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A Canadian expatriate living and exploring first France now Germany, then BACK to FRANCE (!!!) with her family; former fashion designer, turned unexpected UNLIKELY NOMAD, raising two children, writing, photographing, painting, playing piano (who knew!!) and blogging - and now... full time student at ART SCHOOL!! (I MUST be crazy!!)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Mid July 2011 ”Promise”

We have spent the last few days making our way down the St. Lawrence River, and two nights ago arrived at the Admiral Islands, the first “real” Thousand Islands group.

I have jotted down a few little vignettes in no particular order, that have typified our experiences, and since my internet contact is varied, instead of posting separately here it is all on one go...

Hot and Cold

The preceding nights were spent anchored at the eastern most tip of Wolf Island, in an off the beaten track place called Brakey Bay, (and yes my achey-brakey-heart is just fine...:-)). Brakey Bay, is about 16 feet deep, and just the right size for a perfect anchorage, with the shore line that perfect amalgamation of closeness/far-ness; close enough to smell the pines and see the fireflies at night (which we did!) and far enough to feel nuisance-less to the local cottagers. We experienced a night of heavy rain, which after the intense heat of the past weeks was very welcome - I have never felt so happy to don a fleecy! There are many things wonderful about Canadian summers, but one of them for me is the indescribable balance between hot and cool; hot lazy days, that cool enough in the evening for a campfire or a sweater - except living on a boat = sweater, but...fortunately no campfire.

Wordless Hush

One evening in Brakey Bay, as is our custom, Bruce and I sat chatting about the day in the cockpit, under the stars sipping a glass of wine and swatting away the odd mosquito as the boat listened silently, swaying gently in the waves. Just as we noticed a dog barking at his echo a few bays over, an entire pack of coyotes/foxes/wolves (?) erupted into song on the very near opposite shoreline. The high pitched howling voices were many as they briefly bayed, we both felt twenty perhaps; small and thin, and throaty and more mature. It lasted only a moment, as soon as it began the matriarchal howlers of the group wordlessly hushed the little ones back into the night. It was almost as though the calling of the first baying canine had been so compelling that the island pack could not resist calling back, even though they knew they should not. It was magical.

Living on Board

I just realized today that I and the children have been living on board Promise for a full month now! Amazing, it has flown past. I love it more every day. It would be easy (?) well maybe not easy, but true to my Unlikely Nomad moniker, to live on board full time.

We regularly imagine going around the world on Promise; wether we can make that a reality remains to be seen.


We swim every day. Always the water is fresh and clear, a drop of water takes 400 years to pass through the system of the Great Lakes to the waiting ocean, but pass it does. Sometimes the water we swim in is deep and dark, and very, very cold, and sometimes it warmly reflects the lush weedy bottom growth that we find entangled in our anchor when we pull it up. Once I donned goggles to peer under the boat while I swam. I immediately became unnerved to the extreme by the spectacle of the boats floating bloated underbelly suspended miraculously over a great depth of murky dimness populated with rocks and weeds and goodness knows what hidden else, the sight of my bluish greenish goose flecked flesh trailing behind adding to the creepy spectral.

Method of Entry

The kids love to swim, they swim for hours every day. Sometimes they like to bob around on their two tethered large garish florescent yellow and hot pink floating rings, like over decorated misguided buoyant donuts, and some days they just love to jump in, over and over. They have perfected pencil dives and jumps in unison where they twirl in time, and even spent an afternoon bailing off the side of the boat and onto their backs, like slick death defying sky diving Skyhawks parachuting into the great beyond.

I suppose in the end, it is not swimming that has been perfected, but methods of entry into the water that have become so well practiced. A favorite to this end, is swinging from the halyards. This involves unclipping a halyard,(one of the ropes that runs from the top of the mast to pull sails up and down) and tying a large and grab worthy knot at the end, taking care that there are no rough edges to cut hands. The jumper then holds onto the halyard for dear life while taking a giant leap off the cabin top, over the lifelines, and swings way out over the water. At the precise moment of inertia, and when the audience has held thier breath for the maximum amount of time, before the halyard and dangling soon-to-be-swimmer crash back into the boat, the halyard must be let go. The now swimming swimmer plunges deeply into the drink.


We do have a very small shower on board, tho we use it only in cases of the extreme: extreme heat or extreme smelliness! Normally we bathe in the lake, soaping up on deck, trying to be discreet as we scrub our undercarriages in full view, then plunge to rinse in the cool. There are few pleasures so wonderful as this, the soft water feeling of being squeaky clean, towelling off in the breeze and donning warm dry clothes.


Trish said...


Summer in Canada is amazing, isn't it? There's nothing quite like swimming in all that fresh cold water. Glad things are going well! Would be great to see you all before you head back to France.

Kim Clark said...

No sure if you're still here in Canada. Had the loveliest time at dinner and would love another chance before you leave again for another year!

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