There just ain’t no way, any how, any place, that one can alphabetically express, politely or otherwise, the guttural grunts that belched across the watery miles on a past Thursday morning just prior to noon.

If it had come from one of our farm animals, I can assure you a vet would have been immediately called.

It was loud and it was clear, bringing a smile to the lips of everyone (my guesstimate is 600) on board, including the captain and shipmates, all the way down to those serving food and the band, featuring my kind of music, having topped the charts during the late 1950s/early ‘60s.

It was the parting blip of the foghorn that signified the initial spring cruise of the Chi-Chemaun, as it eased away from the wintertime docks at Owen Sound, heading round-trip to Tobermory. If you haven’t guessed by now, folks, I was on it.

Just to get over the long winter blahs, quite a number of the Saugeen Valley Fur and Feather Fanciers Association members indicated that it would once again be nice if we could get together for a little trip and lunch together.

When the Chi-Chemaun Boat Cruise was mentioned, I flung my hand high and wide with the hopes of catching our president’s eye, but I needn’t have worried – I’m quite sure, in his eagerness, he counted my hand wave as four.

Needless to say, I found myself enjoying the deep-throated bleat of the foghorn as we quietly glided away from the dock, heading for a sightseeing pleasure cruise around the islands on the route to and fro to Tobermory and back.

The reason for the round-trip was the low water level at the Manitoulin Island docks where the boat could not dock if loaded heavily with vehicles. So the pleasure cruise was a last minute, no-vehicle decision for those who still wanted to go. I understand that all tickets for the cruise were sold out.

It was without doubt a fun trip for me.

The weather was blue-sky white cloud warm and sunny, with a cooler breeze once out on the open water. So I tucked my butt on a near window seat overlooking the waters, with the lead singer of the nearby band vocalizing my kind of music.

As we passed each island, the captain called out each by name, allowing us to know our exact location.

There was little other aquatic travel, although I did see a couple of houseboats heading from somewhere to nowhere. Boy, what a life!

My ticket was midstream of the 300 numbers, so it was about the halfway turnaround time when I sat down to a really nice roast beef dinner. When I suggested to the server that I was still a growing boy, he slipped an extra slice of beef and neatly tucked a couple of small gravy-covered potatoes under the edge of my salad. With a friendly smile, he sent me happily on my way.

On returning to the home dock, The Chi-Chemaun was turned completely around in the little bay, which was barely wider than its length, by a couple of tiny tugboats, which were a little longer in length than the average canoe. In reverse, the big ship sided gently up to the home dock, ready and waiting for its next cruise out.

Take care, ‘cause we care.




Barrie Hopkins