During the worst of the storm, Christian Duguay wasn’t sure if he’d survive the night.
In his 25 years as a lobster and crab fisherman, he’s never experienced a storm like the one that hit the Acadian Peninsula on Thursday night.
Duguay was fishing off Lamèque Island with three of his crew when the wind picked up. They saw tornadoes on the water, he said.
The first one “got the boat,” he said. “She lifted everything in the boat, all the things and the cover on my big box there, just go right away with the tornado.”
He said the boat stopped dead in the water, and then the water came up around them. At one point, the waves were one and a half metres high. He’s still not sure how the boat didn’t sink.
“In that moment, I was thinking I will just die there,” he said. “I was not thinking I would see my family. I am just lucky I am still here.”
The severe thunderstorm brought down power poles in the northeast and knocked out power to thousands. The damage was serious enough to attract Environment Canada investigators to the region the next day.
Duguay and his crew were making their way to shore near Sainte-Marie-Saint-Raphael when they saw the light of another boat flashing nearby.
Five fishermen from Richibucto were stranded on the water after their boat’s transmission blew, said Duguay.
His crew tied a rope around the other boat to pull it to shore but it broke. They grabbed another rope and “that time we get to shore,” Duguay said.
“If I was not there I don’t know if they were sinking or if someone would have fallen into the water,” he said. “I just tried to help them.”
He said he will never forget the storm and never wants to experience one like it again.
But on Saturday, he said, he’ll be back on his boat fishing “and hope for the best.”