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Point Loma—The annual 2.5-day Western Outdoor News charter aboard the 80-foot sportfisher Sea Adventure 80 ran long and hard to explore the waters around San Clemente Island. Known for its great yellowtail and calico bass action, SCI had recently shown signs of schoolie-sized yellowfin offshore and bigger model YFT close-in.
The 30-anglers, all guys, scheduled for this trip loaded up early and began stowing gear and getting settled. As of the 8:00 p.m. departure fall weather had yet to come to Southern California with tuna and warm water still coming across the border from Mexico in a never ending flood.
The usual deck-talk began with concerns as to where night driver and second Captain, Paul Panello, might run overnight. A call from Captain Harbour over the p.a. outlined the plan.
“We’ll go out and get bait and while we are there at the receiver I’ll fill you guys in on where we are headed,” came the announcement as SA80 pulled away from the H&M docks. While the grey light of morning was still hours away anglers considered where the charter was headed when reports of limit-style tuna bites south of the border had been all the news in recent weeks.
The answer came shortly as everyone gathered into the roomy galley salon for the briefing by the skipper and deckhand, Roman Rodriquez.
Have you ever thought of yourself as an enemy of the environment? I haven’t. Nevertheless, sometimes things happen to remind me that any of us can make an innocent or not so innocent mistake that could kill or endanger a helpless critter or pollute the environment.
Sometimes as we zip down a lake in our boat, a candy wrapper, potato chip bag, or soda can flies out — or a $200 pair of sunglasses. This may not seem too bad compared to a dirty diaper, cooler, or garbage bag, though it’s sometimes costly if it’s your sunglasses.
I’m still amazed when I see piles of garbage on the shorelines of our beaches and lakes. I wonder who in the world leaves that stuff behind and who they think will pick it up. If the critters don’t spread it around first, the rising water levels and surf will move it in every direction. All the culprits had to do was bend over - which they would do for a dime - put their stuff in a bag and dispose of it in a trash can, or take it home and dump it.
Boating has the ability to reanimate primal sensations. Floating on a calm body of water can be like being immersed again inside the womb. All sense of time and place are washed away by the comforting rise and fall of swells. For many, boating isn’t a journey, race or thrill. It is simply a moment.
This year, for many it may be a moment that is all too fleeting.
Drought, now classified by the U.S. Drought Monitor as “exceptional” in parts of 15 California counties and as “extreme” in most of El Dorado County, is having as deleterious effect on recreational boating as it is on the state’s economy and workforce.
The Annual Day Zero Pacific Crest Trail Kick Off, a massive event near San Diego in late April, is a gathering of people determined to hike the PCT from the Mexican to the Canadian bor- der. This year, an estimated 1100 people signed up for this hike, and probably not much more than 10% will finish, but my hat is off to anyone who puts a dent in this 2,300 plus mile hike. More specifically, my hat’s off to those who make it to Big Bear, somewhere near 150 miles. However, some serious hik- ers, those who don’t want to walk with 1100 strangers, leave a few days earlier.
It was some of those serious, early birds that I ran into on a stretch of the PCT near Big Bear Lake in early May, hardy people who have committed to five months of walking and a half dozen pair of boots. I can’t claim to be one of those with a backpack and a focus on the Canadian border. I was, however, taking a scenic hike along a short stretch. Our hike leader, Dan McKernan of the Big Bear Vistior’s bureau drove us a couple miles up Polique Rd, off of North Shore Drive to give several jour- nalists a sample, a teaser of the wonder- ful hiking opportunities in the area.