|Photo: Ground fog forming in Johnstone Strait|
4:30 wake-up alarm, 5:00 pull anchor. It’s surprisingly light at 4:30, an invitation to hurry up and get moving before the winds kick up. At 1500 rpm our speed over ground ranged from 9.6 to 4.5 knots due to current effects. Amazingly flat water made log watch an easy chore, though there wasn’t much junk in the water to spot; some compensation for the slow speed I suppose. Ground fog developed later in the morning as the sun’s warmth caused moisture to rise, creating a changeable mosaic of blurred shapes and muted colors as it swirled along the channels and climbed up forested ridges. The patterns were pretty to view, but hey! turn on the radar to keep navigation sharp and focused.
|Photo: Range marker in Chatham Channel - when the two vertical white bars line up, you are right on course|
Life seemed quieter as we traveled up island, almost lonely until we enountered some traffic at the entrance to Chatham Channel, a restricted passage with several dogleg turns. The channel is well marked with navigation aids but can appear challenging to first-time travelers. Several boats ahead of us might have been unfamiliar with the area, the range markers and daymarker system, because they traveled cautiously at near-idle speed as they set up to enter the channel. At least one boat used paper charts to navigate through; not a bad thing but we’ve grown used to electronic charting programs that provide improved visual display and reference to course and navigation aids.
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