adversity Canada Niagara Ontario Weather

August 6, 2012 … a wet and wild one, with a sting in the tail.

All the advice was consistent.

See the Canadian side. So, with some trepidation, and a few false turns on the way, we drove across the Rainbow Bridge into downtown Niagara Falls. Though the Canadian border officials try to be as severe as the American ones, you can tell their heart is not in the assumed gruffness, and that they really want to be nice. Niagara Falls, ON is a pretty enough town, in the parts that we saw, but it was suffering from the aftermath of a severe thunderstorm with heavy wind and rain.

Some lovely old trees on the picturesque river front had blown over, or had major branches blown off. Maintenance crews were working hastily to clear up before the daily rush. From my perspective, a moody post-storm sky was more interesting than the usual blue sky on all the postcards.A moody sky behind the Horseshoe falls

We bought a day adventure pass each which gave us access to four of the headline attractions, including the famed “Maid of the Mist” ride. But before we started, we had first to stand and gape at the monumental volume of water thundering over the Horseshoe Falls into the Niagara Gorge. This is a place that you feel as much as see.Niagara in full flow

I tried to stitch multiple images together to make a panorama and was not unhappy with the outcome:Niagara Panorama

In due time we made our way via one of the “people movers” to the Maid of the mist and immediately my first illusion was shattered. For some reason, I had always thought that the Maid of the Mist was a single iconic vessel that has plied its trade for years, in the same way that the Earnslaw has done on Lake Wakatipu. Not true. One of the many "Maids of the Mist"What gave it away was the fact that I could see four “Maid of the Mist” boats all at once, and they are numbered IV through VII. OK, I was disillusioned but still looked forward to the trip.

Each of us was issued with a  blue plastic disposable poncho, and we were crammed on to the boats. Now, lest you think the storm had gone completely. Alas, not so. The wind was swirling and there were still intense rain showers. Ponchos billowed everywhere. Swirling windsI had one camera in its own storm jacket and the other in the “shelter” of the poncho. Alas the swirling winds had the ponchos blowing over our heads and my faithful Canon 7D seems to have suffered a terminal case of water damage from the mists of Niagara and the rain. Now I get to test how good my travel insurance really is.

The rain increased in intensity and we focused on the indoor events (a movie and lunch). Even the movie (in “4D”) ensured a thorough wetting, as well as a snow fall and an earth tremor or two.

After lunch, during which I tried Canada’s “guilty secret”, the infamous Poutine, and was unimpressed, we decided that, rain or now we should at least do the white water walk. The rain redoubled its efforts, but we still had some ponchos, so we walked along the gorge walkway near water level, beside the water thundering past at over 40 km/h. Astounding.Slow exposure of the racing river

Our first day in Canada was over, with one dead camera, and the other seemingly unscathed.


By wysiwygpurple

Retirement suits me well. I spend much of my time out making pictures, or at home organizing and refining my pictures.

This blog provides me with a platform from which I can indulge my passion for improving my photography and at the same time analyze my thoughts about what I have seen, where I have been and what is happening in my life. My images set out to be honest, but that does not mean I have not adjusted them. I use software to display what I saw though the viewfinder to best advantage. My preference is for landscape and nature, and is mostly centred around my hometown of Wellington, New Zealand.

4 replies on “August 6, 2012 … a wet and wild one, with a sting in the tail.”

Poutine is over-rated, however the chocolate fudge I had at the falls when I was there in 1997 was not… there was a Russian lady selling it, and it was remarkable. Don’t know if she’s still there now though…

Those photos are remarkable Brian, under the conditions they are brilliant. The camera claim could be tricky without a tour operators letter of confirmation, my experience on an All Black tour when I tripped into a hotel water feature-before drinks I might add-resulted in my camera being drenched. Husband grabbed the chip out of the camera and phone, tour operator arranged first aid and noted the incident. Insurance claim required paperwork from them as well as myself, plus an independent camera house wrote their observations and promptly sold me a new camera. Claim accepted and I’ve dealt with them since then even though the story appeared to be a case of total inattention rather than crowds blocking the water feature. Good luck with your claim.

LOL, the Maid of the Mist, yes. Indeed a whole fleet of maidens! It’s impressive how they handle the thousands of tourists though. I bought the t-shirt, Brian. Did you? There’s two spots to view the falls I think. The lip, where all the water tips over and the mist thunders up, and the tower where you get a bird’s eye view.

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