Subject: Cabrillo to Redondo Cruise 12/07/08

Do you remember that scene in Cast Away where the Tom Hanks character had already built his raft and was getting ready to cast off from the island? All the while, he kept looking at that wind flag, just waiting for it to change direction so, he could start his journey out to sea; hoping to get rescued by a passing ship. Well, that’s about what it felt like to me Sunday morning, as I stood in my front yard watching our holiday flag flying in the wrong direction. I quickly surmised that we were experiencing onshore winds and with onshore winds it would mean that today’s ride would experience a different type of sea, depending on the effects of our overnight offshore winds. Remember, this was supposed to be a cruising ride – nothing over 35 mph.

Some of the other less committed (lake or newbies) riders that said they were coming must’ve also looked outside and seeing either a cloudy or rainy day; they let the rainy day blues take a hold of them, for they did not show. Two similar calls were on my cell phone this fine Sunday morning – one complete with life like scratchy throat type sounds. This is Hollywood stuff. It went something like this. Its raining or looks like rain etc; (cough, cough), and I don’t want to get sick, (arrgh, arrgh), not wanting to ruin my holiday season, cough; I think I’ll pass on today’s ride. Nothing personal anyone – remember its all for the sake of a good read! Truly, you guys are the ones that encourage me to keep writing by giving me this great material – so keep it up.

Please put all thoughts aside thinking that it must’ve been a terrible ride with having to deal with unforeseen problems, weather, knockdowns, all other kinds of inevitabilities, including but not limited to horrible rain storms, fiery high Santa Ana winds blowing, killer bees, breakdowns (Ultra – not on this trip, she’s already in the shop), boat sinkings (also not on this trip) and the Malaga Cove pirates (only at Disneyland).

And so it was that the Cabrillo to Redondo Beach ride started. Redondo Beach is just a mere 7.6 miles SSE of Marina Del Rey in case anyone is wondering. Redondo’s harbor was built in the 60’s and is a perfect spot for a day trip from Cabrillo. It’s an extremely easy place to locate from the sea with its seven black tipped smoke stakes and blue whale mural behind the harbor (as you get closer).

But let me back up a little and set everyone straight. For future reference please add another sport to your long list of sports whereby “rain” or “fear or threat of rain” or “raining” does not have any effect on if we will ride. Yes, rain will actually make for flatter seas, wipe off that saltwater from your face and may even be nice to look at as we rarely get a chance to see it in Southern California. Take it from a Seattle transplant – I know rain. So now we are one with the fishermen, kayakers, swimmers, bike racers, joggers and all others that I saw out there doing their Sunday morning routines – all knowing full well that the skies were cloudy.

Before going any further let me also let me point out that December 7th; was also Pearl Harbor Day. Many thanks to those honorable vets still alive. The massive American Flag flying over the Trump Golf Course unfortunately was my first clue. As a retired Army officer I should know better.

Our as the crow flies ride was only 13.1 miles but the visibility outside was something like 20+ miles. I say (our) because only Surfracer and I participated in this ride of discovery. “A ride that shall live in infamy.”

We started later than planned as someone forgot their wet suit. Hey, it happens. I’ve seen it happen twice this month and once with a seasoned offshore racer. So, at 9 AM we’re the first ones at Pacific Wilderness Scuba Dive Store. For $119.00 you can still purchase yourself the best wet suit for jet skiing. The shop is only about 1 mile from the Cabrillo launch ramp.

If you’re one of those (like my wife) that stops to think about the cost X benefit factor before going forth with anything - then this ride was also not for you. Seems we did pay the piper all the way to Redondo as we bucked head seas. But, I like to think of it a different way as we wound our way up the coastline. We were exercising our bodies and also seeing how fast we could go before (splash) we got another good one in the face. For some of you still thinking that the coast runs N to S please buy a chart or map and study it. You need help; you’ll need more help when you set out or back from Catalina Island. From Avalon, Catalina Island looking north will eventually get you to our coastline. Our coastline trends east to West and more SW. Prominent points on this ride are Palos Verdes Point, just 1.7 miles SW, marking the S extremity of Santa Monica Bay. Keep offshore when on this ride as there is lots of kelp growth inshore for most of this ride. Another prominent point is Point Vicente, again just 2 miles SSE and is steep and rocky rising about 120’ above the ocean. Our coastline also trends SE past the white radar domes on San Pedro Hill and into the outskirts of San Pedro.

If you look at a chart of Santa Monica bay with Pt Dume to the furthest point and Palos Verdes Point at the opposite end there are two Canyons in between. One of them is Santa Monica Canyon and the other Redondo Canyon. Except for these two canyons the water you will be riding on is in about the 60-90’ range. This area normally has some great flat ocean type riding – but not today. On this trip it didn’t on the way up but, it was an awesome ride on the way down. Surfing on top of some of them swells overtaking the next one and then speeding up some more. Made for some great riding with no fear of getting bucked off; unlike the ride over.

Today’s slower speeds got me to not only see but to appreciate the natural beauty of this area. Why even at Whites Point they were setting up to film a movie as is common in the San Pedro area. You could see about a half dozen trailers on the shoreline.

At one point we wondered what group of islands we were seeing when we realized it was non other than Point Dume – the visibility was that good.

One last final comment. I must have the boating gene. Or the ocean boating gene. Maybe some people only have one or the other. Maybe some want to have the ocean boating gene but can’t get further because of a) their PWC; b) experience. Has the boating gene got bred out of most people? So why do they buy PWC’s? Why stay in bed when the scenery and feel of being alive with nature and all its natural beauty. (Bam, Splash) woke up and back to the ride. Those were sound effects of what it felt like as you rode into head seas and of some of the thoughts in my head as we plowed on.

No better workout money could buy. So, what are you after? Cardio/Muscle Strength? You get it all – especially on Surfracers Seadoo. You see we traded for a while. Want a better workout; son says buy a Honda and ride to Catalina. Are you fast approaching 50; buy an Ultra. Buy it for its ocean riding abilities but only if you enjoy visiting your dealer after almost every ride. So there you have it – the Cabrillo to Redondo beach ride. Maybe one warm spring summer day this group can get together and make it over to Cabrillo; we’ll do lunch – at Joe’s Crab Shack, Redondo Beach, California.

See you on the water!