The date is August 31, 2019. It was a beautiful summer day in Brockville, Ontario. My beloved wife and I were exploring this city because of the Tall Ships event that weekend. Each year, the Tall Ships return to this Lake Ontario city. I had planned an entire long weekend trip with this as the centrepiece.

I have always been impressed by the history of sailing ships. For centuries, they were the only mode of travel from one side of the planet to the other, and their design, ability, and crew fascinated me. On this long Labour Day weekend of 2019, we could board and explore some modern sailing vessels.

This annual event attracts many spectators and even has other period events. We saw people dressed in the War of 1812 costumes and did some reenactments since this area was not a friendly place 200 years ago.

As we roamed the site, a Canadian naval vessel caught my eye, offering free rides on a zodiac manned by our navy men. The prospect of a free tour of the water and the ships was too exciting to pass up.

We would don our life vests, pose for a picture and find a seat on the edge of this small boat. We were briefly introduced to the boat’s purpose and uses and told to hang on.

It’s been four decades since I visited Florida and Disney World with my parents. I was on the cusp of my teen years, and it was our first two-week family vacation. We explored many attractions, but one stood out—the log flume. As we approached the ride, I could feel the anticipation building. We would board the floating boat that resembled a log and navigate the twists and turns, the sides of the boat bumping into us with a thud. I knew the ride would culminate in a thrilling splash into a pool of water.

My mother, on the other hand, was in for a surprise. We had been tackling high-intensity rides like roller coasters, and here we were, about to embark on a seemingly relaxing ride along the water. Little did she know about the impending plunge despite us passing it to get to the line. The shock of going from a leisurely cruise to a thrilling splash must have been quite the surprise for Mom.

Decades later, Charlene found herself in the exact same boat as my mother.

When we were touring the Tall Ships, I did not notice the zodiac in the water; I was more enthralled with exploring the decks of these magnificent ships. We happened upon the zodiac and were on the day’s first ride. I expected a fast tour of the water and then a quick return to shore.

We were in for a treat!

Once our boat was sufficiently far from the shore, it opened up to its maximum speed, and we started making really sharp turns, as fast as possible. I was impressed with the handling of the zodiac. In its turns, one side would be almost scraping the water, and those sitting there were close to getting wet. The other side of the boat would be high in the air. As he maneuvered the boat, zig-zagging his way around the area, we took turns being close to the water and high in the air.

I was having a blast.

Charlene was not.

Neither one of us expected this type of tour. I shouted to the pilot, and he responded that they typically do not operate the zodiac in this fashion. They usually drive slowly and take moderate turns. He wanted to show the capabilities of this vessel.

I was thoroughly impressed.

Charlene was not.

Despite the rapid changes in direction, crossing over waves, and high speed, it provided a very comfortable and thrilling ride.

I was further impressed.

Charlene was not.

I would have loved to have taken photos and video of our unexpected water thrill ride, but I rightly feared losing my grip on my phone and losing it during a sharp turn.

I was saddened when we returned to shore.

Charlene was more than happy when she got off that boat.

For me, it was the crowning jewel of the Tall Ships event.

For Charlene, she vowed never to return.

And that is the story behind this picture.


Summer Road Trip

Today is the day I have planned for on our summer road trip since January. With only hours away, I am packed and waiting for Charlene to finish work.   This summer, we head to the East Coast. I started to build the itinerary months ago…

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