Monday, September 30, 2013


Thunderstorms are rare in the Pacific Northwest and Tribune Bay has a way of letting us know when we've worn out our welcome. Last time we stayed at Tribune we were chased out early in the morning by a 40 knot wind howling up the Strait of Georgia, with crazy waves to match. This year we had a lovely visit as we hiked and explored the beach
through drifting fog. On our planned day of departure we awoke to super thick fog with very low visibility, maybe 10-15 feet. It's an odd feeling to look into the distance and have no idea if you're faced towards the shore or out to sea. I had a funny feeling all morning that we should be leaving but reasoned we should wait for the fog to lighten. Oddly, later on, I learned that Jason had a similar feeling. At noon the engine was on, Jason was at helm, and I was emerging from the boat to raise the anchor. A wide-eyed Jason looked at me and said, "We need to leave. Now." Hearing the urgency in his voice motivated me to raise all 200 feet of anchor with my one arm without a rest. A short distance out of the bay I heard thunder in the distance and realized the reason for the rush. There are a lot of things that scare me about sailing but this struck terror into both of our hearts. In all the other situations my rational brain knows that the boat can handle it...but there's nothing like a thunder storm while on a floating lightning rod in the ocean to make you feel small and helpless. There's really nothing we could do but pray that Thor would treat us kindly. If the boat were to get hit, it could mean anything from loss of electronics to the through-holes being blown out if the bottom of the boat followed by, perhaps fire, maybe an explosion or two and then thankfully the fires will be put out by the boat sinking. I desperately wished to be tied up to a dock with the kids off the boat, so we located the closest port, revved up the engine, put on all of our rain gear, and headed towards Ford Cove. With heavy rain beating down and lightning flashing around us, some within hundreds of yards (funny side note's funny how our instincts think that flinching and ducking will help here), the squall chased us for the next 45 minutes. When we reached Ford's Cove, I pulled, with all of my one-arm might, against the wind, to land the boat in an illegal docking spot. We all hopped off the boat and headed to the shelter of an outdoor porch on the tiny general store where all of the island's soaked inhabitants seemed to be milling about. We waited until the lasts bits of lightning were squeezed out of the storm before we headed back to the boat for hot cocoa to soothe our nerves and gather our courage. We watched the weather radar and when we were sure the storm had passed, we headed north again. Along the way the moody clouds broke up and treated us to spectacular scenery all the way up to Comox where physical therapy and dental appointments awaited us.

Click here for photos.

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