The plan, week before last, was to go to Vancouver Island and, if the back yard were somewhat dried out, pull the boat down to a nearby ramp and test-launch.
Instead, the water came to greet us, tried to drag us down to a nearby beach, and test launch the car.
Our arrival on the island coincided with a flash flood. With over 100 mm of precipitation pouring off the hills and down the valley, the Chemainus river kicked its way well beyond its banks and discovered a low point of Canada Highway 1 to immediately jay-run across the southbound lane, piling up against the cement center median dividers. In short order it blew a few of these out of the way and roared across the northbound lane forming a standing waving nearly 1 m tall, rammed into the cement blocks on the far side and flung them aside, and raced tumbling on down to the shore, taking a fair strip out of the highway shoulder on its way.
We tried to sneak along on the shallow upper edge of this boisterousness and, likely, could have made the dash south up there where the water was relatively shallow. Alas, some who started before us were not so daring and, having wetted their wheels in the current, froze in terror – and, incidentally, blocking the only shallow path forward. Unwilling or unable either to advance or retreat, these feather-hearted drivers actually made everything far more dangerous for themselves and everyone else, forcing more beefy vehicles into deep surging water to go around them.
And more petite vehicles were utterly blocked from making the attempt.
We, however, were also more nimble, and able to turn around within the space of a single lane, and retreated toward the last crossing. There we tried another route our mapping software was aware of, but alas it, too, was impassable. There was another bridge, or ford, many kilometres up a forest road, but we guessed it, too, would be closed.
So we found a hotel not too much further out of the way, rented a room, and awaited the morrow.
The next day the rain had stopped, and the water was retreating, but the highways were still closed and all sources said there were no ways to get south. We knew the wisest course would be to sit still and await the highway re-opening.
We are not wise.
Instead we decided to make an attempt at another route discovered via software. It appeared to show a route entirely avoiding the Chemainus region, looping north of the mountain to the far forest beyond Cowichan Lake and down to the valley and lake, and thence to roads beyond the places the river had flashed onto.
It took an hour to reach the end of the asphalt, to discover the lumbering companies had gated – and locked – each of the forest roads which carried on further. Each was marked as a private road, though all the land is Crown Land and so public. It did not matter; closed and locked they were, so we turned around and headed back to the highway.
And when we got there we discovered temporary repairs had been effected, the road was reopened, and we were able to get through to see the boat, as trapped in the sodden back yard as though moated and sieged.
We spent the rest of the weekend being entertained royally, if not afloat.