500 horses


The Halton-Hamilton Police Marine Unit have bragging rights on having the fastest police boat on Lake Ontario—and here it is—with twin 250 horse power outboards this thing really moves! For those sailing on the lake it is reassuring to know these guys can get to an emergency fast - although soon they will be out for the winter.

navigation


I was about to shoot the sun at noon - but instead I plugged in the Garmin.

sleeping


I took this shot ages ago with a film camera (an Olympus OM1). I was on an island in the Essequibo River, Guyana, South America.

docked at williams


I ended today's sail docking outside Williams and going in for hot chocolate.

brought for a price


I took this picture outside Trinity College at the University of Toronto. Not just Toronto, but anywhere essays can be brought for a price—you just have to be ready to give some cash—and of course your soul! Fortunately they are easy to spot in my dicipline.

(Disclaimer - I should point out that the company on this particular advert does not write essays for students to hand in - they only write “sample” custom essays)

spitfire


Yesterday’s photo was taken this summer at the Canadian Warplane Museum. Today’s photo is of a Spitfire in English skies where not so long ago this very plane flew in earnest! The quality is not so good—I took the photo with a Nikon FE 35mm and the original was great—but the print is now discoloring. Never-the-less, given this plane’s history, I had to post a scan of this shot!

the rocks


I took this picture in Sydney Australia, at a place called "the rocks."

waiting game


A picture in Beijing of rickshaw drivers/runners playing a game on the sidewalk as they waited for fares.

startup


Taken at the Hamilton Aircraft Museum - a pilot turns the prop on a Stearman PT-27 Kaydet.

more sailing


I sailed today but in very different conditions to those in this picture (taken last week). Today the winds were about 30 knots gusting to over 50 at times and the waves were about 6-9 feet, which made for an exciting ride running from Hamilton to Burlington Canal. But because of the gusts I used just a headsail and did not want to chance the main. This meant that the boat would not point well heading back—for a while I tried tacking but we were not making ground so I took in the sail and motored back. What I would give for a furling main or even jiffy reefing so that with a balanced rig I could have tacked into that weather wand those waves—now that would have been an exhilarating ride! Even so, the motor back was brilliant with the boat plowing through the waves in spectacular bursts of sparkling spray! I got quite wet and it was icy cold, but it was not long before we were back and I was sitting with the crew in front of a fire at Williams sipping hot chocolate. Another perfect end to another perfect sailing day!

PS: I did not get pictures of today’s sail, but my cousin did, maybe when he sends me some I will post them.

these boots are made for walking


I took this shot in Australia - the scene reminded me of an old Nancy Sandra song - so I just had to take a photo!

fig tree


This is curtain fig tree near to Cairns, Australia

chili the sailor dog


It is good to have a sailboat with a retractable centerboard rather than a fixed keel, because when Chili (the sailor dog) needs to umm, well go, one can pull up the centerboard and sail the boat right up onto the beach and let him off to umm, go!

england calling


I need to add that the storm in yesterdays post was not was not really that dangerous. The lightning was the tricky part—but having listened to the weather forecast and watching the cloud patterns I had ensured that I was close to cover—and I should add that other sailboats stayed out on the lake throughout the storm and lightning. Unlike motorboats that are made to get out of bad weather fast, sailboats are made to weather storms.

I add the above because after reading yesterdays story my mom called me all the way from England to give me a thorough telling off! So today I post this picture showing the calm after the storm. You can see my wet t-shirt drying out over the boom, my shorts drying on the rail behind the sail bag, I remembered to being extra clothing in case I got wet so I am nice and dry in the photo, and all is well.

Thanks for worrying though mom - I would not want you to be any other way . And hey mom - I am really getting the hang of this boat - so I will sail over to see you soon!

perfect sunset


I have never “abandoned ship” before but yesterday I did. It began with lightning crackling down all around me into the water of Lake Ontario—disconcerting because my aluminum mast is not grounded—except through me as I grip the stainless steel wheel making a mad dash for cover! But coming prepared I had heavy-duty booster cables—I attach one end to the metal shrouds and dangle the other in the water—a trick that is supposed to ground the mast. Not really trusting this remedy and having anticipated storms, I made sure cover was close and so a short dash got me to the Burlington Lift Bridge. I circle as close to the bridge as I can get, which is right under the protection of high voltage hydro wires. As I circle lightening actually strikes one of the pylons next to the canal—no doubt in anger at not being able to reach me with its spidery fingers as I circle safely under the wires.

But then the wind came, and with it rain and hail so relentless that visibility was reduced to about 100 feet, I was in a squall. I still had fifteen minutes before the bridge would be raised to let me through the canal and I had heard earlier on the VHF that a freighter was due soon, but now I could not see if anything was coming. Buffeted by wind and waves I dared not leave the wheel to check the VHF, and if I did get to the VHF I would not be able to hear anything with the hail hitting the decks like bullets from a machine gun! What to do? I reason that the odds of a freighter coming through the canal in this squall is far less than the odds of me getting a lightning strike if I back away, so I stay where I am circling in the middle of the canal.

The squall is in full force as the bridge starts to rise, I go under the lift bridge and then under the much higher Skyway Bridge that also spans the canal. Visibility is still poor but I can see the shape of forked lightening shooting into the open lake ahead. I consider circling under the protection of the Skyway Bridge but I do not like being in a shipping channel longer than needed and I also don't like the way my outboard motor is starting to sound in the rain—all I needed is an engine failure in this! I decide to round the end of the canal and tie up at a small wharf which is nestled close enough to the Skyway Bridge to have some protection from lightning.

I turn to port and round the end of the canal that leads to the wharf, but realize that all my bumpers are on the starboard side and my port side is facing the wharf wall and the storm is pushing me from behind fast into the every narrow opening—no time to change the bumpers now—I will dock backwards so I can put my starboard side to the wall! Lucky the boat turns on a dime so I spin it around and throw it hard in reverse. Somehow, despite the wind and waves, the boat navigates perfectly backwards alongside the wall, some forward thrust into the wind and my starboard side bumpers rest gently against the dock. I cut the engine, jump ashore, tie the boat up firmly and as lightning continues to crackle around my ears I run to the shelter and safety of the small wooden store beneath the bridge. As I enter the small store it is full of fishermen who are taking shelter all of whom had been watching through the window.

“I have never abandoned ship before,” I said pointing out the window at my sailboat, “but there has to be a first for everything!

The fishermen laugh and one replies, “I like how you brought it in backwards to have the front facing the storm when she is tied up.” I did not have the heart to tell him that this was not the result of seamanship but of having my bumpers on the wrong side!

Another fisherman, hearing my accent, says, “It is as bad as the English Channel out there eh.”

“Too true,” I reply, “too true!”

Needless to say I was too busy to take pictures of that adventure, but later the weather cleared up and the day gave one of the nicest sunsets ever. So I leave you with a sunset that made the end to a perfect day of sailing.

hopes and dreams


It is good to sit quietly and think of what could be. It is important to dream, imagine and hope. It is even better to get up and make those dreams become so. But remember - stop sometimes to dream and imagine all over again - to think about where we have come and where we have yet to go.

Wishing everyone who reads this lived dreams and found hopes.

why


I was taking pictures of classrooms at McMaster and came across this question - I wish I knew the answer!