Friday, July 2, 2010

Island Time

Despite best efforts to get away early, we set sail Wednesday around 7:30 p.m..  Strong wind brought us to 6 knots, sailing by the jib.  When we got to Hanlon's at dusk, the wall was full, so we moored at the Island Marina.  Our heater blasting away, fleece on. Is this really June 30?  Still, the view of the Toronto skyline at night... such a pretty city.

Woke up the next morning and went for a garden stroll, surprised to see the dragon boat tents and teams set up for a day of competition.  Along the way I was thinking how much I love this Island, hoping to find a slip to stay a few more days on this long weekend.  Doubting our chances and wondering how safe it would be to anchor by the beach.

I called over to Queen City Yacht Club to see if they had space and when they said yes, we untied and motored over as quickly as quickly as we could. I forgot how great QCYC is - we didn't dock here once last year, so infatuated with Hanlon's we were.  But this is a beautiful spot.  Great view of the city, parkland behind.  Two more nights!

We spent Canada Day biking around, enjoying the lack of cars.  Thinking about how much more quiet it was last year, when the city was on strike and the ferries had stopped running.  So many more people were wandering around this year.  Looking about I was happy to share and celebrate the holiday.  There is lots of ethnic diversity on Centre Island, so many different languages and skin colours and wardrobe choices. A very fitting place to celebrate Canada Day.

That night we motored over to watch the fireworks. There must have been more than 100 boats lined up to take in the sight.  Dark was falling and the spreader lights switched on, glowing at the top of 100 masts, drawing a new constellation as the boats bobbed in the water.  We watched the shoreline as people gathered around bonfires and set off personal fireworks. In front, the dazzle of the Toronto skyline and the lights of the CN Tower.  Underneath the indigo lake reflecting the lights.  Suddenly, overhead, the sky erupting with lights and colour.  Surrounded by sparks of beauty.

Friday we ferried over to see the Tall Ships The Race To Save the Great Lakes is bringing together some majestic ships to raise awareness of the Great Lakes and water conservation.  How ironic that this morning I was listening to news that the Canadian government is decommissioning 1000 lighthouses across Canada.

These tall ships are glamourous beauties.  Burnished wood, copper fixtures warmed in the sun, ropes frayed to the texture of silk.  There was  HMS Bounty (the same ship used in the Marlon Brando film and Pirates of the Carribbean), and Europa from the Netherlands with that sexy figurehead. Pride of Baltimore, HMS Roseway, STV Unicorn and more.  All these ships offering berths and a chance to travel with the crew.  What a vacation that would be!  Maybe I would dare to climb the thirty feet up the rope ladder to drop the sails, but I wonder if I could find my footing to climb back down again?  Especially in a rolling sea.  I was surprised that so many of these vessels don't have keels.  The Bounty has a draft of 11 feet - and our little Yondering has about 5.5.  (Draft is the distance between the bottom of your boat and the bottom of the lake).  Also, it takes about 4 hours to raise the anchor on the Bounty when it is fully extended.  Everything about these ships is conscious effort and planning.

If the weather cooperates we hope to see the parade of all the Tall Ships departing on Sunday.

Meanwhile, we have Saturday to sail and hang out in the sun.  Looking forward to warmer temperatures.


Neil and Susan Brown said...

Okay Diane, I have to agree that you had the very best festivities. How I would have loved to see the tall ships! Your weekend sounded absolutely perfect. Six knots with the Jib must have been a great sail. I'm thinking you could climb the thirty feet to change a sail!! Hope you get some sun soon.... maybe you could send us some of that wind!!
Susan :)

Diane said...

It went from chilly to sweltering! Now close to 90 degrees, no air conditioning at home.... time to get back on the boat for some breeze.