Just back from a fun little rainy trip to our club’s out station at the end of Indian Arm to celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving  & Halloween.

Some kind of spooky Thanksgiving bug.
Some kind of spooky Thanksgiving bug.


Environment Canada had been putting warnings out all week about a Tropical Storm coming that was the tale end of a Hurricane that hit Hawaii a few days ago. Round here, we call weather fronts from Hawaii a “Pineapple Express” because the weather fronts provide us with noticeably warm rain…. You know you live in a wet place when they have vocabulary to differentiate warm rain from other kinds of rain.

Friday night saw us heading up the Indian Arm. J. Had done all the driving till Deep Cove so I offered to give him a break at around dusk. He took the young man down to do the bedtime & stories routine and that’s how I ended up by myself as the night fell.

I’ve done lots of night sailing, as long as I can stay warm I’m quite happy, and with the advent of chart plotters you don’t even have to be particularly smart to arrive in the place you intended at night on a boat.

I soon discovered, this night trip was a little different.

Indian Arm is a fijord that extends about 20 kilometers north from Vancouver. It is a glaciated valley so if you reach back to your high school knowledge you will understand that the sides are high and steep. Because of that, it isn’t very populated.

This picture - taken on the trip home shows the arm in daylight.
This picture – taken on the trip home shows the arm in daylight.

It was a grey misty day before the night fell. As the dark enveloped the boat the features surrounding me disappeared into the inky darkness and without the help of a moon even the massive mountains either side of me slid away into nothingness.

My view as I navigated the arm. In the foreground you can see our navigation lights and jib.
My view as I navigated the arm. In the foreground you can see our navigation lights and jib. In the background are random lights I’m trying not to hit.

All that was left was a hand full of lights, with  which I played a fun game called “Which lights are on shore and which are boats” – I admit, I need to work on the title. Without the powers of depth perception…or even much in the way of any perception, it seemed at times that the lights formed a solid wall across the arm. The only way to move them was to play chicken, drive on and eventually the path would open up.

The path down the arm isn’t a straight one, as I navigated the turns in the dark on occasion mountain faces would rear up to one side or another. I had no sense of how close I was to those faces.

Mist would drift in and out, changing the world as only it can…I was looking forwards to story time being over and regaining a companion on deck as I figured a spooky sail shared is a spooky sail halved.

Finally, he came up. Suddenly, the water was full of white dots. The white dots took off as we came upon them and the air was filled with the sound of whistling as the wind passed through dozens of wings. The spooky birds weren’t too impressed that we had disturbed their comfy roost.

Our out station – a century old Germanic Inn can be a pretty spooky place too on a dark evening. It was shrouded in fog so we couldn’t see it till we were on top of it so we had no time to appreciate the full spooky factor of the place on the way in.

The next morning the place seemed far less spooky. Especially with the kids tearing round the place reuniting them selves with the place. As the storm blew up we took to sheltering in the inn or on the boats. At it’s height the docks were twisting and buckling with the waves washing over them. I ventured down to put another bowline on the boat and after, decided it was definitely weather that could be appreciated best with a cup of tea so enjoyed it from the vantage of our cockpit while it blew through.

Waiting out the storm from the boat.
Waiting out the storm from the boat.

The kids carved their pumpkins and as tradition dictates placed them up the stairs to the entrance of the inn. Their goulish and ghastly smiles definitely put the spooky factor of the inn up another notch. Remarkably, the “best pumpkin competition” had the same number of winning categories as there were children. A. Won in the ‘biggest eyebrows’ category. He was so proud, as I put him to sleep that night he was muttering “If they liked my eyebrows THIS year….they should wait and see what I’ve got planned for NEXT year!”

A’s. pumpkin with the impressive eyebrows.

The next morning we woke up to ….maggots. Somehow, either in the dead of night or because of the storm, the boats had been given a coating of maggots. Some had it worse than others. The boat we were rafted too had a cockpit full of them, we had just a few (I kept wondering were we were going to find more). If you have any theories on where or why they came let me know in the comments below…but frankly they just added to the spookiness of the weekend.

Sunday was a beautiful day, Monday was a rainy trip home. The arm was less spooky and more the arm I love with it’s low clouds misting over high mountains and waterfalls returning after the dry summer.

Mist settling around the abandoned power plant...I believe they shot some X-files episodes there.
Mist settling around the abandoned power plant…I believe they shot some X-files episodes there.

The season has changed, time to get the boat set up for winter, prep the boat slippers and look forwards to some winter sailing.

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