By 6am we are back on the water and headed for Picton. There is barely a breath of wind which is fine as I’ve pretty much given up on my sails at this point of the trip with all the bad wind luck. The ride to Picton is easy and trouble-free.
Picton is located in the Bay of Quinte region which is a long inland stretch of channels, bays, and waterways stretching from near Kingston and west to Presqu’ile Bay. After a 7 hour sail we dock at the Picton Bay Inn which is at the southern end of the long narrow harbour leading to the town. Lydia and Daryl arrive just minutes after us so once we are all tied up and plugged in, we head into to town to see what we can find.
Daryl and I settle on beers at the 555 Brewing Company while the ladies plunder the many shops, and there are a lot of shops here, which is why Ana loves this town. We take our time and enjoy a couple of crafties and await further instructions. Instructions do come in the form of a text message from Lydia to Daryl advising him to go directly to a shoe store to pick up a pair of Sperry boat shoes. Now Daryl already bought a pair of Sperry shoes back in Clayton but in a moment of moral righteousness he chose vegan shoes. I didn’t even know what that was, thinking the word vegan was reserved for overpriced and strangely textured foodstuffs. But no, I was told this footwear is made by ethically pure and enlightened forest hippies living in Bhutanian cave communes. There are two sources of materials for these shoes. The first is ethical leather. This is where local witch surgeons graft skin from the backsides of pygmy possums then stitch it together with strings of prickle grass marinated in human saliva. This is vegan because the scalped asses of the possums eventually scab over but remain furless and the creatures are said to enjoy the carefree abandon of bare bums. The other way they make the materials is with PVC (polyvinyl chloride, a synthetic plastic polymer) harvested by Dow Chemical Company from the decomposed organs of long dead dinosaurs, but they don’t count as real animals because nobody’s ever seen one in real life. The other important aspect of producing vegan footwear is to ensure there is no testing done on animals. Traditional shoe makers employ homeless orphans in third world countries in shoe testing. They have the kids put on the shoes then test the durability by kicking local street dogs. With this they can measure how long it takes to break in the shoes, but also after mauling attacks they can analyze the bite patterns in the leather and ensure sufficient material thickness. The hippies aren’t allowed to do this to animals so instead they just kick each other.
Anyway, Daryl’s vegan shoes didn’t work out. In fact, they were total garbage. They left his feet blistered and bruised and cut so he had to go back to wearing dock slippers for a while. We find the shoe store and within five minutes he is sporting a brand new leathery pair of Sperrys and man is he happy. He tap dances right out of that place, then jives down the street and bee bops right into the Naval Marine Archives where we browse the dusty books, ship replicas, maps, charts, and uniformed mannequins and he keeps right on dancing until we finish up then waltz over to the Giant Tiger and find the ladies. Lydia can see immediately how happy he is with those new shoes by the spins, hip dips, flosses, moonwalks, two-steps, body rolls, electric slides, macarenas, and robots. Ana looks at me standing here in my flip flops and asks if I’d like to get a pair of Sperrys.
We grab a few critical supplies from the shelves (black licorice for me, Jiffy Pop for Ana) and are really entertained by this kid having a DEFCON level 1 meltdown. The kid is screaming and coughing and yelling and crying, then at one point drops spread eagle and pounds his fists and feet on the floor. The parents pretend like nothing’s happening despite their child being under the possession of a very powerful demon.
I say to Lydia, “You know, if they piped that sound through fertility clinics I bet a lot of those people sitting there waiting would just get up and leave.”
“Adoption agencies too,” she says.
By now we’re all getting hungry so we return to the boats and craft an amazing meal of grilled pork tenderloins, honey pepper squash, zucchini, goat cheese salad, green beans and potatoes and dine like the rich and famous on the picnic tables beside the dock. Lydia makes Daryl take off the shoes so he’s not trying to dance through dinner but promises to give them back to him tomorrow.
And thus ends a fine day in Picton.