During this year’s Christmas holidays, we took a sunset kayak trip in Santa Cruz! The cruise was offered by Kayak Connection during November and December. Aubrey surprised us by booking the trip for the four of us, an awesome gift!

We went down to the harbor at in late afternoon about an hour before sunset, and listened to our guides (Lauren and Amelia) instruct us on kayak etiquette, safety, and sea life around the harbor. Then we donned our waterproofing and life jackets, plus our nifty Christmas hats, and headed outside for boating instructions.


The main instructions concerned right-of-way and sticking together as a group. We listened carefully.


Well, some of us did.


After the instructions, we all grabbed an oar and hiked a short distance to the end of the harbor, where we boarded our vessels. Aubrey and I rode together, as did Scott and Tom.


I found that I was inexplicably afraid once we got in the kayaks. I think it was the latching ourselves in with the bibs. Images of us tipping over and not being able to get out flooded my mind, until Aubrey and Lauren explained the ease of popping off the bibs. The uneasiness lasted a few minutes, and then I was fine.


And we were off! Instructed to exit the harbor single-file, we tried our best, but found that we were clumping into groups, eager to get out to the open sea. Fortunately, it was a mild night (“Mild night, Starbuck. Mild, mild night.” –anyone guess who said that and in what book/movie?), so getting out of the harbor was a piece of cake.

Lauren the Intrepid Guide

We exited the harbor just in time to see the sunset. Ah, Santa Cruz, I love your sunsets!


For the next hour, we floated and watched the sky’s color palette morph into ever-increasing beauty, enhanced by the lights on our kayaks. We watched for sea otters, but didn’t encounter any, or overlooked them. But it was spectacular simply sitting out on the briny, enjoying the crisp air, the bobbing of the tide, and one another’s company.

Lauren and her antlers.


Lauren holding a dead jellyfish. A gelatinous blob.

IMG_0814 IMG_0800

Both Lauren and Amelia are very knowledgeable about the oceans and the sea life around Santa Cruz, and were willing to answer any questions. Otherwise, they were content to chat about what they knew and liked about the area…which is a benefit in itself. Local insights.

Soon enough, too soon in my mind, we headed back into the harbor to view the lights on the boats at anchor. I love Christmas lights, anywhere, anytime.


IMG_0833 IMG_0831 IMG_0827 IMG_0824 IMG_0834

I admit. I’m a sucker for anything fun to do during the holidays, but this was really one for the memory books!