Greetings to all from Gore Bay on Manitoulin Island, the largest freshwater island in the world, located at the north end of Lake Huron, in Canada's North Channel. Maria and I are both having a GREAT time and.AirWaves has performed VERY well with only one minor electronics problem that we fixed in Charlevoix; our depth gauge was NOT working more than it was and it was an electrical connection that our engineer, Dan Griffioen, would have EASILY fixed.

Boat traffic and tourists in general are both significantly LESS than last year at this time. The economy in the US and Canada, the SARS scare in (mostly) Toronto, and the ever expanding fear of West Nile Virus (mosquito's are the size of crows up here!) have ALL taken their toll so far this season. Ow.don't forget Canada's "flirt" with Mad Cow Disease and a recent flare-up of Legionnaire's Disease, Canada's FEAR of the monkeypox coming north from our Midwest and the aggressive Carp coming up the Mississippi river, and.get this.(and I'm not making this up I promise).sharks from Greenland coming up the St Lawrence River into Quebec. Good God.throw in a locust invasion and a little Black Plague and we can bring back Moses and name the 21st century the Old Testament! I wouldn't go so far to say Canadians are paranoid but yesterday I saw a guy in a white uniform stop at the marina and a Canadian boater instantly coughed and dropped his pants; it turns out the guy was the Good Humor ice cream guy.(just kidding!).

On top of everything else.Canada's health care system is on a respirator (they may need you soon Carol!), their national airline is in bankruptcy and the pilot's appear to want to get NO paycheck by rejecting salary reductions rather than accept a lower pay scale, their biggest trading partner (that'd be us as in the U.S.) hates them and the feeling's mutual at the moment, and the Ducks reached Canada's Holy Grail, the Stanley Cup finals. Thank God Hasik is coming out of retirement and wants to return to the Detroit Red Wings, the "adopted" team of Canada; trust me.that's ALL EVERY Canadian's talking about the past few days and is taking the sting out of all the other "nasty" stuff on their minds.

The Canadian capital, Ottawa, is responding to all this with good news."don't worry, be happy, smoke dope!" Canada's about to legalize marijuana possession that's only a misdemeanor right now anyway.

What Canada needs right now is a Great marketing effort and it can start with a little "spin" on SARS; those masks everyone's wearing in Toronto? They're "extra's" in a re-make of Zorro! Or.they could call the new film that our very own WKZO's Dave Jaconette would favorably review."Zorro meets Jaws" which would explain all those "fake" sharks coming up the St Lawrence river.

Then.we have the ubiquitous (smile Dennis and Steve!) "marketing" campaign dreamed up by some ad agency that's the advertising equivalent of that renowned Canadian sports cry."GO FOR BRONZE!" The ad line that Canada's spending 7.5 (US) million bucks on radio (at least they're using the right medium) and newspaper? "LET'S TRY CANADA!" I'm not making this up, honestly.that's the slogan. The ad says."given the economy and worldwide uncertainty maybe this is the year to try Canada." Now.I've been out of the daily office routine for almost 4 weeks at this point but who in their RIGHT mind would use a "let's try Canada" slogan? Oh.and while Canadian's are not clubbing baby seals yet (Canada IS in hot water for the biggest seal hunt in 30 years) some U.S. environmental group is actually running a print campaign that says."Let's NOT try Canada."

Then Canada has the naked motor home driver that's attempting to drive across all of Canada without being arrested as he's trying to promote nudism as a way of life in the great white north.

I tell you.the excitement is TOO much to take; Maria and I are going sailing! Seriously.we're having a GREAT time and enjoying our northern host country.

The attached picture was taken last evening looking across the bay here in Gore Bay after the late afternoon rain storm. This IS paradise!

Bill & Maria                                                                                                             

PS: we've met a retired (mid 50's) U.S. doctor here in Gore Bay (he's now our "best bud") who looks EXACTLY like Jimmy Buffett.only in Canada! Plus, his daughter, Tracy Murphy, is opening for the re-born 80's rock band Blondie tonight in Washington DC runs not only visually in the family but in action as well.