Going slowly. Fog all day, S-SW winds, often rough seas due to tides. Hard work. Sore right back and tender right bum… But I have just finished my freeze-dried supper – game casserole – to the soothing music of Chet Baker in my cosy cabin.
My last bit of cucumber went with it. Tasted great. But last night was not as relaxed. Woke up 3.20 am to the peeping warning of the AIS. I could read that the shipMVK Romulus (call sign 9V7644) was heading for me at 19.7 knots. I was a bit disorientated at first as slight wind kept the bow pointing E, while on the AIS we were heading W with the tide.
Outside was thick, clammy fog. But the sea was nearly flat and my radar reflector high up on a vertical stick. I hear the rumbling of engines and suddenly there is a red lantern high above me on port side and a white bow wave 20-30 m away. Now I call him on channel 16!: “Romulus, Romulus, do you see Fox II on port side?”
On channel 6 we talk why I wallow in his wake. He just saw me visually, not on the radar. It was set at 5 miles, 3 m. Something is wrong with your AIS, he says. I explain that I know. This could be very dangerous, he says and sounded a bit shaken, too. And he is gone.
It took me a long time to relax after that. My radar reflector is about 2 m above sea level. So if the ships adjust their radar higher to avoid picking up waves (clutter) they do not pick up small boats like mine. And he had not altered the setting when the sea was calm. Another lesson: call them all on VHF – early!”