Monday, May 11, 2009

Mother's Day Traffic

For the weekend the traffic forecast was dismal so I rode my motorcycle to San Pedro to avoid the crush. Even with the car pool lane and lane splitting Saturday evening was stop and go from Long Beach to Santa Ana. Getting to and from me boat requires crossing over the Vincent Thomas Bridge and all the steel grating you must cross over makes a motorcycle ride over it scary.

With Mother's Day the traffic going to all the restaurants that line the harbor at Ports of call makes for more excitement with the grid locked car trying to find parking. The Swine flu has made a big dent in the cruise ship traffic that leaves San Pedro here. The auto parking lot next to where the cruise ships dock was empty and only one ship went out late Sunday afternoon instead of the usual two. From my berth in the marina I can see the passengers standing on the upper decks as the ship heads to sea. The ships always blast their mega horns upon departing and again later as they cruise down the channel. You can often hear the music playing on the upper decks even with the afternoon clock work wind blowing. This Sunday afternoon only a single cruise ship, no horns, no music and no one visible on deck.

The harbor was rather empty of smaller boats although I did see some Mother Day trippers so it was clear sailing. You must clear the breakwater that protects the harbor and the light house marks one end of it. Going out if I am close to the light I must keep out a watch for smaller power boats turning sharply around on their way back as they are blocked from view by the rocks and I am under sail and the wind direction dictates my direction. On Sunday afternoons before the money disappeared you would have to dodge the container ships coming and going but yesterday only one came in and lot of piers sit empty lined with the giant cranes that pluck the containers. On my sail back the winds took me close to the light house on one long tack and I saw a slew of seals sunning on the rocks. By the time I reached my camera bag in the cabin below and got the camera out I was too far past to get a real close shot and too lazy to go back for a close one. Getting through Hurricane Gulch in the afternoon fresh air can be a handful when you are singlehanding. Sunday I was able to sail very close to the wind with my 120 up against the shroud to make it without tacking many times.
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