I had a job to do far offshore and it needed to be done pronto. I do some expert witness work and can’t discuss the case, but I can spin the yarn of adventure to share with you.
A boat and crew were arranged for me and while the wind and seas were up, the marine forecast was for them to calm to a reasonable level. We departed in the afternoon from Channel Islands Harbor and I grinned ear-to-ear, feeling the deck pitch, yaw and roll to heavy seas.
I’ve got saltwater in my veins and it felt great to be heading off on an adventure. Dolphins were our friends and played in our bow wake and stern wake much of the time.
The sun was dipping below the sea to the west, but a full moon hung in the eastern sky giving us an eerie glow as we approached Santa Barbara Island and found an anchorage just outside the Marine Protected Area (MPA). While we cooked and ate a meal, we watched a light boat searching for squid to catch commercially.
This scene was all set to the raucous din of what sounded like a thousand California sea lions hauled out on the rocks along the island shoreline. They all seemed to compete for maximum decibels as they barked and snorted. My crew mates and I were all sore and tired, so sleep came easily despite the loud and exuberant critters.
First light saw us pulling the anchor after a tasty cup of coffee. We waved farewell to Santa Barbara Island and headed west by southwest toward San Nicolas Island. We were heading uphill (against the wind and swells), but fortunately the winds and seas had come down during the night to 10 knots and we were below whitecap threshold.
Less than three hours later we were off the north shore of San Nicolas Island and the weather continued to improve.
My work took a few hours and then we had a long and enjoyable cruise back to the mainland, again with dolphins playing alongside much of the time. We saw whales, pelagic seabirds, sea gulls, pelicans and cormorants. We stopped off the east end of Anacapa Island near the Arch to do some fishing for dinner.
Our late afternoon arrival at Channel Islands Harbor felt like both a blessing and a curse. It is always nice to come back to dock after a job well done and a memorable cruise. The thing is, I love being at sea and I feel more at home out there than I do ashore. I’ll be back out there soon to enjoy the pitch, yaw and roll, and to visit all the sea critters I love so much.
— 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.