02-29-2012: The weather continues to be a problem. It looks like winter is finally here.

As we get closer to March, it looks like winter has finally arrived here on the Monterey Bay. We have had some severe winds over the last couple of weeks and lots of swell. But not a whole lot of rain. So now we seem to be finally getting some rain. At least for today.

Marine conditions are an interesting phenomenon. It’s really all about the direction of the wind and period of time in seconds between swells that affect boating on the Monterey Bay. Long period swells and East or Northeast winds don’t affect us that much.

Long period swells mean that the period between each swell is generally going to be longer than 14 seconds. Long period swells aren’t usually a problem for us. They’re usually more like big flat mounds moving through the ocean that gently lift the boat and don’t affect our speed or comfort. Interesting thing about wind. From a comfort level, winds out of the Northeast or East don’t usually affect us that bad either. They actually seem to groom the ocean surface.

So we can have 15-20 knot winds out of the East or Northeast with 10-foot long period swell and it can be a nice, comfortable ride out there. But with 15-20 knots out of the Northwest or West and 5-foot short period wind swells, it can be downright nasty. A short period wind swell is a lot steeper than a long-period swell. Meaning, that instead of gently going over a flat mound your pounding into a near vertical wall of water. And then add the wind coming at you creating white caps for the steep swells and it becomes quite a mess. That’s what we’ve had the last couple of weeks. So it’s put damper on the whale watching.

We’re keeping a close eye on things. Our next trip is scheduled for Friday, March 2, 2012. Give us a call and book a trip. There’s still plenty of Northbound gray whales coming through and we’re due for an orca sighting. It’s been over a month now.

In the meantime, check out the incredible video footage from a trip in November. It’s one of the best encounters we’ve had.

See you out there.

About Michael Sack

Boat Captain, Monterey Bay marine life naturalist and guide. Photographer and Videographer.
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