SUBJECT: Trawlercat Chronicles - 010109 Ride

If you haven’t noticed yet it’s now February 2009; so how’s you’re riding year going? This would make it the 32nd day of the year with 333 more days left in the year. If it’s not PWC weather where you live and you are fortunate to be doing well then get out there and spend some $$ to get the economy rolling. This morning ten SoCal riders (Mark/Shawn/Paul/Lee/Robert/John/Pat/Steve/Kim/Ralph did our part by riding the (LB2CAT) ride (AKA: Long Beach to Avalon, Catalina Island ride) this February 1st day of the year.
After the fairly flat ride over to the island it felt so great to just float on the water talking about any topic out there; it sort of reminded me of a boaters dock party. The only thing missing was food and drinks. Every once in a while someone would fire the ski up to reposition for a better photo shot or to get involved in a different conversation.

Six of our ten person group turned back at Avalon after a very casual fuel up at Avalon. The other four circumnavigated the island. Today, the back side was at its friendliest state. The light wind was blowing the small wavelets in our direction while we continued to gain ground towards the west end of the island. At one point I recall heading towards a rock outcropping thinking that we were already at the end of the island. Man was I surprised to see that we were only half way around. Then a great big pod of dolphins appeared and I stopped to bring out the digital camera, peel back my glove, and snap a few quick pictures and no sooner did I look west and the group looked very small. They looked so small that if I put up four fingers I could barely see their whitewater on one finger. That’s when I realized I needed a better set up and it just so happens that this issue of RIDE magazine has a new Motorsports HERO Wide video camera that captures video and still images while riding; completely waterproof down to 100 feet and at a great price. Another one for the economy!

This is my third time around the island in say two months. John correct me if I’m wrong. The first time it felt like it took forever as we rode those monstrous swells up over, over and down. On one occasion I do recall a double skip on the drop down from the wave. The second time around the island the ride felt like it was over way too soon. Today’s ride was the calmest. Thank goodness I was on a PWC because if I was on a boat then I would’ve ripped out my outdrive. Just as you round the island on the east end there is a great big rock that you cannot miss. Its lots of fun to go between the island and the rock (but watch out for the kelp) and I do remember just riding over what looked like a boulder that just barely broke the water’s surface.
If you are only a fair weathered rider then what happened? Our daytime temperature only reached a high of 71 degrees today. Everyone overheated on the ride over to the island because it was a little cool at the launch ramp. We peeled off that snibble gear at Avalon before moving on.

Ever have one of those moments when things are going, oh, just so extraordinarily well that you wanted to freeze frame the moment and not move on. Today was one of those moments for some of us. Mine came at Two Harbors, Catalina Island when the calm warm sun shone down on me as I looked out over the empty pier and onto a harbor with maybe a dozen boats. We had just rounded the island earlier and recently finished a Famous Friebe special tuna melt and ice cold Pacifica. A power boater Skipper and his lovely wife suddenly appeared and started asking the usual questions we often hear; how long did it take you to get here; how fast and far. They definitely don’t get to read this part cause their powder boaters, that’s why. Now’s probably not a bad time to say I went slumming yesterday. Wife and I attended a yacht club event at Marina Del Rey. Didn’t take me long to say I ride over to Catalina on a Jet Ski and so came the questions. How long, how fast, etc. It wasn’t till I mentioned the Paving the Way for the Big Wet Dog Race that I now had all the skippers attention. Some of these guys have circumnavigated the earth and so I got drilled on how we were going to pull off this 1850 or so mile expedition around the Aleutians on jet skis. I guess if someone can make it anywhere on a jet ski then it can also be done on a 50-65’ yacht like most of these guys owned. Want to feel good around the fuel you burned today. Skipper Jeff started a story about a 12’ Thresher shark he hooked and how it got played all the way to his swim step but he had to cut the line because he didn’t want to shoot it. This got Skipper Bob started on a tuna story. He caught this tuna while trolling to the island. One tuna – 0 dollars. Round trip from Marina Del Rey to the island and back - $800.00 in diesel. Score another big one for the economy!

I’ll say it again boaters have got to be the nicest friendliest people on this earth, unless their fishermen and are having a bad day. Famous Friebe and K38 Shawn both made it possible for me to be on the water today after reading my “mild” call for help as my Ultra is still in the cardiac unit at Pacific Motorsports. Visiting hours end at 6 p.m. and she didn’t make out today as expected. Maybe Monday they said. Please no flowers. The beast should come out of it just fine with a new engine. If you’re into needing dependability, performance and on time delivery when promised then Clawson’s Motorsports, Fresno, CA is the place I recommend. If you’re lucky enough to have a shop you can trust who takes care of you then you are golden.

The NOAA high wind alert warning I received via email Wednesday didn’t seem to do much to the ocean except may be flatten most of it out. Saturday as my son and I looked over the harbor we saw nothing but a brown haze that hovered over the water – I said Mike don’t worry its only the “devil’s breath”. Another name for our Santa Ana winds. These winds in SW California blow westward through the canyons towards the coastal areas. The SA’s start as cold air spilling S into the Great Basin where they get trapped between the Rockies to the E and the Sierras and SoCal coastal range to the W. Winds are then driven into SoCal when the pressure of this interior air mass exceeds the pressure along the California coast. The reason they are strongest in mountain passes is because that is where the continental air flows. And as the air sinks it warms up and sucks all the moisture out of this continental air mass. Hence our overheated ride over to the island.
I won’t say that the first group did not get to practice some towing maneuvers on the way back but – hey, score another one for the economy!

If you also want to get involved in our PWC fun then just shoot me an email as our next big meet up for this group will be at Lake Havasu for the Mark Hahn 300 mile endurance race. Let us know if you can make it and we’ll find a way to put you to work. You can see and print the poster with all the details at and thanks for helping out the economy.

See you on the water, real soon, cause you only have 333 days to go.


Want to just kick back with a good book or some great reading material like the current issue of Ride Magazine. Is it me or did these guys just out do themselves on this first issue of the riding year? Here are some nautical books I recommend. Some may be good for those nights you seem to have a hard time falling asleep; Chapman Piloting & Seamanship 64th Edition; Practical Mariner's Book of Knowledge: 420 Sea-Tested Rules of Thumb for Almost Every Boating Situation; How to Read a Nautical Chart: A Complete Guide to the Symbols, Abbreviations, and Data Displayed on Nautical Charts; Navigation Rules; Boating 101: Essential Lessons for Boaters. Another winter thing to do is take a Power Squadron Course. It's one night a week for four weeks and free. Information on the location and times of courses can be found at Good luck.