Wednesday, August 19, 2009
I'm back, though not exactly totally rested and recharged. Sometimes relaxing is a lot of damn work.
SturgeUrge phoned Sunday night to complain that his other fishing buddy had to cancel for Monday, so could I fill in? Of course!
We got two more halibut, and kept one...the keeper! Mine was too short to measure, and it went back to grow up. The weather was quite different than Friday's balmy Sunshine Special. The water worked us over pretty good. I woke up Tuesday at 04:30 with a belly ache. I guess it was muscle soreness from doing unconscious abdominal crunches all day long!
The Bay waters were quite confused Monday. The NWS forecast promised less wind than Friday's Small Craft Warnings. Monday they called for a Small Craft Advisory starting at noon. The afternoon tides were really weak, and there was a Finger of Fog piercing the center of the Bay. From along Alcatraz and Angel Islands, the fog flowing northeast through El Cerrito and out towards the Delta persisted throughout day. The morning low clouds burned off at Paradise before noon. We were back at the ramp in Richmond by 5PM, and the winds there were ferocious! I barely kept my camera dry from the spray blowing off the tops of the groundswell waves while I snapped some pictures of the USS Red Oak Victory. Urge and I agreed, we've never seen winds that strong at Richmond...ever.
The winds were calm when we launched from Richmond, but the Bay was even lumpier than it was Friday, though no whitecaps were observed. The Bay had deeper wind waves, and our trip across the Bay to Paradise reminded us of why sailors call the heading a "Beat" The thing we'd never seen before was the numerous wakes from the Marin and Vallejo Ferries. Perhaps it's because we stayed "inside" at Paradise most of the day, finding the tiny pocket of warm still air that gave it the name Paradise, but it was a day of almost constant wakes...all of them 3ft+ and every one of them rocking us broadsides.
Monday was supposed to be The Traffic Nightmare for Bay Area Commuters. The Regional Transit System's BART rail workers were going out on strike, and the strike was only averted in the wee hours of the overnight negotiations. We surmised that the other mass transit providers scheduled every possible vessel to cash in on the strike-caused slack. Given the publicity the BART Strike had been getting since mid-week, just about everybody who could, took Monday off, or telecommuted instead.
When we launch the SturgeUrge out of Richmond, we do get into some potential Rush Hour trouble spots, though we usually run like "Tail End Charlie" at the end of the normal heavy time. Even when events conspire to jamb up things up, we only run the bottleneck with the commute direction for a half mile before we turn north, against the commute again. Monday the only traffic that slowed us down was right in front of the SturgeUrge Compound! The freeways were quite barren for a Monday.
The weather out there wasn't typical for mid-August on the Bay, and the Inland Valleys weren't baking either. NWS says we'll be cooling again in time for this weekend. There's been an awful lot of cooling talk in these parts lately! I can only wonder...how will the upcoming winter shake out?
Last fall I opined to anyone who'd listen, that "I've never seen three low precip seasons in a row"...usually in response to: TruckeeDave, what's your prediction for this Winter? After my weather dressing down last season, I'm loathe to say this again...updated: "I've never seen Four dry winters in a row, and I've been on this Mountain...yada, yada. They don't say "Four's a charm" for a reason...If this one's "Dry", I think we're looking at a Trend.
We still have a couple of months to bone up on the PDO/ENSO convergence and it's implications for snowfall and snowmaking temperatures for my Mountain.
I'm hoping it's not just another "Dry Read"