The Final Chapter
02 October 2014 | QCYC
The Sun Sets for the Last Time
In retrospect, now that the adventure was over, as I reflected…
One of the most common questions now that we were back was “What was our favourite place?”
It was funny, but we had a hard time answering. Ken never really did respond, but if you know me, you understand why…he’s far too pensive, pausing to ponder. I, on the other hand plow right in with my response, (lol) Little Farmer’s Cay. It is a small community with little commerce to offer visitors but we had many memorable experiences there. While it is where we ended up on the rocks at night because the mooring ball we were on in a storm parted with its anchor, we also had lots of fun there and met many of the wonderful Bahamians who reside there. Ali, one generous local lent us a generator when our alternator crapped out just when we were expecting company. He didn’t even know our last name and told us to keep it as long as we needed it and refused to take anything from Ken. That kind of trusting, generous nature is not something you often experience at home. Also, Little Farmer’s Cay events like the 5F Bahamian Sloop race, the local school fundraiser and simple pastimes like learning how to make roti from the Guyanese school teachers, beachcombing, snorkeling or just hanging at anchor in the harbour were equally enjoyable.
My least favourite experience would definitely be the return trip up the ditch. First of all, we had ‘the been there; done that’ factor making it far less enjoyable than the trip down because the novelty had worn off.
The weather was not our friend. In fact, it was the kiss of death for our journey. I understood that Toronto had lousy weather this summer too but once we left Florida, not only was the weather oppressively hot and humid but riddled with almost daily occurring afternoon thunderstorms. We sweat as we motored through mile after mile of mind numbing sawgrass flanked waterway only to watch as afternoon clouds gathered, distant rumbles commenced and the inevitable lightning would begin to pierce the sky, often too close for comfort. My stomach would churn and my nerves fray until the storms passed for the day, only to resume the next afternoon. Once in the Chesapeake, gale force winds joined the party. Thankfully, we were able to shelter ourselves in marinas for the harshest storms. I was extremely thankful for a calm passage from the Chesapeake to Atlantic Highlands and the locks.
Were we happy to be back? Have you seen our granddaughters??? All joking aside, it was wonderful to be back amongst family and friends. While cruising, we met some very interesting people and made fast friends out of common experiences and the need for conversation and companionship beyond one’s scintillating spouse. It was no replacement for family and the dear friends that were at home.
Would we do it again? Definitely! We had some amazing times and were able to share some of it with family and friends making it even better! Would we take our boat…not likely, at least until we have had a few years for the memories of the trip back to fade and the memories of the enjoyable bits to pervade our recollections. What we are most likely to do is charter (as we did previously in the BVI) and cut out all the miserable transit time and maximize all the delightful time spent at our chosen destination. There are so many places to see and cruise, so why limit ourselves?
I can’t wait until our next adventure!
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”…Mark Twain
The Last Leg: Overnight on Lake Ontario
02 October 2014 | QCYC
Blowing the Conch
The boat was rigged, the guys showered, the final systems checked and we were casting off by 3:00pm on our heading for a waypoint off the Eastern Gap, Toronto.
Once under way, hungry from their labouring in the sun was the primary concern of the guys so a quick feed of pasta to tide them over until dinner was my first order of business.
Next, I would take my one and only watch so that they could rest themselves for the long night ahead. ETA was about twenty hours from departure. The lake was calm, the winds mild and the sails set as I scanned the lake, my only companions, a few lone gulls and the occasional vessel too far away to be of any concern. As the sun sunk on a perfect day, the wind began to diminish and the water was glassy smooth. My duty done (lol), I could concentrate on the dinner, a hearty chicken stew prepared earlier as the guys toiled above decks.
We dined as the sun began to set and the business of night sailing began. The only obstacle in our course was a forecast front that might or might not be an issue depending upon how it tracked and when it passed…you know, the usual. I slept on and off (waking to anticipate whether the increasing wind was a sign we were about to be lambasted) as the guys took watches throughout the night. Finally, at about 4:00am, the diesel smell in the cabin drove me above decks for the remainder of the crossing.
We were fortunate. The front passed had passed far from our route and we enjoyed an unobstructed crossing at a good pace, putting us right on track for a late morning arrival as projected. The sun rose on another beautiful day. Toronto loomed on the horizon for hours as we made our way toward the eastern gap.
It felt as if we had been out on a day sail around the island as we finally rounded the Leslie St. spit and headed into the gap and Toronto Harbour. It seemed like yesterday not an eternity ago the last time we entered the lagoon and motored up to our dock to fix our lines at Queen City Yacht Club.
Ken blew the conch horn as we made our way to the dock. Sadly, the few souls around had no idea of the significance of his performance. We made fast the lines and I headed below to complete the preparation of a celebratory brunch for the crew. Peach and blueberry pancakes with fresh mixed berries & Ontario Maple Syrup and bacon.
No sooner had we cleaned up then friends and well-wishers began to arrive. Dwight (& later Carol) came bearing a large welcome home tin of Tim Horton’s coffee. Soon, the cockpit was full, like we had never been away. Rick & Wendy arrived straight from an appointment. Whitt came and brought the CD of all the photos he had taken when he cruised on Tapas with us in the Exumas. Ken Rodmell came by and the list goes on and on. A mimosa toast made our homecoming official.
In true Queen City style, we were made to feel welcomed by all who we encountered. Most people had not seen Allure and assumed we were only back for hurricane season again but my refrain of “We’re back on the dock. We won the race down and back!” clarified our status. We were truly home.
Soon, family dinners and the demands of dirt dwelling quickly consumed us.