Tumanaq martuq. (N); Umneq martuq. (S) - The fog is thick.
Each summer Kodiak’s coast clouds of mist and sea fog envelop Kodiak’s coast. As warm summer air passes over the cool North Pacific Ocean, dense patches of fog build against the island, where they may sit for days. Because fog can seriously hinder travel and subsistence activities, predicting its arrival and departure are important skills. It is not the clock that people watch in planning subsistence activities but the tides and the winds, the ocean and the sky.
Weather forecasting is considered an art in Alutiiq communities. People perfect their knowledge of the weather throughout life, learning from experience and developing an elaborate lore of local conditions. In the past, people also watched for omens that would foretell the weather. For example, if eagle down tied to the prow of a kayak fluttered, it was a signal of coming bad weather. Older individuals were particularly sought after for their knowledge, and some communities had a “sky person,” a weather expert who provided advice to hunting parties.
Photo: Fog covers the coast of Afognak Island.