To begin with, here is the current marine forcast for Haro Straight, which is basically the water between here and Sidney:


Storm warning continued.
Southeast gales 40 to storm force 50 knots easing to southwest 25 to gales 35 this afternoon. Winds easing to southwest 15 to 25 this evening then backing to southerly 20 overnight. Periods of rain.
Outlook. Winds moderate southeast veering to moderate southwesterly.

Copyright 2005 Environment Canada

When I checked before I left this morning it was only a gale warning (up to 35knots), but evidently that changed. I took the bus to my dad's, where I wisely elected to unload my laptop and other delicate items from my backpack, and then got dressed for rowing in large waves. I walked down to the beach, and it was really windy - I couldn't really see anything because my eyes we watering, but once I got down to the beach I was relieved to see that Och Aye was safe, but tragically my old boat was on the beach. That was a bit shocking, and it was also rather a shame since it was only the rope tying it to the mooring buoy that broke, and that could have been so easily prevented. The first gale of the season I was a bit worried about a similar thing happening to mine, so I tied a second rope so that if the first wore through (the ropes rarely snap, they just rub/chafe on things and then break) there would be some redundancy. When I checked on it after that the main rope had a fair bit of wear in it so I "served" the ropes, which mean I wrapped them with marline (which is smallish nylon string covered in tar), and this gives it extra protection against chafe. When I checked on it after the last gale they seemed to both be fine, so they should be able to hold this time too.

Anyway, I wanted to get out to my boat to check anyway, so I was planning on braving the relatively large waves in my extremely small dinghy.

This boat was leaning right up against the wall at the top of the beach until it got washed away last night. The tide is supposed to be even higher this afternoon, so the beach will basically be impassable. As it was I had to leap to safety, then wait for the wave to leave, then run, then hop on a log, and so on. At times there was a lack of things to hop onto so I had to just sortof stand there in my boots and hope that the wave didn't come in *too* much. Eventually I got down to where my old boat was washed ashore. I really hope that its not on a bunch of rocks, because it was getting bashed around quite a lot by the waves and rocks are not nice to boats. The rudder was missing, but I later found it, and it turned out that the tiller had been broken clean off, so the boat must have smashed it into the beach, putting a ton of weight on it.

I nimbly dodged the waves and made my way down to my dinghy. I thought of taking the dinghy I sold with my boat, since it is rather better for waves and has proper oar-locks, and I figured that since I was planning on setting her anchor and trying to pull her boat off the beach, Lucy (new owner of my old boat) could hardly complain. Sadly, she locked it up, so I couldn't. Lesson of the day: don't lock things up! I never lock my dinghy up and although I've occasionally noticed that someone has moved it or used it, it's never gone missing, and it's not like it's irreplaceable if it were to go missing. Anyway, I took my dinghy along to where it was a bit more sheltered so I wouldn't get immediately swamped by the waves. I made it out past the surf, and although the waves were quite tremendous compared to my boat, and were occasioanlly splashing water into the boat, I was slowly making way towards my boat. Unfortunately I was forced to use a single paddle since a couple days ago one of the strings I use as oarlocks broke, and so I couldn't row properly. This meant that I didn't have nearly as much power as I would otherwise have, and also paddling is much more tireing, so once I got about half way there and out of the shelter the waves were way to big for me to make any way against, and also I was getting a bit tired, so I tried, in desperation, to tie a new string in place somehow (since I couldn't get it through the holes it is supposed to go though), but that failed, and by then I had to get ready to do a surf landing. While my dinghy may be small, it is at least extremely strong. Lots of water came in from the breaking waves, and once I was in shallow enough water I leapt out and scrambled up the beach with the rope tied to my dinghy in hand, and tugged it from the grasp of the waves. I tried fixing the oar-string again, but I couldn't get past the surf without getting massive amounts of water in the boat and generally failing miserably.

This boat, while still attached to its mooring, dragged it quite a distance across the anchorage. I'm not sure what they use, since they seem to lift it and move elsewhere with some regularity, but at least it seems to be solid, if not quite heavy enough. As I was leaving their sail came unfurled, which is kinda bad.

I really didn't want to give up, since there was a decent chance that if I could get that anchor set, my old boat could be floated off later this afternoon, at high tide, and I also just wanted to hang out on my boat amidst giant seas, but after considering that I was soaked from the waist down, and my boots were half full of water, and that I didn't have any dry clothes on my boat, I decided that I'd probably be better off just going home, so I did.

Video! (Windows Media Player 9 format)

Waves (466K)
Waves (681K)
Waves (918K)
Waves (506K)
My Boat (304K)
Old Boat getting bashed by waves (637K)
Ditto (830K)
New Boat from the top of the cliff (475K)