One of things that I love about living in Arcata, California, is that it’s smack in the middle of the west coast of the United States. It takes twelve hours to get to Mexico, and about the same to get to Canada, which means that any spot in California, Oregon or Washington, is within a day’s drive.
Mark and I had been watching the marine forecast closely. We’d been looking for a day with winds coming from any direction but the south, and a swell of eight feet or less so that we could explore some caves up north. Our window came, and we hopped in the car, driving for several hours to an odd little play spot in Oregon.
This particular spot is a mile long headland. It juts out to the west providing shelter from both north winds and north swell. On this particular day, the swell was coming directly from the west, so we didn’t have a lot of protection, but at six feet, the swell was small, and the air was still and calm.
Our launch into the harbor was easy, and we paddled around the jetty to the start of the headland. At first glance, this place doesn’t appear to be very different from most headlands. However, paddling closer and hugging its steep cliffs, a sea kayaker soon realizes that they’re in paradise. Every crack becomes a cave or tunnel, and each small cove offers numerous rocks to navigate around or marvel at their beauty.
We made our way from cove to cove exploring every inch of the rocks until we finally reached the last cove. From here, it’s fun to paddle around the headland through a wind tunnel into the exposed cove on the other side and then to surf back over a shallow reef to return to the southern side of the headland.
After hours of play it was time to leave, and we exited the final cove to be reminded that the car was less than a mile away. This is one of those wonderful places that only kayakers can really get to. The locals aren’t aware of the caves, and even other kayakers seem to be missing from this rare treasure…
Pictures by Mark and Helen.