Pier Pressure

I did something today that I've never done in a kayak before. It may shock you. I headed north out of the harbor!!! That's right, all these years. The north end is just beaches and houses, nothing to compare with the rocky southern section. But I had a picture in mind today, and besides it was so beautiful it didn't matter which direction you headed.
When I hit the mouth of the harbor and started to head north, I felt a little guilty. I took a glance to the south toward my ususal route. The hills and cliffs were as clear as a bell. Sorry old friend! The ocean today was closer to what I usually expect for ocean paddling, confused and choppy. The sky was filled with all manner of clouds. I passed by the ol' sand surfin' site and kept paddling. The dark clouds that had been way off shore were soon getting closer and I wondered what kind of weather I might be in for.
The plan was to head for the pier and hang out and wait for sunset. I guess I didn't realize how early I had started, because when I got there, the sun was still high in the sky. There wasn't even any real surf hitting the beach, so I didn't have much to do but wait. No matter how long I stared at the sun, it just didn't seem to move. Of course, when your bored and cold, the only real thing to do is eat, so I got out my bag of peanuts and tried to shell them as an increasing surf came my way.
I don't own a paddling jacket; haven't ever really felt the need to wear one really, but I learned today that hangin' out for hours without really paddling on a windy day can get a little chilly! The sun popped out of the clouds once for a short time to warm me up, but when it left again it sent more wind in its place. Finally, the sun had had enough started to sneak away and I started taking some shots in earnest. But the sunset I was hoping to see never really showed up; darn smog is never there when you need it.
I decided it was time to head home and started paddling gingerly. The wind and sea had picked up and I had a steepening rear quartering sea to follow me home. The light was starting to fade and I heard a sound I hadn't been hearing for quite a while: the sound of cresting swells. I was glad I was at least warming up as I battled the swells that shook me around a bit. As I came nearer to the jetty, the swells became even more challenging. If it had been a warm sunny day out with friends, it would have been a fun challenge, but seeing as it was cold and Great White feeding time, it was a little daunting. It felt good to make it to the mouth of the harbor.
Once inside the channel, I had the harbor pretty much to myself. Most of the wispy sunset had fadded and paddling in the dark was a real change with all the lights that I never usually really notice: red right returning. My boat seemed to fly through the harbor, as if only my paddle blades were touching the water. I could see no wake coming from my bow. I had started the day a little before 3 and hit the beach at 6:45. I didn't get the picture I wanted; had to settle for these.

Mark Sanders