Fiona, We’re ready for you

A lot has happened since our last Ariose Note, but that’s for another time.

This is just a quick update. (I’m not sure if it takes the force of an impending hurricane for me to be a little less wordy or if it’s the week’s accumulated fatigue, but either way, this will be brief!) We’re getting lots of “hope you didn’t cross to Magdalen Islands” and “holy sh*t, did you know you’re about to be hit by what’s likely to be Canada’s strongest-ever storm?” kinds of messages.

Umm… yes. We did and we know. And we really appreciate everyone’s thoughts and messages of concern.

Thanks to the generosity and connections of Richard and Raymonde, fellow Alberg 30ers living here on the beautiful Iles-de-la-Madeleine who we met through an owners facebook group, we’re in as safe and prepared a state as possible for the imminent storm.

Richard delivering still-warm home-baked sourdough bread and cerise-au-terre jam to fortify us as we prepare for Fiona. (Richard & Raymonde already generously delivered us their car for use during our stay!)

Les-Iles are an italicized “i” shaped slip of gorgeous sandstone bluffs and dune beaches in the middle of the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

Iles de la Madeleine – unlabelled slip of islands in this screenshot, north of PEI.

We look forward to sharing more about this very special place, but that, too, can wait for another post. According to the most recent forecast, we are just off-centre of Hurricane Fiona’s projected eye. It is just a category 1 storm, so although serious, it could be MUCH worse. We’ll get to meet Fiona in a few hours.

Here’s a screenshot of the current state. As I type, Fiona is clearly barreling down on Nova Scotia. (Our thoughts are with you and Joan and ShBoom, George.) We’re the small green dot in the following images. I won’t bother with providing a legend as it’s kind of self-evident: red indicates the “Oh sh*t” force winds and black/grey the “Oh F*CK” force winds.

Fiona barreling down on Nova Scotia at the moment.

Fortunately, with modern meteorology, we have warning of what to expect, and fortunately, hurricanes usually don’t linger. Fiona’s visit will be mercifully brief.

We’re told to expect sustained winds of 100 km/hr, gusting to 140-160 km/hr. “Torrential” rainfalls are forecast. Who knew we’d get the pleasure of tropical rains in the Gulf of St.Lawrence? Ariose will get a much-needed fresh-water rinse. Winds are certainly a concern, but the more significant danger comes from the sea. It is the waves and storm surges that are most destructive. We’re being warned that waves will range from 11-15 metres in height, with dangerous storm surges. Fiona will hit from the north-west, and there will likely be brutal impacts on the land and people along that coastline.

But this Ariose Note is supposed to be alleviate concern, so I’ll move from those alarming facts to our reassuring situation. We are so grateful to have Ariose nestled – or should I say spider-webbed – into a exceptionally well-protected marina in Cap-aux-Meules, on the leeward side of the main island. We likely will have less severe winds than those forecast, and should not be subjected to the dangerous waves nor storm surges.

Can you spot Ariose? Sadly, the freighter that had been offering us a welcome windblock, has moved on.

The winds will first hit Isles-de-la-Madeleine’s opposite coastline, so we have several barriers to protect us: the island itself, a massive curved breakwall that serves the commercial harbour / ferry docks, and then another concrete roadway and breakwall that surrounds Club Nautique Cap-Aux-Meules. That’s a lot of reassuring defenses aligned between Ariose and Fiona’s fury.

We’ve had 2 days to prepare, and if you are interested in details, we made a 4 min, uncut, rather bumbling video giving an overview of most of what we did to reduce the risk Ariose faces.

If you’d rather not watch, here’s a couple photos of stripped-down Ariose that give you the same story.

And to reduce the risk we face? We’ve packed up essentials (food, water, communications, passports, charge devices and power banks , etc…. oh yes, and wine) and have hunkered down for the next 2 days, in a motel overlooking the harbour. This indeed, is a room with a view, to what we hope ends up being a not too exciting a show.

As for us, we’re confident that we are safe, and whatever happens to Ariose, she is after all, just a boat. Our thoughts are with the many others who are in a much more vulnerable place than we are. Until next time…

Calm before the storm as a great blue heron greets us upon arrival at Cap-Aux-Meules’ safe harbour.

11 thoughts on “Fiona, We’re ready for you”

  1. Hello Shirley and Tim

    I hope the Ariose has survived Friday night and Saturday. We are so relieved you are in a safe bed.

    Stay safe you two.

    Take care
    Keetha and Jeff

  2. Hi Shirl and Tim – I’m enjoying a nice cup of coffee and catching up on your journey. Thanks for sharing all of these posts. Beau enjoys the pictures! Take care.

  3. Heartfelt thanks from Tim and me to all for your thoughts and wishes. It means a lot. ❤️
    Not much sleep last night – Fiona did not abide by the motel’s “quiet after 11pm” rule., but we’re absolutely fine.
    Winds are remaining strong longer than had been forecast (gusting to 120-130km/hr all day). We may not be able to safely get down to the harbour to check in on Ariose until tomorrow. Still hoping for the best, but bracing ourselves for whatever we may find.

  4. Well, your weathering the storms and rough seas seems miles away from the crazy hectic life on a film set in Northern Ontario certainly is a contrast. Watching your adventures is inspiring on so many levels. As we come to the end of Season 2 on The Lake
    we wish you all the best. Stay safe and clear of stormy seas!
    We missed you this year, but there’s always hope to season 3!

  5. So glad you are hunkered down and as safe as possible. Was thinking of you guys when I started hearing about the storm. I am sure Ariose will be fine!

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