McWay Cove to Gorda Point, August 13th 2001.

We woke up late, almost 6:00 AM, so we rushed our packing and managed to launch by 7:30. A new speed record for me! We paddled south through the beautiful rock garden past the falls and past a place marked as "Anderson Landing (abandoned)" on the charts. But we never saw any other place to land. We ran into another large bed of kelp and turned out to sea. Konstantinís shoulder hurt if he had to push through kelp but didnít bother him at all when paddling in open water with a regular forward stroke. We often skipped the inside track that I would have preferred. Going inside, however, was slower and more work. I got to do a little rock gardening every day so I was content.

Once outside the kelp this time we went a long distance, all the way to Lopez Point or at least 16 kilometers. The sun was out and the northwest wind never came up. Even without the wind to help us along, we rounded the point before lunch time! We debated going to our planned landing spot, Limekiln Park, or going another 5 kilometers to Mill Creek where a fisherman we talked to had launched a motor boat. Both places were full of people, cars, and official attention that would deny us camping on the beach. Limekiln has a campground but they are always full when I drive by. Even if they had a spot, they would probably make us carry our kayaks way back the valley to a campsite. If we left gear on the beach it might get stolen by someone. And mostly I dreaded having to talk to another ranger about how I got to the beach. Some of them are smart enough to figure out that I cannot have gotten here, or get to anywhere else without CAMPING ON A BEACH that is not a Resource Designated for That Purpose! Since we were early and the weather was fair we decided to skip all that hassle and paddle an extra 12 kilometers to Gorda Point and risk being able to find a camping beach there.

We headed towards the north end of an area marked on the chart as having a bunch of little coves in it. This turned out to be a very interesting place with what looked like black basalt columns sticking up out of the water. These provided some protection for the coves which had white sand. (No sand was called out on the chart). We went rock gardening between the columns and checked out all the beaches. I landed at one small pocket beach with a pile of kelp on it. On my first attempt to land my boat hit the deep shelf of kelp and bounced back into the sea! My second attempt was successful. The water was shallow with a rocky bottom in front of the beach which might make launching at low tide the next morning difficult. So I did a kelp launch (slipping off the kelp into an arriving wave) and we continued looking.

Around Gorda Point there was a large cove with a road leading down to it and I didnít want to get that close to civilization. We looked at the last small cove before the large one and found reasonable surf crashing on a beach with a high flat berm to camp on. I went in first and had a wild surfing/broaching ride but managed to stay upright. Konstantin chose a better window and made a perfect landing.

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