Cruising on Last Dance

This blog archives the adventures of Glen and Jill Moore and provides a means of communication for friends and family. Exploration and adventure have been synonymous with boats and water for centuries. The joy of adventures shared while exploring new places and meeting new people has built a strong bond for Glen and Jill. Last Dance is the platform for the exploration.

"The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page." St. Augustine, 354 - 430

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” Mark Twain, 1835 - 1910

"There is nothing -- absolutely nothing -- half so much worth doing as simply messing around in boats." The Wind in the Willows, 1908, Kenneth Grahame, 1859 - 1932

"I've never believed speed and ease are conductive to living fully, becoming aware, or deepening memory, a tripod of urges to stabilize and lend meaning to life." River Horse: a log book of a boat across America, 1999, William Least Heat-Moon,1939 -

The Great Loop -- The current adventure is a circumnavigation of the Eastern United States, cruising north up the east coast through New York into Canada, across the Great Lakes to Chicago, navigating multiple river systems south to Mobile, along the Gulf coast to the Florida Keys and back to St. Augustine. This trip by boat is commonly referred to as the Great Loop. Progress and current location are indicated by the red line on the map to the right. It was titled the Traceless Path in recognition of a German sailor we met in St. Augustine who published booklets of his travels with hand-drawn, detailed maps describing his travels across the water as the Traceless Path.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

1000 Islands

Located at the beginning of the St. Lawrence River as it flows out of Lake Ontario, the 1000 Islands have been attracting people for centuries.  The beautiful, green, multicolored granite islands are mountain tops sticking out of the water.  The beauty comes with some hazard as many unseen mountain tops lie just under the water, awaiting to ground the unsuspecting boater.

Every geographical area has some interesting aspects.  The experience that was most impressive in the 1000 Islands was the wonderful, generous people who reside there.  Everyone is open and friendly, accepting new acquaintances as friends.  Many people, on both the United States and Canada sides of the islands, shared their time and efforts to assist the Last Dance crew.

Bill and Betsy Lancaster own Tiger, a 40 DeFever built in a different yard and country than Last Dance, but a similar sister ship.  They provided detailed information about places to visit and anchor among the islands.  Some passages are too littered with rocks and shoals for those inexperienced with the waters to attempt.  Bill and Betsy brought Tiger into Canada, picking up the Last Dance crew for a tour through the islands.  It was a bit tricky since the Tiger crew could not touch Canadian soil (or a dock for that matter) and the Last Dance crew, having cleared Canadian customs, could not touch U.S. soil. 

Paul and Colleen Harding had moored their boat at the opposite side of the dock at the Parks Canada Island, Camelot, from the spot occupied by Last Dance.  They immediately struck up a conversation which added much to our education about the 1000 Islands and the intricacies of various aspects of Canada.  Paul and Colleen invited us to their home in Gananoque, Ontario, took us for a shopping trip to Canadian Tire (a super-store of many needed items), and shared their favorite British Pub in Gananoque.

Dave Hinman, an American Great Loop Cruisers Association Harbor Host who keeps his 32 Grand Banks in Clayton, NY, suggested that a trip to the 1000 Islands should be part of our agenda.  Dave met us in Clayton, and penciled in important places on the nautical charts.  He also insisted that the Rideau Canal was a must-visit place and loaned a set of color, spiral-bound charts of the Rideau, complete with sticky notes of must-experience adventures.

Frank and Ruth Keeler heard a report of a DeFever on the Rideau Canal and contacted Last Dance.  They drove to Kingston, Ontario, for an evening of conversation and good food.  Then, they topped the night off with a ride to an outstanding grocery store, far from the marina, and a driving tour of the town of Kingston.

Just a few of the people encountered along the 1000 Islands who made the journey even more enjoyable.  Thanks to all our new friends.

The 1700 or so islands, that make up the 1000 Islands, lie either in Canada or the United States as the border between the two nations jig-jags among the islands so that no island lies in both countries.  The two islands below are east and west of each other.  The international border crosses south of the island on the right, Gig Island, then heads north between the islands, turning west to cross just north of the island on the left, Flat Huckleberry Island.    Gig Island is in Canada, Flat Huckleberry is in the United States.

The area is cottage country, with summer cottages located throughout the chain of islands.  Boats are an important part of the culture since transportation to many of the cottages is only by water.  To have some place to park their boats, most cottages have boathouses.  The cottages and boathouses are most impressive.

The buildings below are just the boathouse, not the main living quarters.

Canada has reserved some of the islands for all to enjoy by creating a system of parks on islands.  The parks must be reached by boat and have docks, mooring balls, and anchorages.  There are 21 Parks Canada islands in the 1000 Islands.  Most encompass the entire island, a few include a major part of a large island. Georgiana, Camelot, and McDonald Islands were visited.  All were beautiful and provided hiking and kayaking opportunities. 

Water depth was a bit skinny at some of the docks

Georgina Island

McDonald Island

Clayton, NY, is a quaint town with much character.  The small town on a peninsula, has numerous quality restaurants and shops, with not one tacky tourist nick-nack store. Boats have been a big part of this town since it's beginning.  During WWII, submarine chasers were built here.  Today there are multiple marinas and boatyards, and the Wooden Boat Museum.  To museum is so amazing, that it deserves a story itself.  One will be forthcoming.

Gananoque, Ontario, Canada, is 14 miles miles north of Clayton, NY, across the St. Lawrence River.  It, too, is a small town with much character.  The municipal offices are in one of the city's founder's home.  The old architecture throughout the town is appealing.  To reduce the aspects to share representing Gananoque, two churches have been selected.  The first is Grace United Church, where our host Paul Harding has been the organist for over 40 years.  The second is St. John's Catholic Church.

Grace United Church

St. John's Catholic Church

Well, a few more must be shared.  It is an enchanting town with much beauty.

Home Converted Into a Bed & Breakfast

Town Hall

And, finally:

Sunset at Clayton, NY

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