We left Santa Barbara this morning at 6:45 AM with light winds and fog limiting visibility to about 1.5 miles. That's sufficient to navigate out of the tricky Santa Barbara marina.
Santa Barbara is noted for it's extensive beaches. This, of course, means sand! Sand originates in in rivers and streams, washes down the ocean and is then carried down the coast by wave action. When the sand migration happens upon a marina, like Santa Barbara's, it tries to fill up the channel.
Santa Barbara's problem is so severe, that they have a full time dredge in operation. For us, this means that the constantly moving entrance channel is marked by buoys that the harbor patrol moves around frequently to mark the then usable channel. So it's nice to be able to see the little red and green buoys that mark the fish hook shaped channel.
We're now about 3 hours out and are using our Radar for longer range traffic spotting and backup navigation. We should be arriving in Marina del Rey this evening around 4:30.
We're now approaching one of my favorite places on the coast. I've never actually been there, but I like it because would have a great challenge figuring out it's pronunciation from it's spelling and besides, it sounds funny. It's Port Hueneme. FYI it's pronounced "why knee me", sounds like something from the WWF.
A few of you have asked about this email mechanism we're using. Winlink is a volunteer organization that has set up Amateur Radio based email relays around the world - you can get more info at http://www.winlink.org and info on Amateur Radio at http://www.arrl.org.
Since we're using high frequency radio and bouncing off the ionosphere, the closest geographic station doesn't always work best. A lot of the messages I've been sending you have been via station WU3V in Great Falls, MT. It's 875 NM from here, but that's just a single bounce off the ionosphere. You can go to http://www.qex.com and find out about the nice fellow who set up that station. If you're curious, you can also look up my call WB6JAO and Mary's KG6GEX.
That's all for now. Time for an early lunch (bacon and avocado in a pita today).
Bill and Mary