Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Raitt Narrows Cove: fog and fish

We set out in sunshine, turned the corner at the end of a passage in the McNaughton Group, and WHAM! thick fog enveloped us. This was the dense, can't-see-anything-beyond-100-feet kind of fog that persisted through most of the morning. Our course zigzagged through water filled with rocky shoals and islets and heavily sprinkled with drift logs and masses of debris. "Activate the foghorn and stay alert." So much for the relaxing, scenic excursion we had planned. Our attention was totally focused on the radar screen, the chart display on the computer monitor and the blurry view of the water directly in front of the bow. 

One faint blip on the radar screen was out of place, not correspondig to any obstacles shown on the chart, It remained still, then moved towards us on an intersecting path. We officially had right-of-way and maintained course and speed, but it's always good to be cautious and ready for the unexpected. That faint blip turned out to be a lone sport fisherman who was rigging his fishing gear in the stern of his small, very small, craft instead of running the boat. What an idiot! RL throttled back, the fisherman cruised by close in front of us, never acknowledging our presence, and disappeared again into the fog. He might have ignored our foghorn sounding every 60 seconds, but I'll bet he was aware of the anchor on our dark blue bow looming 14 feet above him as he putted past.

The fog finally lifted and we finished the trip with good visibility to run through Raitt Narrows. These basking seals barely stirred as we entered the passage on a low tide. 

The recent sunny weather has been accompanied daily by gusting 15-20 knot afternoon winds and now by morning fog. It adds some interesting considerations to running tricky passages, and even encourages sleeping in. For example, friends on M/V Maria Maru had planned an early departure from Raitt, but waited several hours longer until the fog had lifted enough to see the nearby shore.

It was a short run in the skiff from our anchorage outside to Idol Point, a favored fishing spot in Seaforth Channel. On a 2-hour fishing trip mid-morning we hooked 5 salmon, RL released several and I lost a big one that leapt and ran several times before throwing the barbless hook. Drat! I hate barbless hooks, OK, I shouldn't complain, the two bright coho were more than enough for several days of barbecued salmon, iron-skillet salmon, salmon salad or salmon burgers and at least one batch of lox. Then we'll go fishing again... or crabbing... or prawning...

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