Lost Coast, California

In the first few hours of our second day on the water, we rounded Cape mendocino, the westernmost point of land in the continental 48.  Me in my Avocet, Sean in a Delphin, Bryant in a Capella and Anders in a Scirocco.  We had set out the evening before from Ferndale with the intention of paddling 75+ miles down the Lost Coast of California.  On day one, after setting shuttle and driving north to the put-in, we anxiously packed our kayaks and quickly launched into dumping surf on a steep beach.  Without grace I managed to launch and take a couple on the head getting washed back up the beach to start again.  I had timed things right, but didn't account for the extra weight in the kayak and wasn't able to sprint out through the breakers fast enough.  Everyone else made it out clean one at a time and we turned south into wind keeping land on our left.  Landing on a protected beach north of Cape Mendocino we made camp for the night and made plans to depart early the next morning and make mileage on day two.  
Strategically avoiding the sea lions and picking off rides during the day we made our way south staying close to shore in order to have some play among the rocks.  Some closer than others.  Paddling with Sean is always a treat and a joy in addition to a great learning opportunity.  He seems to read waves like no other, constantly placing himself on the edge of the impact zone yet very rarely being caught inside.  How he does it still baffles me and I have a feeling it is as much natural talent as it is his 30 years of experience kayaking in coastal conditions.  I can't speak for Anders and Bryant, but I often felt like a student watching the master.  Over the course of eight hours on day two we managed to cover 32 miles of coastline varying from calm to rough with wind at our backs, some waves to catch, rocks to play among and surf to ride.  Our travel developed into a pattern of making time on the flat sections and slowing down to play and explore the rocks, headlands and rough water.  Before evening set in we arrived at our destination north of Shelter Cove in the so-called 'secret' surf spot of the Lost Coast.  It certainly isn't a secret, but seems to be infrequently visited due to its accessibility difficulties.  This was a day I won't soon forget and I made mental notes for I will surely return via foot to hike that section of the Lost Coast Trail.  
After driving all night last night, leaving Berkeley at 11pm and getting a flat tire in the Mohave desert at 4:30am, I arrived in Vegas nearly 30 minutes ago and felt compelled to get something up before launching for a four day camping and paddling trip with my sister on the Colorado.  Check out soon to read Sean Morely's detailed trip report.  

Check out more pics here.

Matt Palmariello