Words from the Admiral

After cruising for more than two and a half months, we felt it was time the Admiral gave a personal perspective on what life is like aboard His Idea.

Overall I’ve found the nautical lifestyle to be enjoyable and enriching. The constantly changing land and sea vistas, often set against impressive skies, is a big reward for me.  Using photography to record the varied marine environments and unique cityscapes is also very enjoyable.  Another reward has come from the many people we’ve met – all have been friendly and helpful, and many are curious about our boat and our adventure. The opportunity to cycle in all kinds of interesting places is terrific! I’m still missing family and friends, however I’m thankful we have the internet and phone to stay in touch. There’s always much to see and do and I’ve yet to be bored. 

On a more practical level, daily domestic life continues.  Here are some observations on this aspect of living aboard:

–         There are daily creative challenges working in the galley and cooking “one pot wonders” and “skillet sensations”. We use our propane stove and barbecue, and sometimes the microwave as electrical power permits.

–         Our eating habits have become healthier because we are limited by what we can carry (short trips) or load on our bikes (longer trips), and we choose our foods carefully. On the few occasions when we rented a car it was to load up with bottled water and juices, bulky paper products, and groceries, not just to sight see. 

–         One unexpected aspect was that recycling turned out to be rare in the U.S.  I will never forget the look on the clerk’s face in Florida when I asked about returning a case of empty beer bottles.  “I’m sorry ma’am, did you say that where you’re from, I would take these empty bottles from you, and give you money?!”

–         Monitoring where things may have moved while underway on any boat is constant and we are now better at predicting what items need to be secured inside so as not to break or be blown away.  Of course there is still a surprise element as to what one can unexpectedly lose!

–         This vessel is more physically demanding as it is heavier with more mass, which means larger bumpers and deeper storage lockers.

–         As we are outdoors on the bridge every day with constant wind and walking up and down between levels (there are five on His Idea) we experience more muscle fatigue. We’re frequently tired by the time the sun goes down. (But then again, we are getting old!).

–         We spend “free time” and evenings planning our routes and destinations, reading about the area we are visiting or taking in the local sights.

–         Although we have two TV’s on board we have yet to watch anything other than a few DVD’s. No more vegging in front of the screen.

–         We have chore days where we combine laundry events with vacuuming and dusting, just like home. While the vessel is not large it still generates a lot of dust, plus a constant debris field of bugs to contend with, both inside and out (we’re adjusting to the wide variety of bugs there are in the world, and have gained a new respect for entomologists).

Words from the Captain

Because we’ve now entered Canada and are roughly halfway through this year’s trip, I thought it timely to provide a statistical update:

  • Statute miles travelled (Stuart, FL to Canadian border) – 1843
  • Hours of motoring – 195
  • Fuel used (not including generator) – 2469 litres (543 imperial gallons)
  • Average MPG – 3.4
  • Average fuel cost – $1.06/litre
  • And for Ted, average nightly moorage cost – $30.24

The following pictures cover the portion of our trip from the northern end of Lake Champlain along the Richelieu River, which includes the Chambly Canal and the St. Ours lock, to Sorel, Quebec.

Our final picture from Lake Champlain, from our anchorage at Deep Bay, near Plattsburg, New York.


Oops, we left something behind! John on a mission (in blustery winds) to recover one of our big bumpers that got away while we focussed on clearing customs.


Once part of the major industrial highway linking Canada with markets in the U.S., the Chambly Canal is now used only by pleasure boats.


The canal travels through rural and residential settings – in Quebec, many of the homes we saw were still quite modest, unlike much of the waterfront property we’ve seen so far.


The Chambly Canal is the responsibility of Parks Canada, and all but one of the canal locks are still operated by hand.


Sharing with a de-masted sailboat the final three successive locks into Chambly basin – between the two of us, it was a tight squeeze!


Chambly Basin, with Fort Chambly in the background – this is one of a number of 18th century forts built by the French along the Richelieu/Champlain corridor.


A common site along the Richelieu River – this being Sunday, traditional services were in full swing….


….as were more modern weekend pursuits (note: French Canadian boaters love to zoom by at very close proximity – sometimes it felt like we were being swarmed by bees).


Speaking of swarms, there were scads of people watching the show from above as we locked through the St. Ours lock, our last on this river – we had lots of interest in that funny looking boat all the way from Vancouver.


Sunset over Fleuve Saint-Laurent, our destination at the end of a busy but very enjoyable Canada Day.

On the horizon – Quebec City and the Saguenay fiord.

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  1. Enjoying all posts on your blog, and especially loved this issue. Glad to know you are back in Canada. Stats are interesting, and photos are fascinating – and beautiful. Good eye for photography….

  2. Hi John and Ria,
    We are at camp waiting for the weather to clear. Coming up to the end of our three week stay…had great weather and good times relaxing and doing camp chores.Took the opportunity to light up your blog…so enjoyable…love your photos…especially loved the one at the border.We appreciate the local history…and photos of you both biking around looking so relaxed and happy. Enjoy the next leg of your journey…look forward to the ongoing blog. xo Jeannie
    The boating life sure seems agreeable – you are enviously looking relaxed and healthy!

    1. Hi J&P,

      Pleased to hear you had a good time at Thormanby. We had heard the weather finally improved in July, so we’re sure it was lovely there (as always!).

      It’s good to know that you’re enjoying the blog and the stories of some of our (mis)adventures. No doubt we’ll have a few more before we’re done.

      Enjoy the rest of the summer, and we look forward to seeing you when we return in September.


      John & Ria

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