Thursday, November 8, 2007

...of droughts and flooding rain

We went camping to Sorrento last weekend. The weather forecast wasn't flash, so I flagged the idea that the trip could be cancelled. Husband laughed. 'They said "showers". That could mean anything,' he said. 'It might be fantastic!'

What can I say? I was right and he was wrong. It wasn't showers, in the end, it was rain. And what rain. In a time of drought, I don't think I remember such a heavy rain fall since the last time we had fierce storms in Victoria, back about 2 or 3 years ago.

The rain that began to fall on Saturday afternoon and didn't stop for twenty four hours was more like a deluge than 'rain'. All through the night, I kept being woken by its drumming on the tent, and by the occasional strong gust of wind that made me wonder about the nearby tree we'd used to string our washing line. Would it fall and crush us as we slept? There was a lot of flapping at one stage, and husband went out to investigate. The wind had blown the awning off one of the corner poles, which fell of course, leaving half of our 'veranda' collapsed. Of course, everything we'd placed under it got soaked. We had water through food bags, towels, cloth chairs... well, everything.

I lay in my bed listening to him hammer the peg back in. A few minutes later, when he was back inside, we heard someone else hammering in their pegs. Let's just say not a lot of sleep was had by the general camping community that night. That would be fine, if it weren't for the fact that in the morning, we woke to find water had leaked into the tent!!!!! The canvas tent that was meant to be absolutely 100% waterproof. It cost enough money, so I was sure it was going to deliver on the promise.

In the morning, the inside of the tent was saturated in condensation - or so we thought. It was probably water coming in from outside. There were puddles here and there on the floor and some of the bedding was slightly wet.

We left the tent for a hearty brunch at a local eatery with the other families on the trip. The temperature had dropped to 13 degrees by now, and the warmth was more a necessity than a treat. Some of the children came in their pyjamas, and our small one had no choice but to wear thongs (all her socks and shoes got soaked in the downpour).

From there, we migrated to the Hotel Sorrento for a long lunch before dropping off all the children at the movies while we grown-ups packed up the went tent site. And yes, you guessed it, by then the weather was clearing. Still, it was lovely to get home to a warm, dry bed. We slept in till 9 the next morning. There was a lot of lost sleep to catch up on.

And some research on the tent manufacturer's web site yielded some answers: The tent needs a few 'thorough soakings' to become 'seasoned'. That done, it will be 100% waterproof.

I am sooo looking forward to the next rainy camping trip so we can put it to the test.

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