In praise of the sights and sounds of sailing the North Channel

To the Expositor:


Channel Sightings in August


Boats on the channel, an unscripted parade

The worn and humble, the sleek and bold

A mélange of color, texture, and sound


Go-fast boat rumbling

Sleek cabin cruiser beaming

Small red fishing boat trolling


Heads up!

Float plane, white with blue trim

Barreling down the channel, lift off!


Sailboats galore in North Channel paradise

Sloops, catamarans, and a schooner too

With fair winds, off to secret coves


Out of place, a cruise ship looms

Like Gulliver among the Lilliputians

Carefully squeezing through the channel


All manner of Everyman’s boat

Crestliners, Lunds, Stanleys, Starcrafts…

Versatile aluminum boats for work and pleasure

To the east the swing bridge fills the horizon

A grand dame spruced up for a milestone

A century of service and stories


On the hour, sailboats and trawlers circle

Waiting, straining to see the great span turning

No computer in control, only the bridge master aloft


Three OPP patrol boats, blue lights flashing

Head toward the town docks, in single file

A sense of regalia and God Save the Queen


Gawky rubber dinghy exploring

High-pitched jet ski skedaddling

Silent yellow kayak riding the current


Boaters savor the last warm days of summer

And I, the sights and sounds of the channel

From the chair on the dock at 62 Water Street

Phil Sparling

Atlanta, Georgia