Spooky Marine layer and/or smoke

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dhays

Guru
Joined
May 26, 2015
Messages
9,091
Location
United States
Vessel Name
Kinship
Vessel Make
North Pacific 43
This morning. The smoke has been so bad recently but this doesn't smell like the fires, just more typical marine air from the coast. IMG_20180818_075355560.jpeg
 
We've had that up in Anacortes for several days. Doesn't smell like smoke, but hangs around all day like bad smog days used to be in LA. I think its old fashioned smog.
 
We've had that up in Anacortes for several days. Doesn't smell like smoke, but hangs around all day like bad smog days used to be in LA. I think its old fashioned smog.



You are probably right. The marine air combining with the smoke. Right now there is about 1.5 nm visibility on the water. Much of that is a fog layer over the water as I can see clear sky just above it.
 
This morning we still have a combination of smoke and fog.

Kinsip is in the distance here behind McMicken Island. A lovely yawl anchored nearby.

A 45' power boat just arrived. He first tried to get into the anchorage by going between McMicken and Hartene Island. Fortunately he was going slowly and turned around before hitting the spit hard. He then went around McMicken and started to drop an anchor. Another boater told him that he was dropping hi anchor right on top of his anchor so he picked and moved away. To be honest, I'm not sure I would have guessed the other boat had that much scope out. In this anchorage in these conditions, I think most are using 3:1 and the guy was right, he probably put down 7:1. I am sure he was simple anchorge on his chain all night.IMG_20180819_110408431.jpegIMG_20180819_110533088.jpeg
 
Here is a poor image of the water around McMicken. At low tied the spit between the little island and the larger island to the left is high and dry. At high tide a shallow draft boat could cross it at the low point, but right now it is covered by maybe a foot of water.IMG_20180819_111656.jpeg
 
Transited from Friday H to Seattle yesterday. 3 mile vis the whole trip. Combination of marine layer and smoke. Then the wind shifted and it was gone. However it’s blowing back in now.
 
Transited from Friday H to Seattle yesterday. 3 mile vis the whole trip. Combination of marine layer and smoke. Then the wind shifted and it was gone. However it’s blowing back in now.



Yup, I’m sitting in the boat in Gig Harbor watching the smoke drift down through the trees. Will be worse tomorrow I think.
 
Galiano is sometimes missing, out our front windows. 2.5 miles away.
Wallace is hazy, but I can still make out the boats at anchor in Conover. 1 mile away.
Forecast is for worse smoke tomorrow, then blown away.
 
I had one of the most stressful passages ever on Friday night. Donna and I left Blaine at about 7:30 pm heading down to Bellingham. We had hoped that the winds that had come up would blow some of the smoke away.

We all know that it normally slows you down to travel at night during crabbing season, but what utterly fouled it up was that the smoke not only wiped out every bit of moonlight but also made using the spotlight absolutely impossible. Visibility was very nearly zero in many places, and turning on the spotlight only resulted in complete blindness.

And so we spent the whole time with both of us straining our eyes into the darkness, never daring to look away because the damned crab pots are everywhere. I had one hand on the gear lever and the other on the throttle, ready to do a crash stop if we ran into a buoy...the visibility was so poor most of the time that there wasn't time to steer to avoid the damned things. The AIS and radar helped a lot with the tugs and larger fishing boats, but...well, it was an exhausting, nerve-wracking experience. Donna had been planning to make us a late supper while underway, but we needed her eyes as well so no joy there. When we finally tied up at Squalicum at 1 am we were utterly wiped out.

We spent last night at Sucia but it was dreary and depressing. The smoke was so thick that the sun was completely invisible...just a dull apocalyptic glow from overhead. Ick.
 
Sounds bad Anson. What prompted you to do the night passage in the first place?


The crabbing season in the South Sound has been closed this year which has been really nice not having to dodge them.


I really hope the smoke clears out over the next couple weeks. We were planning on spending the 1st two weeks of Sept in the San Juans and Gulf Islands. However, if the smoke is still this bad, we may change plans and just go where the smoke is less.
 
We live in SE Washington state, right on the Columbia River just upstream from where the Snake joins it.


Where we are the river is about 1/2 mile across. The smoke has been so bad the last couple of days we can't see across the river.
 
From a purely selfish standpoint, I certainly hope this isn't the new normal. Late summer is prime cruising weather in the PNW and BC. The smoke the last couple of years has really put a damper on it.
 
Sounds bad Anson. What prompted you to do the night passage in the first place?

Wifey B: And why didn't you abort when conditions were so bad. Why continue a passage that was so stressful on both of you? :confused:
 
Wifey B: And why didn't you abort when conditions were so bad. Why continue a passage that was so stressful on both of you? :confused:


Not too many good places to stop between Blaine and Bellingham. At some point turning around is as difficult as continuing on.
 
IMG_3268.jpg
We needed radar, AIS, and nav lights for the trip back to Seattle today.
 
Image of currently active fires in Washington. Surrounding states and provinces just as bad. Really something this year again.
 

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Image of currently active fires in Washington. Surrounding states and provinces just as bad. Really something this year again.



Yeah, very bad. Add to that image the fires that are burning in BC, Idaho, Montana, and CA and you can see why it is so bad.
 
Wifey B: And why didn't you abort when conditions were so bad. Why continue a passage that was so stressful on both of you? :confused:

Yeah, it's a really good question. I was thinking about pilots who run into disastrous trouble flying into instrument meteorological conditions when they don't have an IFR rating, or who push on past the point of no return on fuel, victims of "getthereitis."

I like night passages. We should have had half a moon for light and the spotlight makes it less stressful during crabbing season. A fresh wind had blown in and rather than clearing the air it only made the smoke thicker.

Yeah, we could have easily turned back. By the time it was fully dark the light smoke conditions at the north end of the trip had gotten much worse; that was nearly the halfway point. Along that stretch of coast there is no anchorage at all for a boat our size and considerable tug, barge and large ship traffic; I knew that dropping the hook in shallower (unprotected) water would only result in me staying up on watch all night. I did consider several places but decided that pushing on, while exhausting, was not actually dangerous.

Would I choose to do this again? Nope.
 
From a purely selfish standpoint, I certainly hope this isn't the new normal. Late summer is prime cruising weather in the PNW and BC. The smoke the last couple of years has really put a damper on it.

Yeah, it really has. Donna and I have decided to shoot for a couple of windows next year in May, June and early July for that very reason. We always used to do family camping trips and boating trips in July and August and enjoyed wonderful weather. In the past ten years, however, we've found ourselves breathing smoke every single time we've been out in August. Last year the smoke started earlier than this year and lasted for ever. I hope it doesn't last too terribly long this time, but the BC fires are nowhere near being controlled.

Three factors are at play: (1) warmer temperatures have allowed the bark beetles to spread massively and vast areas of trees are standing dead and dry, (2) those same warmer temps have meant more lightning than the Pacific Northwest has ever seen before (notice how our clouds have changed?), and (3) the higher temps mean higher convective wind speeds and strengthen two legs of the fire triangle, heat and oxygen.

It may well prove to be our new normal, sadly enough. :cry:
 
I was reading that this smoke just has spent two days in the Dallas, TX area and been quite noticeable there creating a brownish haze. As I'm not in Dallas, I can't confirm it personally but did find it mentioned in the Dallas newspaper.
 
Really bad over here at Pender Island. Visibility down to a mile or so when running into the sun, coming south today.

But we lucked out at Princess Louisa Inlet!
 
I have read accounts of the fires in WA, but didn’t know they were that bad.

Things are different in SoCal the past 10 years. I grew up in a coastal town, and no one had AC in the 60s-90’s. Not anymore.
 
I was reading that this smoke just has spent two days in the Dallas, TX area and been quite noticeable there creating a brownish haze. As I'm not in Dallas, I can't confirm it personally but did find it mentioned in the Dallas newspaper.



Just checked with my son in Dallas, TX and they have had air quality “orange” the last few days where they recommend that you keep outdoor activity be kept to minimum. The sun has been a blood red orange ball apparently.
 
Update: a little wave of weather came through early this morning and cleared the air, we have blue sky and can breathe again!
 
That’s good to hear. We are in Langley headed for Anacortes today, the smoke is still bad here. Olympia to Blake Island on Tuesday and Blake to Langley yesterday the visibility was about 3/4 of a mile based on when I could visually verify a radar target. Some areas a little better.
 
Update: a little wave of weather came through early this morning and cleared the air, we have blue sky and can breathe again!

In Oregon, where I live, a wind shift simply brings dense smoke from a new direction.

In BC, where I am currently seeking refuge, two days of smoke have been succeeded by a frontal passage and lovely marine air.

Oh, Canada!
 
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Update: a little wave of weather came through early this morning and cleared the air, we have blue sky and can breathe again!


It is clearing up nicely from the South. This morning on the way to work I was able to see the Olympics and the Tacoma airport reports 8 miles visibility. I think they were up to 10 miles visibility in Olympia and Shelton.


Of course when I say "clearing up" I really mean cloudy, some drizzle, and a LOT less smoke. I really am happy to see the rain!
 
Saratoga Passage between Whidbey and Camano islands has cleared out within the last couple of hours.
 
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