Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Stormy day

Gale force winds are pounding the house and the scene in front of us is out of Lord of the Rings. The Channel is churning, rain is lashing against the front of the house and when the wid gusts, it blows right through our place.

Great storm...great way to break a record.
Gearing up for a doozy of a storm this afternoon. If we get the rain we are expecting we will have had over 300mm this month, setting a new record. January has had 29 rainy days this month and if you add the last two weeks of December, you get, well, a pretty serious northeastern Pacific winter.

Not since 1982, the worst El Nino year on record, have we had such wetness.

So this afternoon, the gale warnings are up for Howe Sound and we are expecting 30 or so mm of rain with southeasterly winds gusting to 70 kmh. Right now, the Channel in front of us is spackled with wind and the big Douglas-firs are waving in the breeze. There will be a lot of branches on the ground tonight though.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Last night, coming back on the Apodaca from Horseshoe Bay was a study in the dynamics of katabatic winds.

I stood on the government dock at Horseshoe Bay and listened to the ocean for a while, rocking gently on the float in the calm air. I thought the water would be flat as glass, and it was until we rounded Tyee Point and got broadsided by a Squamish wind. The Queen Charlotte Channel was churning, and the Apodaca sliced through the waves dousing us with water. She's a beautiful boat...gorgeous lines and sitting high, she sprays water everywhere when she motors through a swell.

When we arrived in Snug Cove, the water was calm and glassy again and not a hint of wind could be felt. Once I got home, at midnight, I stood on the deck leaning into the air and heard the wind and spray roaring in the Channel. The steam on my tea rose straight into the air.

* * *

Of note, the skunk cabbage is coming up, several trees and shrubs are budding, most notably the alder and the salmonberries. In the garden, the osteospermum are growing and the daffodils are poking our through the leaf mould. It's a very mild winter, and there is little snow below 1000 meters. Here, 100 meters above sea level, it's as if we live 10 degrees further south on the globe.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

I ran into James Glave today. I haven't met James before, but he has been a blog reader and occaisional commenter here. He gave me a nudge to write something here, and so here I am obliging him, with a little story about how he came to actually do that.

You see, today was an election day here in Canada, and our one and only polling place was the community school. I lost my voter registration card, and so I showed up to vote with my ID instead. My friend Julie Vik was in charge of the voter's list. Other friends and neighbours were scattered around the gym staffing the ballot boxes. It felt kind of funny to haul out my ID as an afterthought to satisfy the actual official requirements for showing up at a polling place with no card.

Juile sent me over to a ballot box where James crossed my name off the list with a couple of requests for a blog post. I took my ballot over the to box, and cast a vote for my friend Silvaine Zimmerman who was running for the Greens.

All told, a great exercise in trust, community and democracy.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Happy new year! I'm back in the saddle after a couple of weeks on a much warmer Pacific Island...Maui.

Apparently I've missed a fair amount, including a record setting Pineapple Express which has been blowing for something like a month and has thawed out most of Canada, let alone the west coast. We're are on track to set a new consecutive rainy days record, clocking in at 25 or so with this morning's downpour. If all goes according to plan, we'll easily break the record by Monday.

And the stormy weather has been experienced first hand by my friend Sue Schoegl who got dangerously trapped by a Squamish AND the Pineapple Express while out kayaking a couple of weeks ago. Her account is harrowing in it's description of what the ocean and the wind can do to you, and she is no mere weekend paddler, having won the women's division in the Round Bowen race last year. It's great to see her safe and sound and blogging again.