It is 7 am when we leave the dock, and it’s a crummy departure – since there is so little room in the marina it takes several rounds of back and forth to squeeze ourselves out. The morning is again windless, but the forecast says it’s likely to pick up as the day goes on, so we motor along and eventually arrive into a large open bay which is very shallow but well-marked. I am usually quite good at following charts, but today I blindly follow the large markers leading me northwest across the bay towards the large marina which, I assume is the entrance point to the Murray Canal – the last stretch of the route through Prince Edward County. As we motor into the channel entrance it looks much larger than I was expecting and I look to the bridge ahead of me and say to Ana, “This mast ain’t going to fit under there.” We approach closer, and see emblazoned on the bride in giant letters – Welcome to the Trent-Severn Waterway.
Whoops. I check the chart and realize I took a right when I should have taken a left, so I turn the boat around before we demast ourselves and really mess up the day. We cross the bay southward and notice that the wind has really picked up, but as we enter the narrow channel it is very sheltered and we have a beautiful and peaceful ride through, passing by one swing bridge that was in operation, and one that was locked in the open position as the road looked to be under major construction.
We clear the channel, pass through Presqu’ile Bay and are finally out on Lake Ontario. I was expecting rough conditions because of the strong winds, but it is better than expected with long, large rollers that the boat easily rides over with a minimal amount of crashing. I set the autopilot to Cobourg and we settle in for a long ride.
Ana and I had agreed this morning that this was going to be a “no phones” day as the kids had been spending too much time on them. To keep busy, we invent a new boat game – three way soccer, and we kick around Wilson until a champion emerges. Oh, I probably forgot to mention Wilson – he is our fifth crew member and is, in fact, a volley ball. You may remember him from the Tom Hanks movie Cast Away. Well, Wilson is with us now and joins Bella Blue on all her sailing adventures. After that we played some card games, read for a while, had naps, played some rhyming games, and then went back to kicking Wilson around when the boredom got too much for the kids to handle. These days smart phones seem to have conquered boredom, but the big problem is that boredom is often the catalyst for coming up with great ideas, so robbing kids of the feeling of boredom is really not helping them as it prevents them from using their imaginations. Hell, that applies to adults just as much - put those damn phones down and stretch your imagination muscles!
Ana hooks us up with a marina booking at Cobourg and is also getting periodic updates from Cabin Fever on their situation, which is not great. They were getting some smoke from their port engine and the local mechanic they found says he needs to order parts from Vancouver, so they are definitely not going to sail to Cobourg today, but they might try and rent a car to come and meet us for dinner.
After 48 miles we finally reach Cobourg, get docked with no problem, and of course Tony and Angela are there to meet us in their rental car, and could even see our boat about five miles away because of that hideous, golden radar reflector, which we realize actually works better as a “friend finder” as it makes our boat hard to miss. The Henriques even stopped at the liquor store and picked up some road pops just in case. We take a walk into town, hoping to find more than we did in Belleville, and I’m pleasantly surprised when I see a barber shop with an “OPEN” sign in the windows. Tony and I go in while the ladies and kids continue to check out the shops. Both chairs are available, and there are two extremely bored looking ladies there, but since Tony’s already snipped up and dashing, he takes a pass while I get in the chair.
“Too bad we didn’t bring those beers along,” Tony says.
“You have some beer? No problem, go and grab them, you can drink them here,” my ace barber announces.
Tony’s eyes light up and he says, “I’ll be right back,” and then scoots out of there like a guilty fox while I chat with the barbers and enjoy the sound and feel of the clippers. He returns in a jiffy with two cold tins of beer – a Grolsch and a Tuborg gold. My barber passes me the can for sips between snips and I’m thinking this haircut was definitely worth waiting for.
Feeling emboldened with our rebellious consumption of alcohol, Tony and I decide to carry our empty cans around and see if the cops stop us, then we can show them the empty cans and laugh our heads off. So we strut around downtown with our beers, our defiant attitudes, and our high fashion boater-wear (dirty shorts, flip flops, and moist t-shirts) just looking for trouble. We do cause a fair bit of shit – we jaywalk twice, do a Monty Python funny walk, and we even throw our recyclable beer cans right into the regular garbage, but I think the cops are intimidated by our bad-assity so they leave us alone.
The ladies and Tony take the rental car to get some provisions for the boat while the kids and I grab Wilson and have a rousing soccer match in the lovely park area in the marina. Poor Wilson gets accidentally lobbed into the lake twice, but Magnus is able to rescue him both times.
We load the provisions on Bella Blue and all sit down for a nice happy hour drink, and then walk back through the lovely waterfront into downtown for a meal at the Ale House, which is decidedly unspectacular, but at least the beer is good and drinks are cold. Ana orders a great looking Caesar that she is pleased with, and when it comes to her and alcohol, she is not easily impressed.
With that we part ways and say goodbye to the fine town of Cobourg.