Thursday, 18 December 2008
Flags over Fort Sumter, Charleston, SC shrouded in fog.
Has the fog cleared yet?
We left Charleston, South Carolina in heavy fog, a real pea soup, and approached St. Mary's Inlet to Fernandina Beach, Florida in heavy fog 28 hours later.
The sun comes up after a day and night offshore.
We motorsailed most of the 180 miles, taking turns at watch, keeping a lookout for other boats. Oh, we totally skipped Georgia by going offshore. Definitely a preferred option for us on hearing that the state does little to maintain depths (and boater safety) along the ICW. There was not a lot of traffic, about 20 miles offshore, until a few miles outside the markers for the inlet. Radar picked up what we thought to be fishing trawlers within a mile of the markers and a couple of miles ahead of us. We sounded our fog horn a few times and heard nothing in return.
All of a sudden we were surrounded by birds. Did the radar pick up all these birds that we thought were ships? We both joked that we should have a line out to get in on the action and maybe catch some dinner. How naieve. In a second, a ghost ship appeared beside us. Ok, we were pretty tired after 28 hours and only quick bites of sleep! A shrimp trawler with arms outstretched and nets dragging can look a little dark and ominous looming out of a thick fog. Did the captain even see us? There was no sign of life on deck and no recognition except that the boat silently glided on and we turned away to avoid fouling the nets and ourselves!
Shrimp Trawler passes Bristol Rose, too close!
Although our radar was working just fine, we found that fishing vessels can be unpredictable in their movements. That as well as a heavy fog and the lack of any kind of communication between vessels or control over what another vessel may do could have turned a close shave into something much worse.
Fort Clinch, Florida