La Cruz Rock to San Simeon, August 15th 2001.

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Konstantin worried about the fog rolling in the evening before and took a bearing on Point Piedras Blancas. He figured we would not be able to leave early in the morning so we slept in until 6:00 AM! Then we took our time getting packed and ready to go because the fog was so thick we could not even see the nearby La Cruz Rock. Eventually the fog cleared a little bit and we launched into the thick of it at 9:00 AM. We tried to follow our bearing of 140 degrees but ran into thick kelp. So we went outside and adjusted our course a little. For an hour we paddled with only occasional glimpses of the shore. Point Piedras Blancas appeared right on schedule! I awarded Konstantin a merit badge for Kayak Navigation By Instruments!

This point has a Coast Guard station with a strange looking lighthouse. The light is on top of a tower that is shaped like an old fashioned lighthouse tower but is made of unfinished modern concrete and has a small new-fashioned flasher on it in a forest of antenna instead of a cupola. We saw the light flashing while shuttling the car, but in the fog we could not see the light at all and could only vaguely see the base of the tower.

After safely rounding the point we turned to a new heading and paddled off into the fog again. The sun came up over the fog and made things worse by lighting it up and creating near whiteout conditions. Looking back we could see the fog clearing behind us to the lighthouse but not ahead. We stopped for an early lunch in the middle of no-where then continued on.

About the time we should have run into San Simeon Point we saw something to our left. We turned to see what it was and found that we had almost missed the point by half a mile in the fog! I told Konstantin that I was taking back his navigation merit badge. After going a short distance inside San Simeon Bay just so Konstantin could see it, we turned back onto our bearing to go the last three miles to the San Simeon Bar and Grill where my truck was parked. The fog lifted and we had an easy time navigating down the coast and recognizing the place. A road leads down close to the beach with a set of stairs down to the sand. Konstantin cleared all the loose items from the deck of his kayak, preparing for a rough landing. I did the same but then we both made perfect surf landings, sliding straight up onto the beach without even broaching. The Big Sur trip is over!

Not counting a short section of Monterey Bay and Peninsula that I can do as day trips some time, I have now paddled all of California from the Oregon border down to San Simeon!

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Mike Higgins /