Wed 11/04-2018 Day 185

Pos: 36.9674,-122.002
Loc: Santa Cruz harbor dock
Acc: Hilleberg Allak tent
Dist: 49,5 km
Start: 07:30 End: 16:45

Down at our beach at Pigeon Point, we had no internet, and I was searching half-successful upstairs the cliffs for reception, when the small hostel close to the lighthouse caught my attention. They will have wifi! I walked in, and got connected. thanks for that! The guy at the reception mentioned their hot tub, and if I’d like a soak…? Sure! Just need to finish my online work, grab my towel, swim suit and paddling partner Franca, and we will be back in a bit! But when we were back, he told me he was sorry, the tub has just been booked by residents of the hostel, and the next slot would be at 9.50 pm…a bit too late for my gut feeling…bummer! We wanted to launch early tomorrow and to paddle 50 km…

Down on our beach, Franca didn’t trust my high tide time at 8.30 m, and was scared about the odd dumper to wash up to the ledge where we had put up our tents…girl, this will stay dry!!! I stayed, and it did well stay dry…no worries.

On next morning’s launch, I saw Franca’s paddle stuck in her cockpit in a bad position as soon as she would jump on on a good timing in the low dumper, and I shouted to her “watch your paddle, watch your paddle!” before it might be cracked…just in time! Never store your paddle inside the cockpit anyway…

We had some choppy seas and large swell, which smoothed out along the open beach. We knew about Ano Nuevo being a protected area for elephant seals, sea lions and whatever birds, and dared to slip through the gap of the outer island and the headland. We could avoid the large rolling breaker at the eastern side of the island, and stayed in the narrow but clean line in between, and finally in the eddy to watch the many elephant seals ans sea lions on the island beach. What a wildlife! The island used to be a peninsula, and they were also supposed to hang out on the beaches of the headland, which we could not see from our position.

seas were small then after, only at a few headlands, things became large enough to make us watch. But it could have been much worse! Three big whales crossed our path, two of them very close, and Franca quite paddled right over one without even noticing, hehehe…

The more we addled east along the coast, the better we were protected form the largest swells, and the better the wind was in our back. We had a really wonderful, sunny challenging day’s ride on dynamic water! Franca held up extremely well all these days with endurance and speed, and in short choppy big seas, she her small light weight white/ green “Grashopper” kayak dances on the waves even easier than my heavy loaded long line straight running boat. We checked on the two beaches I marked as “best landings”, Davenport landing and some other beach 20 km down the coast, but even from the distance, we were not really tempted to even try to go in…so Santa Cruz Harbor it was! And a 50 km day was really doable in today’s conditions.

Some huge point break at Santa Cruz point attracted a bunch of surfers, not a good place for us! I also didn’t know of the breaker on the bar of the harbor entrance, but we were lucky to find it low and barely breaking this late afternoon.

Unfortunately, I have missed out to pre-organize a stay in Santa Cruz harbor, I did not think about getting there so quickly…and was actually kind of counting on the local “Kayak Connection” shop open until 5 pm (but they were closed already by that time), or my ex-step-son on Monteray. But I also knew he might be very busy, and after shopping around with the harbor master who advised a boat yard for storing my kayak, at the Yacht Club, and with a lovely outrigger Lady Rita, I decided to pull up again on the wide clean private floating dock of the Santa Cruz Harbor Boatyard to also find the office closed already. I anyway set up camp right on their floating dock, nobody bothered me here for the rainy night.

I only felt bothered about the floating dock not squeaking, but rather banging occasionally in the tiny waves inside the sheltered harbor on a pole right on it’s middle in the tiny waves inside the sheltered harbor. Earplugs do help…but against the cold wet chill from the bottom gaps of the planks so close to the water line, and the general cooler air on the water compared to a pre-heated sandy beach bed, there is no help but dressing in layers inside the sleeping bag.

I might also have felt cold because of being alone again now…I am thankful for the great days I could spend with Franca north, in and south of San Francisco, but wouldn’t mind some new other company from tomorrow on until the 22nd of April to keep on going south, and then from April 24th from Eureka south – if the conditions allow.