Pebble Beach to Fisherman's Bay, June 10th 1995

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Between Salt Point Park and Sea Ranch, there are a bunch of little coves, and one of them is labeled on the maps as Fishermans Bay. Every time I have driven past this "bay" it has looked inviting, and I have wanted to explore it. The one other time I paddled past here, I was in a hurry and the waves were pretty rough. The waves were very low this morning, only 3 foot swells at sea, and the wind was mild. I assumed this meant it would probably be foggy, so taking pictures will be iffy. Since I had worked late the night before, I decided to go back o sleep for a few hours and give the fog some time to burn off. I left to drive to Sea Ranch at 7:00am as the fog just started clearing at home. But when I got to the shore, I discovered that it had already burned off there, and the sky was clear all the way up the horizon. I considered going north from Stump Beach, but I had just been in that area recently, so I decided to come down from the north. I considered getting in the water at Black Point Beach, but I know that the waves there are always so rough. Even if it was mild there now, I wouldn't trust it to stay that way for the landing. Instead, I went to Pebble Beach, which always has a mild channel through the breakers. This added 3 miles to my round trip, but entry and exit would be easy.

The waves were so mild, that Pebble beach was no problem getting into the water. I had been past the shore between Pebble and Black Point Beaches before, but never in such calm water. I was able to get so close to shore that I discovered several of the rocks had arches in them. One of these was large enough to paddle through, and on the other side was a choppy circle of water with a ring of rocks around it. The rocks in the ring are big enough that from out to sea I never knew that the arch was there. Black point beach was milder than I've ever seen it. There were some surfers in the waves this time, and the northern end looked like it would actually be possible to make a landing. Possible, but not any fun. I paddled past all the interesting coves on the point. Then I paddled straight across from Black Point to Stewarts Island. The Idea was to get to Fisherman's Bay first, and then explore the shoreline on the way back north. Between Stewarts Island and Fisherman's Bay, it turns out there is one gorgeous little cove after another after another. The waves were still mild, so I got to paddle into each one of these, and around every rock. The water was clear, and I could see the bottom in all these coves. The water was not quite calm enough to give me the feeling of flying between the rocks, but it was real close. This was just the kind of exploration I love doing in the kayak, and I had a great time. I found a harbor seal bobbing in the bay with a live fish in his mouth. The seal was basking in the mild water with his eyes closed, and leisurely swinging the fish back and forth. The fish was flopping it's tail back and forth much more vigorously. Because his eyes were closed, I got to paddle up as close as 5 meters, and then staying that distance, I started detouring around him. Half way around, he opened his eyes and saw me, disappearing with a splash. I hope he didn't drop his fish. Stewarts Island is actually just the lump on the end of Stewarts Point, its not really an Island except maybe at very high tides. When I started back, I went around the other side of Stewarts Island and found a beautiful little white sandy beach with a private road down to a boat ramp. At the base of Stewarts Point, there was a larger sandy beach with white sand that extended under the water very far out from shore. The water was still clear, and I could see sunlight rippling on the sandy bottom. The waves were quite large, uniform, and broke far from the beach. I wondered if this would be a popular surfing beach if there was any public access to it. It looked possible to walk to it from the boat ramp. From Stewarts point to Black Point, the cliffs were very steep and rocky, and the waves seemed to be getting higher. I had to stay farther from the cliffs to stay out of the breakers. Checking the NOAA site later, I verified that the swells went from 3 feet to 7 feet during the time that I was out. There wasn't much to see in the water, but halfway to Black Point is where Sea Ranch starts, and there were a bunch of interesting houses to see. Black point has several little coves in it, and even though the waves were a lot higher, I was able to paddle into and out of two of them. One was the big cove next to the Sea Ranch Lodge, and this is probably the one that used to be a Dog-Hole cove. When I came around the corner to Black Point Beach, I was glad that I had not left from here. The waves were a lot higher and breaking farther from shore. It was almost as bad as the day I got knocked out of my kayak and pounded ashore by the waves. Even the surfers were packing up and leaving. The little grotto south of Pebble Beach was too rough to go look at the arches in the rocks again, let alone go through the one I went through in the morning. Even Pebble beach had large waves breaking out to sea. I looked for, and did not see my magic channel to the beach. I watched several large waves go in, and they seemed to break all across the beach and in front of the rocky areas at the same time. I had carried my wetsuit jacket along on the whole trip, and now I was glad to have it. I put the jacket on in preparation for a bad landing. When I headed in, I heard a big wave boom against a rock a little ways north. I paused and let that wave go by. Then I committed to make the landing, and peaked over my shoulder at the large waves lining up to get me. The first one started to break, but I sort of surfed south a little bit and slipped over the top of it. The next wave arrived, but like previous trips here, it broke north and south of me, but not behind me at all. My short jog north had gotten me into the channel. I slid up on shore with no problem, and didn't even get my hat wet on the whole trip.

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