August 17, 1997
Twin Rocks, Oregon, USA

I finally left Arcadia Beach State Park today. I hit the water at 11:30am and headed out through breakers that were 2 feet over my head. I made sure that my new scuba mask was securely tied to my life-jacket.

If I don’t have forward momentum when those breakers are crashing on my head, I can easily be flipped end over end, or sent surfing backwards - both of which would lead to disaster. To avoid that, I paddled as hard as I could, so when I got hit, I was able to punch through to the other side of the wave. "Yahooo!" I shouted, as I made my very first successful transition through a surf zone in a loaded kayak.

At 12:50pm, I passed Castle Rock, and could see the breaking shoals off Cape Falcon just ahead. A shoal is where there are rocks just below the surface of the water. When a swell passes over it, there is a lot of turbulence and the water rises and falls very quickly. I could have gone around it, but it was easier not to. When I got a bit closer, I became nervous and pulled out my scuba mask. I figured it would be easier to Eskimo roll with the mask on. It keeps me from panicking while under water.

Just when things started to get a little crazy, I got the over-whelming urge to go pee. This was the wrong time to be opening my spray skirt, letting go of my paddle, and unzipping my dry suit. I couldn’t hold it - so I did what I had to do. I wasn’t going to piss myself... of course I took the risk of being drowned.

I made it through the shoal, but later, I discovered I had not zipped up my dry suit. This could have been a fatal mistake if I capsized and had to do a wet exit. My dry suit would have filled up like a rubber boot, making it next to impossible for me to get back into the kayak.

The paddling south of Cape Falcon was ideal. Almost no wind, with just enough swell to keep things interesting. Upon approaching the mouth of the Nehalem River, things got exciting again. With night closing in, I decided to land at a place called Twin Rocks. Surfing in a heavily loaded boat is a bit unnerving. Once I commit myself - there is no turning back. If I hesitate and slow down, I will be in for a rough ride.

After landing, I had a 200 foot haul ahead of me to get my kayak up to the high-tide line. A man passed on a bicycle, and I thought about shouting to ask him to help me carry my boat, but felt awkward in doing so, and decided against it. As I started to empty my boat at the water’s edge, the man walked up to me and asked, "Would you like me to help you?" He saved me a lot of work, since we were able to carry the loaded kayak up to the top of the beach in one trip.

So far on this journey, every time I’ve needed the assistance of another person - they are always there, ready and willing to help. I’m constantly amazed at how my problems get worked out. I don’t believe in luck. I think luck is a word used mainly by people who don’t believe in God. Sometimes I think God is in control, but most of the time I’m not sure. All I know is that I’m totally vulnerable 99% of the time, and so far, everything that has happened always turned out for the best. It seems like everything that happens to me is meant to be.

After Neal helped me carry my things up the beach, I took off my dry suit, changed into new clothes, swallowed my vitamins with a Shaklee muscle recovery drink, and set up my tent. Then I headed off to find some place to plug in my computer to get my email. I was offered a cell phone at a house under construction, and a phone without a jack at a hotel, but these weren’t suitable. Then I saw a kid on the porch of a large beach-house, and I asked him to check with his parents to see if I could use their phone. A man came out and said "No problem, I’m sending emails all the time myself."

While I was receiving my emails, I told him about my adventure. "Have you eaten supper yet?" he asked. "Not yet" I replied. "Do you like steak?" he added. He led me upstairs, then directed me to a place-setting at the dinner table amongst a bunch of other folks. In between answering questions about my travels, I ate hearty helpings of steak, crab, and potatoes. For dessert, we had apple pie and Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream.

The beach-house has belonged to Art’s family for four generations. He and his girlfriend, Sandra, are both artists and live on opposite sides of the country. He in New York, and she in San Francisco. They both asked me to visit them when I get to their part of the country.

Sandra asked me if I wanted to get a shower and wash my clothes. She said she did a lot of backpacking in Europe and knows what it is like to be in my shoes. She also mentioned that, when she was traveling around in Europe during the time of the Vietnam war, she and her friends sewed red maple leaves on their clothes and backpacks. They didn’t want Europeans to think they were Americans because they might have things thrown at them.

It’s almost 1am. Time to hit the sack.