It's official! We did it! On a beautiful November 1st we threw off the lines and left our home port of Hamilton Harbour for the great wide unknown (okay...so in 2016 it's not exactly unknown, but 'the great wide Navionics charted sea' is slightly less romantic).
Our first day had a few rough bumps as we left much later in the day than we intended. In one day we fired up the engine for the first time in over a month, built a cradle for the masts (thanks Rob!), had the masts laid across the deck, packed up what was left of our little corner on the harbour, secured what we needed to the deck, packed up a few last minute things and waived goodbye to family as we motored off! Unfortunately this meant some evening cruising which is far less fun when the temperature dips below double digits, and you're not sure which marina you're pulling into for the evening and you discover that your navigation lights aren't working, and there are meter high swells and you question the carpentry of the mast cradle you just built....but we did it all the same.
We spent our first few days cruising north east along the shore of Lake Ontario. We remembered little things that we had forgotten after a season of not sailing (like yes, that cupboard HAS to be locked when we're underway). We reaffirmed the knowledge that the boating community really is full of amazingly kind and helpful people (thank you to Port Credit Yacht Club, Whitby Marina and Cobourg Marina!). We met some new friends who we had only ever encountered in the online boating communities we belong to. We also discovered something that we hadn't thought too much about....marinas along Lake Ontario close for the season in early November! Thankfully we caught each of our ports JUST before they closed on the Canadian side of the lake.(Cobourg literally boarded up their doors the day after our arrival). And we prepared to say goodbye to our home and native land as we prepped ourselves and our vessel to cross the great lake.
Preparing to cross such a huge expanse meant stopping an extra day in Cobourg. We launched our dinghy to apply our new sticker indicating our port of registry on the transom (back) of the boat. We filled our fuel tanks. We installed our warmth-enhancing new canvas siding. We spent all of our Shopper's Drug Mart points provisioning (re: simple snacks that don't have to be 'prepared' while underway). We bought some maple syrup. We organized our registration documents, passports, veterinarian certificates and American money. We secured everything on deck that wasn't already strapped down. We secured Frenchy in our warmest blanket. And we went for a walk and talked about Canadian things we might miss. (It turns out we were wrong about a lot of them....stay tuned.)
On November 7th we pushed off from Cobourg, Ontario, Canada and travelled 57 nautical miles to Rochester, New York, U.S.A.
Link to our 'farewell Canada' video HERE
Side note: We just want to extend one more HUGE thank you to our friends and family. For helping us. For lending a hand. For putting up with us. For offering provisions, and car rides and love and support. We called in every last favour we had to make this happen and we couldn't have done it without you guys. A huge thank you to all of our followers as well. Whether we've met in person, or only in the online world, we are shocked and awed at the outpouring of love and support we've received as we start this adventure. It means the world to us and is it's own kind of 'fuel'. THANK YOU!