I push off from Niland County Park (map point 1) at 8:30 A.M. There is very little wind, but I am surprised that there are still some waves. I had not experienced any waves during my practice at Stevens Creek Reservoir. But then, this Sea is 2,500 times as large as the Reservoir, and its hydraulics are more like an ocean than a small lake. I paddle about two hours and arrive at Bombay Beach, a small community of 300 people, where Jerry and Steve join me. We paddle together for an hour covering about three miles. They are about 15 feet ahead and a little to my left when I shout at them asking if they are ready to stop for lunch. They both turn around at the same time to answer me and almost capsize!
As we eat our lunch, we notice that the waves are becoming larger and the wind is picking up. The Sea looks dark in the distance. Jerry and Steve look concerned. Our destination, Corvina Estates RV Park, is still 5 miles away. These local guys know what we are in for. They contemplate, ever so briefly, turning around and returning to Bombay Beach with the wind at their backs as I announce that I just have to keep going forward.
We paddle furiously as wave after wave hits us broadside. I'm not in any real danger as I'm only about 200 feet from the shore, but, with the pounding waves, it would be almost impossible to get going again should I capsize. I'm a little unnerved, but I'm more worried about Jerry and Steve. They are in an open canoe and it is taking in water with each wave. My kayak, its cockpit covered with a spray skirt, is able to handle waves much better than their canoe. Plus, it takes a fair amount of coordination between the two paddlers to keep the canoe going straight. And they had not paddled at all for months. After what seemed like an eternity but was really only an hour, they pull over and I follow. We had covered barely a mile but we were tired. We rest a little and resume paddling. Luckily, the wind and waves soon abate and we pull into Corvina Estates (map point 2) at 2:30 P.M. to the cheers and relief of Joy, De and a few other well wishers.
As I lay in the tent that night, I was discouraged. It was a tough day and my thighs were hurting. I had to press hard against the underside of the kayak with my knees to brace against the waves. I hadn't encountered any waves during practice and my untrained thigh muscles were shouting, "enough is enough". However, there was a silver lining to all of this. Our campground was situated close to the Southern Pacific tracks and the trains went by fairly frequently. But Joy and I had no trouble sleeping; I was tired and Joy was worn out from worrying about me.