Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sensations (January 28, 2012)

For some time the weather has been, well.....winter-like. But on Thursday (1/26) Summer arrived ahead of schedule. Suddenly we had clear skies and temperatures in the high 70's low 80's. So there was nothing to do but get out on my kayak. Now, on Thursday I only had a short time. So I just took a short jaunt out to The Far Kelp, fifty minutes round trip (plus prep time).

But Saturday was just as nice. I was down to the beach by 0830. I launched at Marine Room restaurant, at the south end of La Jolla Shores, instead of my regular entry at the boat launch. This way you can park and you do not have to move your car.

I hear the snap, crackle, and pop stepping on the beached kelp as I take the kayak down to the shore, Sandflies buzz up and alight on my legs, the occasional annoying one that flies up my nose or in my ear.

Warm sun on my face, legs, and arms. A very gentle 1 to 2 knot wind brushes across bare skin. Cool water on legs as I enter, and a brisk wave floods over the bow of my kayak slapping me in the face. The smell of the remains of a wood fire on the beach waft past my nose. The skirl of shore birds wheeling in the air reaches my ears.

I paddle out again to the Far Kelp west of Children's Pool. I am hoping to see some whales, it is migration season. I have not seen any this year. Also there was a report of a White Shark to the south off Imperial Beach. To see that would be a great experience (as long as all I experienced was seeing him). So I paddle west as far as the last kayak fisher. Then I turn south to head towards Marine Street, Wind-and-Sea, and Bird Rock.

It has been a very long time since I have done a really long kayak. But I was feeling pretty good. So I just found a nice maintainable pace and kept going. Before I knew it I was past Marine Street, past Wind-and-Sea, and at Bird Rock. So I just kept going. I spotted some dive boats at Wreck Alley to the West of Mission Beach and pointed my bow in that direction. I made it all the way out there and that is when I took my first break. Travel time was about two hours.

On the way south, along the rocky, west-facing beaches the surf was big, and I had to stay far outside. The roar of the crashing surf was the only sound filling my ears.

After a short rest I turned about and headed back. The sun is now on my back and the wind in my face. As long as it is gentle this is nice, it it keeps me cool on hot days, and creates a false sensation of speed. Today, though light, the breeze was chilling me some. So I put on my shirt to cut down on the wind chill factor. Heading into the wind little wind-wavelets slap the bow of my kayak.

Once around the point at Children's Pool I turn east and head to the beach. Wind and the long swell pushing at my back I pick up speed a little. Just in time as after 3 1/2 hours I am getting a bit tired. Each time a swell passes beneath my kayak I am pushed forward and a bow wake splashes on the lee. The surf is no longer crashing in this protected bay. And so quite sounds become more prominent. The splash of my paddle, sea birds calling, and a whisper from behind me. Something is following me. I can hear it after each stroke. Oh, it just the whisper of my wake.

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