Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Elkhorn Slough June 21, 2017

It's been a while since the last post, but that's because we have mostly been paddling the same places. Buddy Mike and I have been trying to coordinate a paddling trip to Monterey, and managed to do that last week. We drove up (about 3 hours) and checked into our hotel on a Tuesday afternoon, did some walking and eating, drinking, etc., and got ready to paddle the Elkhorn Slough on Wednesday morning.
I had paddled there some years back, with a launch from Moss Landing. On that day, we paddled approximately 7 miles back to the far reaches of the slough. The paddle back, against both wind and tide, was probably the most strenuous I've done. To avoid that, we planned to launch from Kirby Park, which saves about 5 miles of paddling in (it should be noted that those are 5 very pretty paddling miles, but been there, done that...). The morning was a touch foggy, and remained gray with temps in the 60s, perfect for paddling. We timed our arrival at Kirby Park for just before 9 AM, giving us over an hour to paddle into the far reaches before high tide, which was just after 10 AM. When we drove around the slough to Kirby Park, we found the road closed, and later found out that it had been closed since February when the road was washed out in a storm. We had seen no mention of this in our internet reading while planning the trip (I have since added the closure comment to Google Maps).
We drove back to Moss Landing, confirmed the road closure at the Monterey Bay Kayaks shop there, and launched from the public ramp for $11. We paddled back in for about 3.5 miles, to where a small island exists, and could see the Kirby launch site from there. There are railroad tracks (and 2 bridges) that cross the slough, so we hurried to the shore to catch a glimpse of a passing train. While paddling the tide had turned, and we took the flow back to Moss Landing, although there was some wind that started late morning. We are used to seeing seals and otters, and were not disappointed as they are plentiful in the slough. There were many paddlers out by now, mostly within a mile or so of the Moss Landing docks, where kayak rentals are popular. On the way back to the ramp, we paddled out toward the harbor entrance, but didn't go out into the ocean, as the swell was fairly large and tight. A great morning of paddling. The only low point was that I left my nearly new Sqoosh butt pad at the ramp, and hoped to find that someone had turned it into the kayak shop. They didn't, but most paddlers would have. It's a fine group.

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