Thursday, November 19, 2015

Consistently capricious

I looked out the window. The sun was shining brightly from a blue and white sky. I walked down a hallway, and out into a grey mist, drove a few blocks, and dashed from the car to the museum door in a pouring rainstorm; my jacket left a puddle on the floor under the coat hook.

"Typical Campbell River weather," someone said. Nothing unusual about it.

All glittery. Warm sun; a "lazy"* wind.

*Lazy wind: defined by Terry Pratchett as wind that can't be bothered to blow around people, and blows right through them instead. (Wyrd Sisters)

The inconstancy goes deep; it's not only the sky, the wind and the rain; it goes right down to the waves and the currents swirling beneath. Boating articles warn against trusting your eyes and your luck in this channel. Currents can run north and south side by side, in a narrow stretch. The tide running north meets the tide flowing south halfway, sending waves straight up in the air. Tugs towing barges sometimes find the current pulling the tug north and pushing the barge south at the same time.

If you find yourself in the unfavourable situation of being in Campbell River and a southeasterly is already in progress, do not attempt to leave the harbour. (Desolation Sound Yacht Charters)

Cape Mudge, the southernmost tip of Quadra Island. Cormorants on a graffiti'd rock, scoters floating beyond them.

Even though the water is relatively calm from here, on the Campbell River beaches, you can see the rough water along the far shore, with whitecaps to the south. The area just south of Cape Mudge is shallow; it looks like an interesting site to explore in the summer, at low tide.

 " ... in 1792.  On sailing past Quadra Island, Captain Vancouver wrote in his journal “Numberless mer-maidens, enjoying the season, were playing about the ship in every direction.”  This was corroborated by Captain Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra who wrote that many of his fiery blooded Spanish sailors were so enthralled by the sight, that they willing threw themselves into the sea with the purpose of cavorting with these maidens, only to drown in the whirling waters." (From Catherine's Corner: Captain Vancouver)

Mermaids, or Harbour seals? I'd bet on the seals.

1 comment:

  1. We've brought our boat over to Campbell River several times, but our favourite spot is Heriot Bay on Quadra Island. We anchor off the marine park at Rebecca Spit. It's calm on the inside (mostly) and lined with logs from storm seas on the outside. The ferry leaves for Cortes and gives us a strong swell though. There's lots of eel grass on the west side. Usually I see what I think are pipefish floating near the boat, especially when eel grass floats by on the tide. - Margy


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