During the heatwave I spent a day at sea doing what I do best — fishing! It was a tag, measure and release CCFRP research trip inside and outside the Marine Protected Area near Carrington Point which is the northeast corner of Santa Rosa Island, where majestic elk and big deer used to roam until they were removed by the National Park Service.
Thousands of years earlier, pygmy mammoth elephants called the island home. The Channel Islands have a fascinating history and are now collectively the Channel Islands National Park. The waters surrounding them are now the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary.
Research is good, so I and a close friend, Col. Dave Lopez (USAF, ret) enthusiastically signed up to be volunteer anglers aboard the fabled Commercial Passenger Fishing Boat (CPFV) Stardust out of Santa Barbara Landing. At the helm was a skipper I know and believe in, Capt. Sal.
Fishing was good and 487 fish were measured tagged and released, with a few exceptions, which were dissected for science. I was proud to take top honors for most fish caught, 61 fish.
While fishing, we had a view of the wide gap between Santa Rosa Island and its eastward neighbor, Santa Cruz Island. Tropical Storm Kay, moving up from the south was pushing moisture-laden clouds northward, and it was a fascinating study in local weather patterns as the clouds gathered and coalesced over the gap between the islands.
To me, the most picturesque aspect of the cloud phenomenon was that some of the clouds with bellies of water were actually raining. I say it was picturesque and that is indeed an understatement, but did I take any pictures to show you? Heck no, I was busy earning the honor of catching the most fish on the boat.
After all, in the infamous words of my cartoon hero, “Aye am what aye am, and that’s all that aye am” (quote from Popeye the Sailorman, of course).
Someone did however take a picture of a very large California sheephead I caught using my own signature series fishing rod, a Bacon Stix, made by Vague Rods, and the picture is up on that site so check it out. The great reel on the rod was a Penn Torgue 30LD2.
Holding the fish is Chris Honeyman who manages the research trips.
Looking below the clouds, I could see the rain shadow, which was dark and well-defined, immediately below the cloud and then became lighter as the rain descended and dried up in the lower and very warm atmosphere.
Very little of that rain actually fell to the surface of the sea, so there wasn’t much dimpling of the water. As clouds passed slowly over us, I looked up and saw the dark rainshadow directly overhead, and I could feel the humidity spike, but no rain came down far enough to wet my hat.
Wet or dry, it was an awesome day at sea.
— 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.