In cold-weather country, a Christmastime outing needs snow. But this is Southern California, so everyone involved with "Santa's Sailing Sleigh Ride" was praying for sunshine--and nice calm seas.
The plan was to gather 100 children from the San Pedro and Long Beach Boys and Girls Clubs, pull together gifts, a Santa, a Christmas tree and lunches, and then load them aboard a cruise boat for a daylong excursion from Long Beach to Santa Catalina Island.
Well, the sun came out, but strong winds and heavy swells forced the sponsor, Catalina Cruises, to limit Monday's cruise to a three-hour tour of the Los Angeles/Long Beach harbor.
Some of the children, ages 6 to 13, come from disadvantaged families and for many it was their first time at sea, even though most live within a few miles of the shoreline.