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 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!
- Aug 02, 88 Parras , Port Credit ON, Norman and Kate MacSween. Norman, from Lewis in the Outer Hebrides, was a sailing buddy on Lake Ontario for many years, and who had made the journey south twice before we got around to going.
Lake Ontario (In Upbound Shipping Lane)
- Aug 02, 88 Paul Townsend : Lake freighter, whose officer on the bridge gave us a position check on the long day and night crossing of Lake Ontario from Frenchman’s Bay to Oswego, New York.
New York State Barge Canal System:
- Aug 08, 88 Two racing skiffs at Robb Island
- Aug 08, 88 The Boat , a large houseboat, near Robb Island
- Aug 08, 88 Galewin , near Robb Island
- Aug 08, 88 Halcyon , near Robb Island
- Aug 08, 88 Kittie West II , 25 ton tour boat, moored on south side, near Van Styck Island
- Aug 08, 88 No Nukes , Bridge E8 just past Lenore Mohawk Park Marina
- Aug 08, 88 Cream coloured canoe (3 people) near Buoy 57, just past Lenore Mohawk Park Marina
- Aug 09,88 Captain J . paddle wheeler used as a restaurant, formerly located at Port Credit, ON
- Aug 09,88 Ashley’s Daddy’s Boat , 30′ power boat, near Albany YC NY, out of Frenchman’s Bay, ON headed south.
- Aug 09,88 Miami , a cement plant boat near Buoy G51, Hudson River
- Aug 09,88 Dana II , a Canadian boat going north
- Aug 09,88 Mobil , a barge, near Buoy R 22
- Aug 11,88 Rebecca P , tugboat,upbound pushing a barge
- Aug 11,88 MyLinda B & Ashley’s Daddy’s Boat anchored just north of West Point
- Aug 11,88 Mister Allen , tugboat pushing a barge upstream
- Aug 11,88 Buchannan 12 , pushing a block of eleven barges upstream
- Aug 12,88 Lady K, a lovely trawler, just south of Bear Mountain Fixed Bridge, Hudson River.
- Aug 12,88 Tug B pushing a block of barges upstream
- Aug 12,88 Marzanne IV
- Aug 12,88 Circle Line vessel . Called me asking if he was on the Harlem River (?)
- Aug 12,88 Intrepid , US aircraft carrier and two unidentified ocean liners in New York Harbour
New York City to Norfolk
- Aug 14, 88 Apogee , moored at Shrimp Box, Manasquan, NJ
- Aug 14, 88 Ensenda , moored at Shrimp Box, Manasquan, NJ Peter Holbrun , Puerta Rico. He sailed every winter from Connecticut to Puerto Rico, offshore all the way. He had come into Manasquan to repair a mast. His rigging was all gavanized steel!
- Aug 16, 88 Trump Prince ss, moored near the casino, Atlantic City. We anchored within 100 yds of her. A small runaboat manned by two security guards patrolled her from end to end.
- Aug 20, 88 Oh Tee ,at Chesapeake City, Rupert Cheeseman and Muriel. Out of Port Credit. Invited us on board for cocktails. Very nice
- Aug 21, 88 Nurnberg Atlantic , Hapag Lloyd, a container ship heading home to Europe, in the Chesapeake Canal. She looks like a city block as she approaches!
- Aug 21, 88 Tug ” Drive r” pulling “Interstate 70”
- Aug 21, 88 Bestes , a large motorsailer, docked in Annapolis, Bob and Beckie Baker, en route to Daytona, ex area manager for Pan Am. Very kind and helpful. Beckie drove us to the Giant Supermarket, which was the largest we had ever seen.
Norfolk to Miami
- Oct 18, 88 Joy , 37′ in Great Bridge, an Arlberg 37, Bob & Mimi, experienced at sailing south, Admiral of the Fleet for Joy, Helvetia and Windermere right down to Darby Island in the Exhumas.
- Oct 18, 88 Helvetia , in Great Bridge, George and Ruth (a Swiss couple) Also part of the “Joy” fleet.
- Oct 23, 88 Aeolus , Apawawahka , Anxious, BrandyTyme , Hero in anchorage at Town Creek, Beaufort, NC
- Oct 27, 88 Aeolus , Rhapsody , Joy & Helvetia in anchorage at Little River anchorage
- Oct 27, 88 Carpe Diem , who started later than most each morning, and overtook us and pretty well every one else in front of her, going south like a bat out of hell.
- Oct 30, 88 Island Express , a tug , just outside of Georgetown
- Nov 11, 88 Windswept , Cheoy Lee Yawl 35′ (?) at Peck Lake, (a lake that should be renamed the “Devil’s Punchbowl”)
- Nov 17, 88 Retriever, came by and attempted to get Windermere off sandbar with its wake, the towed her off for $25.
- Nov 12, 88 Raven, calling to warn Joy of sandbar
- Nov 22, 88 Tropical Storm “Keith” hits us at Fernandina Beach
- Lee 35″ (?) (Helped us find an anchorage near Peck Lake)
- May 09, 89 Queen Elizabeth II , as she manoeuvered with bow thrusters (no tugs!) into her slip at Nassau Harbour.
- May 07, 89 White Fin , a beautiful white flush decked yacht flying the White Ensign, Nassau Harbour
The Exuma Islands, Bahamas:
- Elohsa , North Easton Ma, Bob & Helen
- Peace of Mind , Elmsdale, NS, Ahna & Del (An ex-submariner, very knowledgeable with Atomic 4 engines)
- Companeros , Ottawa Chuck & Isabel
- Jolan Jolan , Puerta Plata, Dominican Rep Rosa & Bruce
- Orn . Fairfax, Va, Orn and Lyce
- Tapa Wingo , Toronto. Bruce & Carol
- Helvetia , Bourne, Ma, George & Ruth (Sailing companions from Great Bridge to
- Brandy Tyme , Ottawa, Bob and Carol
- Bimbo , a large catamaran with a wonderful skipper and crew.
- Alouette . Bromont. PQ, Ben
- Lady Play , Eden, NC Jim & Mary
- Temptress , Spokan, Washington, Marianne & Larry
- High Hope , Minnesota, Peter & Audrey
- Orion , Hamburg, Germany, Karl & Gerda
- Benchmark , Jon & Cindy Komark, Rita & Sloan, Fort Myers.
- Alouette , Ben Berneche, Bromont, Quebec.
- M/V Grand Master , mailboat Nassau to George Town, Exhumas.
- Dec 20, 88 Prairie Wind , trawler, Jack & Miriam, Pam & Bill (with the young Windsurfer who loved Northers with 20 plus knots of wind.)
- Mar 23, 89 Benchmark , N. Fort Myers, Jon & Cindy (Helped us at Lee Stocking Island)
- Mar 27, 89 Golden Dawn , Sam (Brought us grouper etc at Lee Stocking Island). On his way back to Nassau to drop off guest.
- Mar 28, 09 Pagan Knight , Daytona Beach, Roger Luddini & Judy (Sailing companions from Little Stocking Cay to Nassau)
- Mar 28, 89 Happy Two , Ken (Brought us grouper etc at Lee Stocking Island) Ken told me that this winter was absolutely the best in the past ten years. “It’s not always as nice as this!”
- Apr 04, 89 Catmini , new catamaran just bought in Annapolis , Jean Pierre & Chantel and Janak, Geneva
- Apr 04, 89 Four kayaks (3 singles and two doubles) Sailing near the Royal Dundas caves in the Exhumas.
- Apr 04, 89 Huntress , a Wellington 40+, Ft Lauderdale, Barbara & Morty Engel (ex SORC racer) 48′ Wellington c/w washer & dryer on board!
- Apr 04, 90 Piece of Mind, Alma & Dell , Little Farmer’s Cay
- Apr 14, 89 Camper Nicholson 31 Hull No. 107 , skipper Richard.
- Apr 14, 89 Sea Sharp , guests on board came over for a couple of gallons of gas in exchange for beer.
- Apr 20, 89 New Shoreham II (A cruise boat (At Paradise Bay, near Conch Cut, came right up to the beach and disharged it passengers through a bow ramp!)
- Apr 23, 89 Nicasophia, at North Warderick Wells.
- Apr 23, 89 Airborne , at North Warderick Wells.
- Apr 23, 89 Janice L , Bob & Nita, Asst Wardens of the Exhumas Underwater Park., at North Warderick Wells.
- Apr 23, 89 Vagabundo, at North Warderick Wells.
- Apr 23, 89 Sea Hawk , at North Warderick Wells.
- Apr 23, 89 Teel, at North Warderick Wells.
- Apr 23, 89 Quetzal , Cayman Islands, at North Warderick Wells.
- Apr 23, 89 Sierra West , at North Warderick Wells
- Apr 25, 89 Mariah , a Tayana 37″ , Randy (a US military officer single-handing out of the Chesapeake) Cocktails on Pagan Knight at Hawksbill Cay)
- Apr 25, 89 Susan , at Hawksbill Cay
- Apr 27, 89 Two French boats, Milharjo, Beneteau (43?) , and one unnamed. (With couples who always strolled the decks in the nude.) at Norman’s Cay
- Apr 27, 89 Wavedancer , Corbin 39, with three gorgeous nude girls aboard, Norman’s Cay
- Apr 27, 89 Joint Venture , Pearson 424 Marty the dentist, at Norman’s Cay
- Apr 27, 89 Amy Liz , a green steel ketch 53ft, at Norman’s Cay
- Apr 27, 89 Somewhat , power boat, Mobile, Alabama, at Norman’s Cay
- Apr 27, 89 Coral Reef II, a large research vessel anchored at Norman’s Cay.
- Apr 29, 09 Paradise, Shenanigan, Popeye, Semantha, North Star, Ma Jabe, Speedy, Flying Rebel, Lone Star, Windborne, Pleiades, Nikki Loraine (Passport 42ft), Zest, Undersea Hunter, Bobalou,
- Marianna Sue, Western Star, Little Spirit, Weewatin, Deep Diver. all at Norman’s Cay.
- May 01, 89 Tuff Stuff , Steel boat JNF 38, Montreal, at Allen’s Cay
- May 01, 89 Chri OD , Dufour, France, at Allen’s Cay
- May 01, 89 Miss You , trawler, White River Jct, Vermont, at Allen’s Cay
- May 01, 89 St Elzher , classic ketch, Canada, at Allen’s Cay
- May 01, 89 Heron I , a small dark blue sloop, Kenora, Canada, at Allen’s Cay
- May 01, 89 Nickie Lorraine , 40+ft sloop, San Francisco, at Allen’s Cay
- May 01, 89 Slo Pok , 31 ft sloop, at Allen’s Cay
- May 06, 89 Sundancer , a 60ft + ketch crewed by charter passengers (all around 20 – 25 yrs old) set sail at 21:50 and headed out of Nassau’s eastern entrance.
- May 10, 89 Susan M , Kingston at Gun Cay
- May 10, 89 Longtai l, at Gun Cay
- May 24, 89 A Pearson Yacht, Skipper Steve(?) near Peck Lake, who offered us help when we were still grounded at high tide.
- May 26, 89 Ragtime , Gulfstream Fla, a beautiful classic raised trunk cruiser, overtaking us in a hurry just north of Wabasso Hwy Bridge at 09:42.
- May 26, 89 Duke , at Vero Beach
- May 27, 89 Nils , French skipper Francois, who had been cruising for 4 years in the Mediterranean, South America and Florida.
- May 29, 89 Moyie , Classic 31, Barrie, Ontario, at Cape Canaveral
- May 31, 98 Escape , 31ft. Couple in their 70’s, at Cape Canaveral
There were, of course, many other boats afloat and close by at the time. We obviously didn’t record them all. But this list is an interesting snapshot of a short period in time when sailors passed one another during the day “like ships in the night”. Were you there?