Six months ago I issued the BIG SUR CHALLENGE, which entailed a paddle on the beautiful Big Sur coast to find a mysterious islet, scale it, and leave proof that you completed the quest. The Tsunami Rangers promised a boon to the first team to accomplish the deed. The quest to find Neptune’s Castle can be found at http://tsunamirangers.com/2011/03/08/how-to-become-a-tsunami-ranger/.
Many claimed they would be the bold adventurers who would undertake the task and be the first since the Tsunami Rangers to climb to the top of the rock and leave a message in a bottle. But only one team came through, and that was the newly-formed Neptune’s Rangers, a contingent of Bay Area Sea Kayakers (BASKers) who grew tired of my taunting and embarked on the perilous journey to the perilous castle that is Neptune’sRock.
Here is their personal account of their crusade, written by Sir Cass Kalinsky, one of Neptune’s Rangers. To learn more about this intrepid team, check out their website at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/neptunesrangers/.
On the wilds of the San Mateo California coast there lives a tribe of kayaking seafarers calling themselves the Tsunami Rangers. A close knit clan, they are known for their daring and courage in braving the rocks and surf and caves of the Western coast of North America. About 25 years ago leaders of this clan toured down the northern and central Big Sur coast. They camped at a hidden little beach, fished for ling cod, and explored in detail the complex rock garden they named Neptune’s Castle. They climbed the pyramidal islet of the Castle and placed a bottle with a message in it on top. They have not been there since.
Time moved on. The Tsunami Rangers beards have grown gray, their exploits more sublime than the adrenaline fueled adventures of youth. Who would rise up to take their place in the surf and caves and chaos of the rock gardens? To encourage others to follow in their path, they issued a challenge to the kayaking world: locate Neptune’s Castle; kayak to the Castle; scale its walls; find the bottle; insert a new message in the bottle to accompany what is there; and take a picture proving it. All they gave for a clue was a photo of Neptune’s Castle.
Rhetoric and hyperbole flowed across the internet as teams of adventurers from around the Pacific Rim boasted that they would be first to meet the challenge. Fat Paddler from Australia. The Hurricane Riders from Vancouver. A team from the Sonoma coast. Team Oz from parts unknown. Liquid Fusion from Fort Bragg. Lady Lenora from southern waters. Many words. Little action. Time passed.
Many months later, further north in a camp on the Mendocino coast, another band of adventurers gathered around a campfire after a glorious day of riding the waves and braving the rocks. Beer and tequila and marshmallows and tall tales flowed freely. The story of the Tsunami Ranger quest was told. These comrades determined that they must rise to the challenge! Plans were made. Dates were set. A new clan was formed. The Neptune Rangers were born. Within days the troop located the Castle using maps and satellite images. Logistics were worked out on launch points and gear.
The new team calling themselves Neptune’s Rangers gathered and paddled out onto the sea, braving the crash of waves as they passed through the gates of passage. Miles they paddled over the sea. Determined to reach their goal, many were the play spots they let slip by. At last, the target of the quest lay before them. Out of the kayaks. Climb they did. No treasure was there to be found. The 25-year-old bottle was long gone as was the Tsunami Ranger script. The Neptune Rangers were prepared. They left their own bottle (the geocache) and a poem penned by Sir Tony for the next brave soul to find.
The geocache is NOT at the posted coordinates. You must solve the challenge to determine the location. Once there, find the container, sign the log, Contact Neptune’s Rangers and state the words from the poem contained within. Photos, of course, are optional, but why would you not want to show the world your accomplishment?! Sea bird nesting occurs April through June. Conditions are usually tough during that time as well. Trips in that window should be avoided.
And so last August Neptune’s Rangers completed the quest and subsequently challenged other intrepid paddlers to make the journey and add their words to the geocache located at the top of Neptune’s Castle. I promised a boon to the clan who successfully scaled the walls of the Rock and submitted photographic proof, as you have seen throughout this post. The boon I awarded Neptune’s Rangers was autographed copies of my book, CONFESSIONS OF A WAVE WARRIOR, and a special boon (to be given at a propitious moment) for two of the warriors—Sir Gregg and Sir Peter. Stay tuned.
Neptune’s Rangers in ocean rock garden action…
Please congratulate the new team of Neptune’s Rangers on their mission. If you have an ocean adventure kayaking team, tell us a little about yourselves. Just post your comment below. Arrrrrrrhh!