The end of September was rapidly approaching, the nights growing cooler. We were close to Toronto, and getting closer with each jump. Soon we would be there.
We said goodbye to Waupoos at about five that afternoon. The forecast was for winds out of the north and north-west, good sailing winds for heading toward Cobourg. This time the forecast was pretty accurate, and most of the time we had the winds that were forecast.
We worked out way out of Prince Edward Bay south through the islands leading out to Lake Ontario. Among them the wind was fluky, affected by the land. Shortly after dark Richard had to do some precise steering between shoals. Then we were happily clear of hazards and out on the open lake, where he could set the windvane and let it do the steering. Which made it easy for us to stand watches through the night, one awake while the other slept.
We sailed that way most of the way to the harbour in Cobourg. We only motor-sailed the last mile when, after dying for a short time, the wind came up on the nose and the water grew choppy. We could still have tacked our way to the mouth of the harbour, of course, but Richard was tired and hungry and ready to arrive, looking forward to eating breakfast at anchor. We took the sail down outside the harbour and motored in, avoiding the silted, shallow area on the west side we had been warned about.
We motored past a green, hard chine sailboat, already anchored; we didn’t see anyone on her while we were there. We dropped our own anchor further in, and Richard put the dinghy together and went in to the office to register and pay the anchoring fee. $12.00 plus tax, and it gave us access to showers and washrooms and laundry facilities. Then he borrowed one of their bicycles for a quick trip to the grocery store to get those supplies we’d been needing. And the cupboard was not quite so bare as before.
As soon as he came back he started the generator, charged the batteries first, then ran the heater. Ah, the comfort. And then, necessities taken care of, we looked around. There were people filming on the harbour wall – we could see rental trucks, people with cameras and light diffusers and mikes, hear calls of “Rolling!”. Two young people briefly sailed a Cl16 from the public dock, a couple came past in kayaks. Other sailboats went out from and came in to the docks on the other side of the wall. A busy place.
It was the end of the season and leaving times were flexible, so we spent part of the next day walking around Cobourg, taking pictures of things that caught our fancy and exploring. We walked through parks and along the beach, past the campground full of RVs. We found the International Rotary Park, dedicated to Dr. Robert and Ann Scott in celebration of their work toward the world wide eradication of polio. Its brightly-coloured banners look and move like butterfly wings. We passed the statue of a man, coat on, hat in hand – and a rolled piece of paper tucked neatly between hand and hat. We found the Cobourg art gallery, and many stores with punny names. Walking back we spotted a local bakery and bought some very tasty bread.
Richard called ahead to arrange a berth for us at Bluffers Park Marina. We were going to travel through the night, something we often do when the distance to be travelled is just a little too far to be sure we can reach it comfortably in a day. With a berth arranged we could arrive early without worrying about whether we could contact staff. Then we pulled the anchor up a little before 5:00 pm and set off for Toronto. Finally on the last leg of our journey.
Our last sunset of this journey was a blaze of glory over the lake, magenta and gold and deep, deep reds that the camera could not capture. A beautiful sight to mark our last evening. Night fell softly.
There was not much wind. We motor-sailed, maintaining about three knots most of the way, Richard trying, as usual, to use as little battery as possible. He had put the generator away before we left, but as the wind died he pulled it out again, and kept it out until we were close to the marina. Out on the lake we stood night watches again; Richard was kind and allowed me some extra sleep, though officially we were supposed to be doing two hours on, two off. When I woke from my last off-watch we were getting close to our goal.
We doused sails not far out, and Richard got ropes and fenders ready. There was a crew dredging in the entrance, but also lots of space to get past. We followed the directions we had been given, found the dock we’d been assigned, tied up and tidied up. Then it was time to go to the office to check in, to phone and text family to let them know we’d arrived. Richard took care of one, I of the others.
Then, as always, it was time to explore. We were back in Toronto, but at a marina that was new to us. We knew there was a hill to be climbed to get to anywhere. Richard set out to check it out. Path partway, no sidewalks but some space to the sides, steep enough to be a bit of work to climb. We were going to get fit. The buses we would be taking were at the top.
At the top he turned right. The first useful place he found was Canadian Tire, a store which, as our Canadian readers know, sells much more than tires. Then, a bit further away, a plaza with a bakery and a fruit and vegetable store – plus a needed pharmacy. A little further, and there was a branch of our bank. Over the next few days we found other stores we needed within walking distance, between half-an-hour and forty minutes away if we walked briskly.
The staff at the marina was helpful, people at nearby docks friendly and happy to share information. Not only had we arrived, we had arrived in a good place. Now it was time to take a deep breath and settle in for the next adventure – or maybe I should say begin the adventure of settling in.
Because life is always full of adventures, travelling or standing still.
Written by Margaret Mair
Photographs by Richard Mair and Margaret Mair