This was written August 4 about my sailing trip with my parents July 22-Aug.5
So I’ve just ended a two week trip sailing with my parents on Dad’s 43 foot Schooner. Did I tell you that he named it after his favorite dog, Rover? The cute thing is that my brother bought a small sailboat a couple years ago and as he was trying to come up with a good name he decided to keep on the family tradition and named his little boat after his favorite dog – my favorite dog too – Gusto. How sweet is that?
Well, Friday was the big day, we had taken it rather easy ever since that last rolly day. Dad is trying to keep Mom appeased. He took us to see an amazing castle, we spent several long days in towns, and he told me of his goal to be sailing 20 days out of the month and hanging out for 10. One of those days was spent in Cornwall. It’s the sweetest Marina yet. They didn’t charge extra for showers, they had free and open wifi and they let us tie up the boat for several hours with no charge. I think the place was run by a family, everyone was so sweet and helpful, their thick Canadian accents made us think of Minnesota. It was so refreshing to have a hot shower, sit on the internet, listen to our clothes dry and best of all, we watched a big storm blow through on the water. So glad we weren’t out sailing.
There were 2 locks to go through in the morning. Dad didn’t think we had too long to Montreal. These were Canadian locks, we like the Canadian locks. A couple days ago we did American locks, the Eisenhower and the Snell on the St. Lawrence. No one tells you how they plan to have you tie up. Each boat gets one mooring to attach to which means you need lines as long as your boat to be able to double back and tie off. The first American lock we came into too fast, the wind grabbed us and we did a nice grind along the concrete wall with our anchor on the bowsprit as Dad tried to avoid the boat in front of us, Suave. At least the lock was wide enough to let us go sideways and the lock master helped us adjust to the situation, they ended up giving us lines on the other side of where we were supposed to be tying up. The next time we were in port, at Cornwall, we saw Suave. As we again tried to avoid them I apologized for the Rover always trying to ram them. They were very sweet. “No, no, we like the playing.” he said in a thick French accent, motioning zigging in and out.
Friday we were at the Canadian locks at 9:30 waiting for an 11:30 entrance. Boats began lining up, people tied to boats, rows of boats were tied together. Dad was a pro at lining up the boat along the wall, not ramming anyone. We got lines, got tied next to Liberty, another French speaking boat that interpreted for us what was going on. We were told it would be an hour wait in the locks. They even opened the locks to let in more boats. We sat for hours. I counted 21 boats. By the time we got out of the second lock it was 3:30. The lock guys told us that we were actually 25 boats going through the locks at one time. The biggest number of the year. There’s a canal between the locks and 25 boats of various sizes made their way down while several more maneuvered their way through the other way.
We still had two more locks to go through in the evening. We were going through the last one in the dark at 9:30. Still, there were several boats as well. We anchored up in the dark in the harbor of Montreal. My sailing journey was nearly complete, we just had to get to land. In the morning it was windy, the marina had a narrow entry, and we were dodging expensive motor boats once again. It turns up tying up is a stressful time. After the 4 locks, the maneuvering and now a windy Saturday, my Sabbath, I was done. I don’t reserve coping with stress on Saturdays. We tied up to fuel, moved and tied up to get out of the way to make a plan for the weekend, then we went to a different marina that had an even narrower entrance and one hairy dock to tie up to but we did that one too only to have the dock master come and tell us that we were too big for the dock and that we had to move on so we maneuvered once again through anchored boats and to the other marina, tied up and asked for a spot to stay, then moved again to a place out of the way. Each time Dad would be kicking Rover in and out of reverse and trying to turn in tight spaces while the wind blew him the wrong way. If it wasn’t a boat to avoid it was the dock. My stomach was churning and it wasn’t even noon then I got to listen to Mom fret and Dad try to plan for what if the marina wouldn’t let us stay. We were too big to get into an assigned tie up spot. We needed permission to stay at the fuel dock. Then there was how to get showers, how to get internet, how to get food for my 14 hour train trip the next day, how to get to the train station. Eventually the boss showed up to give us the final answer, we were allowed to stay. Rover was able to remain tied to the dock and we went to explore Montreal.
A cab took us to the Metro, I showed mom and dad the train lines, how to buy the ticket, I convinced them to get weekend passes, and we headed for Gare Central. I didn’t realize this but Mom and Dad had never ridden an underground subway system. I think Mom was a bit alarmed to realize that she had sent her 21 year old daughter off to Europe to figure out the train systems on her own. “How old were you?” She kept asking? I think Dad was impressed with the massive scale of it. The Montreal metro had at least 3 levels of trains. It was kind of like taking my parents to Europe and showing them a bit of my travel. Not being able to read the language, not knowing where to go, figuring out the ticket readers, following the signs, getting on the right line in the right direction. We did it all and didn’t have to back track. I got to reminisce back to being a solo backpacker, figuring things along as I went.
The goal was to see Old Montreal, Dad took care of navigating the map. It was quite beautiful and so much to see. Also a lot of people. It was the tourist mecca. We made our way back to a metro, back to the marina, stopping in the metro for booze and groceries. Once we were loaded down we found out that there were no taxis to take us the mile back to the marina. The town was busy preparing for the finale fireworks show. They have fireworks twice a week during the summer and this was the last and big one. A police officer was parked at the metro so with my map I went and asked directions back to the marina. With computers (in case we found internet) groceries, beer, and wine we trudged on home – this was after walking around Old Montreal for half the day. It was dark by the time we got back to the boat and we were welcomed with a beautiful fireworks display which we sipped wine and chocolate to. What a perfect way to end the trip, ok, it was raining and blowing a little bit.
Now I am on the train. I left at 9:30 in the morning, I’ll be in at 11:00 pm and tomorrow my flight is at 5:30 for my trip back to NC. I miss my husband but I wonder how long I could sail before I got tired of it. I have a plan already. I would keep up my FB page. I would do mini watercolors of my trip and sell them at marinas and on FB. I could make several paintings of the Rover and sell them as souvenirs or I could do commissions of other boats. I could make the money I needed to keep traveling. .. just a thought. Life is full of choices.