We left at 4:00. Dinner at the neighbouring Island hotel was at 5:30 but it was rainy. It was dark. We had to go part way by boat. Also winter is coming and sometimes the trees fall along the logging road to herald the change in season. An hour and half to get in was a reasonable allowance.
“We could go all the way by boat?”
“Yeah. Never thought of that…..but…nah….not smart. Not really. The wind is getting up, our running lights are not working. Fog has filled the channel every night recently. I think the logging road is safer.”
“We have the new GPS navigation app on the phone….?”
“Great! You suggesting we test it out by intentionally heading into a rainstorm with fog?”
“No. Guess you are right but I will work the app and see how we do the along the safe route and that will be a good test.”
The group was pleased we made it. They asked about the journey. Sally pulled out her phone and showed them the app. It was still on and indicated the whole route. Dinner chat made adventuresome thanks to Navionics and a small boat ride in the rain.
At 7:30 while the dinner was slowing but still lingering, I reached over to the new couple we met and said, “It’s been great. Goodbye. Time for us to go.” They were a bit taken aback by the abruptness but there was obviously no offence intended and they understood that being out at sea, at night, in a storm, in the rain, black as pitch meant an early departure was logical. We said our goodbyes and left.
Getting back was a bit slower. The rain had intensified and the wind had risen. But most of that was to be expected and we did. To a rainy trip home, we were adequately prepared. Emergency kit stuffed somewhere. Boots, wet weather gear, flashlights, the GPS….we had even left our house lights on so that we could see the house before we got close. Basically it was all good.
But, OMG, it was dark. Black as coal was the night. Usually when I travel at night going in any direction southerly, I can make out a glow of lights in the distance. That would be Campbell River or maybe Heriot Bay depending. Not this night. This trip was blind. Even in this kind of darkness, I can usually get enough ‘night vision’ to see the silhouette of our island and the neighbouring one. It’s quite amazing how well you can manage your way simply by seeing familiar topographical humps in the dark…..but not this time. This time – nothing.
So, this time, we used the new GPS and Navionics. And also aided by the slight flicker of light in the foggy distance, we headed straight home. Confidently, too. As our destination loomed out of the not-so-dense fog, we saw our neighbour’s light on as well. They had considerately left a workshop light on for us, it being the closest light that might have helped.
We got into the house, shed our wet weather gear, stoked the fireplace and put on slippers. I put on the kettle and checked the time – almost 9:30. Two hour dinner party…three and half hours of travel. An evening out hermit-style. In the forest, on the ocean, in the rain, in the pitch black dark. Conclusion: we may do it more often. It was a pleasant evening. Plus we learned a thing or two about phone apps.