For an eager and experienced 14-year-old, passing the boater competency exam is just the first step in a lifetime of learning on the water. One of the toughest tests I have ever written wasn’t even at school. It was the pleasure craft competency exam. In contrast to the 30 minutes of studying I usually do for one of my grade eight exams, I spent weeks preparing for my boating exam. Every night during the weeks leading up to the exam, I would review a chapter in the study guide. I even took the guide to school with me to read when I had the chance.
Whether you see it as fairy dust in the water or stars in the head, ocean bioluminescence is a fascinating phenomenon. I had my most recent exposure to the remarkable phenomenon called bioluminescence during our beautiful West Coast weather last autumn. It was a crisp, clear night and we were on a mooring buoy at Newcastle Island Marine Park in Nanaimo, when my husband spoke to my love of the night sky and offered to take me for a dinghy ride to see the stars.
Is it the journey that counts – or the destination? My wife Sandy and I are avid sailors, although for many years we didn’t actually own a boat. To get our sailing fix, we simply chartered yachts in a variety of destinations. Typically, we would follow routes suggested by the charter company, always returning to the home marina within a week or two. And often, especially on our last day, our course would be directly into the wind, requiring us to beat, motor or both.
Easy to collect and prepare, fresh, wild oysters are one of the pleasures of cruising the BC coast. One of my favourite things about cruising BC’s south coast is the local seafood. And nothing beats a few oysters! It was late August and we opted for a dock day at Lagoon Cove Marina on East Cracroft Island because it was overcast and drizzling. We were getting to know new cruising friends at the dock, swapping stories and experiences, when I casually asked if anyone would eat a few oysters if I barbecued them. There was a combination of enthusiasm and skepticism – because oysters are not native to the Broughton Archipelago.
Fifty years ago, my parents bought a cottage on Gambier Island in BC’s Howe Sound. Facing the snowy Lions to the east and the undeveloped north side of Bowen Island, the tiny cabin – replete with mice, horsehair-stuffed furnishings and antique oil lamps – was accessible only by boat. My parents bought a 17’ clinker boat made by Elia Boat Works in Vancouver, and powered it with a Johnson outboard from Woodward’s Marine. They were set.
Even the simplest galley can produce great food, like these cinnamon buns… A well-fed crew is a happy crew, we say aboard Eleuthera Soleil, our 24ʹ twin-keel British Snapdragon. Robert and I both love to cook. Our galley is utterly simple: a Dickinson diesel stove with an oven, and a stainless steel Lagoustina pressure cooker. We cook as often as possible out in our canvas-enclosed cockpit, on our two-burner Origo alcohol stove, to minimize condensation.
Our first summer cruise aboard Free Spirit V changed our lives and introduced us to places and challenges we could never have imagined. Rob and I were complete novices when we bought our first boat, Free Spirit V, a 1991 Kadey Krogen 42 foot full-displacement trawler, in December 2010. Still, we wanted to follow friends north for a 10-week cruise the following summer. Bringing our knowledge and skills up to standard would mean a lot of winter cruising. Between December and the end of May 2011, with our reluctant standard poodle, Blue, in tow, we clocked almost 100 engine hours, and many of them weren’t pretty.
Did I mention how much I hate standing in the rain in a seaway…fishing? Messing around in boats has been our passion for almost 30 years. Corinne and I currently spend our summers cruising the Pacific Northwest in our American Tug 41, Ocean Mistress. We have a passion for finding new and remote anchorages. We love to explore. About 10 years ago we began adding other activities to our cruising agenda. We do a lot of hiking into the remote areas of British Columbia’s rainforest, and we add to our cruising larder with a little fishing.
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Morning. Thompson Island on Lake Superior. Fourteen nautical miles out of Thunder Bay.
This begins on Day Two because we cast off yesterday and conditions precluded time spent below deck with my nose buried in “Frodo’s” logbook: co-operative winds, scenery that could make a politician cry, waves decorating cobalt waters that glittered like jewels in a crown.
Great performance in a versatile, modern design
For the Canadian Yachting readers who are not yet familiar with Beneteau’s broad range of power boat models, the Gran Turismo 35 may come as a bit of a surprise. Our test boat is a head-on competitor to the North American built express cruisers and the latest day boats that are coming on the market.
The GT35 has the style and amenities to match the best new designs in it’s size range, the stern drive power to deliver exhilarating high speed performance plus, it still adds in an overtone of Euro style.
Like many other harbours on Lake Ontario, Cobourg has seen its fair share of changes. Screams used to be heard from kids piled into a toboggan on wheels that went hurtling down a wooden slide into the harbour. Above it all was the bustling din from the waterfront of ship’s whistles, train engines, foghorns and thundering coal cars. It is now a rather serene place for the locals and visitors to enjoy various watercraft. Fortunately, the beautiful beach that lines the waterfront is still a star attraction for the town.
Located 95 kilometres east of Toronto and 62 kilometres east of Oshawa on the north edge of Lake Ontario, United Empire Loyalists first starting arriving in the area as early as the 1780s. The first settlement in 1798 was called Buckville, later renamed Amherst, then called Hamilton (after the township) and also nicknamed Hardscrabble. It wasn’t until 1819 that they finally settled on the name of Cobourg, which was incorporated as a town in 1837. In the late 1820s large schooners with passengers and cargo had to anchor well off shore, as there was only a landing wharf. A group of Toronto businessmen formed the Cobourg Harbour Company which built the wooden Eastern Pier from tolls charged for the use of the harbour.
Oh sure…boaters love to go boating, but some also like to, you guessed it: stroll. One of the great things about boating the north shore of Lake Ontario is pulling into Cobourg Harbour to tie up for a visit and walk about town in a leisurely or idle manner. Boat strollers are easily picked out around town, sporting Sperry Top-Siders that are a little worn out, sunglasses held on by a Croakie or duct tape, burgee embroidered canvas tote bags, clothes that are a little crumpled and a displaying a few days’ worth of facial hair.