Monday, 19 September 2011

Summers officially over in Canada


September 19 - Keswick, Canada

Its cold in Canada

Last week it decided that the summer was over here in Canada. The temperature dropped by 10 degrees and the weather forecast was warning of frost at night. So its time to pack up this house and move south to Florida where the sun shines all day, apart from a 3pm when it rains for 20 minutes to keep the humidity up.




The drop Big Chute Avoids

Before we left there was time to visit a few more places up here. Along the Severn Trent water-way, which connects many lakes with canals and locks so pleasure boats can by pass Niagara, there are a few interesting variations on the classic lock. The Big Chute marine railway was made so you don't have to ride these rapids.




Big Chute sled

This sled lowers in the water at one side, you drive your boat in and it is lifted into slings on the sled.




Big Chute marine railway

The sled then is lowered down these tracks to the water below. A 10 minute journey, sounds hairy to me.






Kirkfield lift lock

In Kirkfield there is a hydraulic lift lock. There are two boxes on large hydraulic rams. You drive your boat into the box, the doors are shut and the top lift is loaded with a foot more water than the bottom lift.




Kirkfield LIft Lock

When the brakes are taken off up (or down) you go just with the extra weight of water. Fast and fascinating.




Blue Jays ball game

We also managed to visit down town Toronto and see a base ball game. Key points to note, beer is very expensive, $10 dollars a can, glad we smuggled in some wine gums.



Star batter with broken legs

This is the Blue Jays star player who didn't score any points, or runs, or rounder's, or whatever they are. Looks like he had a problem with his legs too poor guy. Lastly, if you are a Blue Jays fan, it is not a good idea, like one young lady we saw, to paint the initials of you team name on your cheeks, it may give people the wrong impression.


Delivering Jet Ski in the cold

So we are packing up the house, putting away the tennis court, Jacuzzi, boats and golf courses. Di bravely volunteered to drive the Jet Ski to the storage place across the lake on a chilly day. Roll on Florida.



Sound advice

One important note from this sign on my soon to be ex-lawn mower; it seems to be saying, when driving over toddlers, do it in reverse.




Headin' south

So its time to head for warmer climes, at what more appropriate a carriage than this, luckily we don’t have much luggage.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Summer in Canada


August 14, 2011 - Algonquin Park, Canada

When in Canada

When we have the chance of some more days off we visited Algonquin National Park further North. Mostly trees, lakes and paths. We felt obliged to take a quick trip on a canoe. But after 15 minutes paddling and unable to find the sails we turned back.



Rainy day walks in the park

We walked some of the shorter trals in the park and enjoyed the views. The weather was mostly kind, apart from when we put the top down on the car or went for a walk.




Smaller cabin on the lake

We stayed in a lovely log cabin on the lake.










Visited the logging museum and learned all we needed to know about chopping down trees in Canada. Could wait to get back and start up the chain saw.

Driving around Canada

The drive was always enjoyable.





Quiet rivers

The scenery peaceful.





Enjoying the speed boat

When we have time we like to go for a spin in the boat. Although its nice to be back on the water bouncing along at speed with all that noise does not compare to the tranquillity and serenity of drifting along under the power of the wind alone.




Friday, 15 July 2011

Our new home on the lake

July 15, 2011 - Keswick, Canada

Beechcroft House

This is Beechwood, our new home for the Summer. A beautiful House on the lake. 




Spacious bedroom

We have a very comfortable apartment with a large bedroom and huge lounge.




Our lounge






Woodchuck, or Groundhog, that lives under the porch

This is our closest neighbour who lives under the porch.




Lunch above the falls

After a hard first two week in the height of the Summer season we drove to Niagara on our first day of and had lunch in a restaurant at the top of a Tower overlooking the falls.





The fleet

The cars we get to drive, and clean.





Beechcroft House

Some of the expansive lawn, that needs mowing.





Beechcroft House






Barneys tractor

But we have the tools for the job.





Dock on the lake

The large dock on the lake.





Dock on the lake






Some people visit the farm, or it comes to you.

During one busy party a petting zoo came to visit for the kids ( and adults ) to pet.

Friday, 1 July 2011

UK visit with tree swinging via NY


July 1, 2011 - Scarborough, United Kingdom

New York tourists

We left Sea Gal in a hurry. Just enough time to cover the hatches and show Geoff how to work the bilge pump. We flew via New York on the cheapest deal we could find, which meant a 9 hour stop over. We decided to make the most of our time and caught the train into the city for a bit of tourism. After a couple of hours walking and shopping the tourists were a bit jaded.

Happy at last

But this put a smile on their faces, along with a fat boy lunch in our 'usual' restaurant under the Empire State Building. Most people visit this building to go to the top, we are usually in a hurry or cant afford the rise, so go to the basement instead for beer and burgers.

Going Ape team

Once back in the UK we spent a few days in Bristol and Bath with Lindy, Fiona, Bill, Rory and Josie. The a rush round the UK to Kingston(Jerry), Lindfield ( Jason et al), Ipswich (Jams), Doncaster(Natalie) and finally to Ganton to see Iris and join in with her 70th birthday celebrations.

Yvonne the monkey

For the main event we went to a Go Ape facility which has you swinging around in the trees and travelling down long zip wires.

Stepping stones in the trees

Diane on the zip line

Ready for the zip wire

Iris managed to complete the course and here she is with a big smile about to jump from the top of a tree to zip wire 200ft above the car park.

Iris above the car park

We had a whirlwind 10 days in the UK, but managed to catch up with many of our nearest and dearest.. so on to Canada and a new adventure.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Turn around, heading north through the Exumas and on to Nassau


April 3, 2011 - Nassau, The Bahamas

Collections from the deep

We had reached the southern most tip of our winter adventure, and thought we had better head back to the USA to find some work to fill up the cruising kitty. We still had a month to get back to time to see some more on the way back.

Getting better at catching them. Two in one go.

In a stop in our favourite Saddleback Cay we managed to bag two lobsters in one trip, good for us as we didn't tend to spend long in the water as we had no wet suits and we didn't go to far from the boat with our small rib.

Di made lobster thermadore for supper

Di made some lobster thermadore with this one. I also love them on the BBQ with some butter.

Di's definition of decadence

Dis definition of a good life is two bikinis on the line. Even is this climate your bikini is not dry from your first swim of the day before you feel obliged to jump in again.

Di finished the new Bimini top

We also had time for some boat work. Here Di is seen with all her recent creations, the two new sail cover/stack packs, the bimini cover and the cockpit cushion covers. Finally getting rid of the dated blue canvas look.

Carriage ride

After the Exumas we stopped in Nassau for some more traditional tourism. Very busy side of the Bahamas that is all that most tourist see. A shame for them, but keeps the rest of it quiet for us. Horse carriage rides are a Nassau tradition.

Straw market in Nassau

The straw market is another Nassau 'must see' although all these attractions clustered around the cruise ship terminal make it busy.

Dee Dee and Di, old school friends

Through the wonders of face book Di found an old school friend Diedrie (Deedee) Graham who lives is Nassau. We met up with her and met her family. It was great to have a local guide and to see some family life. We had dinner at the cricket club, drove around the back street of Nassau and had a lovely family dinner.

Cruise ship parking in Nassau

Leaving Nassau we were not sorry wave goodbye to the cruise ships and the crowded beaches, the noise and the pollution and head on the the Berry islands for a final fill up on quiet.

Favourite evening pastime

In the berry islands we managed to find some peaceful places a couple of beaches and even time for a fire or two before a trip back to 'real life' of working.

High quality BBQ food with custom bean tin handle