My day was not quite as epic as originally planned, but it was still fun. I paddled from Berkeley Marina to Angel Island (7-8 miles), ran two laps (17K) around the island, one on the perimeter road and one on great single-track to the summit of Mt. Livermore, climbed around the old military buildings, paddled home with big scary waves at my back, then went for a 14 mile bike ride.
I've come to the conclusion that for me, kayaking is a means to an end rather than an end in and of itself. It gets me to interesting islands, but getting out of the boat and exploring the island is the best part. Today was easily the hardest kayaking I've ever done, with 20-30 knot winds and a small craft advisory in place. (I didn't know this until just now, and I didn't know anything about conditions other than the tide schedule until I parked at the marina at 5:30 this morning and saw that it was already choppy.) The way to the island was difficult as I was headed out against big waves, but on the way back it was even more difficult with even larger waves coming at me from behind. It's fun to be able to ride them and go fast, but it's hard to not see them coming yet keep the bow pointed where you want to go. As I get lifted up by a wave, the bow leaves the water and can easily swing almost 45 degrees in the time of one stroke. And you can't get into any paddling rhythm because you're constantly bracing or steering, or you try to do a stroke, and whoops, the water is far closer/further than you expected. It was tense and a tiny bit frightening when waves crashed all the way over the cockpit, but I didn't capsize or anything, so it wasn't that bad. Mostly I just think that the view doesn't change very much, so it's a lot less fun than running or cycling.