The year was 2012. We had a small 18-foot power boat. It was the kind that looked as though it should be able to handle the ocean — claimed to be able to handle the ocean — but was, in reality, a lake boat. But we were stubborn, addicted to the sea and really wanting to catch some prawns.
So, after checking the land weather and deciding we weren’t worried about the storm that was warned to be rolling our way, we headed out of French Creek on our small boat, heading to Lesquiti Island to drop some prawn traps, right at the north end of the island.
When we left the French Creek Marina, the seas were calm and the sun was warm. We went to the north tip of Lesquiti and dropped our prawn traps. Looking around there were a few clouds in the sky, but no signs that bad weather was on the way, so we left the traps to soak and headed to one of the smaller islands beside Lesquiti to snorkel. As we laid in the sun and paddled around in the water, a dark cloud started to creep over the sky and the wind started to pick up.
“We better get going!” I yelled to Logan who was snorkelling. We still had to get back to our traps and pull 350 feet of line up by hand.
As we got back to our traps, the seas were starting to build, and because we were right at the tip of the island, we were getting hit by swell from two different directions. This made pulling the traps back into the boat extremely difficult as the boat rocked in every different direction.
By the time we had pulled up all of the line, we were both exhausted and starting to feel a little sea sick, but still had 10 nautical miles left to travel before we were back to French Creek.
So we headed out across the Salish Sea, broadside to the waves. The swell was so large in comparison to our boat that we couldn’t see over the crests as we sunk down into each trough. Logan did his best to keep us on a trajectory that meant we wouldn’t be hit on the beam and capsized, but it was not an easy battle to win, especially as our windshield was pelted with sea water and we had no way of cleaning it off to see again.
For an hour we pounded through wind and waves, Logan on the helm and me in the seat beside him, just hoping we would stay in the boat and praying for the ordeal to be over quickly. I don’t think I have ever been as happy to see a harbour as I was that day and we are a lot more careful now about heeding weather warnings.
But do you know what the worst part was about the entire day? We didn’t even catch any prawns!
This adventure was before our YouTube days, but if you would like to see how we have improved our boat choices since then, you can see us at Wayward Life Sailing.