Carmel Highlands to Andrew Molera, August 11th 2001.

Without a third person to help with the shuttle, I had skipped the paddle from Moss Landing to down-town Monterey. Konstantin suggested that we launch from someplace farther around the peninsula to save another day on the water. We arranged to launch from a private beach at 7:00 AM. Iím sworn to secrecy about the location so I canít thank the responsible person here in a public journal! Iíll even fudge the map to show us launching from someplace else. We packed our gear and launched from a place somewhere around Point Lobos at around 8:30 AM. The weather report was forecasting sunny days with fog in the mornings, wind in the afternoon and very small swell for the next two days. This was the same weather we saw on the long drive the day before. All that day we looked out at the calm ocean and wished we were already there. Now that we were in the water we noticed a strong breeze. This often means that it is going to be a really windy day, and we did get a helpful shove from the wind and the waves it fetched up.

We paddled into the kelp beds south of Yankee Point and tried to do some rock gardening. But the kelp grew right up to the shore and slowed us down. Fighting the kelp also bothered Konstantinís sore shoulder so we soon turned out past the Lobos Rocks and went a little farther from shore. As we passed the point we saw a large offshore kelp bed and waves breaking in the area. The chart showed a shallow spot there. We turned farther out to sea to avoid the kelp, then surfed the weather straight towards Sur Point rather than go close to shore past Rocky Point and the Bixby Bridge. These are two places we had originally considered landing at to camp.

When we got to Point Sur the wind had risen to the point where it was whipping up whitecaps. We turned in close behind the rocks off this point and waved at a group of kids up on the lighthouse. We ducked behind the point and landed on the first beach to check it out for camping. It was OK but too close to civilization and official notice from the lighthouse. So we braved a kelp bed to travel another mile to a secluded beach where we could set up camp out of sight from Point Sur. We didnít paddle all the way around the next point to the public beach at Andrew Molera State Park for fear of being to easily found by rangers.

There was a big ship anchored off the point all day, not Coast Guard, maybe Navy, maybe the Research Vessel "Point Sur" that I had seen at Moss Landing two days before. A zodiac hung around the big ship all day. Then a strange shaped craft zoomed to the beach next to the point. It sounded like it made a landing, then came back out several hours later. The ship was there all night long with its lights on but nobody came in to tell us that we couldnít camp here. Weíll probably never know what it was doing out there.

We camped next to a fallen tree at Konstantinís suggestion. He says this makes for lots of places to set things up off the sand. But late in the evening after our tents were up we noticed four other trees hanging over our heads that were almost completely undercut by the beach! Another tree, or all four, could come down at any time. Probably not until the next storm with strong wind and waves washing under the roots. We were too lazy to move our tents so we tried to ignore the ticking sounds that the trees made all night long. Ticking like a bomb about to go of. Ticking like the fibers in the last root splitting one at a timeÖ

All text and images Copyright © 2001 by Mike Higgins / contact