Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Point Loma Paddle

Monday,November 23, 2009

After my last long paddle I decided I would try something different this time. Taking a look at a map of the coast it seemed that the distance from Mission Bay to the tip Point Loma is similar to that of La Jolla to Crystal Pier. So I decided I would try that paddle. Besides I wanted to find a place to launch from that I might use to go out to the Yukon dive site. I knew there was a nice little beach in Mariner's Basin. I have paddled around in there with Cindy's Thursday night kayak group. So I drove down to the south end of Mission Blvd. and around into the parking lot by Mariner's Basin.

I checked out the beach and could see that it was not a long walk from the lot to the beach. Very close to the same distance that I have to walk when launching at La Jolla Shores. Then I walked over to the Jetty and observed the swell coming in from the Ocean. It was about 3 to 4 feet, not bad.

So I launched my kayak in the usual manner and began my paddle out through the channel. I left the beach at mariner's Basin at 0820 and was out at the Red Channel marker buoy by 0850. Though it took half an hour to get there it did not seem to be the mile and a half that I can usually paddle in that time.

From there I turned south towards Ocean Beach fishing pier. The swell was pretty good so I was not going to be able to hug the shore. At this point I was about a half mile out. Though the swell was good and coming in from the west-northwest there was very little wind. It was glassy smooth. Probably about a zero (0) on the Beaufort Sea State Scale. I paddled down south following the kelp bed and the lobstermen's buoy markers. Met up with one lobsterman retrieving his traps. I asked him if there were any restrictions to how close you could come to shore down at Point Loma where it becomes Navy property. He said that there was not, but that the surf was up and I had better notget too close in. I already knew that, but thanked him and continued on. With the swell the way it was I would never come in closer than 1/2 mile. And was more likely a mile or so out from shore the entire trip.
This picture gives a good idea as to how clam it was on the way down.

A nice but uneventful trip down. I reached near the tip of Point Loma in about two hours. I was directly west of The Cabrillo Lighthouse.

And I could see the Coast Guard Lighthouse Station down below the cliffs of Point Loma.

After a short break I turned about. Here I spotted something that I had seen in previous paddles put did not have my camera to record it. A Great or White Egret (Ardea alba)standing out on the kelp canopy. ( See Bird Identification pages).
These are shore birds and are not really adapted to be out at sea. But I guess they are light enough to stand on the kelp and fish. I would see another dozen or so on the trip back. The only other things I saw on the trip back were a couple of sea lions swimming in the kelp.

After about an hour of paddling northward the breeze started to pick up. First just small ripples on the surface. Then after another half hour it really started to blow in from the northwest. Almost at the same bearing as the swell. It continued to build. And before too long occasional white caps started to appear. Then the wind waves were getting up to about one to two feet in height and the white horses were becoming more frequent. It was seriously impeding my progress. I estimated that the sea state was getting to be about 3 on the Beaufort Scale. Winds from 8 to 12 miles per hour and waves heights up to two feet, and scattered white horses. I had to bring the wind unto my port bow to keep from being overturned. The spray was coming up over the bow and getting me wet. I had my shorty spring suit on so my body was not cold. But my legs were exposed and they were getting chilled a bit. When I would stop to take a rest I would turn facing south to let the sun warm my legs.

I kept on plugging along. I was traveling north-northwest. And soon I would have to turn east into the Bay. I was worried that if I had to turn in while the wind was still blowing I would capsize. But I was able to keep the wind forward enough, and off my beam, long enough to get in the lee of the Jetty. The wind and waves ceased and all was clam. And just the swell to give me a little push in.

I made it back into Mariner's Basin and beach my kayak at exactly 1310. So it took me two hours and forty minutes for the return trip. Not bad considering the conditions. And though this trip was shorter than my last trip, I was very wobbly on my legs, probably form the fight with the wind and the waves.

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