Sinking Boat At Santa Cruz Memorial Day Weekend.

“Mayday, mayday, mayday,” the voice on the radio was loud and clear.  That means one thing.  They’re close by.  The boat is sinking.  They have maybe 10 minutes.  Two aboard.  They don’t know exactly where they are.  Somewhere between Blue Banks and Yellow Banks off Santa Cruz Island, California.  We rush toward the area.  Gary asks “can you see a trawler coming toward you?”  Response:  “what’s a trawler?”

Nose of the sinking boat, next to the white rescue boat.

We arrive in the area and see two boats close together.   Gary thinks one of them must be the boat.

   Shortly after the small boat goes nose in the air.  Thirty seconds or so later the boat sinks beneath the surface.  The radio sounds.  The coast guard is asking for information.  “It’s gone, it just sank,” Gary replies.    We get close enough to see the rescue boat’s name.  Island and something else.  I tell Gary to check the depth.  One hundred thirty feet.   Gary talks with the coast guard.  The father and son had already boarded the rescue boat when we arrived.  The rescue boat couldn’t hear the coast guard, so Gary tells them the boat has sunk.   The rescuer boat states that they will take the father and son back to the mainland, and they leave.
We anchor near by.  Eventually the park rangers come and to talk to us.   We stay near Yellow Banks the rest of the day, but we don’t catch much.  We get one good hit, probably a white sea bass, but the hook comes off, and we lose it.  It warms up for a little while, long enough to put shorts on, but not long enough to enjoy it.  We go and anchor in Smugglers cove for the night.  We talk to our lawyer friend who is kayaking in the harbor.  We get hits, but only from bat rays.  The night is calm.
Monday morning, Gary gets up when it’s still dark; die-hard fisherman can’t wait to begin.  He starts up the engine and wakes me up.  I help as he pulls up the anchor.  The anchor chain has a tendency to pile up and jam the motor.  All I have to do is move it so it doesn’t pile up.  As soon as the chain is up; it’s back into bed for me.  My morning doesn’t start until it’s light outside and Gary has made coffee.  A second slow fishing day, and we quit early and go anchor.
Tuesday is our last day.  We decide to go for rock fish.  Gary tries all of our old marked places with no luck.  We finally find a good hole.  My pole is the lucky one.  I pull in a pretty bright orange fish.  Gary checks the fish charts we keep on the boat to help identify the fish.  Cow cod are similar looking to the fish I caught and they are protected fish that have to be released.
A lot of these fish don’t survive being released anyway.  Their eyes bulge out and their tongues and other parts tend to swell from the quick decompression as they are pulled to the surface.  We did purchase a tool that you can clip the fish to and then with a weight, you drop it back down to the bottom.  Hopefully after a minute or so the fish comes to its senses and swims away.  If not, they float upside down, until a happy pelican comes and eats them.
I limited out, and we wrapped up our outing.  Not our best fishing adventure, but we always have fun.  Watching the boat sink gives us a lot to think about.  We’re planning a trip on a friends boat through the Panama Canal in January, so I’ve been reading boating magazines and trying to learn.  Time to start that bug out bag we’ve been thinking about.