Tuesday, 18 June, 2013

Pos: 43 45.45’N x 077 48.38’W
Wx: ENE F 2-3, Overcast with light rain
Pride of Baltimore II under all plain sail and t’gallant making 3-5 knots

After ten days in the mighty St. Lawrence River, and a week in the impossibly picturesque Thousand Islands region, Pride of Baltimore II has reached the open expanse of her first Great Lake in 2013. For the past week, Pride II has been engulfed in the craggy beauty, impressive architecture, and endless array of water craft this region boasts. From a logistic stop in charming Clayton – home to the elaborate small craft collection of the Antique Boat Museum – to a busy festival in Brockville, or “Brock-Vegas,” the region’s largest city, Pride II has seen a good bit of what the Thousand Islands have to offer.

In our stay, we have felt both warmly welcomed and quite at home. Summer time in this region is firmly guided by what Ratty said to Mole in Kenneth Grahame’s beloved classic, The Wind in the Willows, “there is NOTHING — absolute nothing half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.” That’s a philosophy we at Pride II can jump into with both feet. From classic runabouts seemingly soaked in varnish, to the elegant St. Lawrence River rowing skiff, to stand-up paddle boards, the St. Lawrence teems with vessels. Pride II was thrilled to be one of the 11 Tall Ships adding deep sea flair to the stage in both Clayton and Brockville.

But “The River” is behind us now. So is half of Lake Ontario, thanks to an uncharacteristic northeast breeze we’ve been riding since last night. At 2016, we cleared the end of the St. Lawrence and were able to take a slant on the breeze that had been teasing us from dead astern through the confined afternoon of river navigation. By sunset, we’d cracked on everything but the stuns’l and were surging along at eight knots, drawn westward by a setting first quarter moon. A brace of wares had us around the shallows of Psyche Shoal and on the rhumb line for Toronto, our next port and home to Ontario’s, indeed Canada’s, largest Tall Ship Festival this year.

What a change it promises! In a few short days, Pride II will sail from the sleepy St. Lawrence to the biggest city on the Great Lakes. It’s precisely this kind of variety that draws so many of us to life as sailors. Just as each passage, even on familiar waters, holds the promise of different weather, each visit to a port, even a familiar one, is also different, a new adventure. In between, we are content aboard the snug and known comforts of Pride II, our own little village on the water, where we each depend upon
each other and all depend on the ship, no matter what weather may come or ports await.

All best,

Captain Jamie Trost and the Great Laking crew of Pride of Baltimore II