Sailing to Gananoque

It's hard to believe that it's two weeks already since we spent a few days on Minuet, sailing from Clayton to Gananoque and back again. Life has proceeded at full tilt boogie speed ever since we reentered the flow of our daily responsibilities. I took pictures, though, and my memories haven't yet been completely submerged by the forward rush of our lives.

Originally this was to be the year when we would take a full week to cruise on Lake Ontario. Then our daughter asked us to visit her during the Montreal Jazz Festival, which would be occurring at the same time as our week of sailing. We shortened the planned trip to five days, allowing enough time to also fit in a trip to Montreal. Then the meltdown of the NY State Senate affected one of my husband's projects, and he needed to be close to a phone and Internet for a few days. In the end we had five days on the boat, which meant three sailing days. We juggled plans again, and decided to go spend a night in Gananoque. We have sailed by Gan several times, but we have never stopped there before.

We have been missing a treasure.

First, there is a municipal marina that has wide berths and well maintained facilities. Some very well-heeled people must be very happy with the facilities, because there were many beautiful and expensive boats in the seasonal slips. The water was deep and clean. The view from Minuet, aft and fore:

This ship was tied up near us. While I wouldn't want to pay its diesel bills, I'm certain that it is an ocean- worthy vessel. It's unusual to find a steel hulled vessel in a pleasure marina.

Gananoque is a beautifully manicured village that loves life on the water. The homes near the waterfront are well maintained, and many have gorgeous gardens. The commercial real estate favors attractive, comfortable looking restaurants.

This view from a bridge felt like a peek into a series of backyards, but these backyards include water, boats, and boathouses.

I spotted this mural, which puts me in mind of Seurat's A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte as a celebration of the joys of spending a pleasant day outdoors in a civilized place, but this mural glorifies water rather than a park.

Gananoque is home to the Thousand Islands Playhouse, and we got dolled up and went out to a play. It reminded us of going to summer stock on Cape Cod - in fact, Gan as a whole reminds us of the Cape. The theater is a gem and the production of The Summer of My Amazing Luck was excellent. As I looked at the audience, I was struck by how a high percentage of the theatergoers were not young people. And then I looked clearly at Robert and myself and had to admit that we fit right in.

Waters with islands are more unpredictable than large lakes and oceans. In the case of the Thousand Islands, there must also be at least a thousand shoals and upcroppings of rock where a boat with a fixed keel that draws four feet eight inches of water cannot go. The trip from Clayton to Gananoque is pretty straightforward when going upriver to the Wolfe Island Cut, then across the Canadian Middle Channel. Once you turn towards Gan, you enter a section of the river that has many smaller islands and many shoals. You have to keep a close eye on the chart, and a sharp lookout for navigation bouys. Water, water everywhere, but many areas are not navigable. We did not retrace our breadcrumbs going back, but sailed downriver and through channels between islands, coming into Clayton downriver on the same course we were on when we left. One landmark on the trip back was the Gananoque Narrows, where you must sail in a narrow channel between the red and green bouys to avoid running aground.

Ooo, I think something lives here!

That weeklong sailing trip will have to wait until next year, I'm afraid. I'm satisfied, though, that we were able to sail between the raindrops, and that we finally visited a place we will surely return to when we crave a day or two in a peaceful, beautiful spot.


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