Hurricane Bill came calling at our door yesterday: he knocked, but thankfully he didn’t put the boot in! HB had the good grace to spare us his full force and skirted a little way offshore.
It was a lively day out on Tancook Island. There are only two ferry runs from the island on a Sunday, so I could have skipped out on the 0900 ferry, just as the storm was reaching the island (my two companions took this option fearing that the later ferry wouldn’t run). I decided to stick around, on the principle that anything that could blow away from this rugged location had already done so long since, and I had no vital commitments on Monday.
It turned out to be a wonderful vantage point from which to witness the storm. Throughout the morning the seas combing into Southeast cove built in size and scope as the tide came in; often it was hard to see much, as the rain was coming down in sheets. I was having a fabulous time: almost as good as going back to sea! I decided that here was an unrivaled opportunity to go out on foot and watch the seas without cluttering up the highways. Several popular surf viewing spots on the mainland such as Peggy’s Cove, Lawrencetown Beach and Cow Bay Causeway were closed to the public for safety’s sake yesterday.
There were a few islanders out in their cars watching too, and I will admit they had a better view as it was hard to keep one’s eyes open in the stinging rain (or to get a camera out). Beach Road, at the windward end of the cove, is protected by a berm and the waves were breaking over the top. The noise of the storm was tremendous: the howling of wires and the rumbling of the rocks as each crashing wave retreated to regroup. I have to get into sound recording, noises are so evocative!
After I returned to the cottage to dry out, the skies gradually brightened and the wind shifted through 180 degrees and began to beat the rain against the opposite windows, the temperature went up and as the now northwesterly wind gained in strength the massive waves continued to pound into the bay but instead of breaking towards the shore the tops of the surf were blown back in the opposite direction. I don’t think I have ever been in position to see this phenomenon before! As the afternoon wore on, the wind was still gale force but the totally grey skies gave way to scudding clouds and sunshine and coloured the sea spectacularly.
I was able to take the 1700 ferry home. Although the seas were lumpy, the ferry handled it well. Apparently there have only been two runs in the last few years that the ferry could not make: one was at the height of Hurricane Juan five years ago, the second one was due to ice (on the very day my contractors were coming out the island to change my oil tank)!
I’m not sure whether Bill was at Category 1 hurricane or downgraded to a tropical storm by this time, but he let us off easy compared to Juan!
Thanks to all of you who sent messages to let us know you were thinking of us here in Nova Scotia.