Monday, March 19, 2007

Four days and four nights

Is this criminal behavior or perhaps am I the victim of a crime: being at the lake for four days and four nights and only getting in one hour of sailing ... when sailing conditions were good most of the time during each of those four days?

Wednesday evening I drove to Truth or Consequences, did some housework at the rented trailer, and studied a bit for the boating safety instructor class.

Thursday morning I met my fellow students. During class breaks, we went outside and were able to enjoy a panoramic view of much of Elephant Butte Lake. It was hard to return inside after each break. After class, without a sailboat available to me (not enough time left in the day to rig and our trailer cruiser and it needs new sails before it will sail well, and Carol Anne's boat wasn't available to me), I took out one of our kayaks. Then I paddled for a mile or two, leaving the marina, paddling past some hazard buoys, circling around buoy 7 near Horse Island, and taking pictures. The exercise was good for me. I did see a couple of sailboats out during my class, but never got a chance to get close enough to one of them to see who it might have been.

Friday was that day that each of us in the class had to make a teaching presentation, to be videotaped (well, captured digitally on a mini-CD) and watched later. My topic was "running aground". That's a topic with which I've had at least a bit of experience. I discussed prevention methods, equipment, risk assessment, methods of ungrounding, and some of the issues related to getting outside help.

Also, we took a qualification test; my score was 98% (though I think it should have been 96% and a couple of the questions and answers triggered some debate after everyone's test had been scored), but in any case my numbers were comfortable above the 80% passing score. Most of the test was about general boating safety, but ten of the questions were about national standards and teaching methods.

Carol Anne and Tadpole made it to the marina as I was preparing "Black Magic" to go out, so we were able to enjoy an hour of sailing. After being frustrated by being cooped up in a room just a couple of blocks from the lake, getting out on the water was a huge relief. At the time, it seemed like a good beginning to the weekend's sailing ... and it was to be, for everyone in the family but me.

Elephant Butte Lake conditions:
4,347.38 feet above benchmark, 607,061 acre feet
(add 43 feet to derive elevation above mean sea level)

The dam has been opened part way to provide downstream irrigation water.
However, early runoff has been almost keeping pace with the outflow.
So, the lake has gone down only 1/4 inch and 287 a.f. in the past 24 hours.
It's down 1.7 inches and 1,723 a.f. in 71 hours, and down only 4.3 inches since it reached its maximum elevation of 4,347.74 feet a week ago, Monday, March 12.

As of this Monday morning, March 19, 9 a.m., water was flowing out of the dam at 743 cubic feet per second (cfs) and in the past 71 hours the flow had ranged form 723 to 1190 cfs. During the same time, water upstream was flowing through the San Marcial Floodway at 966 c.f.s. (595 c.f.s. minimum in the past 71 hours).

So, it looks like the lake level will remain roughly the same for now, perhaps giving up a bit more water if the outflow increases, but then rising again when the peak of the spring runoff hits in May.


At 4:49 PM, March 20, 2007, Anonymous AdriftAtSea said...

Definitely the victim of a crime... if you're only getting in four hours of sailing on four good days of sailing.

BTW, have a video up on Youtube of the Pretty Gee sailing from last season. Thought you might want to see it...

At 4:50 PM, March 20, 2007, Anonymous AdriftAtSea said...

Wait...that was one hour out of four days... really a crime... felonious...

At 11:09 PM, March 20, 2007, Blogger Pat said...

Mitigated only slightly by some kayak time; I took a break from homework Thursday night to paddle a mile or two, then passed some more time kayaking while Zorro, Carol Anne, and Tadpole were sailing Zorro's Etchells up the lake to a boat ramp to be hauled out for minor repairs. (I'm not allowed to solo Carol Anne's boat.) Again, Sunday, I was out paddling when the crew came south with Constellation; in the meantime I'd been in charge of retrieving and launching and moving the boat trailer.


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