We knew this would be a bad hurricane year. On average, there are maybe a dozen named storms between June and November, but this year up to 17 are predicted. We’re at eight named storms already, with Harvey tracking through the Caribbean at the moment and two as-yet-unnamed but suspicious-looking weather systems following close behind. Gert, thank goodness, missed us and has spun out to sea across the Grand Banks of Newfoundland, leaving nothing but high winds and rain behind to dampen our plans.
We’re hoping to get to Newfoundland this season, but it’s getting a little late. Normally, we’d want to be heading south by the first of September. But maybe with all the storms brewing along the coast of the southern United States, we’re better to stay in Canada a little longer.
The weather seems to be returning to normal now in the wake of Gert, so maybe tomorrow we can make our run to The Rock. We spent yesterday getting ready to spend a couple weeks exploring the remote southern coast of Newfoundland. Some of the settlements along that coast have been deserted, and of the ones that remain, many are accessible only by boat. So diesel fuel, water, and food could be in short supply. Never mind cel signal. You might not hear from us for a while.
We hauled jerry cans of diesel fuel and jugs of water to the boat, topping up our tanks. We made a trip to the bakery (fresh bread! scones! oatcakes!) and the grocery store, picked up a couple of spare parts from the marina.
Then I spent some time putting together the abandon ship kit. We have a life raft lashed to the deck, which will deploy itself if it hits the water. It’s filled with emergency supplies—flares, a first-aid kit, a bailing cup, a flashlight, a rain water collector (whatever that is), a fishing kit. But we keep a carefully packed bag ready to take with us if we have to abandon ship, with such niceties as juice boxes and granola bars (I could survive a long time on these before I ate raw fish). A blanket. Some ginger candies to ward off seasickness. Toilet paper.
May I never see the inside of this bag, I say to myself each time I pack it. And may we never see the inside of the life raft.
Am I looking forward to making to the crossing? Not really. We could get pretty beaten up out there. And I’m not looking forward to dodging big ships in the dark—we’ll have to sail overnight, right across the entrance to the St. Lawrence River. But I’m sure once we’re out there I’ll be fine.
Now all we need is for the seas to subside a little in the Cabot Strait. There’s been a 10-foot swell out there in the wake of Gert—a little too lively for two people who have spent the summer sailing in the sheltered waters of the Bras d’Or Lakes. We’re anchored in the far north of the lakes right now, in a place called Otter Harbour, not far from where the lakes squeeze through a narrow passage and out into the ocean.
Who knows. If this rain ever lets up, we might even get to see some otters.