The boat pulled smoothly away from the jetty, the roar of the water loud in the distance and the flow of the river bubbling underneath us, we set off for Niagara Falls. The patience and anticipation had all been worth it, this was absolutely a bucket list trip after seeing a photo in a National Geographic magazine when I was about eight.
We’d been driven down a slip road and around the back of the main entrance and so bypassed any potential queueing and general admission process, however the happy faces of the passengers as they boarded didn’t show any stress of waiting. From this vantage point the only sign of the falls was the lone plume of cloud in the vivid blue sky. Clad in my mist protective poncho, clasping my mobile in my hand, having decided my large DSLR would be too hard to manage under a polythene cloak, I boarded the sturdy Hornblower Niagara Cruise. Despising the glassed in dry area and the upper deck, as a local had told me that the most spray came in on the lower deck. I headed up to the front, guaranteed to be the most exposed spot and I felt the best view.
With only a slight judder and no roll, we set off into the approaching mist. We passed the America Falls and moved towards the torrent and full on thunder of The Horseshoe Falls. My heart beat a little faster as the sensible people around me moved to the centre of the boat and shelter of the upper deck. The mist thickened, and the spray threw itself at my face, but still the boat moved steadily forward. The incessant rumble gave way to a roar, as rainbows shifted across the sky. Still we moved closer, into the white out of mist and the sheer exhilaration of feeling a sheet of six million cubic feet of water a minute driving into the Niagara River beside us. Still the boat held steady, then gradually turned, giving everyone a look at the amazing sight and gently moved away from the roar. The seagulls nesting under Goat Island, wheeled and dipped as if dancing in and out of the multiple rainbows as we moved towards the jetty again. Passing once more across the American Falls foaming and tumbling to join the torrent of spume from it’s bigger Canadian cousin. Suddenly, there was a babble of laughter again as everyone turned to each other, stunned and amazed by the sight. It was so much more than an item on a bucket list, I wanted to do it all again.
My thanks to the Canadian Tourism Commission, Hornblower Niagara Cruises and Ontario Tourism. All comments are my own.