For this post, things to know:
- Girl Scouts are rugged.
- The ocean is scary.
So I had a very cold night that first night, but when I work up about 7am it was sunny on the beach and even a little warm. It was nice.
The beach was wide and rocky and surrounded by hills and the view was pretty.
Mike tried to make a fire again, but couldn’t, so we just ate powerbars.
The previous day the lady at the dive shop had said that the small craft advisory would lift about 3am that morning, so our plan was to hike back and get our kayaks. I emptied out my backpack so that I could bring my tent (and base layer) back with me.
About 9am we started hiking back. I was not looking forward to it. About fifteen minutes into the hike we stopped to hydrate (that just means drink water, but doesn’t it sound cooler if I say “hydrate”?). As we were standing there in the shade of a tree hydrating, a gaggle of little Girl Scouts passed us going the other direction. Some of them were wearing flip flops and singing and – in my memory atleast - they were dressed in tutus, waiving princess wands at us. So, as you might imagine, Mike and I totally felt like big tough strong awesome hiker men right about then.
That hike was pretty much the same story, but it was nice to be outside, but it took about three hours and we were covering the same ground as the day before, so it did start to get annoying because it just felt like backtracking. And I hate backtracking.
As we crested the last hill over Two Harbors, we could see kayaks putting out from the dive shop! I was so happy! It meant that we would be able to rent our kayaks and would not have to do the hike again!
We made our way down into town. Mike wanted to eat again, so for two days in a row on our camping trip he had cooked food. Because that’s how I camp.
Turned out that the small craft warning had only been extended from 3am to 11am, but about1pm we were able to rent our kayaks. I put my tent in my pack and put my pack inside a trash compactor bag and put it inside the drywell of my pretty blue kayak (a drywell is basically the trunk of a kayak).
Before we left, I walked over to the general store and bought a Durflame log and bought two more lockers of wood and water at Parson’s Landing. Mike said we didn’t need a Duraflame log, that he just needed some lighter fluid, but I bought the log anyway. I’m not sure if it was entirely legal to take a Duraflame log to our campsite because Catalina has some weird fire restrictions, but let’s just go ahead and assume that I broke no laws.
A note here about kayaks: These were the sit on top kind, not the sit inside kind, so they are much easier to use if you have no clue what you’re doing (its like they invented these things for me).To launch a kayak you get about 90% of it in the water, with just the tail on the beach. Then you hop on and use your paddle to push off. There are virtually no waves in Two Harbors, so this was pretty easy. But then you’re floating and your brain goes all “WHAT THE HELL IS HAPPENING! THIS IS SO NOT RIGHT!”
Because there are boats moored at Two Harbors, I only had about fifty feet to learn how to steer the damn thing or I would have collided with some very expensive sail boats. But luckily it was not all that hard to learn.
After a few minutes the initial terror of being on a tiny boat goes away and it gets to be kind of fun. It is not as hard to paddle as I had feared, but it isn’t terribly easy either. It goes pretty smoothly, but a kayak doesn’t glide on its own, paddling doesn’t create a lot of momentum. Once you can get a nice rhythm down, it gets easier. You have seen it one TV I’m sure: you dip the paddle on the right side and push forward with your left arm, then slide the paddle up and out on the right and dip the left end into the water and push forward with your right arm. It is kind of a windmill motion and once you get going and learn how to let the fins of the paddle glide in and out of the water, it even becomes fun.
At first we stayed relatively close to shore, following the coastline in and out of the coves. The water was blessedly calm. Soon we started gliding over the thick kelp forests. I did not like these one little bit because you could only see a few feet down into the water, so it meant that we were constantly gliding over these dark, massive shapes and only when right above them could you see what they were. And it was really scary to look down into them, because the blurry dark masses would materialize suddenly into fish or rocks. Suddenly all of those jokes I had been making about sharks were not funny anymore. I had these images in my head of a giant mouth full of teeth appearing out of the dark kelp shadows.
Since Mike was filming while we kayaked along, I had to keep stopping so that he could keep up, which would have been fine, but when you stop kayaking, the waves try to turn it around and push it into shore. And each time you have to start kayaking again, it takes forever to get back into a rhythm. Or perhaps it just takes me forever since I have no actual physical coordination.
But none the less, we made our way up the coastline. Moving in and out of the coves and having a good time. The weather was good and the water was smooth and the views were great. We passed over schools of slim silvery fish and even some small jelly fish. Those look like little ocean ghosts. Probably the stranded souls of kayakers who got eaten by Great White sharks.
We had to kayak 4.2 miles and the first four miles of that was along the eastern side of the island. Then we had to round a point and at that point we would be in a different current coming in off the Pacific Ocean as we headed more North West to Parson’s Landing. I had had some concerns about rounding that point because I am smart enough to know that two different currents would be coming together right there. So I didn’t think anything of it when the water started to get more rough and choppy as we approached that point. It got windy and I even turned my hat around so that it wouldn’t blow off. But I consoled myself, telling myself it was just because of the point.
Then I got around the point and I could see for miles out into the ocean and it was completely different.
I realize now where the term “sea change” came from. It was a completely different ocean that I was looking at.