One of the ways you know for sure you’ve found a perfect ally for mischief, is when you don’t ever have to cue the other one to ‘be cool’ in a situation with a bit of bluff built in.  Another, is when you both see and are immediately excited by the exact same sort of ideal opportunity to break the rules!

As I mentioned before – the week they first opened the new trail-section of Ontario place was not particularly well-organized.  This meant that while if you approached the private marina directly, there was one lazy guy in a lawn-chair to tell you to go away – if you instead walked the long way around the hill behind him, you could approach it from another path – with no blockage or hassle-person at all.

Guess who walked around the hill?  But you can’t blame us – you see, the new trail section revealed an angle that you never used to see before, on a very cool feature of this longstanding and very cool marina – a ‘stone boat’ in the entranceway – facing the control-tower across the mouth of the harbour.

Stone boat anchor

One of the lovely aspects of all things nautical is that even the most practical of objects can have wonderful symbolic weight, thanks to the accretion of centuries of narrative.

Stone boat sinusoidal

Portland cement, as I noted fairly recently, is weird because it’s actually strengthened by continual contact with water. It’s also interesting that the Romans used it brilliantly, but then it’s technique was lost for centuries.

A tech-wonk friend of mine with a particular ear for construction recently pointed out to me that one of the least understood environmental excesses is the use of portland cement, in applications where other cement would do just fine.

What’s the problem? (And here’s a clue also, to why the Roman technique was not quickly stumbled-upon by others, afterward). For portland, you have to bake the lime – over and over and over again – and as you know – heat is work is work is heat (massive energy expenditure).

Mind you – where it is called for – I’m always delighted when they can impart a curve like this. There’s something profound about heavy materials describing graceful arcs – up there with the bone-flute for broad human relevance.

Says ‘humans wuz here’ appealingly, like very few other things we do.

Stone boat helm – hard to port!

This was no plastic let’s pretend wheel – this thing was seriously massive! Absolutely love that they went to the trouble of doing this right – such a magnificent helm, the superstructure above – all heavy nautical steel and gangways – all the kids we saw were giggling!

And BTW – dumb but effective mnemonic for port-starbord/left-right?  Both shorter words go together!  (Seriously, would I really be telling anyone to steer hard to the right?  Have you MET me?)  ;o)

Waterlogged marina

And here of course we see the view that justifies not only the long walk around the hill, but the long walk along the pier and back. That too-cute control tower is sadly waterlogged in this shot – levels finally receding (more on that soon).

Catherine laughed out loud when she saw this. “I know you took it recently, but whenever I see Ontario place, it always looks like the 1970s. She’s got a point – it’s glory days are long past. But we do look forward to more revival to come (increasingly impatiently).

Not the only one having a good camera day

And in the meantime, while we await further park developments – there is plenty now to photograph (especially for fans of the macabre derelict futurist – a rare and particular delicacy, to be sure!)

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