The 9th date was set to accommodate our core paddle teams busy schedules and weather was not an issue, this paddle was a go no matter what the conditions, other than lightening of course. Weather ? Weather would not have stopped this seasoned group of kayakers from paddling the short distance along Kingston’s shore line to visit the last three lighthouses of our Lake Ontario 53 lighthouse adventure, nope no way.
How nice Darcie and her Mom & Dad
showed up in support with cool signs. Thanks Kelly Gang!!!!!
The plan was to meet as a group on the water in Kingston Confederation Basin harbour at 10am take some photos of the group and then around 10:30 paddle the three lights and if weather permitted, paddle to Cedar Island across from Fort Henry for a fun paddle. We would then return to Kingston harbour finalize plans and head to our place for a Thank You BBQ.
|Getting ready for the photo|
As it turned out at 10am we had six paddlers and not all where in kayaks, this saddened me ,cause we were missing people who have paddled with us most of the summer.
As per our plan we took several photos of the paddle group and Mary Farrar and her gang in a small power boat on the water and on shore where Darcie and her family, Deb & Dan Boylan good friends and my best buddy, Mollie the cruise director.
|Paddlers Left to Right|
Bonnie McTaggart, Janet Hayley,
Jane & Rob Hough
What a handsome group of supporters. Who knew this would be so much fun??? Oops!!! this is not City Hall we better move and get another photo.....smiling.
Deb has become an excellent photographer with her new camera and offered to photograph this special moment of us all in front of Kingston City Hall. I guess you could say # 51 Lighthouse completed.
Photo op finished our paddle group heads for the Wolfe Island Ferry Dock Light. In about 5 minutes we gathered at the end of the ferry dock, with the Wolfe Islander III Ferry idling in the back ground. As my fellow kayakers readied for the MS Flag photo under the very non descript orange light, I questioned how this little orange light made it to the active lighthouse list ? Hummmmmm Interesting, but for us # 52 Light is completed, just one to go.
Vivian enjoying her first day on the water in a long time and we are glad to have her join us on our last Lighthouse Paddle.
So it turned out that everyone arrived at Cedar Island at the same time, we decide to go ashore and hike the island maybe do a Geocache and there just happened to be washrooms available, so that’s always a plus right.
Kayaks all on shore at Cedar Island Yep!! another photo Op....smiles everyone. We live in God's Country for sure. Cedar Island is one of 20 Islands you can camp on in the St Lawrence National Park and all are beautiful.
This day is turning out to be beautiful our little hike took us to the Geocache and Bonnie was introduced to geocaching…..hummmmmmm I think she is hooked. Standing at the Gazebo over looking the St Lawrence Seaway towards Wolfe Island everyone was saying how beautiful this spot was and then it happened, Vivian suggested we paddle to Wolfe Island. I loved the idea, like most of the paddlers with us, this was on my bucket list of paddles to complete. I said without thinking lets do it, we walked back to our kayaks and launched.
The group thought this would be a good place to stop and have a little lunch. LUNCH????? I was starting to feel bad as Mollie was still on shore waiting in front of City Hall. Inside I just wanted to head back, I felt that they would be too long.
Well some of the group, ate launches they had brought with them and others, along with myself, had not brought anything so we went to the restaurant on the shore and had sweet potato fries.
Within 30 minutes I said I had to leave ‘cause I had folks arriving at our home at 3pm for the BBQ. The group packed up and we all headed out together, then I heard someone say lets paddle around Green Island. They were having a great day, but I needed to head back, Rob was paddling with me so I mentioned to him I need to go and he understood. So I broke from the group and headed back.I was now feeling poorly for Mollie who did not know what was going on, let alone having to sit around most of the day waiting not knowing if she could leave and come back. Paddling really hard, I covered the 4.5 kms between Wolfe Island and Kingston harbour in under 30 minutes. I then realized I still needed to take at least one photo of the Breakwater Light with the MS Flag completing the 53 lights.
Brandon & Erica getting MS Flag out.
As I approached the Breakwater Lighthouse I met Brandon Pinkney and Erica Young both 4th Year RMC cadets out kayaking. I guess they heard about our project. This was wonderful to have these young kayakers part of our adventure, so I got them to hold the MS Flag under the Breakwater light which, I could see made them feel part of this day. Number # 53 completed not how I expected, but nothing about this summer has been what I expected….in a good way. Brandon & Erica paddled with me back to the boat launch, we said our good byes and I thanked them very much for coming out.
They did it, the flag is up. Lots of wind which moved them along pretty quick. The Breakwater light is still in the Photo.....smiling.
I turned into the launch where I found the love of my life, tired and worried. But Mollie, being Mollie, jumped right in and we loaded my kayak onto the truck in record time. On the way home I praised to her for having her sitting around all day not know what was going on, she just said it wouldn‘t have been so bad, if she would have had a book and a washroom. She is a saint for sure.
Arriving home at 3:05 we knew we would have people waiting for us. We E-Mailed all our guests that we would be starting to boil corn at 3pm, bring your appetites and sure enough some of our friends had already arrived and were camped out in the back yard.
Mollie quickly recruited Darcie and they set to putting the salads together that Mollie had prepared much earlier in the day. I went about offering the rest drinks, then I put them to work shucking corn while I got the BBQ and Corn boiler set up and boiling water. As with any group of close friends being a little late was nothing to worry about and they all understood. Fred and Jane arrived and jumped in with the food prep, Lee took on the BBQ duties and I quickly had a shower as I noticed people stepping back as I went to hug them……..smiling. Not really but it’s a good story.
With everything pretty much ready Mollie and I took a few moments to enjoy our guests and thanked them for taking part in preparing their own dinner…….oops. By this time most of the kayakers had arrived and stories of paddle trips and lighthouse adventures were being started. I looked around and felt blessed. What a wonderful summer of paddling, shared with so many interesting and wonderful people. People I barely knew at the beginning of the summer, now Mollie and I call close friends and why not, we shared beautiful places, challenging moments, but most of all time together, time in the outdoors.
With most of our guests in attendance, food ready it was time to load our plates and eat. Ensuring all the guests were looked after and sitting at the single food covered table, which by the way the group decided should be outside on this early fall day, Mollie and I sat to eat.
A few minutes into our meal the stragglers showed up, that meant everyone was here. At this time while everyone was eating I began to thank everyone for our great summers adventure on behalf of Mollie and myself .
Thanking paddlers for sharing their time and money, so many awesome days on the water rain or shine. The generous sponsors for donating to the MS Kingston Chapter. Thanking Darcie for being our inspiration and for allowing us to use her life story with MS in our awareness and fund raising efforts. Then lastly I needed to thank my dearest wife Mollie, I can never hold back my emotions when speaking of her. When she walks in the room she makes me smile. Without Mollie this summer adventure and all the other crazy adventures I’ve dragged us into and over our 38 years of marriage could and would not have ended so successfully and with such wonderful memories. She is so giving, supportive and understanding, who else when being told “ Hun this summer I’m thinking of paddling all the lighthouses on Lake Ontario would say “ Cool, just be safe about it, Oh and how many are there ? " As the Irish say “ she is a saint and there is a place in heaven for her”.
After I got through thanking folks and handing out some enlarged photos of special moments taken of each paddler, some funny, some just a beautiful memory we shared. I then sat down, pleased with what we had accomplished. We completed what we started, this is big for me as Mollie and my extended family will tell you, for me this is important. They have heard me say more times then they would like to admit “ it’s not what you start that counts, it’s what you finish that give you satisfaction“. I was also pleased that we surpassed our goal of raising $ 1000.00. I think we did OK raising $1300.00 dollars for our MS Chapter they were happy. The last thing that went through my mind before someone mentioned dessert was I wish I could Thank all the shore people for their kindness.
It’s then as Jane was walking towards the table with a cake in hand, I became a little upset. I thought Mollie had mentioned that the next day was my Birthday and I wanted no one to know, I wanted this dinner to be about thanking our friends. When Jane placed the cake she had made in front of me I began to laugh, what a beautiful present.
|To Me this was the best Birthday Cake Ever and|
no one knew except Mollie.
The cake was not a birthday cake, it was Lighthouse cake with 20 Years To Enlightenment written in icing. What an awesome gift, what an awesome memory Mollie and I will have of this day. Thank You Jane & Rob
As much as the day was warm this September evening was cooling quickly. While folks chatted some others chipped in and clean up went fast, food stored away, tables and chairs placed in the shop it was now time for a camp fire.
With chair around the fire most people huddled in to catch some of the fires warmth. By dark most people had said their good byes and thanks, it had been a long day. Mollie and I sat watching the fire enjoying the silence, I then said thanks and she said your welcome. I got up and placed a bucket of water on the fire and gathered up Mollie’s hand and we said to each other will clean up tomorrow. Mollie then said I hope your thirty year project is hiking a small park or something like that……. End of another little Rob & Mollie adventure.
Wow……..So many people to Thank
Paddlers in no order
Rob & Jane Hough
Chriss Sissons Olcott Park, Life Guard and his fellow paddlers.
Dan & Ashleigh from Burlington
Adeline, the Irish lady who took such great photos of me in Oakville Harbour
Brandon Pinkney 4th Year RMC Cadet
Erica Young 4th Year RMC Cadet
Generous sponsors in no order
Mac & Mary Stienburg
Lee & Mary Lou Fraser
Rob & Jane Hough
Fred & Jan Brogan
and the several unknowns donators “ Thank You All “ on behalf of the MS Chapter Kingston, Mollie and myself.
Thank You to the people who gave more than kindness:
Tim McCormack, Commercial Fisherman who was out there looking out for me on two of my longer off shore trips. Thanks Tim
Jay out of Hidden Harbour, New York who watched out for me on my Galloo, trip. Thanks Jay you know who you are….
Brian Johnson The Wolfe Island Ferry Captain and Author who wrote two articles about our summers adventure. Thanks Brian
The next group of Thank You's go out to all the “ Shore People “ So many acts of kindness, without your generosity this project could not have and would not have been completed. Each of you are near and dear to my heart, I have mentioned you all in my stories throughout this summers blog. Thank You all.
The last Thank You goes to my dear wife Mollie
You, You !!!! Your some friggin cute and lucky to have me……..wink. I love You,
you make my life complete.