As Wayne Zittel of J World Performance Sailing School points out below, sometimes unexpected encounters can be the highlight of an offshore sail.
"Earlier this week, we jumped on a rare convergence of ‘gap-in-the-schedule’ with ‘perfect-weather-window’ to run [our Santa Cruz 50] Hula Girl from our S.F. base to San Diego in anticipation of the 2015 Newport to Cabo Race, which is coming up in March. We had some nice sailing at the outset, but on day two a high pressure down in Southern California killed the breeze. But it also smoothed out the ocean and cleared up the skies. Man, was it beautiful. Absolutely crazy visibility coming down the coast. At Point Conception we could see the oil platforms from over 20 miles out. A ship passed seaward. AIS showed her to be 12 miles away, but I kept having to do double takes: She was so clear, I would have sworn she was a 30-ft model boat 100 yards off (not an 800-ft ship 12 miles away!). Absolutely surreal.
"Then the dolphins came. We see them all the time up and down the coast, but in the sunset lighting and a glassy sea, this was a great encounter… This absolutely never gets old," says Wayne.
We received many responses to Wednesday’s Mystery Photo quiz — some correct, some incorrect, and some creative. Among our favorites was Jeff Cook’s: "The latest idea for revamping latitude and longitude. I can hear it now, ‘Get your latest copy of Diagonalitude 38, on shelves now.’"
It reminded Fastalfa, apparently a Trekkie, of the Tholian Web. Rob Waterman, Vice President of Operations for Metro Ports, thought it looked like "Technora sail cloth, like my 5o5 uses!"
Other interesting guesses included "A timelapse photograph of the transit path of a satellite," "Time Delay (‘TD’) lines on an early Loran C chart, before Lat/Long capabilities were realized in the gear," "The picture is GPS Satellite orbit pattern," "I think it has to do with the last AC on the Bay," "ISS tracks. Time exposure." (ISS being the International Space Station.)
John Cole, getting warmer, guessed that it was a photo of the Golden Gate Bridge. Warmer still were those who thought that it showed the Bay Lights art display on the west span of the Bay Bridge. Rodney Kidd had the first correct answer and wins a Latitude T-shirt: "Support cables on the new Bay Bridge suspension span." Jeffrey Berman shot the photo at night while taking his boat to Paradise Cove.
Thanks to all who played along and to Jeffrey for the puzzler!
"Our friend Dereck Vance here in Kerikeri, New Zealand, has not heard from his son Andrew and wife Megan for nearly one month and understandably he is curious to know where they may be," write Michel and Jane Deridder. "Usually they check in by email or voice several times a week.
"Andrew and Meagan are sailing Wairua, their 33-ft Freedom ketch, which is a somewhat unusual unstayed cat rig. She flies a New Zealand flag.
"When last heard from, they were going paddling up a river in southern Costa Rica, after which they were going to continue down to Bahia Drake in Panama."
Dereck would like to know if anybody has seen Wairua, and if so, have them email him here.