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Weather On The Web

There are many sources available to gather marine forecasts and real time weather observations. Here are three that we have relied on for years:

Weather Observations

With a lifetime at sea, mostly near the Channel Islands, I have made some observations about the weather. And like anyone’s observations about the weather, mine are mainly speculation. Here are a few. I have others but a few will do.

Television weather reports are a source of entertainment. Key phrases like “storm watch” are hooks to keep us around for the commercials.  A storm in California can be a storm, or it might be 5 mph winds with just enough mist to curl hair.

Conditions change. A diver plans a trip on a sunny day then shows up for the boat when the weather turns bad. By the same reasoning the reservation phone rarely rings when it’s raining. That’s because it’s difficult to absorb how quickly conditions change. The sea and the weather are always in motion. Experienced dive captains may not predict the next dive spot much less conditions tomorrow. With the online sites now available it’s possible to watch real time conditions and note the changes.

Weather is local. The weather that really matters is the weather where you are! This means that when the wind hits the north side of Anacapa Island the boat goes to the south side. It’s a rule that applies in a hundred different ways, none of which will come up on the evening weather report.

The weather gods do as they please. Pushed hard enough I will take a guess at the weather to come. My guess will be based on local knowledge and years of experience. But I may be wrong. Weather doesn’t ride a track or take aim at a destination and then go there. Too many times I’ve heard the argument that a diver can only go on a certain day, implying that the weather must cooperate. I sympathize but the weather doesn’t care. We shake our fist at the wind and are soundly ignored every time.

The weather can provide calm before the rain and many times the ocean behaves well during the rain. But divers, not wanting to be wet, wait for the clearing sky report on the evening news before heading to the boat to meet the wind. And it’s wind that clears the sky and its wind that follows the rain.

Be as flexible as possible. Go scuba diving when the weather is good! Don’t wait! It’s not always good! Follow some of the great information that’s here for us all. Be prepared to have a rough trip now and then. A willingness to take a chance will get divers out on unexpectedly good days.

Captain Ted