Sunday, November 4, 2007

Lake Ontario all to myself

Ice! I slid down the icy dock to At Last, our TomCat 24, and almost lost my footing climbing aboard. The deck was covered with ice bubbles.

The heavy dew had frozen into bubbles over all horizontal surfaces. Additionally, I had to scrape the windshield before I could get under way, but soon the morning sun warmed the boat and me. Thus began my first singlehanded passage with the TomCat, a 40-nautical-mile run across Lake Ontario, from Frenchman's Bay to Port Dalhousie and back the following day.

We never expected to purchase the TomCat this summer and had made all sorts of plans, including a three-week holiday in Italy, by the time we had the chance to buy Goose from Ed Devlin on Long Island. Which is why, when most boats have already been pulled out for winter storage, we're just getting started with boating.

It was an excellent passage out and back, running at about 20 knots in seas up to 3 feet, generally on the beam. There was one ship on the horizon, headed for the Welland Canal, on Saturday, and no one out there today, except for two boats heading out of Frenchman's Bay as we came home.

The Yamaha 100s worked purrfectly and the Wallas was all you'd expect a stove/heater to be on on a day when temps hit all of 5C. Klean Heat, a synthetic kerosene, burns cleanly as advertised.

Not only did I have the lake to myself, I was the only guest at an all-but-deserted Port Dalhousie Pier Marina. Which just made the weekend that much more perfect for me. And the blues--the other reason for heading across the lake--were simply outstanding at the Lion's Tavern in Port Dalhousie. If you're ever cruising these waters, and you appreciate the blues, make a point of catching Suzanne Hyatt and the Odyssey Blues Band on Saturdays from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m.

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