Kayaking Across the Monterey Bay
Greg and I drove to the Santa Cruz Harbor at 5:00 AM, unpacked the car, and were on the water by 6:30AM. The sky was just starting to show signs of light. I had preset the Monterey harbor as a way point… so according to my GPS, we had 25.5 miles left to go.
We paddled straight out of the harbor into the fog. The winds were predicted to be 10 – 15 knots in the afternoon, but milder in the Monterey bay. We would be out in the open ocean, so it was hard to tell how the winds would be in our location. My primary concern was sharks. Greg’s (probably more realistic) concern was winds. We paddled consistently, making a mile every 15 minutes. I started to feel queasy around mile 12, and we took a break at mile 13 (8.5 miles off the coast). I ate a little, which finally made me feel better after about ½ an hour. We couldn’t see anything but water – due to the fog more than the distance). We didn’t see a single boat or land for the first 21 miles of the trip. We saw some birds, water and fog. We first spotted land 5 miles from the harbor – it was the tip of the Monterey peninsula – which was probably 3 miles away.
Anyway, the fog was starting to lift, and we were getting closer. We saw boats and the scenery improved. We went around the outside of the aquarium, and got out on the beach near Monterey bay kayaks at 1:30PM. The trip could have been done in 6.5 hours given our pace. We took a little extra time checking out things near the aquarium. It was good to relax on land for a while once we were done – we climbed into the water and walked the kayak to shore. Our friend Gruppo rode down on his bike and met us about 45 minutes after we landed. We waited a while for Annie to come pick us up, then we drove to “The Whole Enchilada” to feast and relax.
If you go – check your weather report, and then check it again. Go with at least one experienced partner. Have bombproof self rescue skills and a solid method of communication (i.e. VHF radio and a cell phone back-up). This isn’t the kind of trip you do for scenery; it’s more for the challenge and the pleasure of being far away on the water. I’ve heard that it’s a good route for seeing whales at the right time of year. Unfortunately, we didn’t see any.