Ken Goodings and Lynn Kaak moved aboard their Niagara 35, moored in Toronto Harbour, in the fall of 2003, after “selling up” and committing to the liveaboard life. With reports from Ken and Lynn, we shall follow their adjustment to this lifestyle and their continuing adventures
Boat side skating rink
Today I bought a brand new pair of skates. I don’t really know why. I don’t enjoy skating. I’m really a skier.
My childhood memories of skating on the frozen pond behind my house weren’t that pleasant. When we had finished clearing the snow for a good skate the bigger kids would usually kick us off so that they could play hockey.
My arthritic feet and toes complain about being jammed into a small space and then being trussed up by tight laces. My cold fingers can’t tighten the laces enough to prevent me from skating around on my ankles. In my opinion the best part of skating is getting the darn things off!
However, with a good ten days of -14 degree weather, the harbour and marina ice had frozen solid. One morning, Lynn and the boys began to clear a small skating rink on some relatively clear ice between some vacant docks. Now, while I don’t like skating very much, I do enjoy snow shoveling. We soon had a team of five people clearing the thin snow from the ice surface. Then, to smooth the skating surface even more, we chopped a hole through the ice and bucketed water onto the rink. Another team swept up and down the rink, pushing a plastic convoy of snow shovels to spread the water over its surface. Bucketing the cold water seemed too much like work for some, so an electric sump pump and a hose was called into service. All of this activity had attracted quite a following from neighbouring boats.
In an hour or so the rink had been finished. But the water, which we had spread over the ice, was still not frozen enough for good skating. “We’ll have to wait.” said someone. “What’ll we do until then?” said another. “Beer said I.”
15 minutes previously, I had quietly crept away from the action on the rink. Then, just as the rink crew had finished their work, I arrived back. I was carrying a package of authentic Canadian pea- meal bacon; some buns, a cast iron frying pan and a single-burner propane stove. My parka’s pockets were filled with bottles of beer.
I had remembered the “Great White North” spoof on Canadian television in the early ‘80s with Bob and Doug. They always wore funny winter hats while frying some back bacon over a camp stove. Beer was always involved.
While wearing my most outrageous furry winter hat with ear-flaps, I fired up the stove, threw on the bacon and distributed the beer to the tired rink groomers. Two of the dock dogs were fascinated by the smell of cooking meat. They sharply watched my every move, hopeful of a slip while I was turning the bacon over in the pan.
On that frosty sunny afternoon we all enjoyed an authentic Canadian winter picnic. Ice-cold beer with crispy pea-meal bacon served on toasted buns warmed our insides. Our noses, feet and bare fingers felt frozen. When I poured out some of the fragrant hot grease onto the snow and ice, the dogs had a wonderful time licking it all up again.
As the food had been consumed and the ice had finally frozen, I laced up my new skates and gamely ankled my way around our new rink.
I don’t enjoy skating. I’m really a skier.
Lynn Kaak Silverheels III – You can catch up with Lynn and Ken’s blog at – The Voyages of Silverheels III
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