Port Colborne

There is something magical to me about river towns.  It’s largely these towns that make cruising waterways interesting and immensely appealing for me.

There’s a big fancy marina right around the corner.  But it’s a resort for boat people – there’s nothing in walking distance, and if you’re a local and you don’t have a boat the only other reason you would be there is as an employee.

Speaking of such, I pulled into the municipal marina in Port Dover to fill up my fuel and water tanks.  Pulled up to the fuel dock and was greeted by a couple of young folks.  They didn’t know how to make a dock line fast, but were very smiley.  I have two 400 l fuel tanks and both were pretty much bone dry.

While they were filling the first tank I asked about water.  They didn’t know, and one of them took off in a golf cart to find out.  Arrived back as the first tank was almost full with the message that the manager says no water is available.

If my boat wasn’t heavily listing because of the lopsided fuel I would have told them to stop pumping.  But wanting a balanced boat and feeling that there must have been a communication gap I had the other tank filled.

When I went to pay my $800+ bill I pressed again on the water.  Got a brief response from the manager from the adjoining building.  Basically water is expensive, they don’t make much money on fuel sales, go pound sand.  When I asked if there might be water elsewhere in Port Dover I got a shrug.  When I asked if I could tie up for an hour or two I got directed to a dock in the port that is very clearly marked as for being for boats 20 feet and under.  When I raised that she responded that that’s where people go.

Fuck me.  I’m not easily riled, but I’ll never return, and I’m writing here about it.  That person should be fired, or the directors replaced. Or both.

So back to the river towns.  Instead of checking in at the marina and paying the $70 nightly fee I’m sitting at an unserviced dock on the Welland Canal.  Dowtown restaurants and shops 30m to my right, Lakers and ocean going ships passing in a steady stream 20m to my left.  And probably some people still quietly fishing from one of the old locks 40m behind me.  I love it.  This is one of the most authentic river towns I’ve ever been in.  Might stay a while… But I do still need to find water.  That alone may be worth a night at the marina.  But I’m not that desperate yet.  

Have had four ships go by since I started writing this.  Tried taking a picture but it’s awful.  So I’ll be sure to get some daylight shots and post them.  It is one of the coolest thing around, seeing these monsters slide by.  Crew and cargo could have gotten on almost anywhere in the world. And a loud Harley just rumbled through on the shore side.  But I’m a sound sleeper.

Should also say I’m outside up top, and there are no bugs.  Saw a critter on the dock earlier that my buddy on the other boat here says was a mink.  And there was half a fish on my little finger when I got here but I kicked it in the water 🙂

As my dear old dad used to say, that’s the SITREP.

0700 update: ships upbound and a gaggle of pleasure boats downbound.

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