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Towing big things with a small boat

Towing little things with a big boat is pretty straightforward. There are plenty of nuances and details, of course; one sure way to spark a lengthy debate among cruising sailors is to ask about the best way to tow a dinghy. But, ultimately, towing something smaller than your own boat boils down to "tie it up, fiddle with the tow line, then drive normally".

Towing big things with a little boat is somewhat trickier, not to mention riskier. It is, nevertheless, important to be able to do it. You never know when you might have to press the dinghy into service to get a crippled mothership into harbour, or when you might need to help someone out in an emergency.

Back on the water

Well, Mother Nature, it took you long enough.

Spring is finally here, hopefully for good. Lake Ontario has thawed out, the birds are back, the fish are starting to spawn, and it's time to get back out on the water.

We usually make the first trip of the season a short shake-down cruise, rarely more than an hour or two, just to make sure everything's running properly. At this point the engine's been sitting unused for seven months, the remaining fuel's a bit older than that, and if something does decide to break we'd rather not be out of rowing distance from the dock.

Birding with a 35mm f/1.8

I can certainly understand the appeal of a big bag of expensive long lenses. Birds do, after all, tend to be small and far away.

I'm not about to spend $10,000 on a set of bird lenses, though. (I'm cheap, for one thing, but I'm also not quite fit enough to carry 15 kilos of glass and magnesium around all day.)

The solution? Get close. Really close. Just beyond wing-hitting range, in this case, with a 35mm f/1.8 on a DX body.

Union Station, a study in contrasts

Toronto's historic Union Station, after years of neglect and decay, is undergoing a much-needed revitalization.

The architects have decided to keep much of the original train shed intact, but a large central section of the original structure has been torn down to make way for an airy, modern glass atrium.

With a huge chunk of the roof gone, the steel and concrete of the 86-year-old structure is juxtaposed against the gold-plated towers of Bay Street.

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