Monterey ocean kayak day trip
These are details of the annual De Anza College Outdoor Club Spring Break Monterey Bay ocean kayak day trip. We launch at a beach on Cannery Row; a detailed area map will be included with your receipt.
The date and price of the next event is at Outdoor Club Coming Attractions.
PLEASE READ THIS CAREFULLY.
The trip includes a paddling lesson before we launch.
It can be a half day or all day project. We meet in Monterey at 9 a.m. Figure a 1 1/2 to 2 hour drive.
Driving directions: If you use Google maps to get to 299 Cannery Row, Monterey, you will see a map of the close-in vicinity. Scroll out a little to see a bit more of the streets.
Many people take Highway 17 to Highway 1, then exit on Del Monte. After a number of blocks Del Monte bears right and changes its name to Lighthouse. Be in the right hand lane as you head through the tunnel and exit right on Foam (one way in this direction) and turn into the pay parking lot surrounded by Reeside, Foam and Lighthouse which usually has lots of room at the early hour we start. There are numerous one way streets in the vicinity and if you miss the Foam exit you will wish you had a street map to find your way back. Plan to park at the pay lot or (not recommended) get there extra, extra early, drop off passengers and drive around in the local neighborhood looking for non-pay parking.
As you walk up Cannery Row from the parking lot look on the left hand side for a big courtyard between buildings up a few steps at 299 Cannery Row, where you will check in with us. (To your right and down a flight of stairs is the beach we launch from.)
It takes about an hour to fill out releases, get gear issued, do the paddling lesson and get everyone launched, depending on group size.
We require that everyone paddles out and waits for all the group to launch (and then we do a group photo out on the bay) before anyone starts on their journey.
We paddle out for one hour and everyone returns after that one hour, with people staying in small groups according to paddling speed. Everyone paddles at least 3/4 of a mile to in front of the Monterey Bay Aquarium. After it's time for lunch people brought and usually a quantity of snacks the club provides. There are restaurants and fast food places, but they take too long to have time for the potential optional afternoon hikes.
Most of the group each year has formed carpools after we eat and gone to Point Lobos State Reserve, 7 miles south of the kayak launch point, for a short walk and a moderate hike along the most beautiful section of the California coast. Or you could bring bikes or roller blades and use the shoreline city trails made especially
for pedestrians and bikes. Some people stay for sunset on the beach. Asilomar Beach, around the peninsula from our kayak launch point, usually has enough parking.
-- Most people use a single (one person) kayak, but there are tandem (two person) kayaks
available. These are the kind of kayaks you sit on top of, not the kind you get your legs stuck in,
so no special training or experience is required. People who know in advance who they would
like to share a tandem with should sign up for one; if there are others available that day you can
form partnerships when you get there. The club does not provide the kayaks, we rent them from the outfitter, so you do not have to transport one.
--Bring: Chapstick, towel, good waterproof sunscreen (remember to put some on top of your
feet if you go barefoot or in rubber sandals, and on top of your legs if they are bare), water bottle
(especially to be able to rinse salt water out of your mouth if you end up in the bay), sunglasses
and croakies or other eyewear retainers, hat, windbreaker, long sleeve polypropylene and/or
other warm sweater, possibly a rain jacket, change of clothes and shoes for afterwards in case
you get wet. (There are showers that are usually working, but run out of hot water fast, at the end
of the Coast Guard wharf.) Also bring a picnic lunch or money to get one, and money for your
share of gas (no IOUs!). Maybe dinner money, some people stay for the sunset.
--Wear: -Lifejacket (provided and required: you must wear it all the time, and it must stay
zipped), windbreaker and splash suit (to protect your clothes, it looks like extra high waisted
water-repellant pants) are included in the rental cost. There are a limited number of drybags to
keep gear relatively safe, so grab one when you arrive. Lots of people bring binoculars or
cameras, but there is some risk of getting them wet, or even losing them. Lots of people bring a waterproof disposable camera.
Loose clothes (swimsuit, then polypropylene long johns with shorts on top - then add the "dry
pants/splash suit" the outfitter has, and shirts and the windbreaker the outfitter supplies or
swimsuit/spring wetsuit --people who wear full sized wetsuits have said they felt too warm). Be sure to take car keys and things out of your pockets so you won't lose them
in the bay. On your feet: Nothing (some risk of cut feet) , neoprene booties, aquasocks, rubber sandals (the kind that can be velcroed to stay
on your feet, not just flip-flops), or old tennis shoes that can get wet. 10% to 30% of the group gets soaked each year.
--Nearby parking can cost $4 plus for the day (bring quarters) or drop off passengers and park
farther away and walk. There will be an entrance fee at Point Lobos.
--You will have to sign a release of liability for the rental company and for De Anza College.
--You agree at all times not to disturb wildlife and to stay at least 50 feet (five kayak lengths)
from wildlife groups. This means we have to stay that far from the rocks along shore where the
seals rest and birds nest or that far from otters playing or eating out in the water.
If animals surface near us, or swim to, around or under us it's okay, (such as in a lot of the pictures at this website) but when they surface near
us we can't paddle closer.
We've always seen otters and seals.
We should never encircle any animals with our kayaks. One year we
had to move away because another group, that didn't want to follow the rules, joined us where
we were watching a group of otters, effectively encircling them. (Note: There are huge fines for
disturbing the animals, and the Hopkins Marine Station is known to come out on the bay and
ticket people who break rules.)
Keep the noise down: Any unnecessary expenditure of energy
can harm a feeding or resting bird or animal. Nesting birds may fly away from the nest exposing
unprotected eggs and hatchlings to the sun's heat or predators.
Harassment is defined as any action that may cause an animal to deviate from its normal
behavior. It is illegal and can unduly stress wildlife. Other people will ignore these rules. Please
have more respect than they do.
--The concessioner gives a kayak lesson before we go out. Please pay complete attention to it. It
will include boundaries of where we are allowed to go and important safety considerations. The
Coast Guard can charge $500 or more for a rescue. If you go where you're not supposed to, and end up,
for example, on the rocks and need a Coast Guard boat to come get you, De Anza will not pay
for it, you will. The concessioner usually tells us to stay in the area of the kelp beds, so we won't
go too far out from shore and get in the range of ships or fishing boats going to and from the
marina, or paddle too close in to shore, and have swells push us on to rocks. If the concessioner
gives us a limited area to paddle in (sometimes only the 3/4 mile to the aquarium and no
further), then people who want to get in a lot of paddling can get in a lot of visiting too, going
back and forth from the front group to the slower paddlers at the rear.
--You must agree to stay with the group, paddling in groups of at least four kayaks near
enough to each other that you can talk to each other. This means fast paddlers may have to wait
for others, and the next-to-slowest people will have to wait for the slowest.
We all will paddle to the part of the bay in front of the Monterey Bay aquarium and Hopkins Marine Station. Everyone
is expected to paddle at least 3/4 mile to the aquarium, so if you envision yourself just going
out a few hundred yards and sitting around, don't sign up for this trip, you must paddle at least
some distance to stay with a group. Sometimes you have to paddle hard to keep the wind from
pushing you where you don't want to go. Paddling through the thicker parts of the kelp beds can
be hard. People who go beyond Point Cabrillo at the Hopkins Marine Station will find bigger
swells to paddle through. If you have doubts about your strength, share a tandem kayak.
Only currently enrolled De Anza students can go on club events. Even though Foothill is in the same district, enrollment or employment at Foothill does not qualify anyone to go with us. People who want to go on an event between quarters must have been enrolled the previous quarter, or already be enrolled in the following quarter. For example, to go on a spring break trip you need to have been enrolled winter quarter or be already enrolled in spring quarter. Faculty are subject to various rules depending on whether they are full time, ten month, part time, on sabbatical or Article 19 and should contact the club advisor well in advance of an event they want to participate in.
Anyone can rent a kayak from the outfitter that day, so we used to say that people could bring non-student friends and they would pay for themselves but paddle along with us. A guy on the '99 trip invited a girl
from off campus. They each had single kayaks, instead of sharing one, and she turned out to not
have enough upper body strength to paddle by herself - then the guy abandoned her, and other
people had to help her. More recently people brought friends who did not stay away from the animals, potentially putting everyone in danger, so we no longer allow anyone except De Anza students and staff on the event paddling with us.
--At launching, first ones out wait for everyone else to launch, and even wait for anyone who
falls out of their kayak to get back in and catch up to us. We will do a group photo and then start paddling. We will paddle
out for one hour, and return as a group. If almost all of the group heads back early (lunch seems
to be calling people), then everyone must come back in, no one can stay out by themselves. After
returning with a group you are free to go out again on your own, but not as a club event, that is,
De Anza will no longer have responsibility for you. The kayak outfitter may then require that
you go in pairs. At any time the outfitter may decide the wind has come up too strong, and we
will have to stop our trip, or you won't be able to go out again in the afternoon, but this is rare.
- The advisor and or the outfitter can limit how far you can kayak. The rules for this may be
that people who have been on the trip before or have other kayaking experience will be allowed
to go as far as the outfitter allows; persons with no experience or who are in the slowest 2/3rds
of the group will only be allowed to go as far as the Monterey Bay Aquarium. You must promise to
keep paddling as necessary to keep up with the group, go at least as far as the Aquarium (about
one mile) and finish the event, even if you get sore or tired.
-- There are usually lifeguards signed up for the trip. At least one volunteers to paddle with the slowest people. They were not hired to guard people; they volunteered to help as needed and
will bring rescue equipment (the red rescue tubes) in case it is needed. They are here to have fun,
not watch the group closely, so remember the trip rule that you agree to stay in a group, paddling in groups of at least four kayaks near
enough to each other that you can talk to each other. If someone falls off their kayak, other people near them can paddle to them and hold their kayak to steady it while they climb back on. If you can't handle the problems in your group, then yell for
help from others and if there is a lifeguard in the vicinity, they'll come over.
(Except right as we launch and land, if you find yourself falling off the kayak, try to grab
the kayak as you hit the water. This will mean you can climb back on faster). Quickly figure out where your paddle went and grab it or have another paddler grab it. Some of us may
have swim caps with us. It could be wise to bring your own, and/or a knit hat. If you get soaked you will probably
want to put on a swim cap and/or knit hat to keep yourself warmer.
When you return, wait for hand signals from the kayak outfitter personnel on the beach for when
you can paddle in to shore. They will see when the waves are low enough to be safe, and will
only let one or a few kayaks come in at a time. They might signal for you to come in a little, then
wait, then finally paddle in. (IF we go out on one of the rare, foggy days with no wind and there
are no waves, we can come back in on our own.) Either way, be sure to get your kayak aimed for
the center of the beach so you don't get too close to the walls of the buildings along shore.
Many people will get wet on return to the beach. The two potential ways to get hurt on this trip
are to not follow instructions on return to the beach and run into another kayak, or to get hit by your own kayak. If a wave
turns your kayak sideways when you are landing at the beach, and you are sure you are falling
out, jump out towards the ocean instead of towards the beach. This way the wave will push you
into the kayak (not a big problem) instead of pushing the big heavy kayak into you (and possibly
breaking your legs). Trying to stand up on the kayak and surf is too dangerous.
In the photo below, one guy realized he was falling out of his kayak and fell out towards the ocean side, then stood up. You can just see his yellow kayak in the surf. Below his photo are more typical slightly wet landings.
When you finish ocean kayaking and come back into the beach, ideally you let the wave break in front of you,
but sometimes the wave has a mind of its own and you end up riding it in.
The kayak outfitter we use always has an employee at the beach when we launch and when we come back in to help us, and the water is standing depth, so it's not really dangerous.
Can you see the wave starting to build up slightly behind this kayak?
Despite the safety factors, it can still be a bit of a thrill when a breaking wave speeds up and seems to suddenly pick up your kayak.
Hoang-My (Mimi) Dunkle at the bow (front) and Imelda Terrazas in the stern (rear) sum up the adventure for first time kayakers with the looks on their faces.
--By signing up for this trip you are agreed to all of this. If, upon reading all this, it seems like
too many rules for you (you don't want to stay with the group in the morning or you don't want to
wear a lifejacket) please don't sign up for the trip. On one past trip a couple of guys came along
who ignored this advice. They didn't want to wear their lifejackets, and when the concessioner
forced them to, they didn't want to zip them up. They didn't paddle with the group, and one
argued about practically everything. They were both blacklisted by the concessioner from ever
renting from them again, and likewise from any Outdoor Club event. In '98 a woman, and in '99
a man were blacklisted for not staying with the group, and/or not staying in the range of the kelp
--The concessioner usually sends an employee to drive along the coast and check up on groups,
especially to make sure no one approaches the marine animals too closely, and that no one is
horsing around. Our club is their longest running customer, and they look forward to our coming,
because we pay attention to the lesson, and don't break laws or take risks (like standing up and surfing the
kayaks on return to the beach). We'd like to be able to continue these trips, so if this puts too
many restrictions on your 'freedom', please don't join us.
--No refunds. Interesting weather does not cancel Outdoor Club events. People who arrive too
late to be outfitted and launch with the group must pay again directly to the concessioner (if
there are any kayaks left). We can't wait for late people, because the wind comes up and will be
right in our faces. Carpools and caravans are on your own, the club does not arrange carpools or
pay for gas, parking, lunch, etc. Usually carpools meet and form caravans at the back of the Oaks
shopping center, across Stevens Creek Blvd. from De Anza at 7 a.m. for a 9 a.m. trip start. Some people may
choose to stay overnight in Monterey.
We have been doing this trip for over fifteen years. We've had a few people fall out of their kayaks in Monterey Bay. It's okay, because they were wearing lifejackets and there are always other kayakers, and maybe even a lifeguard, nearby on our trips to help. They all figured out how to get back into their kayak.
But it would have been easier to handle this if they had practice getting back into a kayak. So now we are offering everyone who signs up a chance to come down to the De Anza pool in their swimsuit, put on a lifejacket and under the watchful eye of a lifeguard, figure out how to climb back into a kayak from the water. (The De Anza pool is heated, Monterey Bay is not.) See Outdoor Club Coming Attractions for the date of the next kayaking / canoeing lessons and practice how to climb back in to an ocean kayak.
Please be on notice that the Outdoor Club will NOT be responsible for getting you back into your kayak if you fall out in the ocean during the Monterey trip. YOU will be. The Coast Guard can charge $500+ for a rescue. If you fall out of your kayak and canít get back in and need a Coast Guard boat to come get you, De Anza will not pay for it, you will. There will be people nearby who will help steady your boat, but it would be smart to try it in the warm De Anza pool before it happens in the cold ocean.
To see more pictures of our ocean kayaking go to:
Outdoor Club Monterey kayak trip 2010 group photos
Outdoor Club Ocean Kayak Day Trip April 2007
2006 Ocean Kayak Day Trip
Otters sometimes swim among us:
sea otter visits Shannon Mathey's kayak Monterey 2006
ocean kayaking May 2005
March 2004 ocean kayak group photos
Monterey ocean kayak pictures
HOW TO FIND US
to pay for a membership, sign up for an event, or to volunteer is at:
Outdoor Club Coming Attractions
Carpools are arranged among the students going on the trips, for info go to Carpool FAQs
Road trip advice and etiquette
Quit being paranoid about sharks
Please read rogue or sneaker waves
enature sea otters
enature harbor seals
In Monterey bay, one way to tell the difference between harbor seals and sea lions is that the seals have spotted fur, no visible ears and crawl on their bellies; the sea lions have visible ears, can walk on land and bark.
Topography and Bathymetry of the Monterey Bay and San Francisco Bay Region.
a stereographic shaded relief image
Answers to most questions about how the De Anza Outdoor club works are at: Outdoor Club Basic Info The main rules common to most of our trips, including who is eligible to go, are at: Outdoor Club trip rules.
For the date and price of the next De Anza College Outdoor Club kayak day trip to Monterey and HOW TO FIND US
Outdoor Club Coming Attractions
Some people turn this event into a weekend vacation and come to Monterey on the day or the afternoon before the trip and tour Big Sur, the Seventeen Mile Drive or the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
photos below by Quang-Tuan Luong/terragalleria.com, all rights reserved.