After getting all ready to go, it seems that plans changed. We’re not sure what happened, but our travel mates were evidently not up for the trip to Mexico, so the plans fell through. We did manage to make it to Catalina Island for a night, though. It was really fun there.
Initially we started for Catalina on 12/22. I had checked the wind/weather forecast the day before, and although it appeared that the winds were going to be fairly strong, that is all that was in the report that was to be concerned about. We started out on the trip around mid-day and all was going well until we were around 8 miles out, or so. The wind and wave heights started increasing around the 5 mile mark, but by mile 8 we were looking at 25-30 knot winds and waves between 10 and 15 feet. The last straw was when we had crested a fairly big wave and when we hit the trough, I looked up at the next wave which was approximately three seconds later. To see the top I had to look at at about a 45 degree angle! I estimated that it was at least 15 feet tall. After all the years I engineered telephone systems, I have a fairly keen eye for heights, so considering that a typical building has stories that are 10 feet in height, this wave was definitely taller than a single story building.
We decided at that point, that it was time to turn around and head home. We were both feeling a little sea sick after being tossed around for about an hour anyway, so it was not a difficult decision. Upon returning we had the chance to talk to the sheriff and the port police. They both told us that there had been a weather advisory issued that morning and the ferry service to Catalina Island had been suspended until the weather cleared. The port police told us that the wave heights were 10-15 feet at three seconds with gale-force winds. We were glad that we made the decision to turn around!
Although there were a few moments that we were concerned about, it was rather exciting! Perhaps we just aren’t experienced enough to have been scared, but it was an interesting experience.
I’ll post pictures of the next day when we actually made it to Catalina in my next post.