Wednesday, October 23, 2013


It's been pea soup fog here in Vancouver the last couple of days. I liked the wet air myself. My boat is at dock. The fog horn is sounding in Coal Harbour.  I certainly remember sailing in fog, the anxiety and other worldliness on those occasions.
It was after a winter sail when returning English Bay was blanketted in fog, that I decided a radar was necessary on the west coast. We'd had to wait till a fishing boat with radar came near.  We'd heard their bell. I was sounding off my hand held foghorn.  My partner was on the front of the deck as look out. 
This fishing boat entered False Creek like the Pied Piper with 3 or 4 sailboats tailing behind.  That was scarey indeed. 
After that I had the radar but even with the radar it was only last year that I almost ran aground in fog in English Bay. There I was watching the radar and depth sound totally disoriented only to have to stop because my depth sounder showed me coming on land I couldn't see. I had to turn off the engine to listen to get my bearings.  I had GPS, radar and depth sounder but still couldn't see out of my cockpit.  It was humbling to find myself facing the opposite direction from what I thought heading into shore. Without instruments I'd have run aground.  No wonder 'instrument flying' is it's own special license. 
In  France I first encountered road fog so bad we had to crawl along on our bicycles fearful of traffic. The Citroen's had yellow fog lights and these were the only cars easily seen.  Our bicycle lights just blurred into the obscurity ahead.
Here the fog's been so bad that there's been several accidents, one fatal, with rush hour traffic jams and sky train slow downs.  Just a little weather confusion and a whole city is humbled.  For all our superiority as a human race fog over rules the rat race. 
Walking along with Gilbert, at human and dog pace,  I can appreciate the surreal beauty of my surroundings shrouded  in fog.
Fog humbles and clarifies. Slow down. Pay attention.  Humility and beauty go hand in hand.

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