Monday, November 16, 2009

Veteran's Day Kayak

Veteran’s Day Kayak

It has been some time since I have done my long paddle to Crystal Pier in Pacific Beach and back to La Jolla. Having the day off I thought I would try to do it once more. And in fact, I would see if I could go a little farther. So I stocked up on water and trail mix and headed to La Jolla Shores.
A very calm day with little swell with a slight overcast to keep things cool. Launched and was paddling out by 0840. I took a direct route over towards Children’s Pool area. If I was going to try for an extra long paddle I did not want to take any sight seeing detours. Besides, it is possible to see some great things whatever course you take.

Once around the corner of The Children’s Pool Breakwater I headed south to Hospital Point, Marine Street Beach, and Wind & Sea. Down about Wind & Sea I came in close to shore to check conditions for a possible haul out on the return trip. Just in case I need to rest my butt and stretch my legs. As I came in close to shore I spotted a small pod of Dolphins, probably numbering about six to ten, with at least one small juvenile. Followed them for a few minutes until they disappeared. They were frolicking in the surf. Probably chasing a school of bait fish.

Though I was paddling most of the time I considered this my first rest. Took some water and turned south again.

Clear water to a depth of at least 20 feet and virtually no wind. Clouds in the sky blocking out the heat of the sun, all this made for a nice paddle. Passed Bird Rock, sighted Crystal Pier, and headed to Tourmaline. Once at Tourmaline I spotted Mission Bay Jetty appearing out of the haze. Got out my binoculars to confirm it. (Looking through binoculars on a moving kayak for any length of time is not recommended.) Some construction equipment with a light on the Jetty gave me a target to aim for. So I took a straight course right to the Red Navigation Buoy off the Jetty.

Paddled and paddled and paddled. That stretch from Tourmaline to the Jetty is a long one. And it is mentally fatiguing. It seems endless and then you are there. I took my first real rest here. Got out my trail mix and sat out there eating, drinking and planning what I felt like doing.

After a 10 to 15 minute rest I decided I would try to make it to Quivera Basin and Aqua Adventures Kayak Shop. Turned into the channel and made my way in. The entrance to Quivera Basin was not that far. I turned in and then proceeded to find the right slip that would bring me to Aqua Adventures. After a few tries I found the right slip and pulled in.
I secured my kayak on the dock and made my way up to the shop. I wanted to see Jake and let him know that the Police had recovered my kayak. He was not there. In fact, Jen told me that he was gone for good. He has left to go back to Portage, Wisconsin to fulfill his dream of kayaking from Portage to Portage via, the Mississippi, along the Gulf Coast, around Florida, up the East Coast and then down the St. Lawrence Seaway, Eire Canal and back to Portage. Amazing!

Check out his progress at

It took me exactly three hours to make this trip. I calculated how long it would take me to get back to La Jolla with about a half hour extra rest time and figured I would need to be underway again at 1215 to make it back by 1600. Rested, ate and refilled my water bottles for the trip back. Set out on time.

The wind had picked up slightly. Just a bit of wind chop. Nothing to really slow me down. In fact it made for a fun trip back, splashing over the wavelets. And periodically I would get on the lee side of a kelp bed and the water would turn glassy smooth.

As I rounded the corner near Children's Pool the sun was lowering in the late afternoon sky and peeked out from under the high clouds. It shone its rays on the beaches and cliffs turning them a warm golden color.

I reached La Jolla right on schedule. And surprisingly, my butt was not as sore as I thought it would be. In fact, I never had to haul out and take a little walk-about to ease things. Even though it has been many months since I have done a long paddle like this my muscles remember and I do not get as fatigued.

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