Sunday, August 8, 2021

The Ride Home

Dave was up before everybody and walked around with his guitar until he found a perfect place to play. And the perfect place to play was this big metallic egg on the waterfront that I had hitherto not ever noticed. Dave got positioned in the egg, started playing some sweet chords, sang loudly, and attracted passersby who would pop their head into the egg, stop to listen for a moment, then continue along their way. Dave loved the experience so much that he is now playing at the egg every Wednesday evening from 7pm until midnight. Pay what you can.

Magnus and I were just starting our own walk when we ran into Dave, then Tula came running up, so the four of us took a walk and ended up at Starbucks for a coffee and muffin. It was yet again another beautiful warm day with a bit of wind that would be nice for our trip back to Whitby.

When we returned to the boat, breakfast preparations were well underway and we all enjoyed a big feed of sausages, eggs, fruit, toast, and more coffee. The original plan was for Magnus to catch a ride back to Brantford with the Germann-Hinds for his 6pm work shift, but with the great weather we decided he would join us instead. It’s never a good idea putting a five hour sail and two hour drive between you and someplace you absolute need to be at a certain time, but we decided to risk it.

Goodbyes and final words of parting were spoken, hugs were exchanged, and then we watched our friends drive away into the depths of the city to enjoy the rest of the day. We returned to SeaLight, packed up our gear, tossed off the lines, and we were on our way. It was nice to have both of the kids back with us and we enjoyed a lovely and trouble-free sail back to Whitby. One of Ana’s most passionate and long-standing boating fantasies has always been to have a boat where she could run the vacuum cleaner underway. And with SeaLight’s 1800 watt inverter, this fantasy has become a reality, so by the time we arrived back in our home slip, the boat was clean and tidy, and within minutes we had packed everything into the van and were on our way back home.

This is the second major sailing trip we’ve taken on Lake Ontario and in the two week period we sailed a total of about 418 nautical miles which averages out to about 25 nautical miles per day. One big difference with this trip was the many nights we spent anchored out instead of in a marina, which was really fun and cut the overall cost of the trip substantially. Sadly, the weather didn’t cooperate so well the first half the trip, but the second half was lovely. But because we had the Henriques on board with us throughout the rain and clouds, we still had fun the whole way through, and enjoyed the sunny breaks when we got them.

I now feel like we’ve seen a pretty good portion of the Thousand Islands and the north shore of Lake Ontario. We recently decided to move the boat to the Newport Yacht Club for next season, which is located in Stoney Creek at the west end of the lake, only a 45 minute drive from home. From this new spot we will be able to fully explore all the amazing marinas and locations from Toronto to Niagara, but also the southern shore which is completely in US waters. For now, the US border is still not open to us, but I expect (maybe “hope” is a better word) it will be open in time for next year’s sailing trip.

Until next time.

Saturday, August 7, 2021

A Death Defying Paddleboard Ride

The Germann-Hinds are very special friends of ours. Dave is an artist who specializes in creating these amazing, giant aluminum paintings as well as huge welded structures, and is also a talented musician. Kira is an elementary school teacher who is an incredible cook and gardener and a gifted maker of all sorts of things. Upon first glance it might seem we wouldn’t have much in common, as they both come across as anti-establishment, hippie types while I would guess we come across as more conservative, working stiffs that follow the generally accepted rules of life – at least to some extent. But appearances are deceiving. Ana and Dave work together on public art projects. Kira and I love talking about cooking and sharing ideas on finances and investing. Dave and I jam on guitar, bass and drums whenever we can. Ana and Kira shop together at vintage and consignment clothing stores. In fact, we first started hanging with them when Ana kept running into Kira at Value Village, both of them digging through mountains of discarded clothes, looking for deals. The discussions we have together are intense and span across dozens of topics. Some things we agree on, some things we don’t, but it is always interesting, and more often than not, our discussions happen around a campfire with craft beer and cocktails. Each of us has a very different background and history and philosophy and we’re not afraid to challenge each others’ ideas or to open our minds to new concepts. The time we spend together is always enlightening and enjoyable. And to make it better, their two daughters Tula and Esme are the same ages as Magnus and Stella and they have all attended school together since kindergarten so have been friends since the start.

Spending a day in Toronto with these kinds of friends is very easy indeed. We began with a sailing trip to give them a small taste of SeaLight on the water and under sail. Beginning westward, we motored out into the open lake then raised the sails and sailed south then back eastward,  thereby circumnavigation the entire set of Toronto Islands. The winds were light but they were sufficent to move us along and soon there were bodies scattered all over the boat, enjoying the ride. We continued northwards into the eastern harbour entrance, then back across the Inner Harbour and into our slip. It was then time to take on the city, so we split off into groups: Adults (who act like kids), and Kids (who are looking increasingly adult-like) then went our separate ways with an agreement to meet back at the boat for dinner.

The adult team initiated our wanderings threading northward between Bathurst and Spadina, stopping for coffee, shopping, and sometimes just looking around at the buildings and people. We wandered around Kensington Market for quite some time before stopping for lunch at a cool little Portuguese cafĂ© called Amadeu’s, where we were treated to not just a delicious light lunch, but a near rumble in the park, where these two honky hoodlums where shouting down a young black guy and challenging him to a scrap, while one of them was motioning to his bag, and making a pistol symbol with his hand. The profanities were shouted back in forth, with the gobsmacked diners simply sitting back and watching. It was not a good scene, but the tension was broken up magnificently when the waiter told us this was a ticketed event, and asked to see our ticket stubs. I got the feeling he was used to this.

After the action had died down without consequence, we continued our wanderings down the fine and so incredibly varied streets of Toronto. Dave and I spent some time in a record store, then a guitar shop while the ladies shopped for shoes and clothes. Dave was hot for a pastry but we just couldn’t find the right thing so we walked around until we ended up in front of the Roger’s Centre along with a thousand Blue Jays fans who were waiting to get in for a game. As non-baseball lovers, we escaped the throngs of blue shirted folk and returned to SeaLight for a couple rounds of craft beer and snacks.

The kids arrived shortly thereafter and an intense show-and-tell session ensured. Shoes, shirts, chopsticks, stuffed animals, foodstuffs - all were retrieved from shopping bags and proudly displayed or fashioned or eaten, to successive rounds of enthusistic clapping from the adults.

Depite the dozens of boats zipping around, large and confused waves, and iffy-looking water, Dave decided he need to conquer this harbour on a paddleboard. We unstrapped our paddleboard from the deck of SeaLight, launched it, then Dave hopped on and began his wobbly journey across the water. His dogged determination took him right into the middle of the harbour, narrowly avoiding collisions with seven cabin cruisers, three Sea-Doos, a giant firefighting vessel, two kite-surfers, eight sailboats, a dozen sea kayakers, fourteen high speed Pirate taxis, and finally a low flying Porter jet. But the worst was yet to come. One of the dock lads came by and asked, “Hey, is that your buddy coming on the paddleboard, who keeps falling off into the water?”

Kira said, “Yep, he’s with us.”

“Well you probably should know that there’s a major problem with the sewers here in downtown Toronto and quite often raw sewage spills into the harbour and a lot of it comes out right here.”

“Oh my god, how bad is it to be in the water?” Kira asked horrified.

“Well, I’d suggest he strips down and runs to the shower room for a scalding hot rinse off. While he’s gone you can pour some gas on the clothes he wore out there and burn them. Then burn the towel he uses to dry off.”

Dave arrived back at SeaLight, smiling widely, proud of his accomplishment, but confused by why everybody was avoiding contact with him. He was instantly whisked away to the showers by Kira while we destroyed his jean shorts and lifejacket.

As night descended we all went off our separate ways and picked up take-out for dinner, then assembled back in the cockpit for a smorgasbord of sushi, roti, veggie plates, bubble tea, and cake pops. We ate until we were full, launched into conversation, then eventually retired for the night as the clock closed in on midnight.

Thursday, August 5, 2021

The Final Weekend - Toronto

After a delightfully long and uninterrupted sleep, we awoke to a gorgeous sunny day. I grabbed the pail and brushes and gave the boat a good washdown then went for a quick dip and morning bath on the swim platform while the girls did their morning routine down below.

Once we were all ready we pushed off the wall and motored back into the inner harbour and across to Marina 4 where we had a slip reserved for two nights. Marina 4 is located right beside the Amsterdam Brewhouse, a waterfront staple in Toronto which is literally steps from the CN Tower, Rogers Centre, and a thousand other cool things on the waterfront.

Our slip was located on the outer wall floating dock, which was unfortunate as it left us exposed to chop and wake from all the boats in the busy harbour, but that was all that had been available when we had booked it weeks ago. It was still a great spot, and SeaLight handled the waves well.

The plan for the day was simple – I would go to the AGO (Art Gallery of Ontario) and the ladies would hit the shops, which is the standard play for when we visit any big cities as a family. Because Ana spends most of her time at an art gallery, this is the last thing she wants to do while traveling, which suits me perfectly as it allows me to browse at my own pace and take my time. On this day there was an Andy Warhol exhibit which I enjoyed much more than expected, then I went on to explore the rest of the regular collection currently on display. I was particularly happy to see the famous Elvis silkscreens in the Warhol exhibit, but hadn’t realized this piece was Warhol’s repudiation of the bad-boy greaser stereotype of masculinity, as he transformed the Wild West Elvis cowboy into a homoerotically charged femanized icon. Note the pink lipstick and purple trousers.

We all met back up at Dundas Square, went for a bite, then picked up a few groceries in preparation for dinner tonight and the visitors we were expecting to receive. We then returned to the boat and I was shocked to discover that the rubber eyelet on the dingy had broken loose and it was floating free and getting smashed up against the dock. I secured it down, then inspected it and found no damage beyond one missing oar which must have broken free and floated away. Shortly after this I made friends with a bunch of young dudes on the dock who were staying in a small power boat and had actually come from Whitby, and had a slip on the next pier over from us.

Shortly after 7pm our visitors alerted us of their imminent arrival so we walked out to a nearby parking lot to meet them. Dave, Kira, Tula, Esme and special guest Magnus appeared dragging bags and coolers and after a round of pleasant greetings and salutations, we hauled everything back to the boat and gave them a tour of their mini-hotel on the water. After a welcome happy hour drink, Ana got to work in the galley and these amazing quesadillas started being delivered to the cockpit.

It was dark by the time we finished dinner and clean-up and the night was fully alive as we went for a huge walk around the area. We had sailed to Toronto back in July when the heaviest Covid restrictions had just been lifted, and we spent an incredible evening here watching the city instantly spring back to life. There were people everywhere, enjoying being out in the open, drinking beer on the street, hanging out with their families, congregating in parks, being goofy, playing guitars, and the sense of pure joy and happiness was overwhelming. It was so beautiful to see. Now, just six weeks or so later, Toronto looked to be almost completely back to normal. The only real difference was that masks had to be worn indoors, but besides that it was just a regular, awesome evening in the city, and we were all very happy that we could once again be together and move around freely.

We finished up with a late evening cocktail in the cockpit, had some deep convos, then eventually found our way to our assigned bunks, and called it a night.

Balls ‘n Wieners

After a comfortable and easy overnight sail we arrived in Toronto, 21 hours after departing Kingston. Arriving in Toronto harbour was as magical as ever with the bold skyline, improbable beaches, and the exciting congestion of ferry boats in the inner harbour zipping back and forth between the waterfront and the Toronto Islands. We motored across the harbour and past the Billy Bishop airport into a public docking area in the islands known as Hanlan’s Point.

The Point is a long curving sea wall along a wide channel with good depths mostly throughout. There is a large and wide stretch of grass bordering the seawall which is dotted with picnic tables and firepits making this a very desirable place to park your boat for a day or two. After tying up you are required to walk down to the dockmaster shack, pay your dockage fees (which are very reasonable), then post the receipt on your boat somewhere visible. The wall was already packed full of boats when we arrived but we managed to find an open spot towards the furthest end.

We lathered up with sunscreen as it was already hot and sunny and set out on a walk. This particular island in the chain is known for two things. First is the Billy Bishop Airport from which a lot of small commuter jets fly from, and there is a cool underground passenger tunnel linking the mainland to the airport. Secondly, is the nude beach on the west side of the island which faces out to Lake Ontario, and is also an extremely popular anchorage for boats, especially those with powerful stereos.

We walked nearly all the way down to the airport then circled back on one of the many surfaced paths towards the beach. We weren’t ready to strip down and get naked but we did walk down a path to the beach to have a peek. To myself I was thinking Here comes Boob City! but a I was a little disappointed to spot nothing but balls and wieners. Ana explained to me that this was primarily a destination for gay men, and once she mentioned that I did notice and awful lot of manly couples walking around. If you were an energetic gay man with a nice boat you could have a lot of fun in this place.

After a quick stop at SeaLight to load up on fluids, the three of us jumped in the dingy to go for a cruise. The channels that separate the many islands are perfect for dingy exploration and we saw all sorts of animals and humans along the way. We went past a mother duck and her ducklings, all swimming in formation. Stella spotted the ducks, then looks at me and says, “Let’s catch one.”

“What? Are you serious?” I asked.

“Let’s go, they’re getting away!”

I revved up the mighty four horsepower Mercury outboard and we put the chase on the ducklings. I think they were used to people because they let us get quite close and Stella actually reached overboard to grab one but of course it was way too fast and easily scurried away. But I admired her evil inclinations and brief exposure of the sinister thoughts that clearly fester beneath that pristine veneer.

We tied up the dingy at Centre Island and got out to do some exploring. This is the island that has a small amusement park and a few restaurants and is generally teeming with people throughout the summer, as it was today. I was pleasantly surprised to see most people wearing masks, even while outdoors, which made sense with the tight congestion of people in some areas. Seem the pandemic is not quite finished yet.

I decided it was time for a swim so walked over to the beach on the south side of the island while the girls got in line for a beaver tail – a horrific Canadiana dough bomb covered in chocolate and sprinkles and sugar and peanut butter and any number of other toxic toppings. My swim was simply glorious and the water was clean and cool. There was a lifeguard on duty, but instead of sitting at the top of a beach tower, she was in an ancient looking rowboat paddling around in the cordoned off swimming area without any shade whatsoever. But I guess a summer job is a summer job.

After walking the paths for a while we got tired of all the human activity so jumped back in the dingy and went for a nice long ride throughout the islands, passing by several marinas and snooping around all the fancy sailboats. We eventually found our way back to SeaLight and collapsed in the shaded cockpit for an extend chill out session. For me, this was probably the most relaxing few hours of the trip. I drank a beer, read a novel for a very long time, and even had an accidental nap in the warm cockpit stretched out on the comfy seat cushion. I don’t typically do a lot of relaxing on these trips as I’m usually either at the helm, navigating, fixing something, breaking something, cooking, or otherwise keeping myself occupied. So this was a welcome break.

It turned out Thursday was Steak Night! I scorched up a few New York Strips on the grill while Ana put together all the sides and Stella set the cockpit table. We enjoyed a lovely, and I mean really lovely meal in the cockpit, drank some wine, enjoyed the perfect temperatures, and didn’t run out of things to talk about until it was time for bed.

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

It’s the Bananas! The Damn Bananas!

I woke up in severe pain resulting from yesterday’s mechanical maneuvers. My back was thrashed and arms and hands were covered in bruises and aching. I guess I just wasn’t cut out to be a diesel engine mechanic.

Andrew drove us back to the boat and we gave it one last go with a few new tools and ideas. I really felt like it was going to work. Along the way Stella said, “Dad, what if we get to the boat and find that the coupling just dropped off on its own overnight? Would you be happy or sad?”

“I’d be bloody overjoyed, but humiliated at the same time. That’s sort of how boating works sometimes.”

After torching it twice as long as yesterday, and applying fresh hammer force, the coupling remained firmly stuck. Andrew helped as much as he could, but it became clear it just wasn’t going to happen. He also helped us call every marine mechanic in Kingston, but they were either too busy or in the case of the marine mechanic working on site, was too freaked out by Covid to go on a boat that hadn’t sat empty for at least three days. They did all offer tips on how to get the job done though, but they were all things we’d tried already.

Andrew headed back into work and we went to the marina office to schedule the boat drop-in. The staff member handed us a bill for twice what we were quoted and we stood there in shock. Ana fought it out with the owner but she would not budge, saying that the original quote was based on them not having to undo the straps, but none of them thought to mention that at the time, otherwise we might have just put the boat back in the water. So we paid the $1400 and simply repeated the boaters favourite acronym: B.O.A.T. – Bring On Another Thousand.

As we were walking around the gravel yard, getting scorched by the sun and angry as hell, Ana the Garbage Picker spotted a discarded Napoleon bbq grill by the dumpster. After a cursory inspection revealed that the only real problem was the burner, I hoised it up on my shoulder like a prize and carried it back to the boat and stowed it in the cockpit locker.

“Man, that thing must be worth about $1400, what a great find,” I said weakly.

“Sure,” replied Ana somewhat sarcastically, but I could tell she was a a little less mad now.

I rigged up a seal clamp that we could use to stop the flow of water when the boat was not underway, which would get us through to the end of the season when we could either have another go at it, find a diesel mechanic to do it, or maybe even find a two part shaft seal that didn’t require the disassembly for installation. In retrospect, this is what I should have done, but again, lesson learned. Always exhaust all inexpensive fixes before going for the expensive, complicated one.

As part of the haul out package, I had craftily negotiated a free pump out (which were probably free anyway…) so after they dropped SeaLight back in the water we motored over the the pump out stationa and left a load of sewage for them, which felt satisfying in a sick and vengeful sort of way. We then motored out of there as fast as possible and started trying to shake off the fact that we’d just spent the two most beautiful days of the trip on the hard. The healing process was continued by tossing out a whole bag of moldy buns, one by one, leaving a trail behind us all the way out of the bay. I was relieved to find that the boat was running perfectly fine – after all the beating and pounding I had been scared that we might have bent the prop shaft, which would have been a mega disaster, but thankfully she remained straight and true.

The further out into the lake we got, the better we started to feel. We originally thought we’d sail to Coburg to spend the night and explore the town, then then once we were on the open lake, we decided to do the big run all the way to Toronto and have some extra time there to relax. There was not a breath of wind and the lake was completely flat so after several hours on the water we stopped the boat and jumped in for a glorious swim. The water temperature was up to 25 degrees C, which is Ana’s minimum for lake swims. Stella wasn’t too excited with the 400 foot water depth, thinking there was possible risk of shark or sea monster attack, but she braved up and jumped in with us.

Once we were back underway, I was at the helm when I heard a cry from below.

“Holy shit, bananas!” Ana exclaimed.

“Bananas?” I asked.

“Bananas, ” she replied.

“You found bananas on the boat? Why the hell are there bananas on the boat? How’s that possible?” I pleaded.

“Well….remember when Angela and I went grocery shopping. We bought bananas and I meant to get rid of them but forgot.”

“Well goddamn it, no wonder we had so much friggin trouble. Get rid of them!”

Stella flung those evil bananas as far as she could then washed her hands thoroughly while Ana sanitized every surface the bananas had touched. You see, bananas are banned from boats because they bring awful luck. Every time we’ve had boat disasters, there’s been a banana involved. I was overjoyed to know that this recent misfortune had nothing to do with my deficient decision making and instead was caused entirely by the goddamn bananas.

Banana-free, we motored across this great lake and into the night.

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

A Quick Fix at Collins Bay Marina

As we pulled anchor at 4am and quietly motored away from Andrew’s place, my phone buzzed with a text.

    Good luck today! It was great seeing you guys.

    I replied, thanks again man, we had so much fun!

We motored westward just off the shoreline so were able to watch the city slowly waking up. The few vehicles were outnumbered by the bikers and walkers on the waterfront path out for their morning exercise. The sun was up as we passed by Kingston’s downtown, and my phone again buzzed with a text.

    I can see you guys! The boat looks great out there!

I looked to the shoreline but couldn’t make out Andrew’s black truck. He too had an early start as he had to travel to Hamilton today, but obviously went into the hotel before heading out to the highway. That’s Andrew, always has our back.

We arrived at Collins Bay Marina far in advance of our scheduled haul out time, so we just tied up at the gas dock and waited until they were ready for us. I then motored the boat into the far channel and into the slip right beside the shoreline and the giant mobile crane. The marina owner came by, introduced himself, then gave us a rundown of the procedure, which was basically us getting the hell out of the way and letting them take care of everything.

From the gravel parking lot we watched them rig the lifting straps up, attach the line from the crane, then lift ten tons of SeaLight out of the water like she was a floatie toy. They set her down gently on boat stands, chained them up, then leaned a ladder up against the side of the boat and handed her back to us. As I was expecting this to be a fast fix they kept all the cables and straps attached so they could get her back into the water.

While I got to work on the seal, Ana and Stella walked over to the nearby marine store to pick up a new anode for the shaft, which is a magnesium fitting that bolts onto the propeller and is used to prevent corrosion on the underwater metal pieces. Since the boat was out of the water, it was an opportune time to make this repair. It would turn out to be the only worthwhile repair done.

After removing the mattress from Stella’s cabin I discovered removable panels that gave me the access I needed to the prop, seal, and transmission. If I had been a bit smarter and discovered this earlier, then Marty and I could have easily clamped the seal and a nice temporary fix would have been in place. Lesson learned.

As I got to work it became immediately apparent that I didn’t have all the tools required for the job. Fortunately the marina owner was kind enough to lend me a bag full of tools including a gear puller, giant crescent wrenches, large sockets, hammers, and a bunch of other stuff. The job was to unbolt the shaft coupling from the transmission, which I was able to do, then remove the nut holding the coupling onto the prop shaft, which I was able to do, then remove the coupling from the tapered shaft which would then allow me to slide the old shaft seal off and slide the new one back on. Sadly, the coupling would not come off. After some cursory and unsuccessful hammering I referenced Youtube and found all the tricks usually used to remove stubborn shaft couplings. Lying prone with a lamp strapped to my head, I wrenched, hammered, torqued, twisted, beat down, inspected, oiled, rehammered, and beat the shit out of both the coupling and my own body until I was covered in bruises and could barely grip the hammer any more. Yet, the stuck coupling looked back at me, glistening with my own sweat. Somewhere along the line the marina guys came back and said they had to unhook us to go and lift a different boat.

I had a peach for lunch then got back to it and worked on it for several hours more as Ana tried to help as best as she could and Stella kept herself busy watching the newly release season of Outer Banks and imagining herself as a heroic pogue. The absolute worst part of it was that it was a hot and glorious day – the best weather of the trip, and here we were high and dry in a gravel parking lot.

Andrew surprised us by arriving at the boat around 5pm, fresh back from his trip to Hamilton, and drove me to Home Depot to pick up some new tools including a propane torch. We both got back on the job and attempted to torch the fucker off. With my head in the engine compartment I flamed the coupling until a thick cloud of toxic smoke enclosed the coupling, my head, and the entire interior of the boat. I then beat it using a four pound hammer and all my might while Andrew held the prop shaft steady on the outside of the boat. But she wouldn’t budge.

As the light was fading, we threw in the towel and caught a ride with Andrew back to his place, stopping to get McDonald’s along the way. We then watched a really, really bad horror movie, but it was nothing compared to the horror this day had become.

Monday, August 2, 2021

Decapitation Line

The weather finally turned and the four of us found ourselves alone on a beautiful and sunny morning. This seemed to be the pattern this summer – weekend weather has been generally shitty and cool while back to work Mondays have been nice. But that’s coming from a working person -anytime you ask a retiree about the summer weather they always say it’s been fantastic. This is because they haven’t got a clue what day it is most of the time, and when the weather turns bad they just sleep all day or play Scrabble.

We enjoyed a leisurely breakfast with the kids, then came up with a plan to fill SeaLight’s two water tanks. We weren’t able to get her into the dock, but we were able to find several of Andrew’s garden hoses, latch them together, and create a giant 200 foot hose. Using the same rope we used to tie the stern of the boat to a shore tree back on Leek Island, we employed the same method here and were able to position the boat as close to the dock as possible, but this did leave 80 feel of tight decapitation line ready to take out the next Sea-doo’er that decided to buzz the dock throw a big wake to rock the boat. Boy, was he going to get a surprise.

This past week I had been quite occupied trying to figure out why the boat’s bilge kept filling up with water. I finally discovered that the rubber shaft seal which prevents water from entering the space where the prop shaft exits the boat was leaking like mad. Marty and I had tried to put a clamp on it to reduce the drip, but the access was extremely tight and we just couldn’t maneuver it into place. The old owner had left a number of spare parts on the boat and fortunately there was a spare seal, but in order to install it the boat would have to be hauled out of the water. Ana and I really didn’t want to do that, but we also didn’t want to spend the rest of the season with a badly leaking boat that was one bilge pump away from sinking the boat so we called Collins Bay Marina in the west end of Kingston and arranged for a lift out the following day. According to Youtube, the process of changing the seal looked fairly straightforward so I expected the job to only take a couple of hours then we would be on our way.

We dropped Magnus off at the gas station where he was picked up by my work colleague on his way back to Brantford, then the three of us I continued on into Kingston to pick up a few more supplies and go for a walk. It was mid-afternoon by the time we returned, so we went for a swim after checking the decapitation trap and finding no victims, gave the boat a bit of a wash, then went back up to the house to meet Andrew and Victoria for happy hour, followed up by a lovely meal of steak, salmon, and fresh vegetables. We hadn’t had them out to the boat in the evening yet so we all dingy’d out there for a drink and lounge session in the cockpit, under the light of a beautiful moon, floating in the calm waters of the Bateau Channel.

Sunday, August 1, 2021

Rainy Day in K-Town

The rain and gloom forecasted for today arrived right on time. After a lengthy coffee session with Andrew and Victoria we drove into downtown Kingston to meet Marty and gang for breakfast at the Four Points Sheraton where they were staying, then we went for a walk downtown and avoided the intermittent showers by ducking into shops. In a moment of complete misdirection I bought a pair of $90 boating shoes, which were marked down from an even higher price. My bar for shopping value is high as the majority of my fashions come from Value Village or consignment stores thanks to my good lady wife who is constantly on the search for deals. But this purchase used up five years worth of footwear budget so I’ll likely be wearing them all winter too.

The day passed entirely too quickly, as it always does when we are here. We all assembled back at Andrew’s in the afternoon and visited, goofed around, drank beer, told stories, and smoked a big prime rib and a few racks of ribs in his smoker, which turned out magnificently. At some point during the day their neighbour Bob fired up his chopper and buzzed us in the yard. I thought it would be cool to leap up, grab onto one of the skids, and go flying through the air like an action movie hero. I’d then climb heroically into the cockpit, punch Bob in the face, throw him out into the lake far below, then pilot the bird back to Andrews and land it on the dock, to my cheering and adoring family who would shower me with confetti and gummy worms as I raised my arms in victory then took them all for helicopter rides. But all that seemed like it might be bad for my back so instead I just took a photo and waved to Bob.

Towards the end of the night, Andrew decided to demonstrate one of his home automation features. Every time we visit there is a new piece of technology in his house: auto-tinting glass on the front door, automated blinds throughout the house, voice controlled temperature and stereo, high resolution and motion activitated security cameras. One feels very much like Captain Jean-Luc Picard on the bridge of the Enterprise, without the tight-fitting bodysuit.

After dinner, most of us were at  the dining room table and Magnus was at the sink running the tap to rinse off some dishes. Andrew grabbed his phone and said, “Watch this.” As Magnus turned off the tap and began to walk away, Andrew pressed the screen and the tap came back on. Magnus heard the water running, looked a bit confused, then went back and turned off the tap. As he walked away Andrew turned it on again, totally confusing the boy. This ruse held up for at least four rounds until Magnus finally noticed us laughing wildly, flipped us the bird, and seeked safety from further embarrassment by joining his cousins playing Mario Cart on the giant screen in the lower level.

“You have internet enabled taps? Why the hell would you need internet enabled taps?” Marty asked.

“The money I spent on those just paid for itself right now!” Andrew replied, with Marty nodding in agreement.

We said goodbye to Marty and Jen and the boys at the end of the night as they had to head home early the next day, which was holiday Monday of the August long weekend, which really sucked as the weather forecast was finally looking decent. We said goodbye and I really hoped we’d be able to get together again soon.

With that, we too packed it in for the night and had a beautiful dingy ride back to the boat. The wind had died, the clouds had disappeared, the moon was bright and beaming, and the moonlight shone down upon SeaLight, guiding our path.