Well, my trip back out to the island was an adventure. It was the first time I have operated a boat in the fog completely on my own. I have been out in fog twice before, once while crabbing with someone else running the boat, and the other time while getting some training with someone else on board. I was a bit hesitant, but hey…you don’t learn if you don’t try.
We were going to take two boats out – I was heading back out to stay, and another crew was heading out to do some research and returning the same day. I left first, and was going to wait for the other boat. I got situated, got the fog horn set up, and headed out of John Wayne Marina to wait for the other boat. I decided to ease on ahead to get a feel for it and felt confident so I went on. The fog was pretty thick but cleared up a bit for just a brief moment. Then, as I proceeded out of Sequim Bay, it got quite heavy again and was that way all the way back out.
I had to navigate completely by GPS and compass, checking buoys and radar as well. There was no line of sight for anything. You can see water about 20-25 feet around you and everything else is stark grey. It is quite easy to go the wrong way on the water in conditions like that. You can get off-course so fast and so far. You think it is bad in a car, but at least you have pavement to follow while driving.
It was a lot of work, but the challenge was interesting and fun in its own way. I would like to have seen a breadcrumb trail of my path on the water to see just how much I wandered to and fro before getting on a straighter path using the compass more. It is not a straight shot from John Wayne Marina out to the island, so you have to work for it.
Needless to say I made it safely and still beat the other boat – albeit not by much. It was good experience and I now know I can handle it if the need arises and I have to be on the water in those conditions.