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!