Hamilton wins, by Fifty Points

The Port of Hamilton apparently was such a polluter that someone felt guilty and created the Hamilton Conservation Authority, which in turn created the Fifty Point Conservation Area, with trails, bird-watching platforms, campsites, and a marina.  We’re damn glad they did, because Fifty Point Marina is awesome.  Like on our short list of all-time stops kind of awesome.

Perfect weather to boot.  Cool enough to sit on the bow and watch folks go in and out as the sun went down.

The marina restaurant—which got horrible reviews—turned out to be excellent.  New ownership.  Never trust what some anonymous clown posted ten years ago.

Then off to the wineries.  The Niagara region claims to produce “exquisite wines,” so we hiked along the busy sidewalkless highways until we reached a couple of the local joints.

Meh.  Not worth the walk.

Fifty Point also is home to a couple of beaches, which attracted roughly a zillion beach goers over the holiday weekend.  Asaad the Uber driver wasn’t thrilled about being stuck in the long line of cars waiting at the pay station, but we still won because we didn’t walk home.

Did we mention that Fifty Point is a big birding area?  Not Big Bird, of course, but a variety of species stop by to “feed and loaf.”  That’s what the sign actually says.  The birds “feed and loaf.”  The author of the sign perhaps learned a thing or two from Brian of Nazareth.*  Dana snuck up on a family of barn swallows who indeed weren’t being very productive.

Monday morning we beat the crowd out to one of the beaches, just to check it out.  We see the attraction.  Soft waves.  Cool water.  And the delightful squish of warm goose poop between your toes.

All in all, a near perfect stop.  We were a bit concerned when they pulled a disabled vintage Bayliner up behind us—what with the gasoline that had pooled in it and all—but surprisingly it didn’t explode before we left so then we stopped worrying.

Yesterday we took the short hop to Port Dalhousie, where we’re staging for the Welland Canal.   Hey, what the heck are all these yellow markers doing out here in our way?

Up there someplace on shore is a Canadian military training facility, where real bullets sometimes fly out into that odd area.  We may have cut through one corner of it but nobody shot us, so it was okay.

Based on the cutesy and welcoming old-fashioned town sign, one reasonably might expect Port Dalhousie Pier Marina to be cutesy and welcoming.

Not a chance.  The two women running the place are so markedly unhelpful and impolite that we’re sure they aren’t Canadian.  But we sucked it up.  The reviews for the marina restaurant weren’t too bad.  Riiiight.  An abandoned hulk of what once was a restaurant but now is sinking into the muck doesn’t work for us.  As a wise blogger once said a few paragraphs ago, never trust what some anonymous clown posted ten years ago.

Much like Fifty Point has a beautiful forest, Port Dalhousie has a forest, which we can enjoy right off our stern.  Except this one is underwater.  Barely.  Hopefully we can get out tomorrow without a chainsaw, because we don’t have one aboard.

The marina may suck, but the town is kind of charming.

In addition to a carousel so iconic that it made the welcome sign, there’s a tree with undoubtedly the most bizarre trunk we’ve seen.

More importantly to our status as tourists, we’re only a twenty-minute Uber ride from Niagara Falls.  Which makes sense, because the Welland Canal’s entire purpose in life is to help commercial shipping companies avoid the logistics of portaging millions of gross tons along the Niagara River.

Wooooo!  Yet another opportunity for a line from “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald,” because in fact Lake Ontario “takes in what Lake Erie can send her.”  Which again is one of those confounding things, since everyone knows water flows down and down is south.  Regardless, all that Lake Erie water flows north over the falls at about 5.9 million cubic feet per minute, which sounds and looks like a lot but then we calculated it would take around thirty months at that rate to fill Lake Powell.

After we arrived, a nice boy with two extra boat-ride tickets invited us to join his family for a discounted price.  They even motioned for us to be in the family photo, but we demurred.  True story.

Anyway, Niagara Falls in fact is quite a spectacle, even on a gloomy day.

We’ve provisioned, inflated the big boy fenders, sized up an exit path through the weeds, and are ready to leave Lake Ontario.  Hopefully by tomorrow evening we’ll be on Lake Erie.


*BRIAN: [Consider] the birds, then.

EDDIE: What birds?

BRIAN: Any birds.


BRIAN: Well, have they got jobs?


BRIAN: The birds.

EDDIE: Have the birds got jobs?!

FRANK: What’s the matter with him?

ARTHUR: He says the birds are scrounging.

BRIAN: Oh, uhh, no, the point is the birds. They do all right. Don’t they?

FRANK: Well, good luck to ’em.

EDDIE: Yeah. They’re very pretty.

BRIAN: Okay, and you’re much more important than they are, right? So, what are you worrying about? There you are. See?

EDDIE: I’m worrying about what you’ve got against birds.

Your thoughts?

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