Monday 24 November 2014

Up The River, But Not Up The Creek, Part One

" the face of a hurricane west wind..."
                                  -Gordon Lightfoot

  This time last week, the temperature was below freezing, and the first snow of the season was flying.

   Today, the snow is gone and the temp is positively balmy, but we are getting slammed by a meteorological freight train that hasn't slowed down since it left Kansas.  Steady 40-50 knot winds hurt your face.

   Here's how the Lake looked this afternoon:

     Steady 40-50 knot winds hurt your face.

   So, I figured this a good time to revisit a more placid day in Port Dover.

   It's mid-September, and the weather is well and truly balmy,  not too hot, not too cold, not too humid, not too dry, a little underwindy, but oh, well... one of those late summer/early fall days that are too good and too rare to waste.

   SWMBO and I decided to put it to use by making a Quack run up the River, seeing what we could see.

  Th is is hardly the Canadian equivalent of a Joseph Conrad/ Coppolian saga- the Lynn River is the tributary that inconveniently divides Port Dover...

                                                                                         -image courtesy of

..... it is also the source of some small controversy.  As you can see on the map above, the Lynn flows from Northwest to South, through the town of Simcoe, then into the town of Port Dover, where it meets Black Creek, flowing Northeast to South, and then discharges into Long Point Bay.

      The controversy arises below the Y- is the waterway south of the confluence the  Lynn River, or Black Creek?  Some refer to this stretch as "the creek", others as "the river", others, noting that aforementioned body of water has been dredged, widened, straightened and breakwalled, refer to it as "the channel."

       Personally, I figure a creek can flow into a river, yet a river cannot flow into a creek, just as a town can grow into a city, but a city cannot grow into a town...ergo, it is the Lynn River which empties into the Bay, not the Black Creek.

      (Not that anybody really gives a shit. -ed.)

      Er, anywater, we had been up the River and up the Creek dozens of times, always aboard the mothership, but had never turned left and taken the Lynn less travelled, as it were.  Concerns over the uncertainty of draft, airdraft and general  there-are-never-any-sailboats-there-so-sailboats-must-not-be-able-to-go-there logic led us to mark the upper Lower Lynn with "here there be dragons" on our mental chart.

     But, not wishing to leave any local waters unexplored,  we decided to take an hour or so and make a Quack attack.

    We tied up NextBoat opposite the old Misener fish plant, clambered into Quack, our 7 foot long inflatable, cranked up our trusty Suzuki O/B, bid our floating condo adieu...

...and headed upstream.

   We putted past the Port Dover Harbour Museum...

  ... past the new dinghy dock, snapping pics of the intriguing boat tied up...

lifeboat/tender/pilot boat from a freighter?

 ( Please comment if you have any info.)

     ...then under the lift bridge and past the Scruton fleet...

... then past the Bridge Yachts yard, and then past Dave Matthews yard,  into the heart of tug town...

   I admit, I am a sucker for tugs...

    and who doesn't like a beautiful woody?

  ...  get your minds out of the gutter.

   We pass the Nadro Marine yard...

... bear to port and head up the Lynn, into the elephant's graveyard of the Harry Gamble shipyard.

  Meanwhile, to starboard...

The juxtaposition between banks is almost jarring.

   and back to our port side...


 and then things start to get ...interesting.

     The Gamble yard is acres of old tugs, barges, lifeboats, pleasure craft, engines, winches and rust, covered with an increasingly impenetrable cover of foliage.

      It's intriguing as hell.

We spotted this inlet....

...before we noticed the cottage beside it


Of course we had to steer in, to see what we could see...

      As our outboard began to bounce along the bottom, I realized how silted up this basin had become.  That tug  is never leaving again.

      We retreated back to the Lynn and continued upstream.

  More to come later this week.


"Talk the Dock!"



Sunday 16 November 2014

Galley Gear Review: Nice Nesting Pots and Pans

"You see your dreams come true, this I promise you..."
                                                             -Rick Ross

 No matter how big the boat, every boat is too small.

 Especially the galley.

 When it comes to boat galleys, to paraphrase James T. Kirk...

 Space is the final frontier.

  NextBoat*'s galley has more storage capacity than Whiskeyjack's  galley, but "more storage capacity" is a relative term.  That is like saying that your humble scribbler here is taller than the average 9 year old child.

 That doesn't make me a giant.

  Ergo, maximizing space is paramount.  The more stuff you can fit into the existing space, the more comfortable your life in aforementioned space.

  Hence my interest in a set of nesting cookware.

   Every year at the boat show I look for a deal on cookware. I like the quality of the Magma set...

                                                                                                        -image courtesy of  Magma

...but I don't like the inventory-  there are four pots, but only one pan, in the 10 piece set.  Those of you who have read any of the Two-Burner Tastiness recipes understand that I'd rather have two pans, and one less pot, but that isn't an option.

   So, my search continued.

   Until early this summer.

    Wandering through the camping department of my local Canadian Tire, last June, I made an impulse buy.

    (why am I not surprised? - ed.) 

    I had just picked up the bottle of lamp oil I needed,  and on the shelf right beside the lamp oil was the camp cooking gear.  There were the usual speckled enamel suspects, the stuff that looks rustic and rugged, right up until the moment you actually use it, but in the midst of the sea of stamped-in-China-great outdoors-nostalgia-ware  was a  SALE ! tag, under a carton of cookware that looked...different.

   So I bought it.

  Yeah, I'd never heard of "Lagostina" either.

No, those not-shrimp, not-prawns, not-crawfish, not-lobster things?  Those are LaNgostinOs.

Which can be cooked in a Lagostina pot.

 Here's the deal:   Lagostina is an Italian firm that has been manufacturing stainless steel cookware for decades.  Their "Campeggio" line is their, as the name implies, line of camping cookware, but while it is compact in size, it is not compact on quality.
    These pots and pans are constructed of 18/10 stainless, with three ply (stainless steel/ aluminum/ stainless steel) bottoms for even heating. fold down the handle on the large stock pot and ...

    Keep going and in rapid succession you get...

Two, count 'em, TWO pans...

...Two stock pots...

...Two lids that fit both pots and pans....

  ... and a grip-anywhere, go-anywhere insulated pot/pan handle that is both ambidextrous and has hooks for removing hot pot lids, like when you are steaming Langostinos.

Both pots are graduated, which is a nice touch...

  ...for measuring the exact amount of liquid for boiling langstinos

   Also included is a mesh carrying bag... that was promptly repurposed forother uses aboard.

   After 5 months of use, both SWMBO and I can confirm,  we LOVE this stuff.

   All pieces heat evenly, the bottoms don't warp when warm, the handle is substantial, the construction is solid,  the non-stick is real non-stick, and, mosti importantly...

  ... These were the ONLY pots and pans we have used for the last 5 months, and we haven't needed to buy more.  Cooking for 2-4 on a 2 burner  stove?  This is all you will likely ever need.  It is all we have needed.

     Here's an example:

      Cracker crusted pork chops, "Booker T"  mashed potatoes and peaches and cream corn- two burners, three pots, from one nesting cookware set.

Oh, and a bottle of Ramblin' Road DPA

      Surprisingly, although less than half the price of the smaller one-pan Magma nesting set, the Lagostina cookware comes with a 10 year warranty, compared to the Magma's I year warranty.  I am impressed. Retail price at our local Canadian Tire Store  was $119.99 cdn.

      The only challenge is where to find it outside of the Canada.

     Or Italy.
     If anyone wants a set, let me know.   I'll pick it up for you and ship it out- for actual cost.

Thanks for checking in, and please,
"Talk the Dock!"



Monday 10 November 2014


"So, when crowds disappear and only silence is here..."

Labour Day marks the beginning of the end of the season.

Bright and early Tuesday morning,  L-Day +1, boats start coming out of the water, and the metaphorical countdown clock start ticking.

After the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend the ticking gets louder and the tempo picks up as the shrubbery shows it's true colours:

By mid-October, this place is a ghost town:

  As we enter the last week of October, there are only a double handful of boats still hull wet.  Among the few and the proud is Whiskeyjack, as new owner Phil carries on the tradition of not hauling out until you absolutely damn well have to.

  Taking a cruise through the marina in our new/used tender (more on that later),  I notice a pattern- some of the most interesting boats in the marina stay in the water later....

  "Why,"  we are occasionally asked, " keep your boat in the water into October? October can be cold and miserable and rainy and unpredictable."

...  and, this year, it certainly was all of that.

But it was also all of this:

    It's worth sticking around.

And thank you, loyal readers, for sticking around as well.

Remember, "Talk the dock!"