Andrew Molera to McWay Cove, August 12th 2001.


In the morning we were still alive, or we had been crushed by the trees and were in Heaven. We packed up and for once I was ready as fast as Konstantin. We launched and turned to travel close to shore. Partly to try and avoid scaring seals on the offshore rocks and partly to do some fun rock gardening. We were encouraged to move away from shore by some breakers in shallow water and then buy huge waves rising up at Andrew Molera Point. We guessed that it might be from a southern swell but did not go in close to ask some surfers about conditions. South of Andrew Molera we saw a large field of kelp so we stayed outside for a few miles. At Cooper Point we went inside again and went rock gardening through all the rocks offshore of Pfeiffer Beach. At the next point we saw large kelp fields again and went outside. We stayed there for miles, heading straight for the next major point. Partington Point is one of the places we had considered looking for a camping spot where two narrow cracks in the cliff might create protected beaches. The first notch in the cliff had deep water and ended on a beach of large rocks. A park trail led down to it and we saw people there. The second notch in the cliff had shallow water and ended in a cliff so steep that it overhangs the water. Under the overhang was a beach made of rough granite cobble. I could not resist risking scratching my boat to go in for a landing.

We continued down the coast ducking behind the rocks and looking for a place to camp. Suddenly we saw a large expanse of sand! It was a beach behind the McWay Rocks and it looked perfect except it was visible from a house and Highway One. After going through an arch in one of the McWay Rocks we continued looking for a another mile hoping to find a more secluded beach and also looking for a waterfall in the Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park.

I found a crack in the cliff that turned right into another cove. When I came out into the cove, there was the waterfall! It falls 80 feet straight down through a notch it has carved in the granite. I had heard that it falls directly into the ocean, but at the time of the tide that we were there it fell onto a pristine little white sand beach nestled in the vertical cliff. There is no access to the shore from the park, instead a walkway around the cliff tops gives hikers a view. So the sand had the special look to it that is only true of beaches that have never had footprints. Konstantin wanted to land and stand under the waterfall but I felt that the untouched look of the beach was part of the special feel of the place.

With catwalks and observation decks and trails we figured that we couldn’t possibly find a beach to land unobserved so we paddled back to McWay Cove. We landed hear a large wooden table and what looked like a TV on the beach. The TV turned out to be some sort of storage locker. There were other kayak tracks in the sand, so we think the private landowner keeps a kayak and other beach toys in this box. We quickly pulled our boats up between two rocks where we could not be seen from the public road or the private house.


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