An Evening Row in Kingston Harbor
forget Bruce's messabout)
Just got in from a lovely evening pull through
Kingston Harbour in my John Welsford designed Seagull.
The winds were perfect to row from the downtown core West to
Portsmouth Olympic Harbour at the west end of town. About 3.5
mile (5 kms.) and Lake Ontario cooperated by being very calm.
Just a few boat wakes and a gentle 1 foot swell with about 6
feet between the crests. Kinda' soothing as Twisted
Seagull gently bobbed up and down as I pulled.
Sunset over Olympic Harbour
I rowed past the ex-Canadian Coast
Guard Ice Breaker turned bed & breakfast "Alexander Henry"
(That Peter Lenihan and Pesky will be gracing in September), by
the Pump House Steam Museum with its Phoebe Restoration Project,
alongside the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes, past the Kingston
Yacht Club and the Hospital. As I was passing the waterfront along
King St. in front of Queens University I heard some distant thumps
that sounded like artillery, but that I thought were only summer
thunder in the distance.
the Brigantine "Playfair"
Continuing west, I open my emergency
rations, a can of delicious Stellar Artois, an excellent Belgique
beer and then I saw them...
Sparkling and expanding in the
distance over Fort Henry, an extensive, colourful and high quality
fireworks display. For a moment I wondered why. Both Canada Day
and July 4 were last week, then I realiszed what the occasion
was. It was Wednesday and the world reknown Fort Henry Guard were
puting on a Sunset Ceremony (their cannon must have been the thunder
I heard earlier) and it was being closed with a display of "feu
artifice", fireworks! It was cool and beautiful, with the
"crump" coming seconds after the burst. After about
5 minutes of a great display, it ended with a brief multi-burst
finale, and the lake became quiet once again.
I continued puling towards the
west. The water was oily smooth between the gentle swells and
dark, as the sun had been down a half hour by now. I kept close
to shore, rocks being my friends now, as they kept powerboats
further off the shore than I.
As I came abreast Kingston Pen
I wondered if the guards thought this lone row boat was some unusual
escape support vessel, as rowboats are pretty scarce around here.
But none opened fire, so I guess they were convinced of my benevolent
Kingston Pen at dusk
Just after the pen, I entered the
narrow entrance to Portsmouth harbour. In the narrowest section
I heard the rumble of an approaching powerboat with a powerful
engine. Quickly I swivelled on the thwart and grabbed the flashlight
I had brought. I turned it on and waved it quickly back and forth,
pointed towards the boat. Almost immediately the engine note died
to a murmor as they cut their craft to idle. I wonder just who
these courteous mariners were, and as they pulled abreast and
were illuminated by a street lamp on the breakwater I saw that
it was the Coast Guard in a large RIB heading out for some mission.
They gave me a wave, letting me know that they thought nothing
amiss of an unlighted rowboat being there in the dark, shining
lights at their helmsman. As they passed they opened her up and
the RIB leaped ahead and dissapeared into the dark expanses of
Now in the placid calm of the small
Portsmouth harbour I rowed squeakily into a dark corner and secure
Twisted Seagull under a bridge to a floating dock, hopefully out
of the way of everyone, including the marina staff who might want
an overnight fee. My plan, if the winds are right in the am, is
to row her back between 6 and 7am tomorrow morn, if they're unfavorable
we'll pick her up with my truck.
With TS tucked in for the night,
I walked ouver to "The Ports", one of Kingston's oldest
pubs, adjacent to the Portsmouth harbour, and while quaffing a
pint of Smithwicks dark bitters, called my lovely Elaine, who
arrived to ferry me home shortly thereafter.
The white two story building is the tavern
I hope the weather is right in
the early am for a return row.
Realizing that times like this is why God (and I'm not normally
religous or spiritual) created rowboats!