July 9, 2001
I'm afraid I do not write well enough to adequately describe the Thousand Islands and the St. Lawrence River. The area is absolutely uniquely beautiful! There are literally thousands of islands in the area (hey, maybe that's how it got its name!), all shapes and sizes, some with trees, some without any. And on nearly every island, there is a house. Some of the houses JUST FIT the island on which it is located, so that the residents walk out their door and are standing on their dock. Others (as I am sure you can image) are large and beautiful, with landscaped lawns and bridges that connect multiple islands that the people obviously own. Some of the homes are on stilts, some look like they evolved directly out of the rock, and some look like they could sink the island itself!
Because of the uniqueness of the area, there are lots and lots of boats, including huge ocean and lake freighters. There are times when I honestly believe you could throw a tennis ball to the captain of a 600' freighter from many of the islands. It is wild!
Anyway, we left Cape Vincent, NY on Friday, 6 July, and headed north on the St. Lawrence River towards Alexandria Bay, NY. A mile from Alex Bay, we took a slip at the Keewayden State Park (for the boaters: .90/foot, showers, electric, no potable water). Then we got in the dinghy and rode up to Heart Island/Boldt Castle and its magnificent yacht house. This is a magical place - - it is a castle that Mr. Boldt designed and was building for his wife for Valentine's Day in the early 1900s. But when she died suddenly, he stopped all production and the castle just sat until several years ago. Now, it is in the process of being renovated by the New York Bridge Authority and visitors are allowed to walk through it - - very impressive. But even more fun than the castle was the dinghy ride back to the boat. We wandered in and out of many islands and small canals, noting and admiring the different house, docks, boat houses, etc. It was like walking through the streets of a quaint residential town only the streets are made of water!
Saturday morning, we headed further north to the Mallorytown Provincial Park (Canadian) to clear customs and to obtain a seasonal park pass which will allow us to dock along the Trent-Severn Waterway and at any of the Provincial Parks in Canada on the St. Lawrence and in Georgian Bay. To clear customs, Brian simply called the 800-number from a designated phone, gave the individual the information required (e.g. names, birth dates, how long we intend to be in Canada, etc.) and obtained a number that we wrote down and now display on the boat. We are now allowed to (and do) fly the Canadian courtesy flag from the boat. Because the Mallorytown docks were fairly exposed to the wind that morning, we traveled back west and found a space on the dock at the West Grenedier Provincial Park. We met some very nice people on the two other boats docked (one Canadian, one from New York) and walked around part of the island. (For the boaters, dockage at the Provinicial Parks is limited and does not include potable water or electric (or hydro as it is called in Canada), but they do have camping-type heads, park and/or wooded settings, and are well maintained. The other thing we could not find documented was the depth at the docks nor the best way to approach the docks. So we have found that it can be nerve wracking to pick through tiny islands, knowing there are rocks underneath you, and trusting your eye sight - - or the boat in front of you! And because the water is so clear, the rocks just look that much closer!)
The next morning (Sunday) we continued heading west, looking for a place at one of the provincial parks in the Admiralty Islands. We finally lucked out and found room at the park furthest west, Cedar Island. This island's dock had room for only three boats. There were already two sailboats there and the last dock was RIGHT NEXT TO shore, with only a series of rocks as a buffer. With all kindness, the Canadian couples on the sailboats saw that we were debating coming in, let us know that there was at least 5 feet at the empty dock, and helped with our lines so that we docked safe and sound. Again, this was a very pretty and quiet location, directly across the river from Fort Henry near Kingston, Ontario.
This morning (Monday) we were off again, heading towards the Bay of Quinte and the town of Picton. We were planning on anchoring in Picton (the first time we have anchored in weeks!). But when we got to Picton, the two places we expected to find room were filled with moorings. So we decided to continue on. To make a long story short, after 9 hours on the water, we found a wonderful, protected harbor just 15 miles from Trenton (where the Trent-Severn Waterway starts). It must be a popular place because ~ 12-15 boats ended up in the same anchorage (although there was lots of room). So although it was a long day, we are that much closer tomorrow to getting to a marina in Trenton and spending the day provisioning, cleaning the boat, and preparing for the expected two weeks in the canal.
Tuesday, 10 July: We are here in Trenton. We got a slip at the Frasier Park Marina for the evening - - very nice people - - $1/foot Canadian. The town seems to have everything we need in close proximity. We like places like this! And get this: we already found a place where you can get a full breakfast for $2.99 Canadian! We have already declared that we are going tomorrow morning. It will be our first breakfast egg in 8+ weeks! (no, we are not starving ...) Off to start the canals tomorrow. Will write again when we can.
Jeri and Brian