Monday, November 4th, 2019
Highlights of the summer were plentiful. The Great Lakes are a stunning stretch of water, very stunning in fact, and are lined by beautiful nature and coastal communities large and small. The area is rich in cultural heritage and history, stretching back millennia. What is not to like?
Roaring down Lake Huron under full sail. A serene anchorage at St James’s Harbour. Massive clouds and mighty thunderstorms. 1000 ft lakers doing their thing. These are lasting memories.
All of the host communities and festival organisers did a wonderful job welcoming us and presenting the ships to the public. Countless volunteers were only too ready to do anything to make our stay go as smoothly and as enjoyable as possible. Local knowledge and support make all the difference for a ship pulling into an unknown port for a few busy days while engaged in a lengthy campaign spanning three months.
And as the Tall Ships Erie festival drew to a close with a wonderful crew only twilight sail aboard the beautiful schooner Lettie G. Howard, the end of the Tall Ships Challenge Great Lakes 2019 series made itself known. Homeward bound.
We were back on Lake Erie, having come through Lakes Michigan, Huron and St Clair. Lake Ontario just beyond the horizon. And with it, you guessed it, the same Welland Canal. 8 more locks, this time downbound.
The Erie Maritime Museum and the Flagship NIAGARA League extended their welcome and allowed us to stay for a few extra days, giving us the opportunity to undertake the canal prep in a more leisurely fashion. Not that we needed the extra time. We had simply become good at it. Nevertheless, good to have a couple of days up one’s sleeve. More training (we had embarked yet another new lot of trainees, the seventh for the summer) and drills. More maintenance. More daily life aboard a working, living, breathing square-rigger of the old school. I never tire of it.
And then Fiji happened.