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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Hello Canada, and my Disappearing Charts

Yesterday we had a pleasant and uneventful trip across Lake Ontario, and aside from passing one boat as we left Oswego, didn't see another the whole trip.  That's confirmation that it's still early in the season, especially up here.  Oh, and I suppose the 52 degree water temp might have something to do with it as well.

We arrived in Kingston, ON right around noon and got tied up at the city marina, then went through the Customs drill which I was needlessly fretting about.  Right at the pier there's a pay phone and you just call an 800 number.  They ask you a bunch of name, rank, and serial number info about the boat and passengers, whether you have any guns, tobacco, or booze with you, and that's about it.  They give you a report number and off you go.

When you first come into a foreign port, you fly a yellow quarantine flag until you clear customs, then raise a courtesy flag of the country you are visiting.  Notice anything wrong in this picture?

Oops, Sorry Canada
Don't worry, it was quickly corrected to honor our fine hosts.  Speaking of which, Kingston is a really nice town.  Downtowns are essentially all dead in the US, but not elsewhere, including Canada.  We were very struck by this when visiting New Zealand where every town has a vibrant downtown with shops and businesses and activity.  The same is true for Kingston with block after block of shops, food, bars, businesses, etc.  Who needs those shopping malls anyway?

Here are a few pictures from where we are tied up. 

Royal Military College

Kingston City Hall

Shoal Tower Surrounded by Water

Harbor Light and Wind Farm of Wolfe Island

Rainbow over Royal Military College

We are staying in Kingston for a couple of days and I started looking ahead on the chart plotter to scope out the Rideau Canal, and what a surprise I found.  For those not familiar with marine chart plotters, it's basically a real-life Marauder's Map showing a map, your location and heading, and all the other boats around you.  In the US all the charts are available for free, but you need to buy the Canadian charts, so I did.  It cost $300 which I though was a pretty handsome price, but you gotta have them.

Well, they turn out to be the magic, disappearing charts.  When you are zoomed out you can see the narrow, 5' deep Rideau Canal, but as soon as you zoom in, the chart vanishes.  Yikes, that's a problem when trying to navigate 20 miles of narrow, shallow canal.  The manufacturer was able to reproduce the problem, but no solution is available so it looks like I'll need to buy yet another set of charts from a different vendor.  I'm sure glad I found this in advance rather than while underway as the boat passes into the invisible zone.

1 comment:

Angela said...

1. Upside down flag?! Not so good.
2. I hope you got me a fun prize while you were shopping in town!
3. Now that I'm older, I find reading glasses help with those disappearing letters. Just sayin!