We spent our 4th of July with a special family visitor from Iowa. We had fun touring Ventura and the surrounding areas. We went to Grant Park to see the gorgeous view of the Pacific and toured the Mission by the Sea.
We even stopped at a few roadside markets for an up close look at a few lemon trees! The fog graced our visitors presence once again but it managed to lift a little bit during our 4th of July sail! We listened to the weather, but what was predicted didn’t match up with what actually was happening on the water. Imagine that! What was the weather like then? 1-2 foot waves, 10 knots (variable wind).
At one point the water turned glassy and we were floating in a shadow of zero wind. Grant rigged a quick version of a boom preventer line to keep the boom from swinging back and forth in the absence of wind.
Up ahead we could see tiny ripples on the water indicating a breeze, so we headed for it. We began to discuss the difference between ripples, waves and swell.
Ripples are tiny little wavelets that indicate instantaneous wind direction. These little wavelets are a sailors dream when looking to move a boat in no wind.
Waves are caused by local winds and grow or subside with the wind. Their height depends on the local wind conditions, fetch and duration of travel.
Swell is produced by the remains of waves that are no longer driven by the wind that created them and slowly decrease in size as they move away from their original source. Swell is not related to the local wind but is related to the height of the waves it evolved from and the distance traveled from that point.
Putting this information all together determines what kind of day it’s going to be for boaters and surfers alike. You can even use this information to hold a course for emergency navigation purposes, after getting a fix on the direction your headed using the moon and stars. The confusing part, distinguishing between waves and swell because swell is a type of wave. The primary way to tell the difference between waves and swells is by shape. Wave crests generally appear pointy and sharp and can break into white water, but swells have rounded smooth crests and do not break.
We didn’t really have enough local wind to notice any significant wave action but what we did notice were a few sea lions searching for dinner as the sun popped out from under its white blanket.
Back on shore we had sweet corn for dinner, traditional 4th of July Iowa comfort food. We also caught a glimpse of some fireworks from the beach! The following day we toured the Reagan Presidental Library, walked through a retired Air Force One, and took in the beautiful scenery of Simi Valley. We had a great time with our special visitor from Iowa!
Grenada, known as the Spice Island, holds a special place in my heart. This is where we went sailing for our honeymoon! In 1986 crowds were addressed in Grenada to promote the Caribbean as a basin of freedom and democracy. If you’re thinking of going some place with some true Caribbean flavor I highly suggest this island. Did I mention there is a an abundant supply of bananas, nutmeg and cocoa grown here?