Friday, July 6, 2018

Thousand Islands - To Camelot and Beyond

The morning sun is beating down on Bella Blue as we construct a big breakfast of eggs, fruit, toast and oatmeal. We have showers at the marina and are back out on the water by 11. We motor south to what’s known as the “Lake Fleet” of islands to scope out a potential anchoring spot for lunch. Many of the Thousand Islands have excellent names, for example, this island group includes Dumbfounder, Wyoming, Ramsden, Troughton, Bloodletter, Niagara, Netley, and Camelot. We cruise by Camelot and find an available mooring ball and then call Tony on the radio and ask Cabin Fever to come and tie up to it, being the larger boat, then we can raft to them. Well Tony eases the boat up to the mooring and Angela tries to grab the ring with the boat hook but it’s too short. So she gets down on her knees and tries again – no dice. Finally she lies prone on the deck winds her foot around a rail and reaches down with all her might. She’s stretching so far I think I hear something pop, and then success, she hooks it! There was great rejoicing and clapping of hands on Bella Blue.

It is incredibly hot today so we immediately leap into the deliciously cold water. I gear up with my snorkelling kit and go for a swim. The water is very clear with visibility of nearly 20 feet, so I swim around for a while and see some perch, one bass, and one decent sized pike. You don’t often find good snorkeling in lakes, but this is obviously a special place.
Our planned destination for today is Clayton, New York, but we like the anchorage so much we decide to leave Cabin Fever moored up and take Bella Blue across to the US side for a look. It is a pleasant seven mile sail there and along the way we call into US customs to report our arrival. Clayton is a neat little town and has a real seaside feel. The public library has one of those signs in front with individual letters you can arrange, but the OPEN letters have fallen on the ground, so I do my good deed for the day and replace them, but in a different order, so now it reads NOPE. Stella is not impressed with my act of civil disobedience.

We take a blazing hot walk through town and check out a few shops before finding the public dock with a huge swimming area and a long line of flashy Adirondack chairs. I find an abandoned water Frisbee and the kids and I throw it back and forth on the boardwalk while the others lounge on the chairs and “chillax” as Stella likes to say. Our next stop is a small bar and restaurant that overlooks the water. We order up a round of happy hour drinks for the six of us and chit chat with the locals.

The kids see a park and head over there to fry their skin on the hot slides while the adults (don’t tell Tony I called him that, he prefers “so-called adults”) return to the boat for a hot and sticky happy hour and to compare our impressions of Clayton. For a border town frequented by thousands of Canadians, it was strange that there was not American beer (cheap) and lawn pesticides (banned) more readily available. But like so many American towns, they have put a great deal of money into the infrastructure, providing free public dockage, a great waterfront place for kids to hang out, well-built seawalls, and an amazing museum of antique boats which we sadly did not have time to check out.
The kids return and we fire up the engine and start the return journey to our anchorage, taking care to avoid the congestion in the Clayton harbour, such as the lady doing yoga on her paddle board, the boy kite surfing back and forth, and the dozens of Sea Doos and boats zipping around. Stella takes the helm and navigates nearly the entire seven miles back to the anchorage. Magnus seems to be in charge of the on-board entertainment and takes the replacement toilet plunger Tony purchased and sticks it to his belly while attaching clothespins to his nipples and making a weird face. Then, AC/DC’s Thunderstruck comes up on the setlist, but the chorus is transformed to “Plungerstruck” and we all join in!

Back at the Camelot anchorage (every time I write, say or see that word I cannot help but think of Monty Python’s Holy Grail when King Arthur and his gang come across the castle and say, in turn, “Camelot!”, “Camelot!”, “Camelot!”, and then the porter says, “It’s only a model.” Monty Python – you either love it or hate it and I am firmly in the first camp.)

We prepare a delicious dinner of barbequed chicken and salads while the kids take their final swim of the day. We lounge our way through dusk and into the nighttime with a nightcap or two on the top deck of Warship. The total distance traveled today is 20 miles, making it our biggest travel day yet.

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