The boat started to sail. Over 300 people in blue ponchos stood inside the boat eagerly looking at the waters below and the waterfall ahead. We were on the opposite end of the Maid of the Mist. Less crowded. Facing the Rainbow bridge which connected US and Canada. Many rushed to the upper deck of the Maid of the Mist VII (yes, there have been six others since 1846), many clung to the railing. Every one wanted to be sprayed at by the mist. And then we inched closer to the Niagara Falls. We were in, what looked from above, a cloud of white. As we stood watching water drop from 120 feet, we wondered if Pam and Jim were standing where we were, when they took their vows. Our faces drenched, we looked at a clout of buildings rise on the Canadian side. It was exciting to know that we would touch and pass a whole new country. Then the height rose. The water dropped now from a height of 188 feet. The majestic Horseshoe falls. Can you imagine falling from that height? Apparently many daredevils try it. And a 63-year-old lady was the first to survive. But in a barrel, that she designed herself. The journey ended as soon as it began, we climbed off the boat, and watched as the sun dipped, and a window of spotlight shone on the falls. As if before an audience, the water gushed, fell, and splashed. A move that it has mastered over the last 12000 years.
We braved the crowd to sail on the Maid of the mist.
June 16, 2018
It’s been close to two hours. Our shirts are drenched in sweat, and eyelids heavy with exhaustion. The queue extends to as far as the eyes can see. And beyond that, we catch a glimpse of a white boat full of people clothed in blue ponchos. We want to be on that boat. We want to be the people in blue plastic ponchos. So we wait. And use up all the resilience, patience and the last ounce of energy. Around us, families break the line, and walk out. We refuse to be demotivated. And after what feels like eternity, the queue leads us to two elevators. We descend, our eyes now wide open with a gush of excitement. We become the people in blue plastic ponchos, and walk up to the boat that’s called the Maid of the Mist. Slowly, now un-anchored, it sails. Like it has, faithfully, since 1846. It passes the American Falls, where sheets of water crack on top of a cluster of giant rocks, get reduced to a spray of cool mist and land on our hair and face. Just a little ahead, a little intimidated by the wide and overpowering American Falls is the Bridal Veil falls. Alongside which, rows of people in yellow ponchos, submit to it, and get willingly drenched. The boat then makes a turn, along a curve marked by tall curtains of water. The Horseshoe, as it’s called, unveils itself in quite a dramatic way. A cloud of smoke rises at its feet, and beams of light run along its body. As we distance from it, it’s overbearing appearance reduces into a postcard-perfect beauty that we capture, preserve, and re-live.