The Sea For Yourself Kayak Adventures business at San Simeon Cove is no more. Owner Carl “Cubby” Cashen closed his enterprise on April 15, having submitted his 30-day notice a month earlier to State Parks.
Dan Falat, superintendent of the area’s state park district, said Cashen had been on a month-to-month contract for about four years, and had been involved with the enterprise for about five years prior to that. Falat said he didn’t know yet if State Parks would contract with someone else to provide the kayaking adventures in San Simeon Bay, adding “we’re always open to people who might have some proposals” for concessionaire contracts.
Cashen — who’s also known for his extreme cycling, passion for pet adoptions and fierce protection of wildlife, especially in the marine environment — said on his personal Facebook page that, after he sells off his gear, he’ll start a part-time job driving a Big Sur Unified School District bus for the Pacific Valley School.
He wants to spend more time with his beloved pups Chomp and GU (the Great Chiweenie) and “have some time off in summer to drive to visit family and actually have more than 40 days off a year.”
He said it’s been nine years since he’s consistently had two days off in a week, and he also hopes to be a volunteer rescuer with The Marine Mammal Center team. Meanwhile, however, local fans of Cashen and his kayak enterprise are mourning their lost opportunities to interact with the upbeat sportsman and the marine environment he so passionately defends and loves.
While he hasn’t officially announced why he’s closing Sea For Yourself, one of Cashen’s Facebook replies said that he wasn’t allowed to transfer his business to someone else, and in another response, he said a factor in his decision was “things the state has told me to do/not to do (that) would be against my ethos ... mainly dealing with how I protect the wildlife.”
Attempts to reach Cashen were unsuccessful by Tuesday evening.
Those protective actions for marine life — which State Parks maintains should only be done by law enforcement officials — brought accolades and honors to the kayak entrepreneur, including lifetime friend status with Friends of the Elephant Seal nonprofit. Cashen also champions domestic animals.
Last Thanksgiving Day, his solo “Everesting Hearst” effort also raised thousands of dollars for no-kill animal shelters and pet adoptions. He completed 23 consecutive bike rides up the brutally steep 3.7 miles from Hearst Ranch and Highway 1 to Hearst Castle. At 1,600 feet of vertical elevation rise per trip, his effort totaled 29,029 feet, the same elevation rise that a climber would face getting to the top of Mt. Everest.
On the closure of his business, Cashen posted on the Sea for Yourself Facebook page, “Enjoy, don’t destroy.” Then he quoted Martin Luther King, Jr., who said, “Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well being of a person or animal is at stake. Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.”
Comments about Cashen’s retirement announcement ranged from upset to sad. But a simple statement from sea otter specialist Gena Bentall seemed to say the most: “The wildlife lose a champion.”