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July 01, 2013     Post 44
Lake Ontario Cruise



Sampling off Sodus Bay
Sara B's 2013 Lake Ontario tour took place in June thanks to help from Emma Netterman as crew and the Thornycroft. This was a diesel cruise-perhaps 360 miles total with 335 of it under power. On four occasions we sailed, two of them brief, all pleasant. We never saw a wave over two foot, but we saw rain, fog, thunder and lighting and lots of June sunshine. Once we saw a brisk breeze and a fast romp under sail in the Bay of Quinte.

We also collected samples for Sherri Mason's studies of plastic pollution in the Great Lakes. Chris worked out a technique using the boat hook as an outrigger to keep the neuston net out away from the boat and her bow wave turbulence. We tried not always successfully to tow at two knots. (Under sail we could do this but under power we averaged closer to three). Tows were for a half hour followed by about another half hour of wash down and sample transfer.


A rainy day at Oak Orchard
We certainly did see some plastic. We also saw plant detritus, lots of cottonwood fluff, insects and insect pupa cases and a brownish sort of slime which I suspect could have been algae or diatoms. “Micro plastic” particles are less than 5 mm in diameter and so not readily observed when mixed up in a wad of cottonwood fluff or algae. It will be interesting to see what the samples look like when analyzed. We did one sample off our mooring at YYC in the Niagara River just for the heckuvit thinking -hey this is straight from Lake Erie as a comparison! Perhaps we can post a follow up report on this effort after the samples are worked up in the lab. The issue of plastic in our oceans and lakes and publicity about same is an excellent way to call attention to the need to reduce the solid waste stream which has many far reaching impacts on the environment and on human and ecosystem health! Sherri Mason is very much in tune with the 'outreach' and educational opportunities on behalf of the lake that her work provides so I will be writing more about this.


Sara B tries to blend in at the Wilson Yacht Club
Emma went the distance and though she didn't sail a lot, she got a good sample of Lake Ontario cruising. We called on several sailing friends old and new. We visited one of the most historic places on the lake, old Fort Niagara a strategic site first fortified by LaSalle way back in 1679. And in Canada's largest city we were treated to the sight of a dozen glorious big sailing vessels including a 210 foot full rigged ship. The visiting tall ships were a real cross section of the current fleet of commercial sail. Two wooden clipper schooner replicas, a steel 'pirate ship' designed to amuse and entertain tourists, training ships, the brig Niagara (said to contain a few bits of the original warship), Unicorn, a converted trawler manned entirely by women, and the big wooden yacht “Peacemaker”, operated by a evangelical religious group the Twelve Tribes. (One wonders what spin they put on the 1812 War and subsequent U.S. Canadian relations that the gathering of ships commemorated).


Mouth of the Niagara River
After a night in Toronto Sara B chugged on to Whitby and Cobourg and the Bay of Quinte where she crossed tacks with several friends and acquaintances including Bruce and Diane Milan. Bruce bought Chris's little Sophie a few years ago and they drove up to Picton to take us to lunch and show off their new boat, a 26 foot plywood Owens cruiser. They plan to do some canal travel with her after they resolve an engine overheating issue.

Sara B's last stop was Main Duck. She had a grand sail from the entrance of the Bay of Quinte down to the island and to our surprise found no one inside. So we settled her alongside the newly installed dock thanks to high water and she had the harbor all to herself. A family of four manned the big sloop anchored outside and they dinghied over to invite us to a beach fire and marshmallow roast. Emma and I visited with the Sauciers (spelling?) and had a very nice gam as the night settled. Then a horde of mosquitoes descended and everyone fled to their boats!


Schooner Marinna's owners Lois & Doug Collins with Emma at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Hamilton
We departed Canada under power, but did manage to sail about four-five miles into Fair Haven where we left Sara B and her 'profound' Thornycroft to a well earned rest.

Norwegian full rigged ship Sorlandet at Toronto


Cormorants make way - out of Toronto


Another glassy day


Another rainy day


Studying boats at Waupoos with Diane & Bruce Milan


{DSC02298s.JPG}Main Duck




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