I spent many years living in the Canadian Maritime provinces. I guess those years led me to believe that nearly daily fog was a part of life on the coast.
I admit to being surprised that after living on the North Carolina coast for almost two years that we have only seen a couple of foggy days. Most of our days look like the picture in the post.
When we lived on our Nova Scotia farm back in the early seventies it seemed that we started every day with fog. Some days were foggy all day long. You could go a couple of miles up the north mountain and the fog would be gone. Down in the Annapolis Valley, farmers would be baling hay.
Out on the shore we would be trying to figure out how to wring the moisture out of our damp hay.
Now we do have some fog on the Carolina coast but there always seems to be some blue sky above it. Once the bridges over the White Oak River near Swansboro seemed to disappear in the fog. Even then it wasn't too hard to find some blue sky.
Those events were nothing like what we used to experience in Nova Scotia. I can still remember the trip around the Cabot Trail where we never managed to see more than about one half mile in front of us.
Then there was the year that the pack ice descended on Halifax Harbor. It felt like we were living inside a glass of ice water.
I started thinking about the problem this past week when we went on an early morning fishing trip out the White Oak to Bogue Inlet and into the Atlantic Ocean. As these slides show, there was a little fog coming off the water, but certainly not enough to qualify as a fog bank.
The only thing that I can figure out is that Canadian east coast waters are so much colder than the air that a fog event takes almost nothing to start.
In fact the Encyclopedia Brittanica says the following in their article on fog.
The most stable fogs occur when the surface is colder than the air above; that is, in the presence of a temperature inversion.
That would seem to define most of the Nova Scotia coast in the summer. As I remember the Bay of Fundy only warmed to the mid forties even in the dead of summer which is what we liked to call July 1.
It's not that a foggy day isn't nice once in a while, it is just that a string of several foggy days during summer is pretty hard to take.
My perception of Nova Scotia and Halifax especially being foggy spots is backed up by this article by Environment Canada.
Halifax's reputation as a foggy and misty city is well deserved. Each year there is an average of 122 days with fog at the International Airport and 101 days at Shearwater, on the Dartmouth side of the harbour, although on most days fog persists for less than 12 hours. The period from mid-spring to early summer is the foggiest time. Bands of thick, cool fog lie off the coast, produced where the chilled air above the Labrador Current mixes with warm, moisture-laden air moving onshore from the Gulf Stream. With onshore winds these banks of fog move far inland.
I like the part that most days the fog lasts for less than twelve hours. Even given the longer days in Canada during the summer, eleven or twelve hours of fog can make a day seem pretty dreary.
Of course sometimes it is much worse than just a few days of fog. I was amazed when I read this from the same Environment Canada article.
Nova Scotia's most persistent spell of fog occurred during Canada's centennial in 1967 at Yarmouth, when over the 92 days of summer, 85 had an occurrence of 1 or more hours with fog. Because of the extensive fogs, as well as mists, low cloud, and smog, sunshine amounts throughout the province are usually less than half the total possible.
Seven days when it wasn't foggy during the summer is a pretty bad siege of fog.
That's a little different than in Cape Carteret near the Emerald Isle beaches. According to City-Data we only dip to 55% sunshine two months of the year. The other ten months we have between from 60% to 70% sunshine.
There are a lot of other good reasons to consider visiting or even living along North Carolina's Crystal Coast which comes close to the small town atmosphere of the Canadian Maritimes without all the fog.
I would love to see more Canadians move down to Carteret County. There are some Canadian sympathizers around. There is a Canadian flag in the set of slides that I took of the Swansboro Arts Festival a week ago.
Well here is to a relatively fog free summer on Canada's Atlantic coast, one can at least hope there are fewer than 85 days of fog this summer. If it doesn't work out, our sunshine is only 2,401 kilometers or 1,492 miles from Halifax.
The trip will also bring you into the land of shrimp and fresh home grown tomatoes. The shrimp should be a little bigger by the time you get here. Actually there are plenty of fantastic shrimp already being caught.
According to my calculations, you can shave 480 miles off the trip if you come by water. Maybe the Bluenose Schooner is available. It would probably be a quick trip.