November 3, 1997
Gaviota State Park, California, USA

This morning, I woke up at 6:15am, then immediately walked down to the beach to check out the surf conditions. While watching the waves roll in, I was entertained by a pod of dolphins surfing inside the waves. When the face of the waves got high and steep, I could look straight through and vividly see the silhouette of the dolphins. They appeared to be having a lot of fun.

Just before I got in the water, Don’s wife asked me to sign my article from the paper. Giving my autograph... that was a first!

I was unsuccessful on my first try at getting out through the breakers. I timed the set wrong and got hammered bad! I had to go back to shore to empty out the water and catch my breath. Carl, a guy I had met earlier, helped me out the second time. When I’m sitting at water level, it is hard to see what is on the other side of the first wave coming at me. Even if I make it through what is in front of me, there may be a monster waiting on the other side.

Carl took me out into the soup and held my boat steady while waiting for an opening. "This is as good as it is going to get - go for it!" Carl told me. The waves were still very large, but I trusted him, and went for it anyway. Unsure of myself, I started to slow down as I approached the last waves of foam. "Keep going! Keep going!" Carl coached me from shore. I dug in hard again, then took it on the head, and blasted through. On the other side of the surf zone, it was like a big lake. I let out a few "YAHOOOs", then steered the bow of my kayak in the direction of Pt. Conception.

The northwest wind was totally cut off by Pt. Conception, and beyond there, it was pure bliss. I pulled into Gavioda State Park at about 4pm, got changed into dry clothes, and went for a walk to check the place out. I met the gate keeper, and he gave me a hard time for not wanting to pay for a campsite. I met two bicyclists, Mark, a German, and Daniel, a Swede, who have been riding together for the last three months. They asked me to join them for supper, and, of course, I took them up on it. We had a great meal. Mark and Daniel plan to travel by bicycle for the next two years.

I’m now sitting on the toilet typing this because there are no other power outlets anywhere else in the campground. My butt is killing me!!!