A forecast predicting lifting fog entices us onto the water though preparing the skiff for launch is an act of faith. From the boat slip, the nearby railroad bridge dissolves into the mist. We idle through Stonington Harbor with great care using a GPS to stay in the channel while squinting through the thick blanket of moisture. Neither shore is visible and only boats within 50 feet of us are identifiable. Outside the first breakwater we note all lobster buoy to avoid wrapping a rope around our propeller. Despite light rain gear, we alternate between feeling a bit chilly and then oppressively warm but squid strips go onto the hooks and into the water. We’re sure some kind of fish absolutely loves fog and this will be a productive day. And the sun will make an appearance… except it doesn’t.
Throughout the day we listen carefully for the sound of other boats and occasionally honk our own horn to identify our position. Our lights are on but we can’t see anyone else’s lights so ours probably aren’t visible. We cringe to hear several small boats travelling at high speed. The captain of a 127 foot boat swears on the radio at a small boat who crosses directly in front of him. The colorful language lets the small boat captain know he narrowly avoided dying. We’re grateful tragedy was averted and aren’t surprised that there is no radio response. As is often the case on the water, a single poor decision can produce cataclysmic consequences. Boating is fun until something goes terrible wrong.
Inside the harbor we pass a floating marker used for sailing regattas. But they wouldn’t have one with all this fog and no wind, would they? Yes, they would. We crawled past the official race boat before seeing a few sailboats floundering around. A couple of sailors were standing up and pumping their sail to create forward motion. Frustrated windsurfers do the same thing with equally poor results. One sailor was laying down in the boat perhaps saving up strength to paddle back to the dock. Overall, it didn’t look like much fun. Most weekends and weekday afternoons there are sailing regattas in this exact spot allowing sailors of all skill levels to compete and enjoy the sport. Sailboats are graceful and beautiful to watch. Today, I hope the race officials and families provided hot chocolate when the sailors returned to port. As for me and my fishing buddy, we’re looking forward to a hot meal but we’ll be back next Saturday no matter the weather.
Six hours of fishing in the fog produces two damp fishermen, a 3-foot long dogfish shark and a short Fluke. It is June, isn’t it? The rest of the state has sunny, warm weather but we are on the water doing something we love so I don’t complain. I’m living a dream and appreciate every day here at the shore. If you had asked me my idea of a great date five years ago, I would not have mentioned boating or fishing but the new me continues to be enthusiastic about both activities. Summer is too short to not grab every opportunity for fun on the water.