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  1. #1
    Offshore OceanRider
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    San Pedro, CA (LA Harbor area)

    LA2CAT Ride 9/28/08 or “The Fog Ride” (Los Angeles to Two Harbor, Catalina Island)

    Subject: LA2CAT Ride 9/28/08 or “The Fog Ride” (Los Angeles to Two Harbor, Catalina Island)

    Now that autumn is here you’d think area boaters would start packing it in; sort of like they’ve already done or getting ready to do on the east coast. With all the kid sport schedules and getting ready for Halloween and all you’d think we’d have the ocean to ourselves; especially since this was the official start of our first full fog weekend. No, not this weekend in Southern California – not by a long shot.

    Yes, if you were any where near coastal this weekend you would know that Saturday we were pretty much socked in and Sunday started out about the same. Sunday’s training ride was a success for those that rode except for this wrenched back of mine that started out on Friday and for which I’m paying for it this Monday as I sit home taking a sick day; while heavily medicated. As I look outside at 0930 there is not even a hint of fog in the air.

    Three veteran and So Cal Watercraft riders made their weekly offshore ride to Catalina Island and back. We’ll just have to call this training ride our off shore fog ride. Yes you could give this training ride an “advanced” red diamond or must be this tall to ride rating.

    A 9:00 a.m. launch turned into a 10:00 a.m. departure due to the half mile visibility or so of improving visibility. One quick boating story. On the launch ramp we ran into these boating fishermen who just returned due to the heavy fog. One of them was heading back to his car to retrieve a car GPS. The boat owner decided it was better than not having GPS at all. They were arguing among one another whether it would work or not?

    Once we left the launch ramp we slowly felt our way to the breakwater and then turned left knowing that once we saw Angel’s Gate fog emitting lighthouse the ocean would soon open up. Yes, it was almost that thick and yes you would need to have that GPS mounted in a good position and be ready to use it.

    The ride started out as what I call a Catalina Island Triangle (CIT) formation. Our three riders rode one man up and two back with the lead guy keeping pace and setting point. This was done to keep anyone from getting lost in the as I said now ½ to ¾ mile of moving wall of fog. When the visibility increased to about one mile the riders moved into a line formation. This meant that the three riders were now evenly spaced across and within eyesight of each other. With now one mile of visibility we quickly opened her up to near WOT (wide open throttle) riding. In these conditions 55 mph was pushing it. No one got separated from the group. Big difference between riding with new and inexperienced riders.

    Two Kawasaki 250X Ultra’s and one SeaDoo; all three veterans of the (LB2CAT) Long Beach to Catalina Island race. Sunday was in my opinion a 250X day but don’t feel sorry for the SeaDoo as its done this ride so many times it could probably steer itself to the island - even in this fog. Fishing boats were still everywhere; partly due to lobster season opening up on Friday. No one, not even those without radar were going to let a little fog get in their way of boating.

    What a surprise when five miles out we saw ourselves on the same path as a Sport fishermen boat led by two Jet Ski’s. Everyone slowed down and did sort of a “group wave” out in the middle of the ocean. Everyone was clearly smiling and feeling comfortable with their fellow boaters offshore abilities. Another half mile or so and we encountered two more jet ski’s heading back ever so confidently. These guys were carrying what looked like offshore fishing rigs and spear fishing poles strapped to their ski’s. These guys were one big happy convoy, coming home after probably a successful few days of fishing and “bug” hunting.

    The ride over was a dry one with the ski’s flying over the mid size evenly spaced swells. The ride back was a complete opposite. It was pay the piper time. A twenty minute stop on the island let us see that there weren’t too many boaters out but a whole lot of “camping” going on. Kids everywhere, thanks to the Catalina Express. Every fishing and/or diving boat charter was also out in force. This week it was not the usual, “how long did it take you to get here” question. This Sunday it was “wow” you made it through that fog – without radar?

    One last lesson. Even with a wet suit you could still become hypothermic (for more info read about it here As we said we paid the piper coming back; those last five miles had us pounding into cross wind blown seas. Every so many seconds when you came off a swell and landed it was like a 50 degree bucket of cold weather thrown at you from all directions. Goggles can and are a problem if their not the right H20 types, due to them fogging up. If you wear prescription glasses this does present problems in these wet conditions.

    As the saying goes, we’re SoCal Watercraft club and we ride year round – even in fog. Know your limits and don’t go out ill prepared.


  2. #2
    Dubz1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Southern California
    Good stuff Ralph! Glad you all made it back safe. So, two years ago, it was flat water (Sea doo's won), this year was choppy (250x Won), whats next year going to bring. Fog (biggest balls, who can navigate will win)...

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