62 Newark, NY to Trenton, Ontario

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Six months of family togetherness jammed into 10 delightful busy days. Ordinary and extraordinary combined to produce a set of memories to hold us for awhile, if not for a lifetime. Some of the little things in life that build great memories are: Talking with Jeff about the difficulty of getting their new lawn to grow while he cooked burgers for everyone on his new charcoal grill; talking with Debbie about the coming baby and seeing the great baby items they are finding at garage sales; walking the trail Linda is personally blazing through the woods and meadow on their land; standing with Cindy and Mike and watching frogs stare back at us from the pond and land that will soon be theirs; having a personal tour of Cindy’s office and seeing her map of our wanderings pinned to the wall; hiking up Eagleton Glenn with our entire family group (a favorite spot from our days in New York); enjoying the antics of Maxine– Debbie and Jeff’s fast growing puppy; having a fun trip to the -improved Rochester zoo with Cindy & Mike when they took a day off work just for us; wondering if Ruth and I will ever have a Harley as I ride passenger with Mike through the Finger Lakes; watching the Christmas tree Steve has carefully dried for 6 months go up in spectacular fireball as we celebrated the summer solstice a few days early. Each line and the hundreds unwritten invoke a special memory for us.

Old friends, Rita and Jim, joined us as we headed back along the Erie Canal. We talked long into the night recalling our many trips together, how they were our first guests when we began this wandering lifestyle and how we had even once used Jim’s truck as a mooring point when we tied an earlier Tranquility to the canal wall at Oswego. We looked out over Lake Ontario and reluctantly said our good byes until our next meeting. Off in the distance waves crashed over the harbor breakwall.

Oswego holds many memories for us. For 20 years we’d sail in, tie off on the canal wall and watch sailboats exiting and entering the first lock. We’d talk with the sailors about where they’d been, or where they were heading. In the evening snug in the cockpit of our boat we’d talk about the adventures we’d talked with and dream about how someday we would be one of them. Now we are.

We walked Oswego, passing many of the places we used to visit. Our favorite restaurant, a tiny Italian bistro, named 1850’s and decorated the same was unchanged from our last visit. We enjoyed a leisurely meal, feeling like we’d stepped back in time. Then like the cruisers before us, we realized it w as time to leave old familiar haunts behind and see what was around the next bend, and over the horizon. We left at dawn.

“There’s elephants (big waves) on the horizon” Ruth commented as we entered the Oswego’s outer harbor. Spooked by our mast loss in Oneida Lake, we were not happy to see choppy conditions on Lake Ontario. We both considered turning back, but knew we needed to try and overcome our fear.

The first wave rolled Tranquility to the side. The mast held steady. During the next hours we encountered conditions almost as bad as when we were waked, however, this time the mast stayed rock steady. The improved front support and extra tie downs were doing their job. Our laptop riding in its customary position didn’t hit the floor this time so conditions weren’t quite as bad as the wake job in Oneida Lake.

A second sailboat traveling with it’s mast down had been slowly catching us. They were a few hundred yards off our beam when suddenly they did a 360 and stopped. Concerned there was a problem, we call on the VHF and learned they had lost their steering and were working on repairs. We slowed and circled as Innisfree sat dead in the water. Shortly John was on the radio indicating break couldn’t be fixed and that they were unable to rig their emergency steering. We scrounged up a long line, tossed it and took them in tow. It was 30 miles to Kingston, but with Innisfree running their engine, we made good time.

John and Nancy treated us to dinner as a thank you for the tow. As we were walking toward the local restaurant, John asked a lady pulling up to the stop sign to confirm directions. They chatted for a while and she drove off, stopped, turned around came back and insisted that we get in. She drove us into downtown Kingston indicating the restaurants there were much better than the one we were walking to. The next day, the marina indicated our stay was free because we had helped Innisfree get to them. Ah Canadian hospitality!

Innisfree stayed for repairs. They had steering problems before and were going to have the marina replace both the inside and outside steering stations with a hydraulic system. We moved to Confederation Basin in downtown Kingston. During our years on Lake Ontario, Kingston had been one of our frequent cruising destinations. It was an unplanned stop, but since we were in the neighborhood, we took advantage. Much to our mutual surprises we ran into At Ease again and again had a grand reunion as we sorted our future plans. We may have to add Jim and Celina to our list of people to sue for corrupting our simple sailboat lifestyle. While we were in Kingston they took us out on At Ease, a Choy Lee 50′ trawler and turned the helm over to us. For an hour or so we poked down the St Lawrence River enjoying the feel of a big trawler.

Kingston again worked its magic charm on us and we stayed 3 days exploring again a city we truly enjoy. It’s a great walking city, and we took advantage, getting our exercise by looking at all the lovely, old homes.

At the farmers market Saturday morning we were buying some jam and got talking with the lady. She asked if we were off a boat, and we told her about our live aboard lifestyle. She went on to say that her mum and dad were doing the same thing and described where they’d been. Ruth and I looked at each other smiling. We were sure we knew the boat! It was Jazzbrek who we’d last seen a year ago at Green Turtle Cay in the Abacos. The lady was Sue their daughter. The cruising world may be spread out, but it’s amazing how easy it is to find connections through total strangers.

Early Sunday morning we headed west toward the Bay of Quinte and the town of Trenton, Ontario. From there we start up the Trent-Severn Canal to Georgian Bay on Lake Huron.

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