Sea Kayaking Big Sur — The Next Tsunami Rangers Adventure

by Eric Soares on August 20, 2010

This is my first official blog post, so please bear with me.  The Tsunami Rangers ocean adventure kayak team is venturing back to beautiful Big Sur and plans to spend a few days exploring its many rock gardens and caves.  I will give a full report when I return in late August.

We first explored Big Sur, located a few miles south of Monterey, California, and a few miles north of San Simeon, in the late 1980s.  Our first trip, with Tsunami Rangers captain Jim Kakuk and lieutenant Alan Hillesheim, started at Mill Creek and ended at Willow Creek.  Later, lieutenant Glenn Gilchrist accompanied Jim and me on a trip from Rocky Point through Pfeiffer Big Sur.  After that, lieutenant Dough Schwarz and our good friend Joanne Turner joined us on an excursion from Gorda south toward San Simeon.

We filmed our award-winning video, ADVENTURES OF THE TSUNAMI RANGERS, near Rocky Point with commander Michael Powers.  That led to the WAVE WARRIORS film in the same area done by lieutenant commander Gordon Brown and his filmmaking family for National Geographic Explorer.

Since then, we’ve spent a lot of on-water time at Garrapata, at the north end of Big Sur, but have not had a big exploration adventure in Big Sur in ten years.  So, it’s time to return.  Stand by.

Sea kayaker explores a waterfall tumbling into the Pacific Ocean along the Big Sur coast.

Sea kayaker explores a waterfall tumbling into the Pacific Ocean along the Big Sur coast.

A Big Sur sea cave ripe for exploration by the Tsunami Rangers' sea kayaks.

A Big Sur sea cave ripe for exploration by the Tsunami Rangers' sea kayaks.

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

John Soares August 24, 2010 at 3:32 pm

Eric, I’m looking forward to hearing about your exploits — and seeing the pics as proof.


Eric Soares August 31, 2010 at 1:00 am

John, Stand by for a complete report with photos.


Tess Dodd September 7, 2010 at 2:36 am

Eric, the caves and waterfalls above look amazing. The images in the TR photo gallery all seem to be taken with a steady hand in the heat of the battle – Michael Powers work ?


Ollie July 24, 2011 at 5:07 am

Good points all around. Truly appreaicetd.


Eric Soares September 7, 2010 at 3:45 pm

Yes, Tess, Big Sur is amazing. We didn’t explore caves on this trip, but there is a place in central Big Sur (the coast is about 100km long) where there is a series of linking caves in granite which we call Pirate’s Labyrinth. We featured it in our first video, The Adventures of the Tsunami Rangers, which I may re-release on DVD.

Michael Powers, who turned 70 last month, takes many of our great photos (as you saw in the books), but Jim Kakuk and others also get good ones. I took the sunset shot and Jim Kakuk took both the waterfall and cave shots.

BTW, I found the shark essay and photos very compelling on your site, funtessea. I’ll be visiting it often.


Peter Donohue September 17, 2010 at 2:31 am


I look forward to following your Blog posts.



Eric Soares September 17, 2010 at 3:38 pm

Welcome aboard, Peter! Please feel free to put in your two cents on any topic. This week’s blog will be on sea caves, so stay tuned.




Philip Bonds November 10, 2010 at 11:16 pm

Hi Eric,

I’m not looking to have anything posted here, but I happened upon the website and your blog. It looks like you’ve found your way back after dealing with issues related to AVR surgery and returned in fine form.

You may not remember exchanging a few e-mails with me concerning your article about dealing with the tribulations of valve replacement surgery in Sea Kayaker Magazine. I’m afraid I was the guy in Colorado who was trying to give you some “tough love”.

Anyway, congrats on the website. You’ve got some enjoyable content here.

Life’s short… ride hard… and pedal fast!

-Philip Bonds (Tinman)


Eric Soares November 11, 2010 at 10:44 am

Welcome aboard, Philip! I definitely remember you from a few years ago. Your tough-love comments did not go unheeded, as I’m back in the kayak saddle and have returned to jujitsu. Of course, I’m smarter. I don’t get into terrible kayaking situations or paddle too hard. And in jujitsu, I deliver punishment, but I whine and go “ooh, bad heart” when they start to return the favor.


Ashley April 17, 2013 at 7:36 am

Very nice post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wished to say that I’ve truly enjoyed surfing around your blog posts. In any case I’ll be subscribing for your feed and I hope you
write once more soon!


Nancy Soares April 17, 2013 at 10:56 am

Thanks for commenting, Ashley! It’s always good to hear from readers. We post every 2 weeks on Mondays. Next up, we’re offering a kayak fitness post. Glad you enjoy the blog 🙂


Darlehensgeber April 19, 2013 at 9:56 am

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those out there who are searching for resources on this subject.
You have put in an tremendous amount of dedication into these solutions, and it has allowed students
in our field to acquire great benefits. Your amazing help and advice will mean a lot to me and
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70851 April 20, 2013 at 4:43 pm

I’m a writer from Erp, Netherlands just sent this onto a coworker who is doing a little research on this. And she actually bought me lunch only because I stumbled upon it for her… lol. So allow me to reword this…. Thanks for the food… But yeah, thanks for taking some time to discuss this issue here on your blog.


Nancy Soares April 24, 2013 at 9:57 am

You’re welcome for the food, 70851! So cool we have readers in the Netherlands. Who knew? Exciting! Hope you continue to enjoy the blog!


snowblink May 15, 2013 at 1:20 am

Thank you so much for this. I’m a writer out of Beilen, Netherlands and what I just read here on couldn’t be
written any better. Perusing this article reminds me of my
previous roommate, Ashleigh. He incessantly kept preaching about this.
I will definitely send these ideas to him.
Pretty sure he will have a good time reading this. I appreciate you for
sharing this.


brian murphy September 5, 2014 at 10:25 pm

Eric….just found your site…”treasures everywhere” specifically, the photo of Mcway Falls / juliet Pfiefer state park. I am a photographer and “NEED” to photograph the falls form the ocean. I am an amateur sea kayaker and would like to find and hire a sea kayak guide to get me into the cove to take my photographs from the water.

Do you know anybody that can do this for me ???? Thanks ..Brian Murphy..Orange County Calif 714 227 9431


Nancy Soares September 7, 2014 at 7:45 am

Hi Brian! Unfortunately, Eric passed away 2/1/12. The Tsunami Rangers are still running the website, though, and I am doing the editing. I can put you in touch with Jim or one of the other guys who can answer your questions if you like. I’ll pass on your info and perhaps we can be of service. Thanks for reading and commenting. – Nancy Soares


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