Happy Canada Day! or How far can flies fly anyway?

Although Oswego was a pleasant surprise, we were ready to move.  But then weather on Saturday scrubbed the mission.  West winds on our end of Lake Ontario are a deal-breaker.  Effectively unlimited fetch and 15-knot winds mean four- to five-foot waves on the beam as we plow north.  So put we stayed.  Lake Ontario is called “The Graveyard of the Great Lakes” for a reason.  Maybe the reason is just to sell posters at the museum or dupe people into buying houses in Oswego rather than risk their lives, but still.

Things looked better for Canada Day so we planned departure for 8.  At 7, another couple of Looper boats left Oswego.  We fired up the engine and set the lines for easy release.  Then one of the boats—Canadian Eh—pulled right back in and tied up.  Although the winds had shifted, they encountered four-footers and turned around.  The other Looper boat—Miss Norma—reported that things smoothed out after an hour or so, however, so we threw on some bluegrass gospel and took off.  (We agreed that we would change the music if Pandora gave us “Nearer My God To Thee.”  No need to tempt fate.)

After setting a course of 12° we settled in for a nice cruise.

Not a cloud in the sky.  The thought of biblical plagues never crossed our minds.

Then the biting flies landed.  Ogden Nash once wisely observed: “The Lord in his wisdom created the fly.  But then he forgot to tell us why.”  He didn’t forget.  There just isn’t any good reason for flies.  If the apparently-amphibious fly population in the middle of Lake Ontario is the result of Rachel Carson’s fight against DDT, perhaps we lost the war after all.  It was like someone snuck a dairy farm aboard Misty Pearl.  A good chunk of the trip we spent trying to kill the swarming bastards.  A 12-gauge with buckshot, however, would’ve been more effective than our measly fly swatter.  We kept at it only because we feared Canadian Customs would think we were smuggling livestock.  We hoped the buckets of carcasses we threw overboard would send a strong message to the other battalions but that didn’t work.  The closest land was 30 miles away and they kept coming.  How is that even possible?

Dana thought it funny to see Doug on the hunt.  Obviously she doesn’t appreciate impressions of Mr. Miyagi in his post-Arnold’s career.  Fly-killing with style, baby.

Ultimately, however, you’ve got to know when to hold ‘em and know when to fold ‘em.  We fled to the pilothouse and turned on the generator for AC.  If only we had put two and two together and left the flybridge earlier.  Duh.  The silver lining, if any, is that using more fuel might give us an extra inch of bottom clearance on the Trent-Severn.

There aren’t many exciting photo opportunities when no land is visible and no odd boats are present for much of the trip.  Dana even took a nap.  After five hours we sent out a dove, which returned with an olive branch to confirm there actually was land out there.  We shortly reached the St. Lawrence River, which oddly starts at the lake and flows northeast past Montreal on its way to the Gulf of St. Lawrence.  Tibbett Light welcomed us to Thousand Islands.  Almost Canada!


Thousand Islands is home to Thousand Island dressing, at least according to the locals who sell it.  We suspect that may be myth but we’ll go with it.

Eight hours and 55.7 nm after leaving Oswego, we tied up in the Town of Clayton, just across the river from the Canadian shoreline.  Clayton is filled with summer visitors who lie that this time of year “usually it’s so cool at night we wear jackets.”  Yeah right.  It’s brutally hot and humid and will be that way all week.  Maybe Canada will be different, although the Canadian barge that waked us didn’t seem too worried about our comfort.


This will be our last U.S. stop for a few weeks.  The boys hope to get stamps in their passports.


Your thoughts?