Storm downs lines and boats, closes road

Pockets of power outages, Cowichan Bay Road closed, and not one but two boats sinking in the bay

Pockets of power outages, Cowichan Bay Road closed, and not one but two boats sinking in the bay: three telltale signs a storm hit the Cowichan Valley over the weekend.

While many didn’t see much more than driving rain, wind swept through some parts of the region, but nothing like elsewhere on the Island and in the Lower Mainland.

According to BC Hydro’s statistics, fewer than 450 customers were affected by the foul weather — all on Saturday, Dec. 5. That’s the same day the motor vessels Gravoleen II and Mixed Emotions sank in Cowichan Bay.

A third boat, a sailboat, also demasted at some point and was adrift in Cowichan Bay, according to Christopher Wickham of Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue Unit 34 (Mill Bay).

It ended up stuck on the beach.

Wickham’s crew was dispatched to assist the two power boats taking on water.

“It was weather related,” he confirmed.

Gusts of 20 to 25 knots, (37 to 46 kilometres per hour) and a two- to three-foot swell were recorded at Cowichan Bay on Saturday.

“It was mostly the swell,” Wickham noted. “Just the way that bay works, it shallows up there so much, if there’s any swell there at all it just builds up and if a vessel is not ready for that or is compromised in any way, it’s hard to recover.”

RCM-SRU #34’s priority is to take care of people first and that’s what the crew of four did.

A man was on board the MV Mixed Emotions, a 45-50-foot power boat, that was quickly filling with water.

“We did extract him and get him to the shore,” Wickham said. “When we got there it was an unstable situation. It was taking on water faster than pumps could manage. Our crew assessed it and realized that even adding our pumps was not going to be able to keep up with the rate of water coming in.”

The hull at that point, Wickham said, had been compromised due to the weather.

As far as the Gravoleen II went, nobody was on board but it’s owners were aware of the goings-on.

Wickham said RCM-SRU #34 assisted the owners of both vessels to make sure that they were safe and cared for some of the assets that they had, and also made sure the boats weren’t endangering anything else in the area.

He believes a friend at the marina helped the 36-foot cabin cruiser Gravoleen II’s owners get her to the boat launch. It’s believed Mixed Emotions is still submerged.

Both boats had been secured to mooring boys in the bay.

Meanwhile, drivers are having to take the long way to even get to Cowichan Bay.

Mainroad Contracting’s roads manager said Saturday’s closure marked the second time this season for Cowichan Bay Road, and it’s anybody’s guess when that road will be reopened.

“It looks wet until at least the weekend anyway,” he said. “It’s a weather-related incident and Mother Nature is the only thing that will shut it off. We’re monitoring the situation and as soon as it’s safe to open the road, we will open the road.”

Environment Canada’s website has new weather warnings frequently. Visit http://weather.gc.ca/warnings to find up to date information.

Just Posted

Jared Popma recently streamed a live concert from the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre. (Ashley Daniel Foot photo)
21-year-old jazz artist talks favourite tunes and joys of music theory

Jared Popma recently streamed a concert from the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre

Vetch cover crop beginning to flower. (Mary Lowther photo)
Mary Lowther column: Vetch and crimson clover to the rescue of soil fertility

I add dry organic fertilizer as plants use up what is in the soil.

Sarah Simpson
Sarah Simpson column: A shift in perspective can sometimes change everything

Have you even been forced to wake up at 5:30 on a Saturday

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

North Cowichan’s committee of the whole have rejected staff’s recommendation to limit the use of fireworks to Halloween. (File photo)
North Cowichan rejects limiting fireworks to Halloween

Municipality decides staff recommendation would be unpopular

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Most Read