JB was so excited, at long last he was going to cruise Muskoka Lakes on the Segwun Steam Ship. I understood his excitement because he used go down to the Owen Sound dock with his father to watch the big coal burning steam ships come in. He has wanted to have this adventure for a very long time – so we camped close by for a couple of nights so we could book a lunch cruise.
Stepping aboard was like stepping into a grand past where people of means could cruise the large lake in comfort, perhaps visiting resorts to the north, or going to their summer cottages where roads were yet to be built. It also has had the designation as a Royal Mail Ship so it transported mail. Although mail is now transported by road, you can still post a card from the ship.
The ship was originally built in 1887 in Glasgow, Scotland and shipped in six pieces through Toronto to Gravenhurst, Ontario where it was reassembled. In 1924 it was rebuilt to convert the side paddlewheel steamer to a twin-engine coal burner. She was taken from service several times, only to be rescued and refurbished again, the last time being in 1981. She is a survivor and is now the oldest operating hand-fired coal steam ship in North America.
Of course we got there early with tickets in hand ready to board at the Gravenhurst Wharf. We had a table at the second seating for lunch so we had time to explore the ship and watch the scenery as we cruised. The pace was slow and quiet, with motor boats passing us, but also giving this ship the right of way in narrow places. I loved hearing the whistle sounding as we cruised around islands; the whistle that is a welcomed, familiar sound for people living on the shores and islands of the lake. I smiled every time I heard the one long deep resonating blast, then two shorts, and one medium blast. Maybe it reminded me of the haunting, soothing sound of the steam engine train whistle. Maybe you will hear it’s echo as you look at the images I took on board.
My tummy started blowing my hunger whistle just about the time the captain announced that the second seating was ready to be served. We were greeted by wonderful scents as we entered the aft dining room.
We took a window seat, ordered a glass of wine, and took in the ambiance of open windows with beautiful views that were constantly changing. We were both surprised at the wonderful meal: chicken pies with filo crust, Caesar salad with just the right amount of dressing, and rolls. For desert we had the very best mixed-berry-crumb pie I have ever tasted, along with coffee with lots of cream. We had really big smiles – our tummies were happy and we were being treated like royalty. What else would we expect on a Royal Mail Ship?
After lunch we had just enough time to climb the stairs to meet the captain. I comment that one of my favorite parts of the cruise was hearing the whistle. He smiled at me and asked if I wanted to hear it one more time. What could I say? After he blew the whistle just for me, he told us that we needed to go back down to the main deck because they needed to get ready to dock.
What a great adventure. This post is for you, sweetheart, because I enjoyed your excitement as much as I enjoyed the cruise. I’m so glad we made time for you to do it.
The WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge for this week is Adventure. Now that I have taken you on our adventure, you can go on others or share your adventures with us by visiting the WordPress challenge.