This is the first in a series of stories by Eco Adventurer Meade Fischer, author of Cosmic Coastal Chronicles, about Kayaking around the California Central Coast.

Links in this series: Kayaking Central Coast - and - Looking For Whales - and - Still Life With Birds - Kayaking Elkhorn Slough

Getting Started, and why Monterey is a great place to begin kayaking

Paddling the Monterey Bay
By Meade Fischer

Monterey County offers the kayaker some of the finest paddling imaginable. From the majestic, rocky shoreline of Big Sur to the calm, bird filled waters of Elkhorn Slough.
An outstanding place to start an exploration of Monterey County waters is along the Monterey and Pacific Grove shore, from Fisherman's wharf to Lover's point. This area is inside Monterey Bay and is calm and protected during summer.

Monterey Bay Kayaks is located just east of the Monterey boat harbor, at Del Monte Beach, and it is an excellent place to launch. There is a public parking lot next to Monterey Bay Kayaks lot. During summer, tiny waves break on the shore, making it easy to launch. The beginner can rent a boat, join a guided paddle, take lesson, and (once hooked) select a boat to buy.

The paddle from the launch area, around the boat harbor, along historic Cannery Row, and over to Lover's point can be accomplished in under an hour, or one can explore the rocks and grottoes, stop to watch otters at play, or simply enjoy the vistas. One can spend the better part of the day on that stretch of water. Even though I've made the trip more times than I can count, I always find it a magical experience.

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Monterey Bay Kayaks used to run a sunset paddle on Friday nights during the summer months. I don't know if they'll revive the practice this summer or not. People would gather in the parking lot just before the store closed at six, unload the boats and carry them to the water. When the MBK guide got off work, the paddle would begin. People would bring snacks and drinks for the rest stop at Lover's Point beach. The group would return just before sunset, sometimes being treated to a magnificent orange sky as the sun dropped into the late afternoon fog.

Along this stretch of beach, there are places to pull in besides at Lover's Point. One can stop at places along Cannery Row and walk up the beach to a restaurant or pub. There are coves for private sunning or a picnic. One can take fins, mask and snorkel and explore the crystal clear waters and the brightly colored kelp forests.

There are seals and sea lions perched on every rock outcropping, starfish clinging to the sides of rocks, otters playing in the the kelp, or lazying with thei new born pups - cormorants and seagulls cruising all around, Grebes popping up all around. It a rich coastal habitat to paddle through, a joyful and educational way to spend a day.

You paddle around where Steinbeck and Ricketts charted new marine knowledge. It is wild and inspiring.

"Tripper" Fischer, author and coastal raconteur, seemingly is ready always to get out on the Bay. Go with him sometime - he'll make a a kayaker out of you - or, if you already are, you will have a lot of fun.

Contact him at:

eclecticpress@baymoon.com

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