We went down island to Victoria for Xmas. We left our OTG island on the 22nd. Turns out that was the last reasonably safe day for travel. Or, so they said. Our trip out started early and first required the assistance of a friend who picked us up in his boat on our island and who then dropped us on the other island (the communal dock there is too small for boats to stay there for more than 48 hours so our boats stay home). We had pre-packed the car the day before. It was a bitterly cold morning going out and, of course, the old logging road was covered in snow and the traction was iffy. But, no trees were down and the old Pathfinder really performs well in snow. It is a very well balanced 4×4 SUV and we have really good tires. No problem.
I bought some lumber in Campbell River to do a small repair on Grandma’s house, filled the liquor request and, after gassing up, headed off. There was one more chore a few miles down the road – take the dogs into a DIY dog wash and clean em up. And so, an hour later, we all headed South somewhat damp. It all went well until the very southern part of the island and, in particular, Grandma’s neighbourhood not far from Langford. There the snow was pretty deep. Cars had spun out. Littered in ditches. Roads slippery, icy, treacherous. But, again, we lucked out and made it safe and sound.
I won’t bore you with the whole itinerary but suffice it to say, we are always dependable in the foolish department. We pack whatever time we intend to be there with so much activity it is ridiculous. And the older we get, the more ridiculous we are. We never plan a nap-time for instance. Rarely plan for traffic. We were there for four days (plus two travel days) and, of course, we planned enough events to fill out a week. And we seem to overdo it that way every time!
Anyway, a Xmas of chaos ensued and kids, dogs, babies and grandparents were hugged and kissed, a turkey was devoured, a bunch of presents were exchanged and there was the obligatory dog-on-beach walk (Sal’s family is British, after all) and, of course, we stocked up at Costco for our run home.
The run home back up island is more daunting than the trip down because we have to catch a ferry, cross an island and travel by boat at the end of the day when it is getting dark. And we have a ton of stuff. Catching the ferry and maybe a storm on our home waters and the goal becomes a bit more stressful as the time marches on. Plus we need another pick-up at the dock. However, despite all the warings to “STAY OFF THE ROADS”, we made it and got home just as dusk settled into evening. BUT………………………
…………….and this is the tiny, non-story that makes the point of the blog. When we got home late in the day, the house batteries were dead. That means the funicular won’t work. If the funicular won’t work, everything we are bringing back has to stay in the boat. We, of course, can get into the house and get it warm but the water system won’t work because the pump needs juice, too. Clearly we have to address the electrical requirement first by getting the genset up and going. The genset has to run for about an hour and half to get the batteries up enough that they can operate the funicular. So, in theory, we have an hour or two to kill before we finish the final packing and unpacking to actually make our return home complete. BUT………….
……..it turns out we also had a so-called ‘KING’ tide during the time we were away. Our typical ‘really high tide’ might be as much as 17 feet (rarely). Usually 16 feet is the highest. But this ‘KING tide came in at least two feet higher and, worse, there was a storm out of the Southeast at the same time. Storm surge. That made the King at least a 20-footer. I built our lower deck at the 20’ 6″ level. The dock at our neighbour’s (where we tie the boats) is set to adjust right up to 19 feet. The anchors we used (being a bit tight) held the dock under water a smidge and the storm surge swamped over the docks. Our neighbours down the way have a similar height ramp-and-dock and the docks floated two feet higher than the ramp leading to them. And, behind the head of the ramp, is a large half acre area of land used to for storing materials and ATVs and such. It had two feet of water over it. This King tide was higher and wetter than anything previous. This one was a record.
Turns out we have three or four more in store but each successive one is a few inches lower and no storm surge is expected. That minor crisis seems over. Amazingly, there seems to be no damage. The neighbours dock needs some adjustment and there are trees all jammed up in it but we can handle that today. My electrical winch on the lower funicular must have gotten wet but it was still working. The genset put the juice back in the batteries. We’ll get pressure water today. And the house is now warm. Not an unusual homecoming all in all.
The dogs are ecstatic, Sal and I are happy and all is good in our world right now. But…….
……who knows what 2023 will bring…..?