continuousWave--> Sail-Logs --> Georgian Bay 2001 --> Day One

The first segment of the narrative, like the trip, begins slowly. We have much to accomplish before we are ready to go. The first leg of the journey is by car and crosses an international border. By late afternoon we have the boat in the water and take our first adventure. Relaxation comes slowly, but after a late supper and a long walk, we are finally at ease. (One Map; One photograph, but over fifty more in the days ahead.)

DAY ONE

Date:Saturday, July 28, 2001
Weather:Warm and sunny
Winds:Light
Traffic:Heavy in stretches
Departure:Beverly Hills, Michigan
Destination:Midland, Ontario
Distance:305 miles by highway

 

Although this is going to be primarily a travelogue of a boat journey, as trailer-boaters our trip first begins on land and on the roads. This is at once both the joy and the bane of trailer boating.

Unlike larger boats which must move on their own bottoms to distant ports, we trailer-boaters can haul our miniature cruisers to far away seas at 60 MPH on the highway. This not only saves us time, but also considerable cost in fuel, as we can travel 300 miles or more in just a few hours on the interstate and only burn perhaps 20 gallons of gas in the process. To move a large boat to our same destination would be twice the distance by water, take perhaps as long as a week if the winds and waves were uncooperative, and burn ten times the fuel or more.

The disadvantage we face is that we must maintain and support two other vital components in the process, our boat trailer and a sturdy car or truck to haul it. And we must load and launch our boats when we arrive. These operations add additional layers of complexity to the already complicated art of cruising by boat.

[MAP: Georgian Bay Showing Routes On Land and Water]
2001 Cruise to Georgian Bay
Our cruise begins with 305 miles of highway trailering to Midland, Ontario. From there we will travel about 500 miles by boat up and down the eastern shore of Georgian Bay.

Getting There

On Friday afternoon, I fetch the boat (on its trailer) from its indoor storage and park it in front of the house. A steady marathon of trips from house to curb begins, filling the 1995 GMC Suburban, not the boat, with gear. I don't like to load too much equipment on the boat while still on the trailer, as this increases the trailer weight load. Since most of this gear would have to be stowed in the cuddy, it would especially tend to increase the weight borne by the tongue, which we have carefully managed to keep to a safe minimum. Instead, we fill the rear seats of the nine-passenger SUV with coolers, clothes, and cargo. By the time we are done there is just room for the two of us in the front seats.

Saturday we are up early. We have targeted 8 a.m. as the departure time. There are plenty of last minute things to load. Without wasting too much of the morning we get under way at a few minutes past nine o'clock. There is a great deal of momentum to overcome to get this trip started!

The drive to Port Huron takes about an hour and the traffic is light. Before leaving the U.S.A., we stop at the duty free shop to buy some beer and other goods. The beer isn't much cheaper than it is in the states, but it is a big bargain compared to the price across the border. I think the government of Canada tries to control alcoholism through pricing; a case of beer costs a Canadian thirty three dollars of his currency. Demand seems inelastic.

We are crossing the border at Port Huron, entering Ontario at Sarnia and coming over on the recently expanded Blue Water Bridge. Driven by the large increase in border traffic, particularly trucking, the bridge's capacity has been doubled by the erection of a second, almost identical span, mirroring the graceful lines of the 60-year-old original bridge. Now one bridge carries three broad lanes of traffic eastbound, the second carries three lanes westward. There is no waiting to get on the bridge, and the toll is modest, just a few dollars for the car and a couple extra for the dual-axle trailer.

Unfortunately, Canadian Border Customs and Immigration doesn't seem to be aware of the heavy flow of traffic coming into their country this morning. About three- quarters of the way across the bridge span we come to a stop. The back-up from the customs booths stretches ahead of us for a quarter mile.

Borders

[This was written many months before September 11, 2001. Border security is now a much more serious issue between the United States and Canada.]

After about 20 minutes of stop and go progress, we finally are poised to officially enter Canada. We're next for the customs booth. Unfortunately, we have made a bad choice of lanes. Our booth is staffed by a woman, and a young woman at that. I have this theory about which customs booths to choose and which to avoid. This one would not be my first choice, but it is impossible to change lanes now.

I roll up to the booth, my sunglasses off so the customs agent can see my eyes, my window down all the way so the interior of the car is visible, too.

"Hello," I say to the young blond customs officer.

There is a long pause while she looks at the screen of her CRT terminal. Via mirrors and perhaps a remote television camera, she picks up the license plate numbers of our car and boat trailer and keys them into her video terminal, where they'll be checked against lists of stolen cars and other vehicles to be detained.

This process occupies her attention for some time; from our perspective she seems to be ignoring us. Finally she turns our way. No "Welcome to Canada" for us.

(I have related this story to Jim Gibson, a veteran of even more border crossing than we, and he tells me the problem is my answers; they are too long. "Make them short, and you'll get right through," he says. I'll show his suggested responses in brackets after mine.)

"What is the purpose of your visit to Canada?"

"We're going to put that boat behind us in the water and cruise around on it for a week." ["Vacation"]

"Where are you going?"

"To Midland, then north to Georgian Bay." ["Midland"]

"How long will you be in Canada?"

"Eight or nine days." ["9 days"]

"Will you be leaving the boat in Canada?"

"No, (chuckle) I am not planning on it, the boat will return with us." ["No"]

(Pause, more looking at the CRT screen)

"Are you American Citizens?"

"Yes" (in unison). ["Yes"]

"Do you have any guns or firearms?"

(Emphatic) "No!" ["No"]

(Pause)

"Do you have any alcohol that you are bringing with you?"

"We just bought a case of beer at the duty free." ["One case of beer"]

"Just one?"

"Yes, we are not big drinkers."

To Chris she asks:

"Ma'am, are you carrying any MACE or pepper spray?"

We are not accustomed to being interrogated by aloof twenty-year-olds as though we were landless immigrants about to impose a burden on the social services system of the host country and maybe beat up a few of the weak and infirm in the process. A couple more Customs agents like her and they could have a negative impact on tourism in Canada.

Finally we are cleared. I slowly put the Suburban back in gear and we roll through the customs booth, bypass the long line at the currency exchange drive-up, and exit the highway to the Visitor Information Center on the right. Jim Gibson reminded me that this was here and we'd avoid the big lines at the drive-up booth. Good advice.

They have special parking lanes for cars with trailers, a very nice accommodation since there are plenty of them coming across the bridge. We both hop out of the car and head for the tourist information center. Chris goes to the currency exchange window with $200-US and returns in a few seconds with $301-Canadian. At the travel info counter I get the latest official provincial highway map for free, and the very nice, friendly, late-thirties-something woman walks across the room to help me locate a more detailed map and information brochure on Midland that's in a rack on the wall. This will prove helpful when we finally get into the town.

This is the Canada we know and love, not the one that the cold customs agent lives in.

Rolling Along

Heading east on Highway 402, the road is being repaired and traffic is constricted to a single lane. We thread the Suburban and boat trailer between the orange barrels on the new asphalt. The construction has reduced the speed limit to about our top running speed, 50 MPH, so we are not slowed by this little inconvenience.

We have a postmortem on the customs crossing. "Your theory was right," says Chris, "never go to the booth with a woman, especially a young one."

"Yeah," I concur, "she was a pain."

"They just take their work too seriously," Chris observes. "They don't know how to do their job but be friendly at the same time."

Although it is just across the river from us in Detroit and doesn't seem exotic, Ontario is in a foreign country, Canada, and there are some little differences. First, there is the money, the bills printed in strange colors and full of pictures of the Queen. Then there are the highway signs that announce the distance to Toronto and other points, but use measurements in kilometers. With Toronto still 200 kilometers away, it seems like we have hours of driving ahead of us. We have to convert to miles in order to get a feel for just how far away a place really is.

It is funny, but here in Ontario everything needs a little conversion. The money and mileage are both deflated about 65%, but you have to double the temperatures and add 30. Gasoline comes in liters and there are almost four of them to a gallon. It takes a bit of getting used to all these different scalar numbers.

After an hour or so the road swings south a few miles and merges with Highway 401 coming up from Windsor. We pull into a service center to take a break. I check the trailer tires and bearings for heat. They are all running a bit warmer than on our previous journeys, but the weather today is much hotter; temperatures are in the mid-90's. I am worried about the trailer tires in particular. They are probably the originals delivered with the trailer 14 years ago, and although the tread is in fine shape, the sidewalls are cracked. Too much exposure to the ultraviolet rays of sunlight has taken some of the flexibility out of the rubber in these tires. They were once high quality tires, but they're suffering from old age.

I also pay attention to the temperature of the tires on the Suburban, especially the rear tires. These are very low mileage, almost new tires, but I don't think much of them. They're the absolutely lowest grade tire made in this particular size, and their load rating is very modest, only 1600# per tire. In comparison, the OEM spare tire has a load rating of 2200#. When the original tires wore, the previous owner put these cheap replacements on the truck. When I bought it from him last summer I failed to realize how limited their ratings really were. They look like nice, rugged tires, but their load ratings are crap. They are also rated as Light Truck tires, not Passenger Car tires. The difference is in the safety standards which the tire must meet.

Having all these anxieties about the tires takes some of the pleasure out of the road trip. It will cost about $900 to replace them all, but with that expense will come freedom from worry about the tires. That is worth something, maybe almost $900.

We pass several cars with trailers on the shoulder of the road, all having tire or wheel bearing problems. Anxiety boosters.

After the merger of the two highways, the traffic is doubled while the roadway remains two lanes and turns back to the northeast, heading for Toronto. The terrain is beginning to climb slightly and we encounter more hills and grades.

In another hour or so we swing north to avoid a huge cliff several hundred feet high. This is part of the Niagara Escarpment, an enormous band of rock that runs from Niagara, through Georgian Bay and Manitoulin Island, and on to western Lake Superior. This geologic feature creates most of the scenery we will enjoy in the next week.

Approaching Toronto the highway widens to six lanes or more, then offers us a branching to the north which avoids most of the city traffic, particularly in the vicinity of the busy Toronto Airport. On more good advice from Jim Gibson we take this "ETR", the Electronic Toll Road. You don't have to stop to pay the toll. Overhead cameras at each entrance and exit ramp record your license plate. From this information the toll authority looks up your name and address and sends you a bill. In a couple of months we should get an invoice for our use of the ETR and be asked to remit approximately six dollars. The smooth ride on the freshly laid pavement and the big reduction in traffic are worth the modest costs. [Follow-up note: we never received a bill for use of the highway. I guess our license plate numbers were not in the database.]

After twenty minutes on the ETR, we exit and turn left on Highway 400. This is the main artery northward from Toronto, and on this Saturday afternoon the road is packed with cars heading for Lake Simcoe and other resorts. We stay in the right lane and try to maintain our speed up and down the many hills.

We pull into another service plaza and I check the tires and bearings again. They are running warm to the touch, but not excessively hot. Back on the north bound highway, the traffic increases as we leave suburban Toronto. Everyone is heading north for cottage country. As we begin a long uphill climb, the congestion slows travel to stop-and-go speeds. We creep along for five miles until we reach the aftermath of a car accident, the OPP (Ontario Provincial Police) on the scene and the wrecks recently cleared from the highway. Traffic resumes highway speeds, then at the big town of Barrie a huge line of cars snakes off to the exit ramp, relieving most of the congestion.

At Exit 121 we leave the main northbound road and take Route 93 toward Midland. After half an hour on this two-lane paved highway we reach the outskirts of Midland.

We descend a long downhill grade into the center of the town, then head west along the coast road. A stoplight and a right turn later, we turn toward the water with Bay Port Marina on our left and the public launching ramp on the right.

Pulling into the ramp area, to our surprise our Whaler mates, Jim Gibson and the two Larry Goltz's, are just in the final stages of launching their boats. A previous communication by cellular telephone had put us almost an hour behind them, but we made up most of that time while their progress was halted by that accident we saw on the roadside. Their two boats are just off the trailers and into the water of Georgian Bay as we pull up.

Launching

We have been hauling our boat with only a quarter of a tank of gasoline, which saves considerable weight on the trailer, so our next destination is back to the highway and a gas station. Just around the bend and west of the marina we fill the boat with gasoline at highway prices. The flow rate from this particular pump is slow, and it takes what seems like a half hour to fill the big 77-gallon tank. Finally, after about ten minutes of awkwardly holding the gas pump hose over my head to reach to boat fill spout, the gauge on the boat reads "F" and the pump says 130 liters. Anxious to get in the water, I call a halt to the gassing at that point. At Canadian-$0.69/liter (US-$1.73/gallon) we added $90 worth, but this turns our to be only 35 gallons at a true cost of US-$59.50. The bow-up trim of the boat on the trailer makes the fuel gauge read a bit higher than normal, and I have probably left some room in the tank.

As we prepare the boat for launching it is past four o'clock, and a small crowd of boats and jet skis buzzes around the ramp, loading onto trailers. It takes us a few minutes to get the canvas rigged. (We don't trailer with it in place because it stows in the upright position and I don't like all the extra wind load and wear of hauling it around at 55 MPH.) Then we throw two hundred pounds of gear and coolers aboard. Finally we are ready to back our mini-cruiser into the water.

The process of launching this boat is still a little uneasy for us, as we have only done it a handful of times, and on each occasion it has been on a different ramp. Each time there is some concern. Will the ramp be deep enough to let the boat float off?

The ramp facility has two lanes and decent courtesy docks. We back our Whaler down, stopping just before it enters the water to remove the hold down straps and disconnect the trailer lighting circuit (so the hot bulbs won't burst in the water). Then we back in some more, putting the stern of the boat in the water, stopping next to remove the bow tie-down, the safety chain, and finally the winch strap. Backing in a few more feet allows the boat to float off the trailer, which is now several feet underwater at the transom end. Fortunately, the ramp is pretty steep and the rear wheels of the Suburban are still on dry ramp.

Chris warps (pulls by lines) the boat sternward, and I pull the trailer out from under and up the ramp. I park the rig just beyond the crest of the ramp and run back to the boat. Next problem, will the engines run?

In the three weeks since our last use of the boat, I have replaced all the fuel lines from the tank to the engines, the fuel-water separating filter, and the primer bulbs. I am not sure I got all the air bled out of the system.

It takes a few cranks for the port engine to start, then it fires up. Unfortunately, it sputters and dies right away. Sounds like air in the fuel lines. A dozen squeezes on the primer bulb and it gets a bit firmer. I try again. The engine starts, runs a moment, then sputters again. Oh boy! Is this going to be a problem? More squeezing of the primer bulb. On the next restart the engine stays running.

I prep the starboard engine with plenty of primer bulb action. These new bulbs are very soft, and they never seem to get firm with fuel in them. With twin engines, the noise of the first engine running makes it hard to hear the second engine start, so I have developed a technique where I start one engine, let it warm up a bit, then shut it off while I try to start the second engine. This lets me hear the second engine starting much better, and the first engine usually restarts at the turn of the key once it has been warmed up.

The second engine starts and runs without too much sputtering, and I also get the first engine restarted. I let the two of them warm up at fast idle for a minute. I don't want to back away from the courtesy dock and have them die. Chris brings a few more items down from the truck. Man, this little Whaler is full of gear!

Finally, I motor the 20-Revenge out of the ramp area while Chris takes the truck and trailer over to the marina across the street. There is a canal of about 100 yards in length leading from the ramp to the bay, and from the high water marks along the steel sea wall I can see how very low the water level is this year.

The water level is, in fact, two feet below the long term average for this time of the year. Compared to the high levels of the past decade Lake Huron is missing almost five feet, an incomprehensibly large volume of fresh water. The current levels are almost exactly at chart datum and are close to record low water for this time of the summer when the levels are normally at their peak.

At the end of the canal there are several floating "Javex" bottles (the Canadian brand equivalent of Chlorox) serving as aids to navigation. Exactly how to interpret them I am not certain. Often unofficial markers like these are placed by the locals at hazards like rocks, which means you generally want to avoid them. There is a fellow on a sailboat moored along the sea wall, so I shout over to him to ask for advice on the buoys.

"Just treat them like regular red and green buoys," the local boater replies. As I get closer I can see that one is a red plastic bottle and the other a white bottle with peeling green paint. Okay, it is clear to me now how to proceed. I didn't want to ding my props just exiting the ramp area!

The entrance to Bay Port Marina where we will stay tonight is just a few hundred yards west of the ramp canal, so I enjoy only a short boat ride on Georgian Bay. I shut down for a second to check the fuel gauge level, as it warns that accurate readings occur only when not underway. With different trim on the boat, the gauge now only reads "7/8". I probably should have been more patient at the gas station! Back underway, I enter the marina to look for my Whaler cruising companions.

Stolen Fun?

Bay Port Marina has over 600 slips! I am scanning the docks looking for a pair of Whalers, as I idle farther into the marina. About ten docks down from the entrance I finally spot WHALE LURE and MEMORY, and I back into the adjoining slip. The cruise is almost ready to begin.

With the boat tied up, I head for the parking lot to help Chris with the trailer parking. She has not yet acquired the skill of backing up with the trailer attached, so I anticipate she has probably not put the trailer into its ultimate parking spot.

The launch ramp facility is a public place, and use of the ramp is free, but they don't permit overnight parking of trailers. So we have moved all our cars and trailers over to the Bay Port Marina yard, where for a fee (Canadian-$70) we can park them for a week in a nice fenced-in, guarded, well-lighted boat yard. I find the Suburban and trailer, with Chris and Larry Goltz. As I approach I notice something is wrong: the winch handle is missing and the axle of the front roller has come loose and lost its end cap. Wow, when did all that happen?

Somewhere on the 500-foot ride from launch ramp to marina both of these items have been lost! We immediately begin to retrace the path from parking lot back to ramp to look for them. The winch handle, in particular, is going to be very difficult to replace.

With three of us looking, we cover all the road back to the ramp. No handle. Maybe it came off on the ramp, which has a corrugated surface making the ride a little bumpy. No sign of the handle there, either. Maybe in the water, having fallen off when the boat slid off the trailer? Not there, at least as far as we can see into the somewhat green water of the ramp.

We search the path back to the marina. No sign of the winch handle. I can't believe this! This is only the third time I have used the new winch, and I've lost the handle! Well, it is not an immediate problem. We won't need the winch handle for 8 days, and I can also borrow a handle from either Jim or Larry, as they use the same brand and style of winch on their trailers. I'll just have to get a replacement when I am back in Michigan.

I am somewhat comfortable with the fact the winch handle came off. I was feeling rushed when I opened the back of the Suburban, grabbed the handle, and snapped it onto the winch crank post. Perhaps I did not let the retaining mechanism seat properly, and when the trailer bounced down the ramp the final few feet into the water the handle slipped off and into the bay. And the lost roller axle cap could have been forced off the end by the action of the boat keel rolling on it at a slight angle, working the axle against the bracket with some pressure.

But I do have another nagging theory. I left the trailer parked just beyond the top of the ramp for a few minutes while the boat was getting started. Maybe I should have pulled it farther away and into the parking lot. Maybe I made someone mad that I was taking too much time and space on the busy ramp. Their retaliation was to remove my winch handle from the trailer while I was busy down at the boat, a hundred feet away. This would be totally out of character for the typical Canadian small town, but I do sense a bit of resentment in the folks at the ramp today. The public ramp is right across the street from this rather fancy and yachty marina, filled with gleaming white boats, while the crowd at the boat ramp has been launching and recovering from rusty trailers a rather ramshackle lot of older, well-used, I/O-powered bowriders and runabouts in the 16-19 foot range. I'd like to think that something like this doesn't happen in Canadian small towns, but where the hell is my winch handle? How come I can't find it in the lake, on the ramp, or on the roadside. It's only been missing for five minutes and it can't be far away if it just fell off. Maybe the reason we can't find it is because it's in somebody's car trunk.

It is an odd thing, but I have heard more stories about people getting their winch handles stolen at the boat ramp. In fact, both Larry and Jim carry spare handles to guard against this happening to them.

We give up on finding the winch handle. I make one last broad circuit of the parking lot, but still no winch to be found. We walk back to the marina.

This loss, either through accident or theft, puts a little damper on the start of the trip, but we are still excited about the cruise ahead. We have made a huge transition today. This morning our boat was parked on a trailer in SE Michigan; tonight it is in the water at a beautiful marina on Georgian Bay. The weather forecast sounds encouraging, no rain tonight or tomorrow or really any for the next several days. The gang is all here, the boat is running fine, and we have eight more days ahead to enjoy boating. The preparations are over; the cruise has begun!

Cruising

Marina:Bay Port Marina
Website:Yes
Mooring:Slip with finger piers. Floating docks. Rate = $1.35/foot minimum $30
Dock height:About two feet. Very nice. Docks are fendered
Bathroom:26 private washroom with showers!
Showers:Excellent stall showers in individual bathrooms

 

Weather:Fair, warm
Winds:Light from SE
Waves:One foot or less

 

The first order of business: relax. After all the packing and loading, the long drive up, the little crisis with the launching and the lost winch handle, it is time to enjoy another great part of a Canadian vacation, an ice cold Labatt Blue. It is fun to just sit on the boat for a few minutes and enjoy the harbor view. Then we check in officially with the marina and discover we are in the wrong slip. There are plenty of empty slips on this dock, but they have a policy of not renting out seasonal slips whose boats are away cruising to transient guests. So we have to move our boat to the other side of the dock and down a couple of slips. We can still socialize with our other boats by just moving our dock chairs over to their spot.

After cocktail hour supplemented with some snacks, we all go aboard WHALE LURE for a cruise of the bay and a quick run to the next town around the point, Penetanguishene. Their marina is filled with offshore racing boats, as this weekend is the occasion of a big race event. On the way we pass close abeam to a tall ship approaching the harbour under sail. It is a beautiful sight, the dark 120-foot hull of the gaff rigged schooner HIGHLANDER making good progress in the light breeze and moving silently through the calm water.

[Photo: Gaff Schooner HIGHLANDER at dusk.]
HIGHLANDER
Sailing ships like this once filled the ports of Georgian Bay. She was ghosting back to port on the last wisp of evening breeze as we both came into the fine harbour at Penetanguishene. You seldom see these boats with this much canvas flying.
Photo Credit: Larry Goltz

Finally, well past 7 p.m., we are back to our docks. Time to freshen up for dinner. An interesting phenomenon occurs on these vacation boat cruises. About half of our group are from the Central Time Zone, so they're used to eating a bit latter than those of us on Eastern Time. Throw in a bit of inertia at getting a group of people ready to do anything at a particular time. Then add to it the relaxed pace of life when on vacation. The result is we hardly ever are ready to go to dinner before 9 p.m. Most nights we'll end up shutting down the restaurant.

Tonight we strike off on foot toward downtown Midland in search of dinner at about 9 p.m. Town is about a mile away along a nice footpath that follows the shoreline of the bay from the launching ramp to downtown, using an abandoned railroad right of way. It is quite a hike, but after all day in the car a long walk is good exercise.

There is great irony in the conversion of the railroad line to a foot path. In 1872 the Midland Railroad built its Great Lakes terminal on this site, and the town of Midland quickly grew to prominence around it. This excellent and deep natural harbor at the southern extreme of Georgian Bay proved to be the best rail link to Great Lakes shipping and logging. Vast amounts of timber were floated in. On shore great saw mills cut it up to be shipped east on rail cars. There was also heavy commercial fishing in the region, with the catch again shipped east via rail. Now the rail line, the raison d'etre of Midland, is gone and its old right-of-way turned into a pleasant path for evening strollers.

Downtown Midland's shops are long closed by the time we arrive, but we do find our restaurant for the evening, a small place along the main street that is filled with other late diners.

Dining in small Canadian towns can be an adventure. The Riv Bistro, however, looks like it would hold its own even in Toronto. The place has a very inviting atmosphere. The menu offers a dozen or more entrees of unusual Mediterranean foods, and the aroma of the kitchen is wonderful.

Restaurant:The Riv Bistro
Location:Midland, Ontario
Setting:Downtown, storefront
Ambience:Dark, intimate
Cuisine:Mediterranean
Meal:Outstanding Greek food. Very spicy; very good
Price:Entrees $16-22 Canadian. Salad $4 extra.

 

We have a big meal, including flaming Saganaki cheese appetizers and a round of drinks. Seasoned lamb is the basis for several of the entrees ordered, and everyone is very pleased with their late evening supper. I have a spicy lamb dish prepared in a philo dough shell. Chris has a shrimp dish "with lots of vegetables, lots of garlic, and lots of rice," which she enjoys, too.

It is approaching 11 p.m. as we begin our walk back to the marina. We detour briefly to look at the small municipal marina and town dock at the foot of main street. Our accommodations at Bay Port Marina are better, we conclude.

The downtown marina is flanked by two large industrial operations. To the east there is a huge pile of something, stone or sand perhaps. Larry thinks it is dolomite that has been removed from the Badgeley Island site in the Landsdowne Channel near Killarney run by Indusmin and brought down here by ship.

To the west and along our pathway is a Pillsbury plant running 3-shifts. No one is sure what they are making. Perhaps agricultural products of local farms are processed and loaded on foreign ships for export.

The walk back is a long one, but we are full with dinner and benefit from the exertion. It is a beautiful summer evening--warm, still, humid, the bugs flying in the globes of light that surround the street lamps. Soon we are back at the marina. After the long, full day, we have no problem falling asleep in the cozy cuddy of our Boston Whaler.

The nine-day narrative continues in Day Two.


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Author: James W. Hebert
This article first appeared September, 2001.