Monday, June 21

Fog Blog

Slack tide was at 6 a.m. this morning, which meant the alarm went off at 4:30 and I met Tim (my field tech) on the dock at 5 a.m. It seemed like a promising day - although there was a bit of fog to the south, when we started out we could see clear across the channel. The water was calm and I was hopeful.

When will I ever learn? The second I'm sure we're about to have a good sampling session is the second that the wind picks up to 30 knots, the rain starts to hammer on my head, or, in the case of this morning, the fog drops down like a dark wet blanket. We tried to get some surveys done but didn't have any luck, and as we headed back from the field, we couldn't see more than 10 feet in front of us. I stood on the bow, constantly scanning the fog and yelling things like "Moored sailboat 10 feet to your left" or "Brown Island, straight ahead! Turn now! Turn now!" We made it safely back to Friday Harbor, but we only knew we were in the harbor because of on-board GPS.

Just as we were about to cut across the harbor and head for the dock, we heard what no small craft without radar wants to hear in dense fog - the long low blast of a ferry fog horn. Very close by. As you may know, sound is skittish in fog. We could tell the ferry was nearby, but we had no idea exactly where it was, or which way it was moving. We weren't even sure exactly where WE were, although we had a hunch we were smack in the middle of the harbor, right in the ferry lane.

Ferry in the Fog Posted by Hello

Tim swung the boat around in a direction we hoped was away from the ferry. Fog horns sound roughly every two minutes, and those were two of the longest minutes I've ever experienced. We puttered along nervously, both of us peering into the fog, sure that at any second we'd see the looming bow of a ferry bearing down on us. It's funny how the mind hallucinates when you have nothing to stare at but glowing grey. And then, finally, we heard the horn again, farther away and behind us. We were clear, so to speak.
It was a sketchy morning, and one more lesson in how quickly conditions can change. Something to rememember on our way up to AK.

As for the title of this entry, sorry about that. It was just too easy to pass up.



At 8:22 AM, Blogger Sandcruiser said...

jessi (and tom too),

good to see you've got a blog up! i haven't poked around nearly as much as i'd like, but will get to it soon. so good to hear from you! sounds like you're having a great time up there. take care!

At 1:02 AM, Blogger Michael said...

Hey I came across your blog randomly by clicking the new "next blog" link. Coincidentally I also live in Seattle. I read June, but will have to come back to read the rest. Another coincidence is that my friend Amos and his friend are going to spend the next two years on a sailboat. I told him he should keep a blog, which he has started at Check it out! Mike


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