Happy Thanksgiving 2014
The hardest part of getting out on the water is taking the first step and “just doing it”. My apologies to anyone already in hibernation mode so early in the year. Well not really.
Today at the launch ramp I wave to the lifeguards who this time of year only encounter boaters, not bathers. Boaters of the SUP, kayak, surf, paddleboat, Jet Ski or regular boater types that may need saving are what they are here for this time of year.
And almost as if on cue I encounter two guys cranking over a Bayliner ski type boat with a half dead battery. The Bayliner never starts; the Coasties wave from their patrol boat, the morning hazy fog lifts, I throw off my stern line, head out towards Angels Gate lighthouse, past the breakwater. Past the container ships anchored off shore as a result of a trucker strike. I force to move a number of diving birds; black backs, herring gulls, pelicans, big dumb ducks. The sun hits ya – head out to Catalina. Open her up to a comfortable 60 mph – steamin’ now!!! Ya know what? You’re a Jet Ski racer man! Is there anything better in the world?
Better words were never spoken – other than maybe by Captain Billy Tyne. Can you say “The Perfect Storm”?
My first Jet Ski club –SoCal Watercraft clubs mantra was “we ride year round”. Today’s ride – flat lake like SoCal ocean water (62 degrees warm). I also attempted a video with a parting happy thanksgiving shot.
Sorry to say, if you watch it, and don’t puke, you are cleared for passage on any ocean going boat without the slightest chance of getting seasick. Looking back on the internet I noticed a short Thanksgiving story I wrote about Jet Ski riding in 2007 and 2009. Maybe there is a theme here.
In 2009, our SoCal day started early with 62 degree daytime temperatures rising to 75 degrees by noon; much like it is today in the year 2014. Once again this year I can’t help but think of past Thanksgiving days gone wrong.
Many years ago, days prior to Thanksgiving, my brother in law Mike and I visit my best friend Steve. Steve Joiner and his girlfriend (Kelly) live off the grid in St. Maries, Idaho. What makes this story and any other manly story great is the addition of something mechanical. In our case we drive a crappy little Ford Courier pickup but tow some awesome new (and fast) Snowmobiles. Just a short overnight trip; we tell the spouses – not to worry, back in plenty of time for Thanksgiving. Famous last words – never if ever lived down.
Wednesday night, the Idaho skies almost as if like magic, for snow mobiling enthusiasts open up. I dare to guess but, this weather was probably previously forecast with a greater than 90% accuracy rate, dumping anywhere between 4-6 feet of snow, over a virgin wonderland. Fantastic trail and wide open field area riding was in store that great day but, Thanksgiving turkey day for us was going to have to wait. Picture Jet Ski’s on the snow. You can’t carry that much fuel to get back to where we lived – Spokane, Washington.
Now back to SoCal. On our 2007 Thanksgiving jet ski ride out to the island and back, the weather was similar to today in the lake like conditions that when we reached Avalon, Catalina Island; we didn’t stop. Someone suggested we ride around the entire island and so we did. We refueled at Avalon for dollars cheaper than one could today and continued on around the entire island. Refueled again at Two Harbors, Catalina Island and headed home – thankfully, no one experienced a breakdown.
Now fast forward to 11/29/2009, and my journal tells me that three of us on Jet Ski’s rode from LA to Marina Del Rey, California. One of the three was probably John Belton. Up to 10 foot swells were the norm that day. Picture a cross between dirt biking and snow skiing; we were digging that ride. Approximately 50 miles from our location (Big Bear, California area) snow skiers were also making their way down ski trails on many feet of snow.
Two days later after this ride I still recall the short and to the point note to self: Never, ever, forget your helmet and earplugs when you’ve got lout exhaust pipes. That ringing in my ears took two days to disappear.
Time to reminisce is now over – Patti says it’s now time for grandkids.
See you on the water!
“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough” – Mae West