Tue 08/05-2018 Day 212

Pos: 35.5705,-121.112
Loc: Cambria Leffingwell Creek
Acc: Russ’ house
Dist: 26,3 km
Start: 08:00 End: 13:00

I felt like sleeping in for a while…I really need a proper physical and rest My body is aching in all corners…but I launched as usual, calm and easy behind my reef corner. The sea was building quickly up to Point Piedras Blancas with up to 20 knots tailwind. When the coast trends due south, NW swells and winds hit it fully. Still not much breakers yet, but here and there over a rock, I spotted places where I should better not be.

Piedras Blanca’s huge white rock looked like a recumbent lion with an open mouth facing me, but in front of his “paws”, some calm reef water with a lot of kelp was lurking to relax. No need to paddle around the rough waters of the massive Point rock – but I also assumed I’d be ending up deep in the fauna of the nature protected area. Barking sea lion colonies occupied the cliffs, many single males anchored themselves in the kelp and were staring fearless with huge heads and googly black eyes to the strange structure entering their territory. A float of sea otters occupied some quiet corner, and across to the sandy beach, elephant seals had their home. What a place!

I kept my distance to all animals, took some picture and was slowly getting blown by the strong wind through the calm area. I spotted some guys with huge cameras or binoculars or such, either naturalists or rangers monitoring the wildlife…as I was not sure if I was allowed to be here, I also better got going. Many more elephant seal colonies on sandy beaches followed, each packed side by side with hundreds of animals. One beach had access for tourists viewing them from the road, they got even closer than I dared to go.

After Piedras Blancas, the sea state and wind was mellow as expected, and I relaxed for the last kilometers to my agreed meeting point with Russ Wilson, my next host. At the sheltered bay of Leffingwell Creek, he was waiting already fr me with his dog. So grateful to have anther paddling friend taking care of me for the next well deserved rest days!

Russ and I drove up to his home in the mountains of Paso Robles, a city living these days on wineries and horses. It is HOT up here! Nothing compared to the fresh sea breeze climate close to the coast! Russ took me to a restaurant for some salmon salad, that place was not on aircondition (yet), as much as the water park was not opened (yet) – it seems to be not really summer heat for the locals (yet)!

Russ ownes a construction company, his large properity of an ex-ranch was packed with all the heavy machines and tools he now likes to get slowly but surely rid of, as he likes to rather slip int retirement and to just go paddling…who can blame him! I got a wonderful room with own bathroom in his fancy house, with hot tub and gym in the backyard, a massive Harley Davidson and a huge motorhome in the front yard, plus kayaks and “smaller” toys in the garage. Not too much of a bad place to hang out with fellow paddler Russ Wilson! Thanks for loking after me, Russ! We might go paddling for a few days after my rest days, before I head up north to Victoria to the Pacific Paddling Symposium, and then fly to Kodiak to continue paddling north!