Jade Cove/Plaskett Creek Campout-Sept. 28 to Oct. 1
By Ken Kollwitz
There is plenty about the Big Sur coast that I love and can never seem to get enough of and if you asked me what it was I would have to say-beautiful, exciting, magical, mystical & exhilarating! I have traveled and dived along the Big Sur coast many times between Cambria and Montery but my favorite area is the Plaskett Creek, Jade Cove and Sand Dollar beach area and the main reason is that it is the only place for a distance you can dive and hunt along the beach for Jade. Hunting for Jade can be very addictive and is like looking for sea glass, magaldon shark teeth, old treasures and gambling in places like Vegas always thinking the next big find or jackpot will happen next. Of course hunting for Jade isn’t the only reason I keep going back because the beauty of the Big Sur coast just can’t be beat. The views along the bluffs are awesome, the camping is fun especially when others join you and if you can hike/climb down to Jade Cove with dive gear you have really accomplished something not everyone can do.
I have done a number of group trips to the area in the past 10 years at different times of the year and each brings something new. For this trip I thought September 28 to October 1 would work out great because it is usually a very nice time of year and it turned out to be one of the best times of year we have visited the area. Sometimes it is very damp and overcast, sometimes windy, other times cold but this trip the weather was PURFECT!
When I first started going to Plaskett Creek campground it was all first come first served, then half of the campground was changed to reservations and now the whole campground is reservations only and this time was the hardest to get a site. By luck I was able to get the last available site and that was only a few days after when you could make a reservation 7 months in advance. Found out the reason why when we arrived at the campground, turns out there was a large wedding and a large group of hang gliders camping the same weekend. What a bummer because others really wanted to join us but with no sites available it just didn’t work out.
I also had thought with the Hwy 1 just south of Gorda having the BIG landslide that there might be less people at the campground but even the 40 ft motor homes and trucks with trailers made it over the winding Nacimiento-Fergusson Road and the campground was full. Turned out the road was in good shape and not as bad as I thought it would be. Overall it took us about 1 to 1.5 hours longer than had we gone straight up the coast along Hwy 1 like we normally would have and I would do it again if needed.
Our grassy campsite was beautiful and we could see most all the campground from our vantage point while drinking a nice cold beer. The weather was gorgeous with a nice nip in the night and nothing to worry about except for the raccoons raiding our trash and looking for scraps on our table. My wife and I along with our dog “Mojo” did some exploring for cool looking rocks & Jade at both Jade Cove and Sand Dollar beach. I did some snorkeling at Jade Cove on Friday and on Saturday our new friend Tiffany Poon joined us for a couple days. It was great having Tiffany join us because it gave me someone to make a dive with Saturday.
I didn’t do great in the Jade collecting but still had LOTS of fun trying and Tiffany rules with the find of some excellent pieces on her first dive, hiking down the cliff and diving from the cove. If you have been to Jade Cove you know the trail down is not the easiest and nowadays after several storms it hasn’t gotten any easier. It is now a little more difficult in places but we all still made it down including my wife with the help of the rope I brought along. Nothing better than a good workout!