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Wayward canoe outrigger retrieved after violent Prince Rupert windstorm

The large canoe was found two days later across the bay from the Prince Rupert Rowing and Yacht Club
The Prince Rupert Outrigger Association’s large boat came loose in the early hours of Jan. 29 and was found two days later. (Courtesy of the PROA)

A large canoe outrigger belonging to the Prince Rupert Outrigger Association (PROA) was swept away by extremely high winds on the evening of Sunday Jan. 28, then found two days later across the bay.

Beth Armstrong-Bewick of the PROA was away on a ski trip when she was told the outrigger had come loose from their tightly-secured docking area due to windspeeds as high as 110 km/h at the Prince Rupert Rowing and Yacht Club in Cow Bay.

A man tending to his own boat in Cow Bay saw the outrigger travelling across the bay, and sent a picture to Armstrong-Bewick and the PROA. She said they also reached out to other organizations, and even took a power boat across the harbour on Jan. 29 to look for the canoe, though choppy waters from the still-high winds made the excursion challenging.

Another boat owner told Bewick-Armstrong that the large outrigger was tossed into the air during the storm.

“One of the fishermen that was at the dock at about 2:30 [a.m.], he said he saw it was cleated down and tied, and then he saw the wind, big gusts came up and just whipped it off the dock and it went straight up into the air. And this is like a huge boat, it’s a six-man boat,” she said.

The Western Canada Marine Response Corporation then found the canoe on Tuesday, Jan. 30, directly across from the dock in Bacon Cove.

Armstrong-Bewick said the outrigger was barely damaged after the incident, with only a few scrapes left on the boat.

“On Tuesday morning, they dragged it across the harbor and took it back to the dock… it’s amazing that it wasn’t damaged. They found it right up above the high tide line at Bacon Cove.”

She said the community response from social media was extremely heartening, with people offering help and keeping their eyes peeled for the outrigger.

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About the Author: Seth Forward, Local Journalism Initiative

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