Where Was Your Boat in the Winter of 1988 – 1989?

Many boats and ships, large and small, making their way north or south along the waterways between the Great Lakes and the Bahamas in the winter of 1988/1989 were noted in the log of the yawl Windermere. It was a record of vessels, each scurrying about their business or pleasure, that touched the lives of Windermere’s crew; each with its own story to tell. Some hurried by, manned by professional crews and urged on by commercial pressures; others, bent on pleasure, raced south ahead of the weather to be in the Bahamas by Christmas. Some, moving at a more leisurely pace, were content to get to Florida for the winter. Still others had already been there, done that, and were making their way north in the Spring to escape the heat that soon would envelop the south.

There are many vessels out there, and the journey South provides one with an opportunity to see boats and ships of rajabet99. every size and shape. Some, like the Queen Elizabeth II, look gigantic from the deck of a sailboat! Others, such as the small canoe with three occupants paddling along the busy and sometimes churned up waters of the Erie Canal and the one and two-man kayaks in the remote Exhumas, surprise one by just being where they are.

Tug boats on the Hudson River were a never-ending source of wonderment, as they pushed or pulled their great loads up or down the swift and tidal Hudson River. One tug was seen towing a chain of barges with cranes etc on them that stretched at least a quarter of a mile in length! Another tug was seen pushing a block of twelve barges upstream in the Hudson River. Even in this modern age, the waterway obviously remains an important commercial means of moving bulk materials.

In another important category were the sailboats and power vessels. We met and spent time with the crews of several. If a long voyage at sea is a lonely affair, a cruise from Toronto to the Bahamas via the Inland Waterway is anything but. There were so many new and wonderful things to see and people to meet.. Much of the enjoyment of such a voyage comes from time spent with others along the way.

Following is a partial list of boats, warships, ocean liners, ships, power boats and sailing vessels encountered by Windermere that winter. There were many, many more that were seen or contacted, but when one is busy with the business of navigating there is insufficient time to record in the log book everything that one sees. Some vessels were just sights along the way, while others were an integral part of the cruise.

Generally, they are listed below according to where they were first encountered. A brief note is attached to some of the vessels that were of more interest in one way or another. Many listed below indicate no specific date. That either implies imperfect record-keeping by Windermere’s skipper, or that they were part of the great fleet of boats that sit out the winter in the relative safety of Elizabeth Harbour in George Town, The Exhumas, Bahamas.

All the boats listed below were, in one way or another, part of that snapshot of history between Aug, 1988 and June, 1989. Perhaps you were one of those persons in a canoe or racing skiff on the Erie Canal, or maybe you were aboard the mighty QE II on Tuesday, May 9th, 1989, when she docked at Nassau in the Bahamas? Maybe you were aboard the Paul Townsend as she made her way westward across Lake Ontario on Aug 3rd, 1988, or perhaps one of the many sailors who cruised south during the winter of 1988-1989.

You might have been at the Annapolis Boat Show in Oct 1988, or on the beach at Staniel Cay, Bahamas for Christmas Day, 1988. Or were you on Ashley’s Daddy’s Boat? (What a wonderful name for a boat! A bit long, but catchy! ). Perhaps you were on that aircraft carrier in the Hampton Roads, headed out to sea on Oct 17, 1988 with its protective helicopter riding shotgun. Were you on one of those hardy tugboats, pushing or pulling “blocks” of barges on the Hudson River in August, 1988? Or perhaps a crew member of one of the many pleasure boats that makes the cruise of others so enjoyable?

Or perhaps, just perhaps, you were the mysterious lady on the VHF radio somewhere near Nassau who pretended to be Nassau Harbour Control when we called to request permission to enter the harbour. She had picked up some of the nautical jargon and was convincing at first, but something in her manner gave her away as a potentially dangerous fake.

In some way or other, our paths crossed that winter far away from ice and snow! This article is dedicated to each and every one of you, mariners all!

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