled close to shore and went behind most of the rocks. Either the water is a lot milder than some of those earlier trips, or I have become a lot more comfortable in rougher seas.
There are some places I would like to explore by landing on every scrap of beach to look around. The stretch of cliffs between Limantour Beach and Point Resistance, for example. Before heading out into the wilderness there, I figured I could practice the same sort of thing right here near home. I pulled into every scrap of sandy or pebbly beach I could find, landing and taking off from each of them. I took a picture of my kayak on each of these beaches to document the trip. I had paddled past this area when I first tried out the kayak, and had been afraid to paddle between the rocks and the shore. Then I had seen how inviting the shore looked from the Kortum Trail, and wanted to explore it farther. This day I finally completed the cycle by exploring every inch of shoreline.
But when I got to Shell Beach, the waves suddenly got much worse. They may have been pretty bad all along, and I had been sheltered from them by all the rocks in these waters. Shell Beach had an opening through the rocks that let some scary waves in to break far from shore. I did not land on this beach, and just skirted back out around the larger rocks and went out to sea a few hundred meters. All this puttering around had taken longer than I had expected, and it was approaching sunset. In fact, as I paddled back behind the big arched rock, the sun set, and I decided to forgo a trip through the arch itself. I went back to Goat Rock Beach, behind the rock and parking lot, and found mild enough waves for an easy landing.