Waiting out a storm in Gorge Harbour
August 29, 2015
We are in Gorge Harbor, pinned up against the dock by winds of 30 knots, regularly gusting to 40. The highest the wind gauge has seen is 49.6 knots, this morning.
We came here to connect Mark and Fern with today’s Kenmore Air floatplane flight back to Seattle. Tomorrow Ian is scheduled to arrive on the same flight, inbound. Today’s flight has not happened, and it seems possible that tomorrow’s may be cancelled as well. All the boats on the dock are attempting to email or Facebook or whatever on the puny Wi-Fi connection, and no one is getting through. Maybe in the middle of the night? Mark and Fern are trying to get email in and out, with only slight success. Kenmore Air has not been so helpful, filling up their Sunday and Monday planes with other people. Mark and Fern now have a reservation out on Tuesday, which may wreak havoc with their work schedules.
Lots of interesting goings on are occasioned by the high winds. This morning we watched as a big log was bearing down the open “aisle” between us and the next boats over. Fortunately the wind was coming directly from behind, so the log stayed square to the aisle, and Craig and one of the dock guys have now corralled it against a dock. I would think that log might be worth a significant amount as lumber.
Most of the boats here are power boats, and some of them are very questionably tied to the dock. At least one boat out in the harbor has dragged anchor, and was threatening to crash into the dock. It’s very difficult for people to get their boats to the dock in this wind. We’ve signed up for a third night here, in anticipation of further nasty weather.
We went on shore this morning to check out a promised Farmers Market. Only three vendors showed up – two artisans and a baker. I was hoping for some fresh fruit and vegetables. But I bought most kinds of things the baker had on offer: A loaf of unsliced whole wheat bread, some yummy-looking currant scones, and some oatmeal/dark chocolate cookies. We’re not going to starve.
Craig observes that in the lulls between rain showers, all the old white-haired/white-bearded geezers are standing around on the dock talking to each other. He, of course, is one of them. If something exciting seems to be about to happen, all the geezers come running. This morning, when the boat dragging anchor was threatening to crash into the dock (or into a boat tied on the dock), all the geezers came running, ready to assist with fending off, taking a line, or whatever. Yesterday afternoon when Craig decided to turn our boat around on the dock (so it would nose into the prevailing wind), about a dozen people perceived an emergency and came over and starting yelling directions to anyone who would listen. Craig, of course, had his plan, which in the end was successful, but the yelled contrary directions were a definite hindrance.
Several of the boats have lovely dogs, who are mostly worried that their owner(s) might be or are away from the boat. Even a few feet away seems to be a cause for concern. There is a Nordic Tug across the dock from us who has a beautiful yellow lab who always seems quite worried.
Last night we went up to the resort’s restaurant for dinner, and had some of their delicious offerings, while enjoying the view of the harbor and the gathering storm. Other resort offerings are mundane (showers, laundry) or impractical (swimming pool and hot tub). Although I did see a family heading up the dock in a downpour this morning, all dressed in swimming suits… The store here is quite nice, not too expensive, and politically correct. Lots of organic and/or vegetarian stuff, and various brands promising they are environmentally sensitive. We bought some granola in a package graced with a logo of a 60’s hippy guy with streaming black dreadlocks and pinwheel-crazy glasses.
I’ve just finished loading our pictures onto a DVD for Mark and Fern to take home. Looking at the pictures of those sunny days feels like a lifetime away from this bouncing around on the dock in sideways sheets of wind. We took them to Squirrel Cove, Octopus Islands and Von Donops Inlet. They assembled their folding kayak and had lots of side trips to investigate side channels, wildlife sightings, gorgeous vegetation and trees. From our Octopus Islands anchorage, we went together by dinghy to enjoy the sight of the Upper Okisollo Rapids at full flood. A line of white water crosses the entire channel, and you can see the currents flowing crazily like a river. Close by where we were sitting on a little point, the water was clear, almost tropical in appearance, and frequently reversing directions of flow. There were sea urchins, starfish and an occasional perch (?) for our viewing pleasure. A sea urchin (dead?) floated by and then suddenly sank. A perch came along to investigate the sinking urchin, pushing it along the bottom. Another perch came along, and they engaged in pursuit of each other, one ultimately going away, and the other returning to investigation of the urchin.
After the Okisollo Rapids expedition we explored an area onshore which I recollect used to be an abandoned homestead with an apple tree. That was years ago, though. If there was an apple tree, it’s dead. If there were buildings, they’ve been eaten by the thick rain forest and salal underbrush. We gave up our hopes of an apple pie.
For our evening entertainment, we’ve been playing cards or Scrabble or watching a movie. The first evening with Mark and Fern, we tried to remember all the rules to Hosenabe (“Pants Down”) a Swiss card game taught to us by our Swiss exchange student, Juerg Buschor. We were not entirely successful, and we ended up having to consult the rules as Ian had written them down on his website (we had better connectivity then than we do now…)
Almost every evening we’ve had a gorgeous sunset, thanks apparently to some smoldering remains of wildfires on Vancouver Island. The moon was approaching full, and I’ve gotten a few pictures of pink sky plus moon, and reflection of all in calm waters. There will be no moon to be seen here for the next several days. And perhaps all this rain will finally put a damper on those wildfires. We’re hearing there is violent wind up and down the west coast, at least as far as the Portland area, so we’re hoping for the best for all those fires as well.