Target, Target, Target, Target, Move South a little bit
Wednesday July 11
By: Robert Tongen
On a warm, sunny, calm, morning 5 CKF paddlers left from Kiddie Beach in Channel Islands Harbor. Bev Waldron headed off to do a full harbor paddle. Bob Glicksman, Jason Miller, and I launched close to 9:00 AM with Keith Elliott hot on our trail. We just forgot to check our tail. We headed to the Hueneme Buoy on calm seas but against a current. Keith madly paddled to catch us and did at the Buoy.

As we approached the buoy we noticed 4 bright orange Navy Target boats going back and forth from Port Hueneme to south and past the buoy and back. These boats are approximately 25 ft, open deck, with very high powered outboard motors. We discussed going the the pier, but Keith had been monitoring the Navy conversations and reported the target boats were running as drones testing control software in that area. There were 2 people on each boat as backup. Just then the target drones were given instructions to "move a bit further south, where there is not so much traffic". We were the only other boats we could see anyplace.

By then Jason had sore hips from pivoting with his kayak, so we headed back. Jason and I landed at Hollywood Beach to stretch our legs and relieve the hips. In a few minutes we were ready to go again. We met up with Bob and Keith as Bob called it a day. After a trip around the breakwater Jason tried a Greenland paddle for the first time on the way back to Kiddie Beach. He called it a day, and Bev was ready to leave, but announced she had paddled the entire harbor.

Keith and I headed back out, heading north, and were met with larger swells and more wind in really warm water, as we battled into quartering seas going and kind of rode them back. We mentioned that the turbulent quartering sea would have given Jason's hips a good workout.

As we returned to th pond, we saw the 4 target boats speedily heading toward us slowing only when they got into the channel. They were coming into the harbor for fuel. When we were cleaned up the target boats were fueled and heading out of the harbor.

We realized it is more fun to be a target boat than a targeted boat.

That is the way it was this warm Wednesday in July.
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