Monday, November 4, 2013

San Diego: inland; almost; Ricardo Breceda; size matters

        I spent the weekend 4,000’/1200 meters above GANNET at the home of friends, Susan and Howard, whom I met when we lived aboard boats in a marina on San Diego’s Harbor Island forty years ago.
        Few places have as varied beauty as does California:  coast, mountains, desert.  Although only about forty miles inland, Susan and Howard’s house is a different world.  Quiet and peaceful.  Deer and wild turkeys wander across their property, and the view is a panorama of constantly changing light and shadow.
        One day we drove over the crest and down to Borrega Springs, where the sculptor, Ricardo A. Breceda, has created a display of 129 pieces spread across several miles of desert.  
        I had never heard of this before.  It is a stunningly original achievement.
        I did not have my camera with me and only remembered my iPad after we had passed some of the more dramatic pieces, including elephants and what appeared to be saber toothed tigers.

These will have to do; but you can discover more here.


        During my absence from sea level, in another stunningly original achievement, Saildrone has almost completed its voyage.  As I write, it has only 23 nautical miles to go.  I wonder where it will dock.  And how it will put out fenders and secure lines.


        Size matters, but in uneven ways.
        WWII U.S. Navy destroyers were 300’ long, which would be huge for a private craft, but was minuscule in fleets of aircraft carriers, heavy cruisers and battleships.
        In December 1944, Admiral Halsey placed his fleet directly in the path of a severe typhoon.  The consequences are dramatically related in HALSEY’S TYPHOON, by Bob Drury and Tom Clavin, recommended to me by Tim, for which I thank him.
        There are many details of interest, from the lack of warning technology that we now take for granted--had the Admiral and his weather advisors had my iPad and a few apps, they could easily have avoided the storm--to the way ships, particularly those low on fuel which served a secondary function as ballast, reacted to cataclysmic conditions.
        Typhoons, cyclones and hurricanes are the same storms given different names in different oceans.
        I’ve been in cyclones and hurricanes at least eight times in boats approximately a tenth the size of a destroyer.  While three of them were flipped over mast beneath the water, they came back.  Having even less freeboard and windage, I think GANNET would, too.
        However, there are typhoons and there are typhoons.
        Maybe the lesson is be on something really big, such as an aircraft carrier, or something really small, such as EGREGIOUS or GANNET, and not in between.