really closing in fast around Hatchet Point on the way to nearby anchorage in the bayou. Visibility maybe a few hundred yards or so and trending less, quickly.
No problem motoring starboard side of channel with next pair of markers barely visible ahead. The ICW
makes a reasonably sharp turn around the point through two pairs of marks.
Just after turning running lights on I was thinking, "Hey, I might get to ring the fog
bell for the first time, cool.". Then an usually sleek motorsailer
appeared out of the fog. Maybe 55' and cooking
right along at ~5 knots. Still no problem as she was on my one and angled away from my position.
Well away in fact. I thought she was just being safe and soon a course correction would line her up for the next pair, and meet me with ample clearance. Instead she just kept steaming through the first pair, possibly running off channel ahead in a quick minute. I paused for a second, looked back to see the next markers for her were practically shrouded by fog and it seemed obvious a grounding would occur.
A bit of adrenalin for me as I realized I didn't have the handheld on, or even on deck
. Damn. Started to go below but realized there was no time. So I grabbed the whistle hanging on the gear
shift and gave it five loud blasts.
Looked to see the skipper
had just stepped into the doorway on the port side of the house. I shouted "Shoals to starboard!" While pointing ahead of her bow. The skipper
disappeared inside, and the boat slowed as it faded into the fog. Only the marker to my starboard bow, the fog, and water
Later as I just got to anchor
there were many horns sounding for a bit. Barge horns blowing two and pleasure craft horns as well. Fog moved in fast.
Question: Was five blasts the correct sound signal?
I certainly didn't understand her intentions but no crossing situation existed with my boat. Just needed to ger her attention fast. Skeered me a little, hope she made it.
Any thought or comments welcome.