Sunday, March 15, 2015

Now You See It, Now You Don't

Fog. It's simultaneously pretty, gloomy, mysterious and even eerie. And for the last two days, it's been moving in and out all day here at Lake Nickajack (Hales Bar Marina)! This morning, we awoke to the sun filtering through a thin layer of fog. By eleven, it was all clear, and the temperature got up to 73 degrees for the day. I guess spring is finally here!

Now you see it (Fog at Hales Bar Marina)
Now you don't
In boating, fog is your foe. When it rolls in, usually without warning, it stops you in your tracks, messing up your schedule BIG time. Even worse, you could be navigating in a narrow channel congested with barge traffic. Or in a shipping lane with container ships and submarines.

Our scenery as we crept out of Bashi Creek anchorage off the Tenn-Tom Waterway
We were caught in the fog several times, three of which were quite memorable. The first time was intentional; the captain wanted to learn to navigate in the fog. We had taken our friends out on our old Mai Thai. No sooner had we left Marina Bay did we find ourselves enveloped in a pea soup fog! We idled the engine and tried to listen for the sound buoy, and every so often sounded our horn. We had been boating for a few months and had taken some classes, so we knew a thing or two about boating safety. After what seemed like forever, the fog lifted, and we could see our surroundings. 
This was the weather when we were heading for Newport, Rhode Island
Our second encounter with fog was when a flotilla of us weekend boaters headed to Newport, Rhode Island for the July 4 celebration. This time, we had a radar and a schedule (reservations at Newport Harbor Marina). When we left, we could only see the silhouette of the buddy boat ahead of us. It's a blur now, so no details of the Cape Cod Canal crossing (maybe friends reading this might be able to recall the event). But I remember stopping and staying the night at Kingman Yacht Center due to the high winds. The next morning, we pressed on to Newport only to find the July 4 fireworks cancelled. The good news is the party goes on in the yachting capital no matter what the weather. Newport Harbor Marina is right in downtown, so we could walk everywhere, including the famous Cliff Walk, where glorious mansions (summer "cottages" built by the rich and famous during the gilded age) and breathtaking ocean views awaited.  
Fog at Hampton Roads, north of Norfolk, Va
Our third encounter with fog was when we were cruising south, from the Chesapeake Bay to Norfolk, Virginia. We had left our anchorage an hour before the fog rolled in, so we had no choice but to soldier on. This time, we were equipped with an autopilot, but no radar. Below is our trip's log:

Cruising the Chesapeake Bay: Solomons Island to Norfolk (2001)
Nov 1 Another beautiful day for cruising except that the fog rolled in about 8:30. We got our portable fog horn ready, listened intensely to the radio all the while inching along painfully at 6 knots. This went on for 4 long arduous hours, landing us at Thimble Shoals/Hampton Roads around noon.  We knew how busy this harbor gets with container ships, war ships, submarines, ferries, etc. Visibility was barely 50 yards away, so we were going to wait for the fog to lift before continuing. Miraculously, the sun burned through and the fog cleared as we approached the entrance to the harbor!  Gradually, boats and markers unveiled before our eyes. What a lovely sight! Then activities started to pick up. 

What are your experiences with fog?

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1 comment:

  1. Hi Eileen,
    I've been clearing out my blog archives - harder and more saddening this time around - and I came across the very first comment you ever left, ironically, in response to a post about... decluttering!

    I'm sorry for not commenting here earlier; there was a quote I wanted to leave you in response to your question about fog, but I couldn't find it till now. I'm afraid I hate fog. You've managed to make it look eerily beautiful in your photos, but for me, it's an unpleasant metaphor. It's dangerous, frightening and sense-numbing. I often discribe my menopausal memory as fogged up and muffled; I know things are still there, but I can't see to retrieve them.

    "If I ever feel the grey gauze of depression drifting around me like fog, like snow settling softly in the night, I do what I can to connect with the vibrant creativity of others so that their energy kickstarts my heart."

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