Poulsbo Puget Sound

Blizzard!

Friday, November 26, 2010S.V. CAMBRIA

Cambria (the tallest mast on the outside dock) during the beginning minutes of the blizzard.

The season's first major snowstorm arrived on Monday.  The day began innocuously enough with some flurries but, by 4 o'clock that night, we were in a full-fledged blizzard with sustained winds at 35 knots with much stronger gusts and Poulsbo had become a ghost town.  By 5 o'clock, the docks were undulating and waves were crashing all along the outer pier making it extremely difficult and dangerous to get on and off the boat – a necessity when you have a dog aboard.

At 6:41 pm (shortly after David said, “at least we still have power” the power went out and didn't come back on for thirty-six hours.  We had everything we needed on board to be comfortable though – heat, hot water, refrigeration, etc. – and the ability to generate our own electricity.

Adding to the excitement, Cambria was rocking and rolling pulling hard against her lines and, eventually, being pushed back against the dock.  As the storm worsened, so did the movement on the boat and we had to do something to stop her transom (the back end) from bashing against the pier.   Adjusting the lines (which had stretched during the storm) by hand was out of the question because of the massive amounts of load on them, so we started the engine and put it into gear working hard against the wind and surf to create some slack so that David could tighten the lines and adjust our fenders.  It took some time and effort, but he managed the job and, once again, we went down below for, what turned out to be, a somewhat restless night.

Tuesday morning we woke up to ice – both INSIDE and out. Even with the heater running, the hatches had frozen along the aluminium rims. Although the wind had died down and the dock was no longer moving,getting Sally to shore was treacherous because of the ice which had formed along the dock...and deck of the boat.  Poulsbo was still quiet with all but one of the shops closed, but people were out in their vehicles attempting to move around again – the icy hills making progress for those without chains very difficult.  Still suffering the effects of nagging chest-colds, we spent most of our time inside keeping warm and waiting for the power to come back on, which finally happened around 3 o'clock Wednesday morning.

Up until this point, I was determined to stay on the boat this winter for Christmas avoiding the long road trips and camping out at family members' homes, but the blizzard changed that in a hurry and the packing soon began.  If all goes well, we'll be ready to leave by the first of December and be on our way to sunny, Southern California.

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