We flew from Amsterdam to Toronto where we had a nice dinner out with my parents, Aunt Judy and cousin Kevin and Vicky. The following day Gary headed back to San Diego to work on the house, and the kids and I stayed in Canada to visit my family for the next 3 weeks, we definitely got the better end of the deal.
We mainly stayed at the cottage near Gananoque, but we also checked out my parent's new house in Kingston. The cottage is stacked with fun toys like 4 optimists (small 1-man sailboats), a 29er (skiff type sailboat), a 20' power boat, a 9' inflatable that only sometimes stayed inflated,… Plus being in the middle of the Thousand Islands, we took the boats out and explored many of them. After all the cruising we have done, I can still honestly say the Thousand Islands offers some of the best cruising in the world. There are about 20 islands that are parks, and they are only accessible by boat, where you can camp, have bonfires,… Recently tent-cabins have been added to a few and we spent 1 night at Gordon with the cousins and Kathy. The kids had a blast making the fire, roasting marshmallows and chasing the raccoons that came out after dark.
Anneka, Ciara, Axel, Dad, Gigi, and Thomas. His grandkids surprised him by washing his car for father's day.
Thomas' birthday, celebrated with lots of fireworks
We did a short road trip to Ottawa to see parliament, as the kids have never been there and we thought we should add an educational aspect to this visit. We had lunch along the Rideau River with my godparents, then headed to Larry's airfield as Axel really wanted to check out his airplanes. Larry convinced some guys from the glider club to take Axel up in a glider. He was so thrilled! Later we enjoyed a wonderful dinner at my cousin Sandra's house, and the kids really bonded. Axel and Ethan really did not want to leave each other the next day.
Parliament buildings in Ottawa
One day we went to Sandbanks Provincial Park near Picton at the eastern end of Lake Ontario, with its beautiful sand beaches that stretch for miles and a massive campground nestled in the forest. Axel and Thomas liked skim-boarding and everyone loved the warm water. Axel and Gigi were blown away that there could be such a huge beach, with crashing waves, on a fresh water lake. They also had a hard time grasping that the tide would not come in and wash their sand sculptures away.
Unfortunately not everything was idyllic in Kingston, while I was home, my brother and dad had to make a difficult decision about the Truant, a 1932 wooden powerboat my brother owns, and father has been slowly working on restoring. It has been in a state of disrepair for 15 years and the restoration progress has been slow to nonexistent. So the decision was made to scrap the boat. I know they came to right decision, but this is not the way you want to see any boat end up. The good thing is now my brother can buy a functioning boat that his family can enjoy this summer. Here is a small photo homage to the good and the bad of the Truant.
Each of us has brought away many different memories and perspectives from this journey, all of us are richer, and as a family we are definitely closer.
As a year-end school project Gigi and Axel made a video outlining the highlights of the trip for them. It is fantastic! When you have a little time you should watch it (run time 16 minutes).
Cheers and may our travels inspire you to follow your dreams,