No man is an island, Entire of itself, Every man is a piece of the continent, A part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less. As well as if a promontory were. As well as if a manor of thy friend’s Or of thine own were: Any man’s death diminishes me, Because I am involved in mankind, And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.
While I agree that ‘no man is an island’ but part of a greater whole, poet John Donne could not have know when he wrote these words in 1624 that the Thousand Islands area could capture many a man (and woman) in it’s warm and tender embrace.
When an island has everything you need – beautiful clear water, rocky pink shores with deep woods, wild blueberries that grace your pancakes in the morning, and bonfires around which you develop new friendships – it is hard to say goodbye. But that was the Benjamins, and although goodbyes don’t come easy, they are a reality in the cruising world.
Nearby, at Hotham Island, we had been tipped off by a fellow North Channel cruiser that if we played our cards right, we could be invited ashore for happy hour. As it turned out, the invite came easily, as Elaine came kayaking around the anchorage with a friendly welcome and an invite. The rules were easy enough. Bring something to drink, bring a small food item to pass, and take home your own garbage. Sounded good to us!
We have been in Lake Huron since our previous posting of 12 July 2017 and it has been almost 100% wonderful! We couldn’t ask for more than that – we always expect weather or water conditions that are less than fun or perfect; however, if most our time is comfortable then we are over the moon! To follow our progress, visit this site and follow our boat, ‘Thalia’: https://farkwar.com/boats/thalia
It has been a little while since our last blog update, but we just wanted to let folks know everything is fine and things are going well. We are simply in a more remote area that has not allowed us the ability to post much content. We are presently in the North Channel area, Canada’s treasure chest of beautiful islands in the extreme north of Lake Huron. We plan to be back in US waters, in Mackinaw City, Michigan in one week, and we’ll post a new blog update with lots of bandwidth-demanding video by that time, if not sooner. We hope all is well with you and that summer in your area is splendid!
In the meantime, here’s one picture as an example of the beauty we have been experiencing in this area. It is Flowerpot Island, off of Tobermory, Ontario. The soil erodes in such a way that it creates these standalone pinnacles, or what they call flowerpots.
I love that you can’t help but learn something new whenever you travel or try different things. I long ago learned about the [boat cruising] route called ‘The Down East Circle Route’ which is the one we are taking two summers to complete (we’re adding in extra exploration of the Great Lakes). I recently learned that there also is the ‘Great Loop’ and the ‘Triangle Loop’ that are popular with boaters and also involve one or more of the Great Lakes. Who knew?
This August 2017, it will be 10 years since we returned from the 14-month sailing adventure we took with our two young sons. Our oldest son will graduate from college this spring and our younger will enter – time passes too quickly! My husband said a final good-bye to his remaining parent last year and these life events have us evaluating the finite time we each spend on this earth. Certainly, Tom and I are still young by several measures but the exploration we long to do requires a physical strength and vitality that will not always be as readily available to us as it is today. So, we’re headed back to sea, at least part-time … for now!
After a welcome send off from our Halifax area friends last week, we made our way back down the Nova Scotia coast, first stopping in Lunenberg. It is much easier to arrive in a port when you already know your way around… and when you have the charts of the area! On the way into the harbor, we crossed paths with the Bluenose II.
This week was a little more mellow then past weeks. We spent most of our time in the Halifax area, taking in two more days of the Busker’s Festival. I think the kids would have been fine if we had stayed for the whole 10 days, seeing the same acts being repeated time and again! We moved down the harbor front away from the immediate hustle and bustle that marked the Maritime Museum wharf to a wonderful area called Bishop’s Landing. Within a short walk was a very substantial grocery store, but even better than that was a Saturday morning farmer’s market at an old brewery building. This market was like none other that we have been to, and we’ve seen a lot of farmer’s markets! It meandered through old passageways inside the basement and two upper floors of the old brewery — it was truly a labyrinth of hallways and oddly shaped rooms. Near the end of our foraging, the path opened up into a sun drenched courtyard, pictured below — looking like something out of an old European village, complete with an string quartet playing Pachelbel’s Canon!
We have had a busy week and have covered some ground … or well, water! After we enjoyed a few more days of the Classic Boat Festival in Mahone Bay Harbor (where we saw more boats anchored, moored, rafted, sailing or just motoring around than we have seen the entire time since arriving in Yarmouth, NS two weeks prior) we took in a few more special destinations within the larger Mahone Bay region of the same name as the town and harbor! We quickly learned that the good sailing is NOT around the Yarmouth/Cape Sable Island and Southern portion of the Southeastern Coast of Nova Scotia! Mahone Bay alone is reported to have some 365 islands to sail around and explore and boasts more lovely seaside towns than we had time to visit!
Here is a picture of the boys in the town of Chester in the Northern reaches of Mahone Bay. This is a very New England town–from the architecture to the summer residents!
After a night in Chester, we had a very windy sail to Big Tancook Island, also within Mahone Bay. This is a year-round island for 115 people and it has their own elementary school! We walked around the rugged cliffs and supported the local ice cream shop before the skies darkened and the wind picked up. Here is a picture of our boat within the anchorage at Big Tancook Island.
Having filled our brains with old shipbuilding history for one more day at Shelburne, and after I paid a visit to the local tavern that had a wi-fi hotspot, and ‘suffered’ through a pint of local brew while doing emails, we cast our lines from the government wharf early the next morning at 5am to gain the favorable current out the harbor. Getting up at that hour should have made both Karen and I morning people. The kids were still asleep, the water was glassy calm, and we each enjoyed a warm beverage as we motored slowly down the harbor and into the ocean, just in time to see the orange ball of the sun peak over the horizon — it’s an experience to behold!