Spiny Norman suggested we go paddling in kayaks this morning. I thought it was a splendid idea! We met down in Marina del Rey at about 09:30, where he transfered his riding gear into my Cherokee. He went off to rent a kayak, and I headed for the boat ramps/parking about a half mile away.
The boat rental place must have been more on the ball than they were last time, because by the time I paddled up the basin and then up the channel a bit, Spiny Norman was already in the water waiting for me. Last time, we had to wait for someone to show up.
I’d taken my GPS with me last time I went out, and it said the round trip from the ramps to the Venice Beach Pier was 8.1 miles. Of course, about a mile or so of that was lollygagging around the marina, but it must be six or seven miles anyway.
After meeting up, we headed out the channel. Being fairly early, there was not a lot of traffic and the water was fairly smooth. After reaching the open ocean I commented that there weren’t many swells in the water. Minutes later there were. No worries, of course. We spotted a flourescent orange bouy beyond the surf line, so we paddled over to it to check it out. There were no markings. We paddled farther north and came upon an LAFD Lifeguard boat. He said the bouy was a marker for rescue swimmers who used it as a marker in their training. He had the boat tied up to a similar bouy, and that one belonged to the LAFD as an anchorage. Interestingly, he said we were about 2-1/2 miles from the Marina channel entrance. Didn’t seem that far.
Spiny and I paddled on up to the Venice Beach Pier, then wondered what to do. We’d only been out 45 mintues. I joked that we should paddle up to Santa Monica for a pint of breakfast at Ye Olde King’s Head. We decided to keep paddling north. I’ve walked from Santa Monica to Venice Beach, and it’s about two miles to the north end of Venice Beach. I reckon it was about three miles to Santa Monica from where we were.
After we’d been paddling for a bit, I asked Spiny what he wanted to do. He pointed at the S pier and asked if that was Santa Monica. I said it was, and he said that we might as well make for it since we’d already come so far.
There’s a reef offshore of the pier, so I paddled over to it. I saw something orange in the water, but I couldn’t make it out. It could have been a sea star, or it may have been a garibaldi. Or it would have been a piece of trash, for all I knew.
Spiny brought some provisions with him, so I had a granola bar for breakfast. We headed back in, and the return trip seemed to go much faster than the trip out. We sort-of had a following sea, so that might be it. Just before reaching the mouth of the Marina channel, I realized “Hey! My shoulders are getting tired!” This was the longest trip I’ve taken to date. I’m estimating between 10 and 12 miles, round-trip; but I’ll have to take the GPS next time to be sure.
In the channel my kayak was swamped by the wake of a large boat that might have been going a little faster than is legal. I’d taped over my scupper holes to make for a dryer ride. Fortunately, I brought a pump. (Not that the kayak would sink – I don’t think it can.)
I left Spiny at Marina Boat Rentals and headed for the basin with the launch ramps at the end of it. Once loaded, I headed back to where Spiny was to return his leathers and helmet. He mentioned that the rental guy was surprised that he had been paddling for two hours and 45 minutes. Spiny told him we’d gone to Santa Monica and apparently he was impressed. (Actually, by my watch we’d been out three hours and 45 minutes – but they only charged him for the lesser amount.)
It took me several minutes to back out of the parking lot entrance (it would have cost if I had entered), but I made it eventually. I drove to the loop at the end of Fiji Way and saw a cop running code 3. He stopped in front of Shanghai Red’s. Soon I saw two firetrucks and another Sheriff coming up Fiji at a fast pace. When I turned north on Lincoln Blvd. there was an ambulance coming followed by two more firetrucks. I guess there was some drama happening at Shanghai Red’s, but I don’t know what it was.
Two o’clock and time for a proper breakfast! I swung into Del Taco.
The kayaking was a good workout today. Nearly four hours of paddling really makes you feel good! It was not too hot, the water was a good temperature, and it was just an overall beautiful day for paddling.