|Seas: 3-5 feet||Winds: 20-25 S/SE||Viz: 20 feet||Temp: 81 F|
The forecast for the long weekend was promising, at least for Saturday. S-SE winds at 5-10 knots with seas 1' inside the reef and only 1-3' outside the reef, phehomenal. The outlook wasn't as great for Sunday and Monday, but we hoped one good day would be enough and besides, we usually get the hell outta Dodge early on holidays to beat the traffic so Monday didn't even really count, so we were hopeful as we pulled in Friday night and I towed the boat to fuel up and drop it in the water (taking advantage of a late night high tide) so it would be ready as early as we were going to be. Unfortunately we would be surprised in the morning, regardless of our preparation and our diligence in weather watching all week long.
But first, a few words about the meteorological community. I think the english language must have a better word for what weather people do that we now refer to as "forecasting" (Definition: To calculate in advance, especially to predict (weather conditions) by analysis of meteorological data. - See Synonyms at predict). Most interesting to me is the synonymity with "predict". The definition implies some level of reliability as to the prediction itself. But as we find out with altogether too much regularity, these predictions are not without their (frequent) fallacies. What we awoke to Saturday morning (very early because we had decided to go dolphin fishing again) was more akin to Sunday's forecast (and then some). Yes, there were no mosquitoes, but that was mostly because they were all blown about 10 miles into the gulf.
Instead of 1-3 outside the reef we were greeted by 3-4' foot sloppy seas with an occasional 5-6' wave thrown in for good measure. We figured we had too much preparation invested and headed out anyway, and "out" we went. While last week we only made it as far as about 15 miles offshore with plenty of schools of small dolphin to chase around, this day we would end up as far as 25 miles offshore with nothing to show for it. We actually landed our first dolphin at approximately the 25 mile mark and ended up heading in with just the one in the cooler while we trolled in hoping to hit something along the way.
We did end up with a second fish, but that was an awfully long day and a long way and you don't even want to know what that works out to in the way of costing us per pound of fish. We always say "That's why they call it fishing and not catching" but it doesn't make it any easier to swallow. And why is it that the term "fishing" does not imply "catching" so correctly from a language perspective but yet, "forecasting" and "predicting" are accepted terms for the "guessing" that weather people do on a daily basis that so many people depend on (What can I say, I'm like a dog with a bone :P). To make matters worse (at least for me), my son who has never been too enthustiastic about fishing finally let us motivate him into coming along after last week's results and obviously his enthusiasm went unrewarded.
Unlike last week where we ended up regretting not cleaning our daily catch, we figured it was safe to assume that our bounty of 2 would not slow us down too much on Sunday regardless of how well (or ultimately how badly) we did on Sunday. We knew the weather was supposed to detiorate even further but we figured if we stuck it out closer to home it might be manageable.
So we headed out Sunday in what felt like 25 knot winds and easily 3-4' seas inside the reef (so much for staying close to home for milder seas). Even on my 31 footer, we got tired of trying to keep the boat pointed in the right direction (which took constant maneuvering) and trying to spot heads on the seas (which is like spotting coconuts floating in the water if you can picture that) and ended up coming home with a handful of fish for our efforts. We did have enough to make fresh fried fish sandwiches after making port (and that was all).
Having basically surrendered to the weather we spent the rest of the day cleaning, fixing and replacing everything from the boat to every last spearpoint and nicked or weathered slings on every speargun. At least we made good use of the downtime and the fact is that you can never over-check your gear. It's what you depend on and you should always make sure it's in good working order and the fact is that we all get a little slack in that department. Oh well, the excitement of last week wasn't continued for us this weekend, but luckily we're either too determined or too stupid to give up, so the only guarantee is that "We will be back..."