History

Oiseau Rock
Squadron

Do you remember why you decided to take the Boating Course? Did you think it would open the door for many adventures? I know when I signed up for the course, my main objective was to become a member of Oiseau Rock Squadron. At the time, we had boated on the Ottawa River for approximately fifteen years and thought we knew what was required to handle a boat safely. The driving factor to join was that our friends who belonged to the Squadron made membership sound like fun. The Boating Course was the price of admission!

It proved to be the best admission we ever paid! It opened the door for adventures we had never thought of before joining. I think that is probably true for other members of the Squadron because when I reviewed the membership list it became apparent that the majority of our members have sailed beyond our local waters. Home water for Oiseau Rock Squadron is a forty mile stretch of the Ottawa River, bordered on the west by the Des Joachims Hydro Dam and on the east by the rapids at Pembroke. We are essentially a “lake-bound” Squadron, but you would never guess from the scope of our adventures.

The old saying about a little knowledge being a dangerous thing did not apply here. The Boating Course just whetted our appetite for more knowledge on how to navigate. This was fueled by the fact that Dick and Doreen Parsons, the members who convinced us to take the course, bought a boat in Marsh Harbour, Abaco and invited us plus many other members to come sail with them. The purchase of SALTY SEVEN, however, did not mark the beginning of the Squadron’s adventures in bigger waters than the Ottawa River!

Many of the early members of our Squadron, Dick and Doreen Parsons, Gerry and Joan Lynch, Shel and Kay Gibson, Michel and Denise Pettigrew, Norm and Ina Pothier, Ken and Ann Serdula, Bernie and Jean McGilvray, including one of our founding members, Bill and Ann Taylor, planted the seeds for boating adventures by chartering many times in the Bahamas, Virgin Islands and Greece. Some of their stories made us all believe that it could be done.

Some members took it more seriously than others. Several members, early in the Squadron’s history, decided to build their own boats and take them South and later around the world. We have lost touch with these members over the years because they have not maintained their membership, but many of us remember Randy Hill and Robin Lowry from Barry’s Bay who built a steel boat, sailed it to the Bahamas and then came home via Bermuda. Closer to home are Jim denHartog and Helen denDekker who spent ten years building a steel boat which they shipped to Picton for trials in Lake Ontario, then set out from there to sail to Nova Scotia, the Bahamas and back, and then off to Norway, Holland, Spain and Portugal, then back to the Bahamas and Venezuela. The boat is currently making her way to sail to the Pacific through the Panama Canal. Jim and Helen return to the area now and again to refresh us on their travels. We wish them continued “fair winds” for their journey.

Other members, whom we have a great deal of trouble keeping track of, are Jim and Judy Matthieu. Jim and Judy took sabbaticals from work in the 90’s to sail their boat AQUILO, a Hughes 29, to the Bahamas and back. Life in Deep River did not measure up to life on board so they both purchased and restored a larger boat that they named INDIAN TIME, took another sabbatical and set sail for the Bahamas and Venezuela. Since their return from that trip they sold INDIAN TIME, but have since purchased another boat called INTI II, which Jim has sailed South and back while Judy has joined him when she can. Another trip South is pending in September 2004 – have a great adventure and we look forward to stories when you return.

Two members, Larry and Phyllis Livesey, whom I have never met, but have had conversations with their daughter, Karen, when I have tried to invite them to Squadron functions, spend most of their time traveling in the Bahamas. Larry and Phyllis are from Wilno when they are in Ontario so they are unfamiliar to many of us, but we all wish them “fair winds” for their adventures.

Like wine, some years are better for sailing South than others. 1998 proved to be a very good year. Three Squadron boating families; Brian and Barbara Cheadle, Norm and Ina Pothier, and Peter and Janice Bunge; trucked their boats to Lake Ontario so they could make the trek south.

Brian and Barbara Cheadle were the first to leave Lake Ontario in mid August to make passage through the Intercoastal Waterway to Lake Okechobee in Florida where they left SEABISCUIT to come home for Christmas and to marry off their youngest daughter, Carol, in the Virgin Islands in February. After this exciting interruption in their journey they returned to Florida by road to join their boat and head to the Bahamas where they sailed down to the Exumas then back to Florida where they trucked their boat home to Deep River.

Norm and Ina Pothier were next to leave Kingston around the 13th of September to make their way through the Intercoastal Waterway to Florida in CABERNET. Peter and Janice Bunge were scheduled to leave Kingston with Norm and Ina, but a lightning strike a week before the scheduled departure caused KARA I to be hauled for hull repairs and replacement of much of her electronic navigation equipment. Departure took place on September 29th and a hasty trip down the ICW with little time to smell the roses saw KARA I and CABERNET re-united in Beaufort, North Carolina on Hallowe’en when the trip really began. From then until Christmas the two boats sailed together to Titusville, Florida where they were both berthed in the Kennedy Point Marina long enough for their crews to drive to Deep River for Christmas.

On arrival back in Florida the boats were prepared, and the crossing to the Bahamas was made and they journeyed down as far as Georgetown in the Exumas. After several months of eventful sailing in the beautiful Caribbean Ocean they returned to Florida and made the journey back home. A wonderful time was had by all!

John and Alison Goodale enjoy sailing in the Bahamas just about every winter. They keep their boat KELPY on dry land at Indian Town Marina near Lake Okechobee for the summer months and return to it in November or after Christmas to launch it for the crossing. We see them every summer for yearly updates.

Not all of our member’s boating adventures have been in Southern waters. Roger and Maureen Bakewell, Art Cracknell, Ross and Marg Gilbert, Don and Joyce Lemke, and Gunter and Carol Nuernberger have all tested their skills in the waters of Georgian Bay.

Peter and Miriam Barry were fellow students when I took the Boating Course and I admired their bravery at the time because they didn’t even own a boat. As soon as they completed the course, they signed up for charters that enrolled them in on-the-water boat courses and sailed in both Georgian Bay and in the U.K., their home country. Peter and Miriam have not maintained their Squadron membership, but they still reside in Deep River and I see them occasionally at the Post Office. I hope their adventures are still continuing, but I think they have several grandchildren who have joined their family unit. We wish them much happiness in their endeavours – boating or otherwise!

Another couple who ventured out to foreign waters right after taking their course is Roy Brash and Stefanie Norene. They have taken their boat to Lake Ontario and traveled around the Islands and also gone to California where they have chartered boats. We wish them happy travels because they never seem to be home when I call for Squadron functions!

I mentioned Gunter and Carol Nuernberger as starting their sailing adventures in Georgian Bay and Lake Ontario, but they are now living in Victoria, British Columbia so are getting to know Porlier Pass, Saltspring Island and Kuleet Bay first hand. Remember, those are the places we all learned to navigate around on our Training Chart. I hope they are keeping a close watch for CPS Training Island and the Boucher Bay Light. Jack and Gail Bell got their first taste of navigating in those waters when visiting in B.C. A condition of their Charter was successful completion of the Boating Course – otherwise they needed a Day Captain at extra cost. They were also assisted by Elmer Winton (Press), a Past Commander of the Vancouver Squadron who gave them much advice at navigating around the timber rafts on the Fraser River to its mouth.

Beautiful British Columbia seems to hold an attraction for Oiseau Rock members because Daryl Collard who is one of the founding members of our Squadron now resides in B.C. but has kept in touch with us over the years through his Dual membership in the Squadron. We enjoy having you as a member Daryl and thank you for remembering our Squadron in your new role for CPS.

I undoubtedly have not included all the travels of all our Squadron members, but I think the few I have touched on show how many doors to new adventures have been opened because we all paid the admission fee, the Boating Course.