Wind is a blessing or a curse, depending on your plans for a given day. Here we are in the windy season, and it certainly drives recreational decisions. Working with it can be fun, and working against it will cause frustration and maybe worse.
As a fisherman, wind is not what I want on a day when I plan to go fishing. Wind frustrates my plans and limits my destination possibilities because the Santa Barbara Channel can get really rough on windy days. Typically, the farther offshore I roam, the rougher the water becomes. Flat, glassy seas are comfortable and make it easier to use some of the more complex techniques I use to target some wild and wonderful fish, such as halibut and white seabass, both of which are giving us some thrills this season. Still, even on moderately windy days, we can go find some fish and looks for marine mammals to observe.
This is definitely the windy time of year. From my observations based upon decades of boat chartering, wind is very dependable over Memorial Day weekend in late May. Over the past 10 years, there has only been two Memorial Day weekends when high winds did not impact our charter plans.
Plan accordingly, based on weather forecasts, and a windy day can be a blast. Since many of us tend to make plans well in advance without knowing what the wind will be doing, it is wise to make a windy alternative plan. Here are some fun recreational possibilities for windy days:
» Sailing: Call the Santa Barbara Sailing Center, Sunset Kidd or one of our private charter sailboats and get out on the water. I recall a sailing captain friend of mine telling me, “Some people don’t understand the joy of sailing and ask me questions like, ‘What is our destination today, Captain?’ I give them a long look in the eye and tell them, ‘You’re aboard your destination today. Look around at the sights, see and smell the sea and get into the sailing of the vessel. You might find that you love it.’”
» Kite flying: Shoreline Park is a fabulous place to fly kites, thanks to the uplift caused by the sea cliffs. On some days I’ve seen dozens of kites soaring over grinning kids and a fair share of grinning adults. I’m amused by the designs and adornments of some of the fancier kites. I think some of these folks spend considerable time designing and building their own kites.
» Wind surfing and kite surfing: These folks zip about the near-shore waters with surprising speeds. When the wind really kicks up, they can really scoot and then turn on a dime. Well, OK, maybe a quarter. Kite surfers amaze me as they ride up a wave and catapult into the sky 20 to 30 feet, spin around and re-enter smoothly (though some do come down in a big splash and a laugh) to continue skittering across the water.
» Hiking: While it is wise to pack a jacket in case the wind turns cold, windy days are often clear days allowing great vistas from lookout spots. A lunch break in a protected spot is a nice break from the wind.
Those are just a few recreational possibilities for the windy days ahead. Think up some of your own and celebrate the season.
— Capt. David Bacon operates WaveWalker Charters and is president of SOFTIN Inc., a nonprofit organization providing seafaring opportunities for those in need. Visit softininc.blogspot.com to learn more about the organization and how you can help. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.