Thursday, November 19, 2009

Sorry, more weather, and a glimpse of island life . . .

The weather forecast around here is very disheartening. They've finally taken the red-banded Wind Warning down, but it will probably go up again later today as we're expecting winds of 60-80kmh (kilometres per hour) later this evening. Thousands of homes on Vancouver Island as well as over on the Mainland were without power last night, although we weren't affected on our little island (I have the woodbox well stocked, just in case, and flashlights and candles at the ready). We have had close to two weeks of this torrential weather, and I'm pleased with myself that through it all, I stuck to my plan to walk to work two days a week, even though an umbrella is not terribly useful in these winds.
You can see the combined effect of wind and rain in these photos of the view in front of our home -- it's rare to see this much debris -- flotsam and jetsam, how often do you get to use those terms quite literally (I know; it's really all flotsam, if you want to get technical with me, but indulge a gal whose brain is rather waterlogged, would you?). We're not too far from the Nanaimo River Estuary where trees and branches and logs get washed into the saltchuck after being rolled down the swollen river from whatever slope.

I wonder what these sailors, so far from home, think of being stuck here in day after day of gloomy weather -- perhaps they simply find it a respite from days of suffering rough weather at sea. I should count my blessings! Certainly, our rides on our small ferry the last few days and nights have been dramatic. We sit together in the waiting room just hoping the boat can make it across to pick us up so we can get home. Last night, we islanders had rec'd an e-mail saying service was iffy, and to plan a possible night in town. But our new driver has gained confidence and skill over the last week, and he was there at 5:10 to steer us across. We all filed into the boat, trying to find a seat that wasn't soaked -- the converted former lifeboat has sides whose plastic windows can be rolled up in the summer, so in a storm, weather inevitably gets in! Savvier passengers choose the seat down the middle of the hull, rather than on the sides where the roll gets exaggerated. As we settle in, George turns the lights off and we set off across the dark water working a wide zig-zag to 3/4 the troughs (that is, take the waves at an angle), minimizing the rolling effect. The boat holds 34 passengers, although there were only about 20 of us last night, and we either sit quietly, letting go of the day's tensions as we realize we'll soon be safe and warm at home, or we chat with neighbours. My friend, Kate, who usually kayaks to work with her Welsh terrier, Becky, has chosen the wiser course and punched her ferry pass instead of wielding her paddle -- she and Becky, her Welshie, visit with Shannon and Julie and I in the dark, talking knitting patterns and possible dog breeds for me to get and an upcoming island craft walk . . . and then we're home. We all cheer as George brings the boat to dock very competently, despite the wind, and then we all navigate the wet, swaying boat ramps carefully, and we're home!

And now we have to do it all over again -- see my neighbour, above, setting off in his kayak in the early morning light, paddling through debris -- not a bad way to commute if you're up for it!


  1. It sounds incredibly romantic. I have long been partial to gloomy, stormy weather. Those photos are lovely, even with all the debris in the water. Stay safe and dry.

  2. I think I know which island you live on! We have been up there on our boat the Driftwood11., and popped over to do our laundry and have a bite to eat at the Dingy Dock....
    the weather here has been positively beastly...branches flying, leaves, rain, and so far we have not had a power outage. Winter has arrived to our coast.
    Enjoy your new work schedule

  3. Ah, you mustn't apologize for sharing such an incredible collection of photos. Your life looks and sounds wonderful.

    When Deja Pseu and I met in Paris we, rather she, talked about you, La Belette Rouge and Duchesse. I've been lurking ever since.

    Your writing is stunning and I intend to visit often.

    D.P., who knows I'm embarking on a knitting project (let's just say I'm embarking on a long, horizontal piece of wool with lots of holes) which I intend to rip apart once I get the hang of it, suggested I ask for your help. I'm absolutely loving it. It has an amazing, calming effect on me -- no small feat.

    I feel it's waaaay too early in my new endeavor to ask for your advice, but just to say I understand why you love it. (I'm in the process of writing a story for Vogue Knitting and during the interview with one of the owners of La Droguerie in Paris took advantage of a little lesson. She said she wanted to see it when I finish. That's why I'll start over at some point -- too embarrassing otherwise.)

    Sorry, did ramble there. But it is such a pleasure to have found you.

    Warm regards,

  4. Wow, do you often have weather like that? Some time ago I reported, that we have snow over here. Luckily all has melted and I´m enjoying the +7 C weather. Btw, at Duchesse´s blog you told that you have known your husband 36 years, of which been married 35. My husband and I share the exact numbers. Yes, there have been ups and downs, but I could not have chosen a better man. Our daughters have a large age gap-12 years- and I often have had to convince people that, yes, they share the same father. I wish your stormy weather calms soon.

  5. Whew, how long is the ride? We have deep gloom and rain here but at least not cold yet.

    Sometimes the Toronto Island ferries can't run, that's a 15-20 minute trip. Our friends on the island go down to the crossing by the Island Airport (just renamed Billy Bishop Airport) where they take the world's shortest ferry ride (3 minutes). But then it's a longish hike in wild weather to their homes, especially in a blizzard.

  6. That's the thing about weather, you see - it might be frightful in person, getting wet and windswept and muddy, but it looks so damn romantic in photographs! We're at the start of what promises to be a sweltering summer, with the western suburbs of Sydney over 40 degrees today. Fortunately, we're on the coast, so expecting only around 32 ...

  7. Angie: I like the gloomy stormy stuff as well, but mostly when I'm viewing it through a window, NOT when I'm walking through it carrying a backpack full of stuff. Plus we've got so much of it here than I'm sure someone, somewhere, is feeling very shortchanged -- they want their own gloomy weather back;-)
    Lordfam: You're probably guessing correctly, and thank you for not naming names -- my barely-preserved anonymity is safe for now.
    Tishjett: So pleased you stopped by! I've sent you an e-mail already re a knitter in Paris -- and btw, I love your blog, which I've just learned of through Pseu. Still just lurking, but I'll pipe up one of these days.
    Metscan: Aren't we lucky! A partner one can still be comfortable (but not bored) with after 36 years is truly a treasure. As for the weather, this isn't a record yet, but it's beginning to feel like it.
    Duchesse: The ferry crossing usually takes about 10 minutes, more in this rough weather. Then it's about a kilometre to get home, and I usually have my bike for that part of the trip. It's idyllic during the summer, but sometimes in the winter, I'd love to be able to drive a car into a carport as I used to do, once upon a time. . .
    Tiffany: I'd have a tough time with those kind of temperatures on a regular basis, but I could use a day or two . . .

  8. Again with the gorgeous photos! Do you ever take a bad picture??

    Ugh, the weather sounds as though it could certainly wear one down. I love some Stormy Weather, but only when I can sit inside by a warm fire with a glass of something fermented. I wouldn't want to have to travel in it day in and day out. Here's hoping you get a break soon.

  9. Britain is battered and bruised with more storms on the way, luckily for me mostly in the north.
    I actually felt quite queezy just reading this post, I suffer from appalling motion sickness and even found flying hard this year.
    But I do love the idea of canoeing to work, which i gather they mostly are in Cumbria this morning!
    Your images would look lovely all together in seasonal order, the changes of light you get are stunning.

  10. Pseu: You're absolutely right! After awhile there's nothing romantic about it whatsoever, and I have friends who suffer from SADS and find it quite tough. Many try to get away in the winter to a brighter, warmer spot, but I can't do that with my teaching schedule. Oh well, at least all the moisture keeps the wrinkling at bay;-)
    Alison: I used to continue to feel the motion for several days after a rough boat ride, but now it scarcely registers. And yes, I've seen some of the photos from the Lakes District -- that's way too much water!


I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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