Thursday, August 14, 2014

Quinte Bay Yacht Club

There is not much to do in Belleville itself, but the Quinte Bay Yacht Club is a very comfy port. The club itself was established in 1876. This is our first time here in our ten years of reciprocals on the lake. Docks are first come first serve, and calls to QBYC on the radio always went unanswered, so we never really ventured past the town marina, but here we are. An easy bike ride to provisions, a farmers' market Tuesdays and Thursdays, and we are well-stocked on board with other essentials, like DVDs, books, and wine.

This will be our fourth night dockside at QBYC. The weather has been a bit iffy for long days sailing on the lake. I'm trying to reframe the last few days as using Yondering as a cottage getaway to catch up on my reading and watching DVDs.

We are watching the Shackleton DVD right now, the British television production starring Kenneth Branagh. Talk about sailing in nasty weather! The expedition to the South Pole on Endurance was a century ago. In fact, they set sail August 8, 1914, so it is the official month of the 100th anniversary.

Right now the scenes from Shackleton are showing a very treacherous stretch through icebergs. I know things are only going to get worse for Shackleton and his crew as they carve their way. They still have enough provisions at this point to toast with whisky on Christmas Eve and enjoy a full holiday feast. And this adventure in the days before radar and radio. What a story! Not just man against nature, but man against man, and ultimately man against himself.

Now Endurance is stuck in the ice. Shackleton has directed his crew to grab a pic or shovel and hack a path to open the ice. It's futile. They're still not budging. Now he's getting the crew to run starboard to port in the hopes of widening the path, and experimenting with getting the men to jump up and down to use the weight of Endurance to bounce their way out. Shackleton has reached the realization they are stuck for the winter. They will not operate as a ship's crew anymore but as a base station. Shackleton's challenge has now intensified exponentially.

His journey was remarkable not only for taking place when and how it did, but for the fact that despite it all, he didn't lose a single crew member. Some original shots and footage are intermixed here in this Restore It History clip on You Tube. A hundred years ago and still inspiring. I've been to more than one management training course that examines the incredible leadership Shackleton displayed.

As always there is more than one way to look at being stuck in Belleville. I could continue to curse the fact we're stranded and wonder why we even bother setting out in the first place, with everything that could potentially go wrong, and often  does. Howling wind. No wind. Torrential rain. Broken motors. These slight inconveniences in no way compare with the scale of adventures faced by intrepid explorers now and in the past.

Browsing Facebook today someone posted the quote, "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." (A bit of trivia, this is NOT a Mark Twain quote after all, but H Jackson Brown's mother...)

I would really rather that we had cast our bow lines a few days ago, and tried our luck at Gosport or Calf Pasture for a change of scene. At least we set out in the first place. As with anything in life, when you are sailing things don't always go as planned.

And besides, when the winds are right and conditions are fair, life is very very good indeed.

Hoping for a bit of that for the coming trip home.

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