This was one WEIRD day sailing! We left Naples about 10 AM, beautiful day, light winds from the south so we knew we'd have to tack the 7 miles to Marco Island, but figured worst case we get alot of great sailing short tacking along the coast and maybe catch a fish in the process. Didn't turn out quite like we planned....
A few hours into the great sail, no fish on yet, but look, there's this weird looking line of clouds behind us. David informs me that there was fog last night and that's the remnants of the fog line. OK...
Next thing we know, literally a few minutes later, we're engulfed in medium dense fog. We could see, but under a quarter mile -- if you look very closely, you can just see a sportfishing boat speeding up off our starboard bow to the right of the photo. So it got a bit intense to keep moving. We doused the jib and were proceeding very slowly on just the main -- along with our trusty brass bell ringing out a fog signal every few minutes.
We couldn't see this sailboat until the fog lifted just a bit and voila... What's UP with this, it's 1 PM and there's NOT supposed to be FOG in SW Florida! Remind me I never want to cruise the New England coastline!
After hanging out around the Marco Sea Buoy for a couple of hours, David had me call Sea Tow Marco & see if they were fogged in inside the channel & river. They said it was clear inside, just proceed very slowly and with extreme caution. Here you can barely make out the Marco coastline as we're inside a couple sets of channel markers.
An hour later and we're anchor down in Factory Bay and I sighted my very first frigate birds of the year -- FINALLY we're far enough south for frigate birds! I love it!! WOOHOO!!!
Uh oh... another hour later, settled at anchor and enjoying cocktails in the cockpit after a fairly stressful couple of fogged in hours, it looks like the fog bank is rolling in again -- notice the marker on the far right of this photo -- taken from Factory Bay shooting toward the entrance to the Marco River/Capri Pass.
OK, look VERY closely in the same general area on the right hand side of this photo - you can barely see a marker that's the same one in the previous photo -- the fog is rolling in again. The distress calls on VHF Channel 16 are increasing, busy busy radio night. SeaTow and TowboatUS are extremely busy helping boaters stranded/run aground in the fog. I can totally understand, when you're engulfed in fog how disorienting it can be. YIKES! Luckily we had radar and a GPS course from a previous time into Marco. What we would have LOVED to have had was AIS so we could maybe actually communicate with the other boats in our area.
Sunset was totally fogged in, but here's a bit earlier. We're glad we're safely anchored.