This Southeast Alaska maritime temperate rainforest makes for great atmospheric variability. Warm, moist air comes in off of the Pacific ocean, piles up against the mountains, and keeps life interesting with many forms of moisture.
The weather service valiantly tries to clue us in. We listen to the forecast, look outside, take into account the areas that we will be cruising through, and decide if we go. On good days it looks like this:
Pretty, huh? I love this place!
Morning fog is common here, and usually burns off as it is doing in the photo below. On a day like this we would go out in the boat. See the blue sky peaking through and the way that the fog is breaking up?
This is going to be a beautiful day.
There are days when there is thick fog, and the boat stays anchored or tied to the dock.
Then there are the days when it is going to be limited visibility, but enough to go. Those days when the heavy overcast never allows for full daylight. Moisture in the air - fog, rain, snow - make the world soft and blurry. Like this day when we went from Thorne Bay to Wrangell:
That is an island on the left, and the spot that looks like dust on your screen is a bird. This is pretty good visibility, about half a mile. Plenty of distance and time to see and avoid obstacles in the water and other boats.
There was about half an hour in Clarence Strait when visibility closed down entirely. Right about then two "islands" appeared on the radar that were not on the chart. I changed course and we could just make out the tug and barge as we passed behind them.
Ernest Sound was full of monochrome, misty islands.
It started to break up and there were even bits of blue sky! We're headed for that gap between the islands.
As we got into the protected passage of Zimovia Strait the snow line came down.
The improved visibility is nice for going between the green and red buoys without hitting the big ol' rock in the lane.
Fare to the red buoy, and then take a hard right. You'll be in town in another twenty miles.