Hate to say it but I was very
intimidated yesterday... by something that did not used to bother me. FOG
- the white-out, can't tell if you're turning and can't see the bow kind.....
We waited patiently - ok maybe not - for the morning fog
aboard and we need to run 10 miles for the haul-out and return. Tides working against us and the days are shorter now, but at least the channel has been silting in...
Leaving Island Moorings marina via the only entrance - Mustang Island channel, which on a good tide will allow us to get out with no bottom contact. Poorly defined on the radar
, unlit markers of course and pretty narrow. Well - at least I can see the next 2 markers... YIKES where did this fog bank come from??? Stick it in the mud (briefly), put a lookout on the bow and try like heck to make it to the main Corpus Christi shipping
Phew - made it!! But now visibility is even worse and ... is that a FOG SIGNAL I hear from astern?? You know, one that sounds like the QE2.... No problem - radar
has her... yeah that BIG blip astern. Well, keep to the right of the channel, watch the depth sounder
and make sure the contact has a bearing rate. Remember how the prop wash from an empty freighter sounds? FOG makes it sound like THX Surround....
OK - ferry
crossing ahead! How can I dodge these car jockeys if I can't see them?? More importantly, how can they dodge ME? Security
call on the VHF
- and then the fog clears!! I should've used the dang VHF
jumping all around us - laughing at me I'm sure. Life is good!
Phew - now on to the shrimp boat channel. Never been down it before but the broker says "it's plenty wide & deep - no problem!" I must admit that is was / is both of those things - WHEN YOU CAN SEE IT!! You guessed it - as soon as we entered the fog rolled back in. Better radar picture this time, GPS
is tracking OK and my beloved depth sounder
is pinging away...
Well, we made it! I was all tensed up for a few hours, but actually felt pretty good that I was able to pull it off. Wipe those cobwebs out of my nav-mind and get the juices flowing again.
We used to run drills where we covered all of the bridge windows so you couldn't see out. Maybe I'll try something similar occasionally to keep those skills sharp. Drape a canvas
in front of the helm
Or maybe - just stay at the dock
in those conditions!!