'Lectronic Index

Previous 'Lectronic Edition

Photos of the Day: Long Beach Rescue

August 8 - Long Beach

Right up to the last minute, it seemed like it was going to be an uneventful crossing from Catalina to Long Beach aboard Profligate. But then, as we were just 100 yards from entering the western end of the eastern part of the Long Beach breakwater, we noticed the Catalina 27 Gandy Dancer being thrown onto the breakwater by a moderate but forceful swell. It appeared those on board had somehow lost propulsion from their outboard, and their last minute efforts to raise the main and sail away from the rocks had been in vain.

It was a very dangerous situation as the five people aboard - two men, a woman and two children - couldn't seem to decide whether it was better to stay with the boat, which was being pounded on the rocks, or make an attempt to jump off the violently moving boat onto the slippery breakwater. Either choice could have easily resulted in serious injury, if not death. After about five minutes, they decided to get off the boat.

As you can see in the photo above, the woman was the last aboard. She was dragged from the boat as the waves knocked it back and forth on the rocks. Fortunately for the Gandy Dancer crew, two other vessels had arrived on the scene just a minute or so after their boat went on the breakwater. One of the vessels was Orca, a Harbor Services vessel with a number of men aboard, and a Harbor Pilot boat. One of the fully clothed crew of Orca - and he was no young man - jumped into the water, swam to the breakwater, and courageously made his way up the slippery, wave-battered rocks. He helped the two children to safety high on the breakwater, at which point one or both of the children screamed hysterically, presumably for their mother and/or father still on the boat. Eventually, they got off also, but not without some drama. It appeared the crew suffered only the most minor injuries - and a terrible fright. Given the way the boat was being slammed around, it could have been much worse.

If they had to pick a place to go on the rocks, they couldn't have chosen a much better spot than the Long Beach breakwater. Within about 10 minutes of the grounding, the first of two Harbor Patrol boats arrived on the scene, followed by a Coast Guard helicopter overhead, and a Coast Guard rescue boat. Once the crew of the sailboat was rescued, someone on the Harbor Patrol boat swam a line to the Catalina on the rocks, and, with perfect timing, she was pulled free. Despite the beating she had taken, she floated nicely and her rig was intact.

It was a wild day for the sailors, but just a typical day in the lives of the Harbor Patrol and Coast Guard.

Photos Latitude/Richard

Speaking of Catalina

August 8 - Avalon

You can see that Nic and Hayley Riise have moved from relatively rustic and uncrowded Two Harbors to jam-packed Avalon. Even during the middle of the week, every mooring was taken, including a few 'single tails' out in Hamilton Cove past Descanso Bay. In addition, ferries were running at just about capacity and a huge cruise ship had disgorged her passengers. With warm temperatures and blue skies, tourists and business owners were making the most of the moment. By the way, who can spot Profligate among the fleet at Avalon?

You know what we miss most about youth? The foolishness of it all. Check out this photo of Hayley body surfing at Descanso Bay which, as you can see, has a very rocky bottom.

Photos Latitude/JR

Meanwhile, in Key West

August 8 - Key West, FL

Meanwhile, clear over on the other side of the country, the Webmistress checked out the sailing in Key West, and was fortunate to hook up with the catamaran Echo, a 30-ft Stiletto running day charters out of the Historic Seaport. We arranged with the owner, 'Tortuga' Tom Stroh, to go out for a 4-hour dolphin encounter/shipwreck snorkel, and were surprised to find that we had the pretty cat to ourselves, along with Captain Ashley O'Neil.

We motorsailed out seven miles, passing a couple of loggerhead turtles, to an open ocean area the dolphins frequent, where we found a pod of about five adults and one juvenile. The youngster kept swimming over to Echo, followed by the adults who were keeping track of him/her. After we watched the dolphins for a while, Ashley drove us over to the wreck of an 1800s steel steamship, where she tied Echo off to a mooring ball and we jumped in the 85-degree water to gaze at the wreck, the fire coral, and the colorful tropical fish ten feet below us.

Motorsailing back to Key West. We never actually sailed, as the winds were too light and the schedule too tight. There's not much of a sailboat racing scene in Key West, besides Key West Race Week, which takes advantage of winter winds that can get into the 20s, and a trio of Wreckers' Races, which recreate the old days when wreckers would 'race' out to ships wrecked on the reefs, and the first boat on the scene would reap the greatest share of the take.

During the summer, the sun sets behind Sunset Key, where homes start at just under a million dollars.

Upon leaving the harbor, Ashley O'Neil, a 29-year-old 100-Ton Master and former college Laser sailor from Chicago, hoisted the mainsail, which was custom built to function above the bimini without a boom.

As we returned to Key West, we paraded along Mallory Square, where hundreds gather every evening for a street fair and sunset celebration. Baylis, age 12, always wears a life jacket in California, but in Florida kids over five are not required to.

Photos Latitude/Chris

For more photos and info on Echo, see www.dolphinecho.com. And look for a report on the Key West sailing charter scene in an upcoming edition of World of Charter in Latitude 38.

Mexico Pitfalls

August 8 - La Paz, BCS

Susan Meckley reports from La Paz:

I've traded Menage-A-Trois, a 46' Panoceanic, for Dharma, a Challenger 32. This smaller boat is more easily singlehanded by me, a 69-year-old single woman.

Leaving Alameda last January I came down the coast and wonder of wonder,
Morro Bay was calm, Conception was calm, and I experienced starboard following seas and winds all the way to Cabo San Lucas and then all the way to La Paz. However the trip was not without pitfalls.

Crossing towards Cabo San Lucas (at 2 am - when else?) the forward seeking
sonar alarm went off and . . . OH MY GOD! . . . A REEF AHEAD! Checked the
charts, none on the chart, checked the GPS, yep, I was where I thought I was. Finally I looked over the side with my 1,000,000 CP light, and there they were, tens of thousands of 3" krill forming a solid wave and reflecting the sonar to look like a reef. Wow, what a relief.

Rounding Cabo Falso, the transmission failed, so I sailed into Cabo San Lucas. I quickly discovered there was no way I could afford to have it fixed there, so I left for La Paz - or so I thought. I remember up to about 11 am and the next thing I knew I was in a hospital bed in Cabo San Lucas. They tell me I fired a red flare and then collapsed into the cockpit. One of the 'party-song-drink' boats came alongside and took my boat back to port. The Port Captain dispatched paramedics, who took me to the hospital.

I spent one afternoon in the hospital. This included two IVs, one lunch, one ultrasound and some rest: $1,600.00 US - they sure saw me coming. What was wrong? Dehydration - so folks, DRINK PLENTY OF WATER. Funny thing is that I was not thirsty and did not realize anything was wrong.

Making it to Los Muertos (using one quart of transmission fluid per hour) I was met by Equanimity. They heard of my problem via the SSB and came south
with transmission fluid to escort me to La Paz. I did not know them but they
stepped in and helped out.

In La Paz (May 19) the mechanic tore the ailing transmission apart and I have been here ever since waiting for parts, the mechanic to return from vacation, more parts, parts being reworked at the local Pepsi plant, etc.

La Paz may have been a cruisers' paradise, but no longer. Taxi drivers quote one price and then demand more when the trip is over. Both large supermarkets overcharge gringas, pangas delight in going full bore as close to your boat as they can, even though you are in a marina - the attitude here seems to be "Gringa, go home, but first, give us your money."

For example, Norm from Sea Shell died while at anchor. His body was
discovered by some Mexican fishermen. There ensued a dispute between the
Mexican Navy and the Port Captain as to who had jurisdiction, and no one
recovered Norm's body. He continued to float for 3-4 days; finally he drifted out to Marina Palmira's vicinity and his body was recovered.

If I ever get my transmission fixed, I am leaving for the South Pacific, via Costa Rica.


August 8 - The Pacific Ocean and Cyberspace

Who is out making passages in the Pacific and what kind of weather are they having? The YOTREPS daily yacht tracking page has moved to www.bitwrangler.com/psn.

Weather Updates

August 8 - Pacific Ocean

San Francisco Bay Weather

Check out this guide to San Francisco Bay Navigational Aids: http://sfports.wr.usgs.gov/sfports.html.

To see what the winds are like on the Bay and just outside the Gate right now, check out http://sfports.wr.usgs.gov/wind.

The National Weather Service site for San Francisco Bay is at www.wrh.noaa.gov/Monterey.

California Coast Weather

Looking for current as well as recent wind and sea readings from 17 buoys and stations between Pt. Arena and the Mexican border? Here's the place - which has further links to weather buoys and stations all over the U.S.: www.ndbc.noaa.gov/Maps/Southwest.shtml.

Pacific Winds and Pressure

The University of Hawaii Dept. of Meteorology page posts a daily map of the NE Pacific Ocean barometric pressure and winds.

Pacific Sea State

The site for the Pacific Ocean sea states has moved to http://www.mpc.ncep.noaa.gov/shtml/PacRegSSA.shtml.
For views of sea states anywhere in the world, see http://www.oceanweather.com/data.

Top / Index of Stories
/ Previous 'Lectronic Edition
Subscriptions / Classifieds / Home

©2003 Latitude 38 Publishing Co., Inc.