Kayaking in big sur

Hey all, wife and I are making a trip to the Monterey Bay CA area (plus Yosemite, Sequoia Natl. Park, etc.) for a vacation in a few weeks and are planning on making a trip down to Big Sur. We'd love to do some kayaking while we're in the area, but can't seem to find any rental places nearby. The closest seems to be way down in Morro Bay.

Sadly, dragging our kayaks all the way over from NY isn't going to be an option, and the car we're going to be renting won't exactly be friendly to hauling boats either, so it'd need to be a tour or somewhere that rents boats on the water.

Anyone have any suggestions on where we could rent boats there in Big Sur, or have any other paddling suggestions in the area? If Big Sur doesn't work out we're thinking of doing an Elkhorn Slough tour with Monterey Bay Kayaks.

Any suggestions would be appreciated!

some info

– Last Updated: Jun-16-09 11:55 AM EST –

Check this article, with some info: http://www.nationalgeographic.com/adventure/0509/sports/paddling_big_sur.html

That said, this wouldn't be a place for beginners, and likely not even intermediate, paddlers. Sounds like a surf launch/landing, and few bail out places should things go wrong.

But, paddling in Elkhorn Slough or off of Monterey itself isn't anything to brush off. Nor would be paddling down in Morro Bay. Well worth doing as paddles on their own.

Thanks, I did see that article. Sadly the place in Big Sur mentioned in there isn’t in business any longer, and the other one is multiple hours south.

But, if things are that intense perhaps we should skip the yakking there and just stick to enjoying the drive down 1 and the scenery.

So Elkhorn is a good paddle? From the photos it looks quite nice, but not all that different than the trips we frequently take in the Adirondacks… but it’s always hard to tell from the random pictures posted on tour sites.

is different

– Last Updated: Jun-17-09 12:21 PM EST –

The paddling at Elkhorn isn't that exciting in itself. Flat water, protected, etc. Some winds and tidal current to deal with, but nothing too bad.

Primary difference is the wildlife. Right from the launch, you will likely sea harbor seals and sea otters. Maybe even sea lions (they are often a bit further out on the jetty towards Monterey Bay). Lots of sea birds and possibility to see bat rays and/or leopard sharks. Make for a much different experience than Saranac or Long Lake.

Launching from the beach in Monterey (near the pier), you can paddle out past the aquarium. More sea otters, seals, and sea lions. Slight chance to see humpbacks.

For more excitement, see if one of the tour companies has a trip to Point Lobos (which is just south of Monterey). Excellent rock gardening there, though the companies will want to make sure you have appropriate skill level (self rescue, surf, etc.) before they take you.

thanks again
Definitely appreciate the advice.

Had a great trip!

Wanted to post an update here, as we had a great time. I wound up e-mailing Dave at Venture Quest (http://kayaksantacruz.com/) and did their “Summertime Humpback Whales at Moss Landing and Sea otters of Elkhorn Slough” tour. I figured there wouldn’t be whales around, but wanted to get out in the open water water.

The tour was great. Dave had some Necky boats for us w/ rudders, c/f Werner paddles, and even kayak sails. We spent probably an hour bobbing around out in the sea watching the seals and otters and having them follow us around, then we went and toured around through the Slough – getting jealous glares from the other tourists from their sit-on-top tandems as we sailed on by.

Naturally there were no whales to be spotted, but we did see a few bottlenose dolphins that went tearing by while we were heading back, and tons of other wildlife.

We had a great time and would highly recommend going with Dave if you want to do a tour in the area. We’re definitely thinking of going back in the spring sometime and going on a proper whalewatching tour.

Pics and a couple of vids are here: