Gorda Point to La Cruz Rock, August 14th 2001.

We had clear sky for stargazing and it was still clear and dark when I got up at 5:15 AM. I let Konstantin sleep in while I prepared breakfast for myself. He got up 45 minutes later which was just enough of a head start for me that I launched only a few minutes after him.

This was the first surf launch of the trip since Half Moon Bay and I was nervous. A large set started to come in and I could have sat it out in the soup zone. But as the waves got bigger they broke farther out. I reasoned that I could keep paddling out to meet them and they would all break in front of me until the set was over. By then Iíd be past the point where smaller waves broke and Iíd be free from the surf. This might have worked if I hadnít been over eager and paddled too fast. I paddled out into the place where a large wave broke on me! My loaded boat speared the wave without slowing down and I paddled the rest of the way out without incident.

I met Konstantin outside the surf and we started south. We went inside Plaskett Rock then turned outside to go around some kelp. Cape San Martin was ahead and Konstantin turned farther from shore to go around the kelp there. I saw a clear path to get inside and took it. We started paddling farther and farther apart. Ever since I went inside of the rock of Cape Mendocino and learned later that Sid and Konstantin had gone around, it has become a joke and almost a point of honor for me to go inside the big rock that you find off many points. I wanted to go inside if there is enough water or the breakers are no too scary. Waves were rising up in an alarming way over the shallow kelp beds but not breaking. So I slipped easily behind the rock and out the other side to meet Konstantin. He chewed me out for disappearing on him without telling him where I was going.

The two of us went close to shore rock gardening for a while, but as usual at the first sign of large kelp beds we turned out again to cut across a dent in the shoreline. The next section of coastline has a cabin on it that belongs to a friend of Konstantinís. We went in close to look for it. Konstantin has never seen the cabin but knows only that it is small, difficult to get to and has a steep trail to a rocky beach. We saw several cabins that matched this description. On the chart this section of coast had lots of rocks in it but the waves calmed down and let us get ten meters or less from the shoreline. We could have landed if the ďbeachĒ wasnít a jumble of large jagged rocks. We tried calling out to Konstantinís friend but nobody answered us.

We paddled another hour offshore to Ragged Point. A row of sharp rocks offshore made us turn out and around rather than risk going through. We originally planned to on stopping here for the night but our charts showed a protected place 5 kilometers farther. Sid Taylor had camped here so we knew that we could land there. The extra distance today would get us back to my car earlier tomorrow for the drive home.

It seemed like a long 5 kilometers. We kept thinking that it was the next point only to be disappointed. Each point here had a reef running far out to sea with boomers breaking far from shore. Finally we rounded the right point, with the largest boomers of all and slid into an easy landing on the start of a wide sandy beach. Behind the beach was a fresh water lagoon with another couple kayak camping there! They had paddled down the lagoon from the road. We set up camp in a well-used place on top of a berm out of sight of the neighbors and closer to the sea.

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