Mike's Kayak Journal

This document is a journal of my first few years of trips kayaking the rough, but beautiful, open ocean shores of northern California and beyond.

Last updated: Journal entries to 29-July-2015, images to 29-July-2015.

I participated in the Race to Alaska this year (2015). 750 miles from Port Townsend Washington to Ketchican Alaska, and I did well for a kayak! The fastest sailboat took only 7 days, it took me 25 days, but I did the course! I normally don't do races and was only racing to beat the sweep boat. I took notes along the way, then typed them up and included them all, you can read them now starting here. The pictures are there, and tracks from my GPS in the maps.

I traveled to Thailand to kayak around more Karsk islands in Pang Nga Bay and Khao Sok lake.
Bo Barnes does the Sojourn, a benifit paddle for Bay Access and the SF Bay Water trail every year. I joined him this year.
Here are some great shots of me surfing in Mendocino.
The same group as last year went to Vancouver Island in July 2010, this time Kyoquot Sound.
I went to Clayoquot Sound, Vancouver Island, BC, July 2009.
I paddled from Loreto to La Paz April 2009,
I paddled southern Oregon from Florence to the California border. This means I have now paddled the entire Pacific Coast of the contiguous US! Around 1500 miles in a kayak if I had done it all in one trip. My friends in BASK declaired me the "Czar of the Left Coast" for this accomplishment. The southern Oregon pictures have been uploaded and you can look at them starting here. The journal entries are there now as well as maps.

All the journal entries, maps, image pages and individual images can be found by entring a word or short phrase below. (Maryly Snow made me add this feature).
Enter a word or short phrase and press the search button.


Learning to use a kayak often has a profound effect on people. The ability to move around under your own power on the ocean gives you a strong feeling of freedom and self sufficiency. Some kayakers are inspired to paddle around the entire United States, or other amazing distances. My quest started out much more modest. I live in a beautiful area of California near the Pacific Ocean and a kayak allowed me to paddle around every rock and into every cove of my local coast. I get to see a part of my neighborhood that most people only see from a distance. I do this by often paddling solo which is really not recomended but I enjoy the solitude. However, I have made many wonderful friends in the kayaking community and rarely have to paddle alone these days. Eventually my quest expanded to include kayaking all the coast of California, Washington, Oregon, Baja California Norte, and Baja California Sur next. Today the west coast, tomorrow the world!

I do keep my personal journal up-to-date in a Word file, and then have to translate it into HTML. The pictures are uploaded sooner than the text, so look at those while waiting for me to find time to catch up. The conversion of the text to HTML used to be difficult because someone who knew the chronology and the maps had to maintain all the hyperlinks. (Namely me). I used to say that this could not be done by a program, but then I built an SQL database and wrote PHP scripts to make much of the organization automatic. This makes it easier to keep the text on this WEB site up-to-date!

My friend Luis Valentino once said "You should have a picture of yourself on your home page with the caption 'The intrepid kayaker ... '". The image below (different every time you visit!) is the final result of that suggestion.
The intrepid kayaker off Samuel H Bordman State Park
Taken on 7/26/2008 .
Links to related images: Nearby. Date. Map. Story.
This living digital version of the document includes tens of megabytesof digital photographs referenced in the pages,and through a collection of small "postage stamp" images referenced by beach in alphabetical order.


Google map Find any story, route or picture by zooming in on the Google powered mapping system.
Enough text, I want to see some pictures!

I went to Isla Carmen south of Loreto in April 2008. Pictures, maps and stories are online.
The stories about my fall 2007 trip on the Pacific coast of Baja are now all on-line! The pictures and maps are also up-to-date.
Look at the pictures from my trip down the northern half of Oregon in 2007, or read all about it.
Look at the pictures or read all about my trip in 2007 from Santa Rosalia to Loreto in Baja.
I went to Vietnam to kayak in Halong Bay.
I paddled out the Strait of Juan de Fuca, down the entire Pacific coast of Washington and in the Columbia river. The pictures start here.
I went on a Quest to find the Valley of the Palms on Guardian Angel Island in the Sea of Cortez off Baja. Here is a picture of some of the palm trees, follow the links to see more images from that trip.
Pictures from a trip to the LeConte Glacier in Alaska start here.
Read about the trip around Isla Tiburon in the Gulfo de California (Sea of Cortez).
Maps and pictures from the April 2004 trip across the Sea of Cortez.
The maps and text for the August 2003 expedition from San Simeon to Point Sal.
Images and text for a trip to Yelapa in December of 2002.
Images for the trip down the Li River in China in October of 2002.
In January of 2000 I took a class and build an Aleut Eskimo style kayak or Baidarka.
Some biographical stories.


Other sources of Marine Weather and Kayak Information on the WEB:

  • The National Weather Service has a Weather Forcast Office for the San Francisco Bay Area and Monterey with pointers to many essential weather pages for kayakers.
  • NOAA has an interactivemap that will tell you the current wind and wave conditions all aroundthe world.
  • The Costal Data Information Program (CDIP) maintains the PointReyes Buoy.
  • The CDIP and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography generate wavespectrum charts and computer wave height prediction maps in the CaliforniaSwell Model page. This is a really cool image that tells you how high the swell will be in different bays and which direction the swell willcome from. They also provide a 3 day wave forecast which kayakers can use to plan their weekend!
  • Scripps also builds a map with data from land stations, CDIP and NOAAbuoys all combined on one map of NorthernCalifornia.
  • Sormsurf has NOAA wave models that forecast waves and wind on the oceans of the world up to 7 days in the future! These include detailed models of local areas like San Francisco and Baja.
  • Tides. I am not fond of the user interface of any of the many tide predictors on the WEB. I used to prefer the book form of The Tidelog daily planner calendar available from Pacific Publishers. But now I most often use Tide Tool which runs on my Palm Pilot cellphone. When I want paper copies of tide graphs I use WXTide32. These are both versions of XTide which is free and has been ported to many operating systems.
  • If you must have tide data on the WEB, try these: The tide height at the GoldenGate Bridge. Tidal current at the GoldenGate Bridge and current at the CarquinezStrait. Tide height at HalfMoon Bay and MontereyBay. For other locations around the world, these come from the Universityof South Carolina Tide Predictor. However, it won't just let you see the tides. First you have to wade through pages of location selections, then it will always default to showing you the data in tabular numeric text format (yuck). It will make you scroll past the disclaimer over and over again. It will make you learn how to fill out a form before it will finally let you see a graph of today's tides. I have bypassed many of these steps for you at several local spots in the links above. They will get you graphical tide height or current for today. Scroll down and fill in the form for a different day or format.
  • The Bay Area Sea Kayakers (BASK) club that I belong to have a web page.
  • My kayaking buddy Doerte Mann has a WEB page now!
  • Ocean Kayak, the company that made my first ocean going kayak.
  • It seems that everyone and their kid brother has a WEB page these days
  • Text and images copyright © 1995 - 2008 by Mike Higgins / email contact
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