"Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale,
A tale of a fateful trip
That started from this northern port
Aboard this tiny ship.
The mate was a mighty harassed wo-man,
The skipper bored that's sure.
Four passengers set sail that day
For a three hour tour, a three hour tour... "
In our quest to be the perfect parents, we thought we would take the kids up just north of us to enjoy the fall colours of Lake Muskoka. The weather was beautiful, the fall weekends are whipping by so quickly, and we've been wanting to do this since L was about 3 years old, but things never managed to work out. Ian had taken a similar cruise a few years back and was so blown away by the spectacular scenery, he wanted to share it with his family. He did some quick research and found not the same boat he'd been on, but one even better with a kids' area, in case the kiddies got bored. Which was a distinct possibility as it was a 2 hour and 45 minute tour (3 hours, when you added the wait time).
So that brought us to this past Sunday. We called to reserve a spot, got the kids and all the gear all packed into the car (drinks, some snacks, DVD's for the ride up). The drive itself wasn't bad at all - the kids started fighting just before we got there, so for about 75 minutes it was a peaceful drive while both kids were awake - I think it's a new record.
We arrived just before the boat was leaving. And were told we couldn't bring any of our own food, beverage or coolers on board due to health regulations. Whatever - as long as they had a restaurant on board. So we left the drinks and snacks in the car. We were there to see the colours afterall.
As were about two busloads of Chinese tourists. Who had already occupied pretty much every seat on the boat. Our little family of four walked throughout the boat a couple of times, then found an open-air spot at the back. It was a little chilly, but we figured it would warm up later in the afternoon. Here are the girls...
And here are the boys...
Here's the view...
And here's my cool boy in his rockin' new hat...
Due to health regulations, therefore, we ordered a very health conscious lunch from the grill consisting of hamburger, fries, grilled cheese, hotdogs, ice cream sandwich and pop, with Lays potato chips and coffee (for mom and dad) for dessert. I fail to see how my healthy snacks (peanut free), hermetically sealed drinking boxes were threatening. And some of my fellow passengers also failed to see the point, as well as the signs all over the boat. One table was told to put away their congee.
And alas, there was no kids' area.
But hey, it really wasn't so bad. Despite the fact that the colours weren't as lovely as they normally are this time of year (it's been just too dry), and the skipper's commentary was just as colourful (- NOT!), it was fun. We were outside on the water, on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, not a TV or computer, Nintendo DS nor shipwreck in sight.
[*G's version of the parachute song before she knew all her colours; "Red, and yellow, green and colours, green and colours"... sung to "Mary had a little lamb")/