Another vacation- not “On Business”, but it did include a boat ride

 

On August 3rd, Andy picked me up from work at 2, and we were on the road again- destined for the McMorland Family Reunion in B.C.  The reunion happens every 3-4 years and gathers the McMorland clan.  The last reunion was held in 2014 on Vancouver Island- this time we were going to Whatshan Lake in the Kootenay Mountains of British Columbia.  The first night we got as far as Regina, about a 6 hour trip, and a one hour time change.  Andy’s sister Elaine and brother-in-law Dave met us there.  They were driving from Ontario.  After breakfast, we travelled to Moose Jaw and did the tunnel tours Passage to Fortune (depicting the treatment of Chinese immigrants in the early 1900’s) and Chicago connection (showing Al Capone’s bootlegging activities during prohibition).    Both tours/reenactments were very well done, we were done by about 12:30, and then it was back in the car for another 6 hours of driving.  I took pictures of the fields and elevators that we passed by.

We reached Strathmore Alberta by 7 pm.  We were meeting one of Andy’s cousin’s here, who wasn’t coming to the reunion, but wanted the McMorland cook book she had ordered.

On Sunday morning, after breakfast, we were back in car and heading west.  We went through Calgary, and then were into the Rocky Mountains.

We travelled through Banff, Yoho, Glacier and Mount Revelstoke national Parks.  There was a fair bit of traffic, cars, trucks pulling campers and motorcycles on the road, as it was a long-weekend.

Once we reached Revelstoke, we started travelling south between the Selkirk and Monashee mountain ranges.  About 50 Km out of Revelstoke, we encountered the Shelter Bay ferry, that took us across upper arrow lake.  Here’s our car cruising on  the ferry.

  Another 50 Km, and we arrived in Nakusp, where we had a reservation for the night.  In the morning I walked along the lake, learning about the history of the town, and came across these lovely gardens.

 

After lunch we were back on the road travelling about 60 Km to Fauquier.  We needed to stop at the golf course, to confirm our booking for the family golf tournament on Wednesday which Andy was organizing. 

The 8th hole runs along the road where traffic waits for the ferry- I  saw this sign posted  there….

Once we were done, we got in line for the Needles ferry to take us across the lower Arrow Lake.    Since it was Monday of a long week-end, we waited for 2 ½ hours and 5 crossings before we made it on the ferry.  The capacity was only about 30 vehicles and if trailers were being pulled, this reduced the number of vehicles per passage.

We ended up being the first car on the 5th crossing- we easily  found the gravel road off the highway and made it to Whatshan Lake by 3pm.  Families were just starting to arrive.

The 204 acres facility called Whatshan Lake retreat is operated by the Doukhobor Heritage retreat society to have the beauty of the land preserved in perpetuity and be a place where people can gather in peace and harmony.  The place has a full kitchen and dining room as well as an outdoor stage.  It has 5 cabins that sleep 10 people in bunk beds, and 3 cabins with 8 bunks, as well as a kitchenette. There were also 38 campsites with water and power and another 150 un-serviced sites.  We had opted for one of the kitchenette cabins- Chip Monk 6 that we were sharing with Elaine, Dave and their daughter Caitlin, who had flown in from Guelph.

Andy’s daughter Erin, Jason and Jack along with her brother Graham were nearby in the camping area in their tent trailer.

Once most of the family had arrived, there were about 65 people in attendance. There was happy hour, and the working teams were named and their tasks were assigned for the week. (My group had to clean up after breakfast on Tuesday and was responsible for preparing lunch on Thursday.)  Following  Monday dinner, we were asked to sign up for either the intelligent team or super hero team.  We later learned, on Tuesday, that we had signed up either for the Irish or Scottish team, and that all the activities during the week would be tabulated for a trophy to be presented on Thursday night.

After meals, there were activities that could be participated in, like crib, board games, poker etc, or people could go from site to site to visit with family members.  There was also a hockey game, baseball, bean bag toss and swimming to keep people occupied.Everyone participated or cheered on the group.  On Tuesday afternoon, my friend Colleen, came for a visit.  we had brought a couple of things that I had been storing for her in my shed, since she had moved away from Winnipeg.

We also had the fun-facts quiz, where each family member had submitted a fact, and other members had to figure out which of the 65 people present belonged to that secret fact.   Not an easy feat—an example of one fun-fact was “I had shot my mother”.  Our team wasn’t able to make all the matches. On Wednesday morning, a golf tournament was planned in Fauquier and there were 6 mixed teams with 5 family members on each.  Team left early for the ferry, as no one was sure what the traffic might be like.  Lunch was barbecued burgers right at the golf course.     That afternoon I went for a swim in the lake, as the temperature was approaching into the high 30’s.   Golf prizes were given out at dinner.  Here’s a picture of the top team.

That evening was also the family bid auction, silent auction and 50-50 draw. Each family was asked to bring something for the auction; the money raised went towards defraying costs of the reunion.  Our contribution was a family tree pillow featuring the original 11 McMorland siblings.

 Other bid auction prizes included some quilts, glass dogs that had once belonged to Jemima, a picture frame with gift cards, taste of Manitoba basket and several crocheted items.

Another project to raise money was the family cookbook which I had put together along with family trees; I ended up selling 70 copies, which had a $300 profit for the reunion

On Thursday, it was again a hot day, with lots of smoke in the air from the forest fires burning across British Columbia.  As lunch was one of my group duties we were busy part of the morning preparing for lunch.  In the afternoon, we visited with other family members around the campsite and started packing the car. Dinner was slated for 6:30, and family pictures along with a group picture were scheduled to be taken at 6:15.  Here’s the McKendrys

 

and the whole McMorland clan  in attendance.

Dinner was  BBQ  roast beef  with potatoes and Caesar salad- a wonderful meal.  It was announced by Matt that the Irish were the winners of all the competitive games.

On Friday morning after a breakfast of leftover, we started saying our goodbyes, and left at about 8:30, we wanted to make the 8:45 ferry across to Fauquier.  We retraced our incoming drive, going north the Revelstoke and then turning east towards Alberta- it was hot and smoky- the temperature in Calgary that day was over 40 C.

We made it as far as Strathmore and spent the night.  In the morning we travelled just over an hour  north to Drumheller and the badlands in order  to visit  the Royal Tyrrell  museum.

 

Here’s Andy trying to pet his new friend…

We spent almost 3 hours there touring the different displays.  Leaving  we headed  South again to connect up with the Trans-Canada Highway and then East, I saw several combines in the field harvesting, giving me an indication that I would be busy with samples once I returned to work.  We made it as far as Moose Jaw and spent the night; temperature  were well into the 40’s as well.  On Sunday morning after breakfast we continued eastward to Winnipeg, arriving home around 4:00.  Then there was the job of unpacking and laundry.  I had taken Monday off, so didn’t have to return to work until Tuesday.  A great vacation!   The next reunion is slated for 2022, and will be held in Manitoba, so less travelling for us.

The smoke from the fires in B.C. have reached us in Winnipeg, and we haven’t seen much  blue sky for almost a week.

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2018 Boating season is over

July 7-14

We left Buckhorn around 7:00, and traveled North and West. Here’s our route and distance home.  We were talking with Herb Seaton earlier in the week, and said it was almost the same distance for us to go home as it is to go to Florida.

We stopped for gas in North Bay around 10:30, and  arrived in Sudbury just before noon.  We found cousin Betty’s building and had a look around, we then went to  Tony V’s pizza place for lunch.  Here’s a picture of Betty and I in front of her building. 

Then it was back on the road,  we checked into a hotel in Sault Ste. Marie  just after 5:00.

In the morning we left at 6:30 and made our way to the International bridge. There were a few boats in the harbour waiting for the locks.

We didn’t have to wait long at the border.

We were following the Lake Superior Circle tour route under Lake Superior.

We went through Munising which is famous for the pictured  rocks.  

 

We continued on through Marquette, where the Lake was very calm.

By  2:00 we were in Superior Wisconsin,  I saw boats in this marina,

and also the SS Meteor, a whaleback ship on display.

The Captain continued to drive westward, having traveled through Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota, the traffic was busy at times.

We reached our port of Entry into Canada: Sprague at 6:47,  we had been in the USA for just a little over 12 hours. 

We arrived home at 8:30 E.S.T,  which was actually 7:30  C.S.T.    After unpacking I went to my garden, and saw that it was a jungle overgrown with weeds.    I spent a good portion of Monday, pulling the weeds and leaving the vegetables, and it now looks like this.

It seems like the bunnies enjoyed my carrots and beets, squash as there are very few of them left in the garden,  most everything else survived.

I went to work Tuesday thru Friday, and it was tough, after being away over 5 weeks.  Lots going on at work, and we got our first  17 harvest samples from Ontario on July 12th, which is the earliest we’ve ever received wheat.  So the madness at work begins!!

The weather has been very hot, with heat warnings most of the week.  I had a dental consult appointment regarding my root canal that wasn’t finished before holidays because of the crack.  The dentist is going to continue with the root canal therapy in the upcoming week. I also reviewed the 2nd proof of the cookbook that I was working on in May,  it will be printed later this month so it’s ready for the family reunion in August.  Here’s the link to the cookbook cover  V4137cover.

I brought home some of the curtain panels from On Business, and hope to sew new curtains over the next few months.  Andy will likely travel back to Buckhorn sometime  later this summer or in the  fall to talk to the technician about some new electronics, as well a surveyor will be giving the boat a once over, as we need a new survey for our boat insurance.

Our 2018 boating season has ended, and so will my blogging for now.

Last locks for 2018, back in Buckhorn

July 2- 6

There were about 15 very large Looper boats tied up in Campbellford by nightfall on July 1st, all wanting to go through lock 13 in the morning. Here is a picture of some of them on one side of the canal.

We left the dock at 7:30, hoping to be the first boat on the blue line, so that we would lock through first.  We were soon joined by several other boats, and by the time the lock opened at 9:00, there were about 9 boats waiting.  We did get through with 3 other boats, Voyager, Nellie May and Rpad after 9:30.  It seemed that the lockmaster was a little overwhelmed by all the; traffic that early in the morning.   We stayed in this grouping through locks 13,14,15,16 and 17.   I had one mishap in one of the locks and lost hold of my rope, so that the bow swung out.  Not a good thing.  Glen was able to keep hold of the stern, and with Andy’s help we were able to get a bow rope attached again.  Mishap number 2 for the day, while I was down in the galley making lunch, my boat hook went  for a swim when we hit a big wake, but I hadn’t noticed it missing until I needed it for Lock 18. We arrived at Hastings at 2:10, and because it was so hot opted to stay at Hastings Village Marina, so that we could plug in and get AC. As well a thunderstorm was in the forecast and we got thunder and rain around 5:00.   That evening we went out for supper to McGillcafey’s Pub with Glen and a couple of his friends, Rudy and Kay.  The food was good and so was the company.

We left Hastings just before 7: 00, as we had watched 2 of the larger boats leave a 6 and 6:20. We had about 40 miles to go, crossing Rice Lake  which was very calm, and then follow the Otonabee River

until the next lock.  We reached Scott Mills Lock 19, after 10:30 and then went through Lock 20.  We were out of the lift lock by 12:30;

we locked up with one small run- a-bout.  We got through Lock 22 by 1:30, and were through Lock 24 at 2:20.  Our guest on board, caught a few winks while he could, as handling the lines is more strenuous than driving the boat.  It was great having another pair on hands through the 30 locks!!

We had decided to stay a Douro for the night, as it had showers and a tiny library.  We celebrated out 8th anniversary here, and had a nice dinner and wine.

 

On Wednesday morning we left Douro at 8:50, as we only had to go about a mile to Lock 25.  We continued on through Lakefield and then arrived at Young’s Point at about 11:00.  We stopped at the Young’s Point trading company for Kawartha ice cream—I was reminded by some friends that I hadn’t included our ice cream trips lately.  We did have Kawartha several times while in Trenton, because it was  conveniently sold right at the marina.  While at Young’s point we encountered Herb Seaton, who we had previously met in Tarpon springs where he is the harbour host for AGLCA.  We had also seen him last summer on the waterways near Swift Rapids.    He joined us for ice cream .

He is repeating the loop again this year in order to acquire a platinum burgee. We informed him that there were many loop boats behind us, so he followed us out of Young’s Point,

through Burleigh Falls, Lovesick and on to Buckhorn.    We met the Kawartha Voager, just after passing through Hell’s gate.

 

We got through Buckhorn lock shortly after 3:00, but there was currently only space on the wall for one boat, so we let Herb have it and we moved on to Buckhorn Yacht harbour.  Once we were tied up near the fuel dock, Andy and Glen went back into Buckhorn with our car to see if Herb needed anything.  The three of them later returned to  our boat for supper.  When we took Herb back to the lock we stopped by the Ice cream shop and had Kawartha ice cream again.  Twice in one day– We’re in heaven!!;;

On Thursday morning, Andy went and picked Herb up at the lock, as he wanted to talk to canvas people at Buckhorn Yacht Harbour about replacing some damaged canvas. Andy and Glen then drove to Trenton, so Glen could pick up his truck.  While they were gone, I cleaned the upper helm and pulled the canvas over it as a thunderstorm was predicted later in the day.  I also de-frosted the fridge, and started packing things for storage, as well as things we want to take back to Winnipeg.  With only having the one boat, we will be able to leave more things on the trawler.  Shortly after 1:30, Andy returned.  At about 3:00 we left for Bobcaygeon, as I wanted to do a couple of loads of laundry, so I could leave the bedding and towels on the boat, rather than taking these items home.  Herb came with us to Bobcaygeon.  They dropped me off at the laundry, and then Andy showed Herb where the Kawartha dairies was located  ( and had ice cream) as well as they visited Settler’s village.  They picked me up shortly before 5 and we drove back to Buckhorn,  when we dropped Herb off at the lock, I realized I didn’t have my purse—so we drove back the 24Km to Bobcaygeon, and lucky for me it was  on the bench where I had been sitting waiting.  We came back, dropped off the laundry and then went to Herb’s boat for docktails.  We were joined by loopers from Karen Ann and Coconuts.

Today, Friday, we will spend the day, doing more packing and cleaning.  Brian and Helen stopped by this morning for a short visit.  We plan to leave Buckhorn in the morning, have lunch in Sudbury with cousin Betty and then on to Sault Ste. Marie for the night.

 

Moving back up the Trent Severn after 3 days in Trenton

June 29-July 1

On Friday we went to the Marina office in the morning and picked up our registration packages for the  AGLCA seminars. Shortly after the seminar started, to our surprise Roxanne and Wayne from Brockville walked into the room.  They had signed up for the seminars on Monday morning. Kim Russo, the director of the AGLCA chaired the seminars,

and made several presentations herself. The seminars covered the topics of Life of a lockmaster, an overview of the TSW, travelling in Georgian Bay, and finally a talk on how to sell your boat.  There were almost 100 current loopers in attendance.

That evening we went out for dinner with Roxanne and Wayne to Tomassos,

although we had only met them a week ago, it is amazing how well we get along, especially Wayne and Andy.  They are in the process of looking for a boat, and hope to loop in the next year or two.  Who knows maybe we’ll end up seeing them when we loop again in 2020. Being this close to the Trenton base, we had planes flying over the marina quite frequently.

On Saturday morning, we were awoken at 5:15, by a thunderstorm, Andy rushed out of bed when he heard the wind coming up, as we had left the chairs out on the back deck, after last night’s nightcap with Wayne and Roxanne.

On Saturday, the seminar was more geared to people planning to loop, and there were 80 people in attendance.  The topics included an over view of the entire loop, how to buy a looper boat, special information for Canadians,  a talk about Marine electronics, and 4 gold loopers talked about their individual trips and the associated costs.  Andy and I spoke about our trip just before lunch.

 

The presentation went OK, however I was having issues with the computer remote- it was advancing slides  without me touching the forward button. I spoke first, and then Andy spoke at the end about our costs, and myths.  In the afternoon Nancy and James and their children from living life, spoke about their loop.

 

We  had met them before they had started in 2016 and then again last summer.  It was great to see them again.  After the session was over, a number of people currently doing the loop, came up to the club house and Andy and another boater from  the Barrie area showed people their favourite anchorages and channels to use while exploring Georgian Bay and the North Channel.

Just before 6, Glen Cavers arrived, he is going to come up the TSW with us.  Andy will drive him back to Trenton, once we arrive in Buckhorn. That evening Glen drove us to Bellville for supper.

We left Trent Port Marina at 7:25  and arrived at lock 1 at 7:50, we had to wait until 9:00 for the first lock up.  Glen and I handled the ropes for locking and Andy drove the boat.

We were joined by a gold looper boat called coconuts.

We were out of lock 1 by 9:20, lock 4 by 10:35, Lock 10 by 3:10 and lock 12 by 4:15.  We were tied up at Campbellford municipal dock by 4:25.  Making a new record for us on the Trent by passing through 12 locks.  It was a really hot day, and lots of people were playing in the water.

Happy Canada Day Everyone!!

 

Last days in the Thousand Islands and St. Lawrence River

June 24-28

On Sunday morning, Roxanne, who I had met the previous evening, in the Tall Ships Landing building and her husband Wayne came by to see our boat.  They are hoping to do the loop in a few years.    We left Tall ships marina in Brockville  just before 11, and proceeded West on the St. Lawrence River.    We met another freighter just after we got into the Brockville cut.

There was a current, and Andy was only able to do about 11 Km  per hour at 2000 rpm, when normally we are closer to 14 -16 Km/hour.  Here’s an indication of how the markers were affected by the current.

We went by Mallory Landing, where the Parks Canada administration is located, and saw another of the Gazebo’s that dates back to the early 1900’s.

We had planned to maybe stop at Georgina, but the docks were taken, so we went on the Endymion, those docks were full as well, so we went around to the back of Endymion and  tied up to a mooring ball.

 

I followed the instructions, given to me by the captain, threading a rope through the mooring tire, while on the back swim platform and walked the rope up to the front.

No injuries to me, or skinned arms, like what had happened in Florida, the last time I tried to hook onto a mooring ball.   We were only there for about 10 minutes when the RCMP boat stopped by.  They had asked us a few questions about crossing the border and then talked about boats and the Loop.  One of the constables is planning on doing it in the next few years.

We left the next morning and slowly cruised to other Parks Canada Islands, which he hadn’t stayed at.    There was no room at room at Beau Rivage or Aubrey, but we did find a spot at Mermaid.  Here are the rocks just in front of our boat. 

We met some people from Brooklyn NY, who were on a house boat, and they shared some really good fish soup that they had made with the previous days catch.  They didn’t stay at Mermaid

as the fish were not biting there.  Later in the afternoon, this very large Yacht cruised by

and then   threw out its anchor.  It had 4 seadoos on its upper deck that they lowered with a crane.  Oh, the life of the very rich!!

The next morning at about 7:30, the Yacht moved on down the Bateau channel.On Tuesday morning, we left Mermaid at 11:30, and went down the Bateau channel past Trident Yacht club on our way to either Milton Island or Cedar island- the two park islands closest to Kingston.  Just past Trident we came across this row of animals all lined up in the channel. 

I suspect it is that people will slow down for them, so not to create a huge wake at their dock.  When we got near Milton around 1:30, we saw that there was a dock available, so we slowly moved into the Bay.  We only had about 5 feet of water, and there was a huge boulder in the middle of the bay, that we had been warned about I took some pictures of some of the flowers on the island,

and a view of Lake Ontario.

That evening we joined the other boaters at a campfire, until the mosquitoes appeared. Strong winds and rain was predicted for Wednesday, so we left Milton just after 7:00.  The water had about 2-3 foot waves

, in the open, until we reached the protection of Amherst Island, and then again in the big gap, after we reached the end of the island.    We travelled for several hours with the plans to anchor behind Ram Island, where we had been in the past.  At about noon, we encountered a huge downpour, and decided to anchor at Witlow Point.  We didn’t move at all during the night.  On Thursday morning when I went to pull up the anchor there was at least 50 lbs of weeds attached to the chain.  What a mess.  I had to pull them off by hand.  It took about 15 minutes to clean off the chain.  We left Witlow point at 7:45, just around the corner from where we had anchored was this farm. 

We passed  through Deseronto and Belleville, while Andy was driving, I did some cleaning in the boat.  We arrived at Trent Port Marina shortly after noon, it was still overcast, and seemed like it might rain, but it didn’t materialize.

I did a couple loads of laundry, and then we did some grocery shopping at the nearby Metro.  After dinner we went up to the club house for a couple drinks and watched the country singer.  We will be here until Sunday morning, for a 2 day American Great Loop Cruisers Association  looper lifestyle seminar.  There is suppose to be 100 people at the seminar on Friday and about 82 on Saturday.

More islands, repeats of island and a trip to Brockville.

June 17-23 

In doing some reading in the tour books, I have learned that the Thousand Islands Park, which is also referred to as the St. Lawrence Islands National Park starts at Kingston and go as far as Brockville,

it was our goal to see and stay at many of the Parks Canada islands as we could, or to at least cruise by them if we couldn’t fit on their docks.    The Thousand Islands are made up of 1824 islands, and to be considered an island it must have at least one living tree.  The islands were named around 1815 by Captain William Owen; since the war of 1812 was just over he wanted to commemorate the new British territory by naming the islands after the men and their ships.  He tended to group the islands together and called the western most the Admiralty, and named the islands after admirals of the war years i.e.) Forsyth, Bostwich.  South east of these are a long chain of islands which he grouped as the Lake Fleet islands and named them after ships and gunboats i.e.) Bloodletter, Niagara, Camelot.    West of Ivy Lea, lies the Navy Islands named after captains of the Lake Fleet ships i.e.) Mulcaster, Downie and Owen.  The last group of islands at the Eastern end are referred to as the Brock group, named after Sir Isaac Brock, and the men who served under him.  Other islands within the Thousand Islands reflect the names of local owners i.e.) McDonald island

As we were getting ready to leave Trident, I noticed these turtles sunning themselves on this log. 

Looked like quite the party.  I then looked down at these floating maple leaves, and saw this tiny turtle. 

We left Trident at 10:30, and stopped at one of the docks at Beau Rivage,

however being a beautiful Sunday, there were lots of power, sail and seadoos around making a lot of waves.  We stayed for a couple of hours and then thought it was time to move on.  We went back to Endymion, where there was space on the dock and tied up.  We had two other boats join us for the night.  It was a hot afternoon and I sat on the back of the swim platform with my feet in the water.  It was too cold to go swimming, and because I had seen at least two water snakes, there was no way I was going in even if it was warm.  I did have a couple of perch come and investigate my toes in the water.

On Monday morning there was suppose to be a weather front coming through with rain and strong winds-so we just stayed.  I read yet another book “the Help”—I’ve think I’m up to 10 books for the trip so far.  We could hear the wind howling, and there were white caps but we were sheltered at the dock.  Around 4:00 the rain started and it really cooled off outside.  The wind had switched during the night and there was some bumping on the dock.  Unforgettable Satellite, the   boat that was across from us on the dock, move in front of us on our side of the dock, as the waves were really bouncing them around.  The winds subsided as the morning went on and by 11:00, we decided it would soon be time to see some new islands.  We left at 11:30 and moved to Georgina Island,

which is very near the Thousand Island Bridge connecting the USA and Canada.

We arrived by 12:55.  We took a walk around the island as there were other docks on the south side,

but the current looked quite strong there and we likely would have had issues docking.   Where we were, the Gananoque and Uncle Sam Cruise ships came by ever hour or so- making waves; — thankfully they don’t run at night. In the evening, Andy tried fishing from the dock he had caught several fish, but without a net, kept losing them before he could land them on the dock.  At dusk I saw this   raccoon, by the shore digging in the stream-Andy figures he was either catching fish or clams.  The park’s signage warned of aggressive raccoons- not sure if this one was or not.    I later saw this bird- buzzard? eating a fish.   The traffic noise from the bridge didn’t disturb us at night.  In the morning before 7 a.m. the water was extremely calm, as no boats were coming down the channel yet.    I watched these 3 buzzards sitting on a tree near our boat for over an hour, it seemed like they were checking us out.    We decided to leave for another island at 11: 30, and cruised to West Grenadier, however the depth dropped off really quickly and we weren’t sure of what the depth was at the dock, so we backed out.   Instead we went back to Central Grenadier, where we had been the previous week.   There was a large boat at the end dock, where we had previously tied up, so we pulled into one of the finger docks.  The people in the large dock were only stopping for lunch, so once they left we returned to the end.    That evening, Wednesday, there were 6 boats at the dock.  They slowly left as the morning progressed, and by noon we were alone.  It was very peaceful, hot and calm.  I read another book, and Andy took the dinghy down, and paddled around the bay trying to convince the bass and perch that he could see in the water to bite his hook.  But they weren’t interested.   No one joined us on the dock for Thursday night.    Friday was very similar to Thursday; we were alone at Central Grenadier until it was dark.  We kept thinking because it was the weekend that the dock and campground would be full- but it didn’t happen.  When we got up on Saturday there was one boat that must have come in after 10 p.m.

On Saturday, I did a little bit of cleaning;   we had decided that we were going to the Tall Ships Marina in Brockville which was about 2 hours away. We left the dock shortly after 10:00, and travelled east; we were travelling on the edge of the St.Lawrence Shipping Channel and met this freighter.

Unknown to me we also were going to pass by Singer castle on the Canadian side, here’s a view from the back.    At about 11:40, it started sprinkling, and the closer we got to Brockville the harder the rain fell.  I saw the Parks Canada Island- Stovin, we had been told by some other boaters that we couldn’t go in there, because it was too shallow at the dock.   We saw lots of boats anchored or tied up at Sparrow Island,

one of the Brock group islands that are managed by the city of Brockville.   Brockville is one of the oldest incorporated cities in Canada, it was established by loyalists in 1784 as Buell’s Bay and was renamed by Sir Isaac Brock in 1812 to Brockville.  When we got to Tall ships, we stopped at the fuel dock and bought enough diesel to get us back to Buckhorn.  Once we were tied up, we changed out of our wet clothes, found our rain jackets and went in search of lunch.  The first place we stopped was Don’s fish and chips, which had been recommended by several people, however it was a take-out place and we didn’t want to have to go back to the boat to eat.  Instead we went Buds on the Bay, afterwards we wanted to explore downtown and started by walking through the railway tunnel.  The tunnel runs 0.3 miles under downtown Brockville and was built between 1854 and 1860 and connected the industrial waterfront to the outlying areas.  Here are several pictures from different parts of the tunnel.

We did some more walking around downtown, which was full of very old brick buildings. 

It was doors open Ontario, so we also visited the First Presbyterian church.   The very tall steeples on top of the church intrigued me from a distance. 

The woodwork, stained glass and painted motifs on the ceiling were amazing.  This church was built in 1848 and expanded in 1879.  It holds about 750 people.

We did a little bit of shopping on King Street and then returned to the boat.  After showers and a couple loads of laundry we went out to the Union Jack pub for a late supper.  Sunday we will begin moving westward.

The Castles and Islands Tour

June 11-16

Brian and Helen joined us for our first week in the Thousand Islands, they arrived Monday morning and we left Trident Yacht Club at 12:20 bound for the islands.

We had purchased a Parks Canada Mooring pass which we had used on the Trent Severn to stay at the locks at night; it also gives us access to 20 different sites in the Islands.  The facilities at each island vary; they usually have washrooms, and may have camp sites, oTENTik (cabins), trails, firewood, and picnic shelters.  Some of the islands have docks, whereas others just have mooring buoys (you tie up to the buoy, which is anchored and enjoy the winds and waves, and can only access the island by dinghy.  Our preference it to tie up to a dock.

We arrived at Gordon Island at 13:40, and tied up. We walked the trail through the park and saw this gazebo from the early 1900’s.

There were signs up for vegetation to avoid like Poison Ivy.    Andy did a little bit of washing of the Port side of the boat, and we relaxed and read books.  We seemed to be in line for the wake from Gananoque cruise ships and encountered some large waves, until nightfall; when the cruises stopped.   We had a peaceful night.

In the morning we left the island at 8:30, bound for Alexandria Bay and Boldt Castle which opened at 10:00.

 

  Once we arrived at the castle, our first stop was US Customs, as we had crossed into the United States, and Boldt Castle was an official port of entry.  After showing our Pass ports and answering a few questions we were allowed to go purchase tickets for the castle.

Here’s some history as taken from the castle’s web site: At the turn-of-the-century, George C. Boldt, millionaire proprietor of the world famous Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City, set out to build a full size Rhineland castle in Alexandria Bay, on picturesque Heart Island.  The grandiose structure was to be a display of his love for his wife, Louise.  But the castle was never finished as Louise, died in 1904, and the Boldt’s did not return to the island.  In 1977 the Thousand Island’s Bridge authority acquired the property and has been restoring it for future generations. To date over 32 Million dollars have been spent. 

After we purchased our tickets, we took the 5 minute boat to the Boldt Castle Yacht House on Wellesley Island, which was opened in the summer of 1996.  The Boldt family yachts and house boat would have been housed here in the slips that were 128 feet long.  The collection now consists of a number of antique wooden boats including the numbered racers that the Boldt family had used.

The Yacht House also features an 1892 Steam Yacht called the Kestrel, which was a typical; yacht that would have been seen in the waters of the St. Lawrence, Hudson Rivers and the Great Lakes.  The steam yacht Kestrel is representative of the period and vessels owned and operated by George Boldt.

After spending about an hour at the Yacht house, we returned to Heart Island for a tour of the castle and grounds.  The main floor boasts a reception room, ballroom, billiards, and kitchen, dining room for the owners as well as for the servants, butler’s pantry and library.

 

The second floor had bedroom suites

and a bathroom, and reception room.  Here’s a view from the bedroom window of our boat.

In the renovation, they have also added a theatre room and gift shop.  The 3rd and 4th floor have not been developed/renovated as yet.  Unfortunately many visitors to the castle have written graffiti across many of the walls and ceilings.  I made a few purchases in the gift shop, including a Christmas decoration, that I can add to my collection.  We walked around the grounds, to see the power house, dove cove and gardens.

We left Boldt Castle at 1:30 and went to the public docks at Alexandria Bay to tie up for the night.    

 We walked up James Street, and checked out some of the stores, found the Post office and then went for Ice cream.   We also saw this very large chess board. 

On our way back to our boat we met other Gold Loopers, Jan and Ron from Adagio. 

Later that evening we went to Coleman’s on the Docks for supper, where I had crab cakes.

On Wednesday morning it was cool and overcast, it had rained during the night, and there was a rainbow over the bay.  Jan from Adagio sent me this picture.

We went out for breakfast and then did a little more shopping in Alexandria Bay.  We left the dock at 10:50; our destination was Dark Island and the Singer castle, which located very close to the US-Canada border.  We arrived at the island

just before noon, which is when the tours begin.  Here’s the history of this castle, as taken from their website

A part of American history and local folklore meet at Singer Castle on Dark Island, located on the St. Lawrence River. Singer Castle is the only remaining/existing castle on our river to be completed, fully furnished and resided in during the heyday of the great builders and industrials in New York. Mr. Bourne wanted to surprise his wife Emma and their children with an island hunting retreat. He purchased Dark Island in 1902 and had designed and built the castle originally known as “The Towers” for a cost of US $500,000. The Castle remained in the possession of the original owners, the Bourne family, from its construction in 1905 until the mid 1960’s. Frederick Bourne was the fifth President of the Singer Sewing Machine Company, which is where the name “Singer Castle” came from. 

We had a 45 minute guided tour through the house that showed us the various rooms.  All the rooms were full furnished,

and they boast a royal suite, that can be rented for the night at $750 US, that includes dinner and breakfast.  There were also many secret passageways and we went through one from the wine cellar to the library.  The suite was occupied, so we weren’t able to see it.  We did a short tour of the grounds and then returned to our boat by 1:00.   We were in agreement that this was the better castle of the two we had seen.    It had begun to rain, and we headed to the docks at Grenadier Island –Central, to tie up for the night.  Since we had returned to Canada, the first order of business   was to check in with Canadian Customs by phone. The rain stopped and we relaxed on the docks.  There was a notice at the island,

which said we had to vacate the docks by 7:00, when Peter from Parks Canada came by; he told us that the OPP and RCMP were holding a mock disaster at the campsite, so it was off limits to the public.  Wednesday evening, there was some wind, so it was a little bouncy through the night.  At 6:30  in the morning by the washrooms, I saw this deer grazing-  it didn’t seem too disturbed by my presence.

We left the docks shortly after 7, no sign of the any police but we didn’t want to disobey the signage.  We arrived at Endymion Island at 9:35,

and had the place to ourselves for Thursday.  On Friday morning around 9;00  just when we were thinking of going to another island ,  two boats from Trident Yacht Club pulled into the island.  Zoltan told us that they had gone by the islands that we were considering, and that many of the spots were taken. He said we already were sitting at one of the coveted spots in the islands-so we decided to stay at Endymion for another night.  Andy took the dinghy and paddled to the back of  the island to see what the mooring buoys  looked like and tried a little fishing.  After lunch 2 more boats showed up so there were now 5 of us at the dock.

Parks Canada staff dropped by in the afternoon, and we filled out a survey and made some suggestions on how they could make the parks better.    Later in the afternoon we saw this old steamer boat go by.

We visited with the other boaters from Trident, and had an early night.  In the morning the captain made pancakes, and we left at about 10:20.    We took the wandering channel back and circled some of the other potential islands that we can visit in future including Camelot, McDonald, Thwartway and Mermaid.

 

We arrived back at Trident at about 12:20, and ended up tying up in Zoltan and Laura’s spot as we knew they were staying at Endymion for another night.  Brian and Helen took us to Gananoque for groceries and more red wine.  When we returned to Trident I did a couple of loads of laundry, and then worked on writing the blog for the week.  Tomorrow we will be returning to the islands, and will try some that we haven’t been to as yet.  They are predicting some rain and winds for Monday, so we want to be at an island that is sheltered.