Water-themed weekend with the family


I have mentioned many times a survey that revealed Americans rate boating and fishing as their favorite way to spend family time. This weekend I have two great recommendations for you and your family. You can attend a fishing and boat show on Saturday, and then enjoy a day of whale watching on Sunday.

The 60th annual Fred Hall Fishing Tackle Boat and Travel Show will be held at the Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center through Sunday. Representatives from the fishing tackle factories and manufacturers will be there to show you new products and answer your questions.

The special bonus is that my radio show will be broadcasting live from the show on Saturday at noon, brought to you by rescue service Vessel Assist and BoatU.S., a boat owners association. The show will be broadcast on stage in the Bongos booth, hosted by show manager Chandler Bell and Rags Laragione, owner of the Maritime Institute. Some of you may recognize Bongos as the renowned sportfishing company in Newport Harbor.

On Sunday, you can spend the day aboard the Catalina Flyer, whale watching with the Orange County chapter of the American Cetacean Society. The Catalina Flyer, with its home port at the Balboa Pavilion, will make its usual run in the morning to Avalon, and then the whale-watching tour will circle Catalina Island. If you have never seen the back side of Catalina, then that alone is worth the trip ? especially aboard this fast and smooth catamaran. The best views will be from the upper open deck, but for those prone to chills, the main deck is enclosed. I recently wrote a column for Santana Magazine about sailing to Cat Harbor, one of two protected harbors on the side facing Hawaii.

"Catalina's back side is spectacular," said Tony Nichols, vice president of the county branch of the Cetacean Society. "If you've never circumnavigated the island, this is your chance. You'll see beautiful bays and stark cliffs with unique flora and fauna?. The whales travel predominately along the southern-facing side because it parallels the North American coast. When the captain carves a turn, the dolphin pods play in its wake like an amusement ride. We may see species that are not normally encountered outside Newport. Narration will be from the experts."

You can make your reservations by calling (949) 673-1434. The cost is reasonable, with adults $60, seniors or students $45 and children under 12 $35. If you board in Avalon, the price is $35. The Catalina Flyer will depart Sunday morning at 9 and return at 6 p.m.

The tip of the week is to check your boat, especially after the recent rains. If you keep your boat in the water, now is the time to check your mooring lines ? before the next winter storm hits our harbor. Also, you need to make sure your bilge pumps are working.

If your boat is in dry storage or on a trailer, be sure to pull the drain plug, and also make sure the boat is situated so that any rain water will flow toward the drain hole. I often see boats on trailers with the trailer's tongue flat on the ground, with the bow lower than the stern. And don't forget to lock the trailer to prevent the boat from being stolen from your driveway or storage yard.

Remember to tune in to the No. 1 boating talk radio show in the nation every Saturday at noon. "Capt. Mike Whitehead's Boathouse Radio Show" is on KCBQ-AM (1170) and can be heard online at www.boathouseradio.com.

Safe voyages.

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