Friday, July 24, 2020

Eggplant Parmigiana Tastes Better Going Down Than Coming Up

I am up at 5am to check the weather and make the call to continue sailing today. I pop my head out of the hatch and see treetops bent over sideways and waves crashing into the harbour entrance, although it is bright and sunny and the humidity is much lower than yesterday. I check the weather map and there are still wind warnings on northern Lake Huron and six foot waves. We decide to hunker down and leave tonight in the hopes that the weather settles. This is an easy decision as we really enjoyed Kincardine yesterday and have more to explore.

The teenagers are still sleeping and dead to the world so Ana and I ditch them and take a lovely walk, this time south along the trail system and we pass by beaches, parks, rock gardens, fancy lakefront mansions, and a hippy van with Quebec license plates and a purple moose painted on one side, paddle boards strapped on top, and no doubt a thick cloud of marjiuana smoke inside from the “wake and bake” session.

We have been tracking the movements of our friends Angela and Tony who will be joining us on this sailing trip in their 36 foot Mainship powerboat, and are currently on their way catching up to us. Yes, we know that power boats and sailboats do not typically travel together, but it seems to be something we’ve always done. It’s probably because deep down we are powerboaters, but just too cheap to spend outrageous amounts of money on fuel. But for those of you who may not be familiar with the stereotypes, let me explain. Powerboaters are all rednecks who love nothing better than filling up a Yeti 250 cooler with 181 cans of the shittiest beer available (Coors Light, Busch, PBR, Miller Light, take yer pick) then driving their boat out to the first available place to drop anchor (which is usually just outside the marina because going any further would require them to blow all their grocery money for the next two weeks on gas). They are usually towing a Sea Doo, a dinghy with oversized engine, giant inflatable pool toys, and a small gas barge with extra fuel, usually leaking a beautiful rainbow sheen of gasoline spillage in their wake. As they leave the harbour they rev their engines up to maximum power to create the largest wake possible in the hopes of swamping any nearby sailboats, canoes, paddleboarders, or even smaller powerboats and they all point and laugh hysterically if they manage to flip somebody. But these are the real adventurous powerboats as most of them never leave the marina, either because their engines are perpetually broken, or because they wouldn’t have a clue where to go since they’ve never left the marina. Where powerboats really shine is on the dock and their dock parties are legendary. They live their lives in a Kid Rock video with buxom bikinied babes everywhere doing the twerk, loud country music blaring from their concert quality stereo system, gasoline powered blenders churning out margaritas, laser light shows, and everybody drinking to the point of unconsciousness. They subsist on hamburgers, hot dogs, and Doritos. They really are a fun bunch.

Sail boaters are a little different. Because they hate people these weirdos rarely pop their heads out of their 1970’s era junk boats that their grandpa built by himself in his garage. They usually smell, never change their clothes, and when they do socialize it’s only with other sailors and they talk about their favourite knots, try to impress each other by using fancy nautical terms like port, starboard, winch, shackle, athwartship, halyard, and never tire of reliving every exciting second of last week’s big sailboat race where the faintest of breeze was pushing them along at 1 knot. They spend all of their time doing patchy repair jobs to their boats using the cheapest materials they can find because function always trumps beauty. Where sail boaters really shine is on race night. They get dressed up in identical sailor outfits, put on fancy gloves, and scream and yell at each other as they race other crappy boats circling pointlessly around buoys. They are sure to remove any amenities from their boats like cooking facilities, toilets, beds, or soft surfaces of any type just to make sure the experience is miserable for everybody. They subsist on dry noodles, black licorice, and warm water. They really are a fun bunch. But you can see how these two groups may not get along so well.

We are surprised to find that Angela and Tony took off early this morning from Sarnia and are due to arrive just after lunch, so we have a late breakfast and hang around the boat until they arrive, cheering them in at the harbour entrance. It is very good to see the again and they are a bit tired out from the trip, so we put on a big pot of chili and serve up a nice hot lunch on the Bella Blue and catch up on our travel stories over the past few days.

The afternoon is spent going for another big walk on the beach collecting rocks and driftwood and Magnus finds a perfect stick and rock to make a formidable tomahawk - an essential tool for sail boating. While walking downtown Stella spots a mouse on the sidewalk, but strangely it only slowly walks away, so upon closer inspection we discover it is actually a gerbil. A free-range wild Kincardine gerbil in fact, and we are tempted to pick it up and bring him along as a new crew member, but then we remember Ana hates rodents so would probably just chuck him overboard once we hit the deep water.

Angela make an amazing eggplant parmigiana for dinner for all of us and we devour it aboard their lovely boat, called “HQ2”. Ten minutes before sunset the bagpiper appears atop the lighthouse and the pipes ring out their mournful tunes. Angela’s folks are from Scotland so she calls her mom on Facetime and she participates in the sundowner with us - it’s all very cool.

But with that, we decide the time has come to make the 71 mile overnight run to Tobermory. The winds have died but the lake is still choppy although the forecast calls for the waves to diminish by midnight and calm down after that. So Bella Blue pushes off at 9pm and we are underway. Once we get out into the lake we find the waves are still five to six feet and it is much rougher than we expected. I head down for a sleep at 10, and when I wake up at 12 it is pitch black outside and the boat is getting tossed around mercilessly and the crew is barely holding on. We send Stella and Magnus down to sleep and I take the helm while Ana lays down prone on the cabin floor to try and get the seasickness under control. But under control is it not, and soon the eggplant parmigiana makes a surprise encore appearance as Ana loses her stomach contents into the toilet, floor, her hair, and her clothes and suffers a full body meltdown. She is a miserable mess and says she has never ever felt so sick on a boat in her life. But being Ana, she miraculously shampoos her hair, cleans up her clothes, and brushes her teeth as the boat continues its ruthless beating at the hands of Lake Huron. While all this is happening the converted table bed Magnus is sleeping on collapses and he falls to the ground. I manage to pry it back into place, secure it properly, then just ten minutes later as Ana is laying there it again crashes down and she rolls across the floor. So instead she puts a cushion on the floor and suffers through the brutal boat ride from there.

I slow the boat down to try and reduce the smashing and it helps a bit but will prolong our journey. I keep watch and by 2 or 3 am the water finally begins to calm down and the only punishment left is simply trying to keep awake.

1 comment:

  1. Yikes, what troopers, especially dear Anna! I’m surprised Stella didn’t snatch that gerbil up!
    Holding tank pump out might be rough after the eggplant parmigiana ha!