Friday, September 16, 2005

The Naked and the Fed

And so, off we went again to Hanlan's Point, where Babe Ruth hit his first professional home run, which lies to this day in the waters of Lake Ontario just offshore in Toronto.

P-Doug was teasing me on Monday about the warm temperatures both in the city and in the waters around it, offering me pity that I didn't live and work closer to the lake. I told him I was merely a subway ride away, and could venture down there whenever the mood suited either us both, or me in particular. So Tuesday night, he called me up and invited me down after work.

I wore my wandering clothes to work under my business clothes on Wednesday, and drove down to the depot to catch the subway after work was over. I stripped off my workplace veneer in the car and stored it in the trunk, and then, comfortably beach garbed, caught the subway to head down to the ferry docks.


Crossing Lake Shore Blvd.


Lining up westward down Lake Shore for the Gardiner

I arrived around 6 PM, which was comfortably within the 6:15 departure time for the ferry. P-Doug was waiting. I bought my ticket and, not seeing the usual attendant at the gate, dutifully tore my own ticket and put it in the collection box. It was drizzly that day, and as we sat waiting for the ferry, I took out the Kodak CX7330 refurb I bought this week and filmed the rain falling in the centre of the marshalling area. When the ferry came in, we went to board, and I realized to my dismay that the tickets were being gathered by the ferry operators! Luckily for me, the man collecting the tickets took me at my word that I'd paid and sacrificed my own ticket already like a good little Canadian... that little tiny bit of stiff-upper-lip British do-right attitude that still remains among us runs deep.

At this time of year, the ferry to Hanlan's does triple duty. We sailed across to Ward's Island first. Ward's Island, as you'll recall, is where we accidentally ended up last time, and had to walk clear across the islands to the eastern side to get to the beach. It's also one of the two remaining inhabitied islands in the archipelago (the other is Algonquin Island).




Algonquin Queen II at Ward's Island






Looking back at the city from Ward's Island


A cozy home on Ward's Island

After we disgorged some people at Ward's Island, the ferry headed over to Centre Island, where the restaurants and amusement park are. I don't remember if anyone got on or off there; if so, there weren't many.


City view on the way to Centre Island


Island Paradise restaurant at Centre Island



We arrived at Hanlan's Point around 7. As we headed for the beach, we walked along the path this time instead of the grass. This gave me an opportunity to photograph the sailboats moored at the jetties on Mugg's Island as we passed.


The yacht club on Mugg's Island

When we got to the boardwalk that leads out to the beach, I let P-Doug go on ahead. I used the new camera to video my walk to the beach. It ran about four minutes, along the boardwalk, to the beach, through the barrier and then past P-Doug right into the water to test the temperature. It was quite warm... warmer than the last time we were there. Much calmer, too, though it was drizzly. Here's the best part. There was not another single soul on the beach. It was like it belonged entirely to us. Made me feel kind of let down that skinnydipping was allowed! We could have gotten away with it anyway.


This one's for Kat :)

I waded back out of the water with the camera still rolling while P-Doug undressed. I started humming The Stripper, and then cut the camera to let the man undress with some dignity. He did so, and headed in, beating me to it for once. We must have been in the water for an hour, just enjoying it, chatting away during the sunset and after, as the beach grew darker and darker. Off to the southeast, it was so inky we couldn't tell where the lake ended and the sky began. But in the west, it was still quite clear. Finally we started wondering what the time was, and headed in. By then it was 8:20; the next ferry back was at 9:15, so we decided we should get going by ten to nine to make sure we made it. Till then, we wandered around, letting the air dry us off. I remember clearly standing near the end of the beach, gazing off into the distance, and catching sight of traffic racing to and fro on the Gardiner Expressway, and marveling at the idea... there I was, standing legally naked on the beach in line of sight of one of the busiest urban stretches in North America. It was a powerful realization.

Just before we left, I dashed off into the dunes for a few minutes. No real reason, other than to be bold and to be able to say I'd been in the dunes at Hanlan's Point. What I remember about that was glancing back at my footprints and seeing them almost glowing in the dark. The wet sand at the top was unusually dark, and so when it was disturbed by my feet, it yielded the light-coloured dry sand underneath. In the gloom, the subtle constrast was oddly more striking than it would have been in daylight, I think.

So then we dressed, and set off. P-Doug decided to stop at a picnic table, dry his feet and put on his socks and shoes; this ate up about five minutes. You know me; I'd brought my sandals but I wasn't about to wear them on the way back. Not with the last of summer's warm puddles left waiting for me. :) So as it turns out, the ferry was waiting when we got there -- in fact, within seconds of leaving! We had to run, just like last time, but we made it. We walked to the same LCBO as last time, and P-Doug's wife G swung by to pick us up. We all went to the Three Monkeys to eat. Couple of pints, two bowls of all-you-can-eat chili (it was all I could eat), and then off to slumberland at our respective homes. First time I've been to the beach on a day when I had work the next day. Slept like a log. I don't imagine I'll get to Hanlan's Point again this year... autumn will soon be upon us, and even if the air stays warm, the lake's going to steadily cool. But there's next year. And P-Doug has sworn he's going to be down there a lot, seeing as how he works downtown and all. I waited eight years since the city turned it back into a nude beach to go, and then waited till the end of the summer when I finally did go. Well, I'll sure make better use of it next year.

8 comments:

katherine said...

I work my wandering clothes to work under my business clothes on Wednesday, and drove down to the depot to catch the subway after work was over.

That's alot of working. ; ) Sorry, couldn't resist.

This one's for Kat :)

Thanks. : )

I remember clearly standing near the end of the beach, gazing off into the distance, and catching sight of traffic racing to and fro on the Gardiner Expressway, and marveling at the idea... there I was, standing legally naked on the beach in line of sight of one of the busiest urban stretches in North America. It was a powerful realization.

It's pretty far though, right? I mean it's not like you're causing accidents on the expressway. Right?

What I remember about that was glancing back at my footprints and seeing them almost glowing in the dark.

That's extraordinary! Great memory to have.

First time I've been to the beach on a day when I had work the next day.

We should all do more things we don't usually do on days when we have to work the next day. : )

Fun story, as usual. Thanks.

Lone Primate said...

That's alot of working. ; ) Sorry, couldn't resist.

Ack, thanks, good eyes. I'll edit the entry. :)

It's pretty far though, right? I mean it's not like you're causing accidents on the expressway. Right?

I do hope I'm not so unsightly that the mere hint of my naked flesh at three miles distance is enough to provoke traffic fatalities. :)

We should all do more things we don't usually do on days when we have to work the next day. : )

Yes, especially with people we don't have to work with the next day either! :)

katherine said...

I do hope I'm not so unsightly that the mere hint of my naked flesh at three miles distance is enough to provoke traffic fatalities. :)

See, I don't think it would be the unsightly naked flesh that would cause the traffic issues. More like driver is gawking, "Look at that hot naked guy over there!" ... then crashes into the car in front of them. : )

Lone Primate said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lone Primate said...

See, I don't think it would be the unsightly naked flesh that would cause the traffic issues. More like driver is gawking, "Look at that hot naked guy over there!" ... then crashes into the car in front of them. : )

Heh... up until about three years ago, I weighed 315 lbs. Today I'm in the neighbourhood of 200. I'll settle for "doughy-average" at this point. Not causing a disturbance just by being nude is a real compliment well into my 30s. :)

katherine said...

Heh... up until about three years ago, I weighed 315 lbs. Today I'm in the neighbourhood of 200. I'll settle for "doughy-average" at this point. Not causing a disturbance just by being nude is a real compliment well into my 30s. :)

Whose definition of hot are we going by here? Not the general society standard?! How about we just stick with my original thought. So, you're hot ... get used to it. : )

Lone Primate said...

Whose definition of hot are we going by here? Not the general society standard?! How about we just stick with my original thought. So, you're hot ... get used to it. : )

Ack, such a burden... I wonder if I can live with it? Okay, yup. :) Well, I like you too, but I was too shy to admit it. Glad to have you around, though. I'm really enjoying the back and forth.

katherine said...

Ack, such a burden... I wonder if I can live with it? Okay, yup. :) Well, I like you too, but I was too shy to admit it. Glad to have you around, though. I'm really enjoying the back and forth.

Glad you're willing to bear the burden. ; ) And I'm happy to be around and happy you're glad to have me around and glad to be happy you're around. ; ) As you said, the back and forth is a good time. I'm hopeful it will continue. : )