Friday, July 2, 2010
Today we began the Trent Severn Waterway. As you can see we went the magnificent distance of 8 miles, and we were exhausted. We went through 6 locks and it took some getting used to. The locks are smaller than we have encountered to date, so we could not all go through at the same time. Mas Bueno and Watauga went first so we had to wait until they were lifted up and then wait for the lock to empty so we could go in. This took about 1 hour. At the first lock we all had to buy our transit passes and mooring passes so this also took time as there was paperwork to fill in and payment to be made. All of the locks use cables and we were instructed to pass a line around the cable at the bow end of the boat and the stern end. In 8 miles we went through 6 locks so we again felt as if we had been through an aerobics program when we were finished. We all tied up above Lock 6 at Frankford. The Trent Severn canal system has well maintained grounds at each lock with many trees, flowers, picnic tables, etc. By evening other boats had arrived and the walls were full.
Saturday, July 3, 2010
Since the Trent Severn Locks do not begin operation until 8:30 a.m. and we were 1 hour away from our first lock, we departed at 7:30. When we first started out our depth sounder did not register any depth as there were so much grass growing in the waterway at this portion. It was a good day on the blue highway with plenty of sunshine and few other boaters. We travelled through 6 locks with the last 2 locks being the type called flight locks as we went out of lock 11 directly into lock 12. Travelling together day were Tellico Lady, Watauga, and Two Turtles. We were all able to fit into the locks together. Mas Bueno decided to enjoy another day at Frankford. Upon arrival at Campbellford, we joined looper boat Somerset who was already here. Later in the day, loopers Mint Julep and Sassy arrived. We had been with all of them at Trenton. After getting settled in we went to explore the town. Nancie, Brenda, and Gail went to the famous Dooher's Bakery where we loaded up on calories in the form of rolls, muffins, and butter tarts. Then we went to the World's Finest Chocolates store outlet where we purchased some chocolate mints. Overall, we did not feel their prices were very reasonable. The Tellico Lady crew walked to a local chinese restaurant for dinner. Tomorrow our plan is to travel to Hastings, Ontario.
Sunday, July 4,
We travelled through our normal 6 locks with two of them being the in-flight type (locks 16 & 17). We saw some zebra mussels on the lock wall but they did not spit on us. A good portion of the shoreline is lined with cottages and RV camps interspersed with farmland, marsh, and long weedy grass. Many Canadians were out enjoying the hot weather both on the water and on the shore. When we arrived at Hastings all the space on the mooring wall was taken by little boats so we tied up temporarily at the marina until space would become available. After about 1 hour, Watauga was able to move over to the wall. We decided to pay at the marina and stay put and were glad that we made that decision because it was after 5 o'clock before any space became available. We are all somewhat annoyed about not being able to find space on the tie-up walls as we paid almost $500 for that privilege whereas the small boats are allowed to park there during the day for free and are not requested to move for those that have paid. Canada, eh? Looper boats travelling together today included Tellico Lady, Watauga, Mas Bueno, Two Turtles, Sassy, and Mint Julep.
Monday, July 5, 2010
We left early so we could arrive at our destination early enough to explore Peterborough. We were soon entering Rice Lake which is 20 miles long and approximately 3 miles wide and dotted with numerous islands. Before the advent of the Trent-Severn Waterway, this lake was the site of extensive wild rice beds that the native population harvested. It is a beautiful lake dotted with resorts, cottages, homes, and RV parks. About 2/3 of the way down the lake we turned to starboard to enter the Ontonabee River which is a winding river with marshy grasslands and trees. There were several fishing boats along the way. When we arrived at Lock 19, our original destination, we discovered there was a malfunction and that it had been shut down since 4 p.m. yesterday. We were told a diving team from Toronto was scheduled to arrive at 3 p.m. to effect repairs. Of course it was more like 4:30 when they arrived and we did not lock through until 6:15. By now we were extremely hot and tired and made the decision to stay at the Peterborough Marina. The lockmaster handled the whole situation in a very professional manner. He apologized profusely and visited all the boats frequently to make sure all was well with us and to give us updates. We can't praise him enough! By the time the lock was repaired there were 13 boats waiting to be locked up. Everyone kept his/her cool even though it was 99 degrees and very humid. Ben, the summer dockhand at the marina stayed late to help all boats into the marina who planned to stay. We were also very impressed with him. We have decided to stay at the marina until Wednesday morning when we will travel to Lakefield, then to Buckhorn on Thursday, and Bobcaygeon on Friday (that is the plan for now and is subject to change).
Gail and Brenda walked into downtown Peterborough which was about a 15-minute walk from the marina. Compared to some downtowns we have visited, this one seems to be fairly busy. The heat and humidity shortened our exploration time. Ken & Brenda and Hal & Cheryl (Mas Bueno) went to Cosmic Charlies, a Thai restaurant, which was recommended by the lockmaster at Lock 19. We very much enjoyed our stay at Peterborough.
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
We went through 7 locks before reaching Lakefield. It takes an average of 30 minutes to lock through so on days with several locks we never make much progress in miles. In this hot humid weather, it is an even more onerous task. Our 2nd lock was the Peterborough Lift Lock which has the world's highest hydraulic lift at 65 feet. At this lock there are two pans that lift or lower boats. We entered the lower pan. One extra foot of water entered the upper pan. This extra weight allowed the upper pan to push down and raise the lower pan to the top level. It was a very smooth lift and was only about 5 minutes in duration. In the waterway after this lock we bumped a couple of times before arriving at our tie-up at the Lakefield lock wall. Gail, Cheryl, and Brenda walked into Lakefield, a 15-minute walk. Once again, the sweltering heat shortened our exploration time.
Thursday, July 8, 2010
The first part of our travel was on Lake Katchewanooka to Lock 27 at Young's Point. The waterway was lined with cottages. We had to be extremely attentive through some of the twisty buoyed channels. The shoreline in this section consisted of limestone and grassy marshland. Once through the lock at Young's Point we entered the Kawartha Lakes district and the Canadian shield district with many bodies of water and many rocks.
We travelled on Clear Lake and then into Stoney Lake to the marina at Viamede Resort. Ken & Doreen Torr, friends from Oakville, drove here to visit us today. They brought a wonderful lunch which we all enjoyed on the boat. We were so happy to see them and catch up on each other's news. Unplanned right after lunch was a severe storm with wind up to 32 mph and a lot of rain. The wind was from the south and the marina being completed exposed to the south caused us to have a harrowing experience. Unknown to us, the cleats were only screwed (not bolted) to the dock and the wind and waves caused our boat to pull out the stern and mid cleats. It was obvious that we had to untie all lines and get away from the dock. Trying to do this against the wind, rain, and waves was very difficult and in the process our stairs were wrecked and the side of our boat was scraped badly from hitting the dock. Finally, we were free and we went out into the water and anchored until the storm was over. The docks at this marina are definitely not safe during a severe storm. Another boater said they get one of these storms about once a year. Wasn't our timing good? So, all of our guests experienced some excitement that none of them particularly enjoyed. Also arriving at this marina today were loopers Mint Julep (Bob & Pam) and Here and Now (Carolyn & Steve) whom we had met at Trenton.
Friday, July 9, 2010
Gail and Richard disembarked today when Mary drove to Kingston to pick them up. We spent the remainder of the day doing housekeeping chores. Together with Hal & Cheryl we had a most excellent dinner at the Mt. Julian Inn. This Inn was once a hotel which was built in the late 1800s. In the entrance way of the hotel there is a painting done on wood known as the John Clague Wall Painting. It was painted by James F. (John) Clague, an Irish merchant seaman, between 1874 and 1876. It is comprised of 60 images which chronicle his life at sea. According to noted Canadian art historian, Paul Duval: "The panel by John Clague located at the Mount Julian Hotel at Stoney Lake is an exceedingly rare, if not unique example of Canadian naive painting. The images themselves are highly personal and comparable to some of the best examples of naive art in the United States and rarely equalled in this country." The painting is owned by the Royal Ontario Museum and will stay at the Inn as long as the Inn exists and then it will take up residence at the Museum.
Saturday, July 10, 2010
We launched our dinghy and explored some of the nearby shoreline. This is an absolutely beautiful area. Today we were visited by cousins Murray & June Walker and Stuart & Reta Malloy. It was wonderful to see them again and we appreciate that they made the effort to visit us. Tonight, the 4 looper boats here (3 of them from TN) had a potluck dinner together. Tellico Lady and Mas Bueno will stay here until Monday morning while the other 2 boats will leave tomorrow.
Sunday, July 11, 2010
We charted our course all the way to Port Severn and tentatively planned our itinerary for the next few days. Our plan is to go to Bobcaygeon tomorrow. Our friend Marge (who Brenda used to teach with) and her daughter Barb and Earl and baby Dawson came to visit today. We had lunch with them and visited for a few hours. It was great to see them and we agree that we need to visit each other more frequently. Looper boat, Magoo (met them in Brewerton and crossed part of Lake Ontario with them) arrived today. We put our dinghy back on board the boat and did other preparations in anticipation of tomorrow's departure.
Monday, July 12, 2010
Not long after we departed Viamede we went through the lock at Burleigh Falls and into Lovesick Lake. When we went through Lovesick Lock we were then on Lower Buckhorn Lake. All along the shoreline are homes, campgrounds, and cottages. We saw houseboats today for the first time. Houseboat rentals are available throughout the area and most of them are at the hands of inexperienced captains so we tend to take a wide berth when we encounter one. Once we transited Buckhorn Lock we were in Buckhorn Lake which led us through the Gannon Narrows and then into Pigeon Lake. As we were crossing Pigeon Lake the sky grew darker and we had some rain. Pigeon Lake was also busy with various types of watercraft. When we got to Bobcaygeon we had to tie up to the blue line as all the mooring spaces were occupied, and this is only Monday! Weekends are impossible to get a space on the wall. The lockmaster came down to where we were and had some boats move closer together so that we could tie to the wall. Shortly thereafter Mas Bueno arrived and also had to tie on the blue line until a space became available. Shortly after arriving, Brenda and Cheryl went to check out the much touted Bigleys. It certainly does have any shoe you might want but we thought the prices were outrageous. Before we returned to the boat it started to rain and continued to do so with occasional thunder for a few hours. We plan to leave Bobcaygeon on Wednesday morning.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
We went shopping in the morning and Ken got a haircut. By late morning it poured rain and by noon there was thunder and lightning. It wasn't long before the lock walls filled with boats seeking shelter. The rain continued, quite heavily at times, until late afternoon. In the mid afternoon, Mike and Mel, aboard Tortuga, arrived. They are loopers we met in Brewerton, NY. Ken & Brenda, Cheryl & Hal (Mas Bueno), and Mike & Mel (Tortuga) met for a potluck dinner on Tellico Lady.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
After leaving Lock 32 we entered Sturgeon Lake where there are many cottages and homes along the shoreline. Then we went through the narrow and pretty but very busy Fenelon Falls area. After going through the lock there, we then crossed Cameron Lake, another beautiful vacation area. We went through a small section of the Trent Canal which joins Cameron and Balsam Lakes. Before entering Balsam Lake we went through the lock at Rosedale where Tortugua was tied for the night. Balsam Lake is another one of those picturesque Kawartha Lakes. Balsam Lake marks the highest point on the Trent Severn and from this point onward, we will be locking down. Then back into the Trent Canal section which joins Balsam and Mitchell Lakes. This section was very narrow with rocky ledges along the edge of the channel; definitely had to stay mid channel. In some sections the trees were overhanging the canal and you could almost reach out and touch them. The beginning portion of Mitchell Lake was very marshy and we could hear various birds singing. This area was shallow and narrow and it was a bit nerve wracking when we met a very large cruiser in this section; Murphy's Law, it has to be in the narrowest part. We passed very closely to each other. After moving across shallow Mitchell Lake we again entered the Trent Canal section which joins Mitchell Lake with Lake Simcoe. Some of the narrow channels we travelled through today were quite twisty and in some places homes and cottages are very close to the channel. We followed the narrow Trent Canal to Lock 36, Kirkfield Lock, where we tied up for the night.
Thursday, July 15, 2010
We went through the Kirkfield Lock at the first opening at 8:30. It is a hydraulic lift lock like the one at Peterborough. It has 2 large chambers (pans). As one chamber goes up, the other goes down. To move boats, the upper chamber is overbalanced by taking on an extra foot of water; this causes the upper chamber to go down while the lower chamber simultaneously rises. Our ride down was smooth but for some reason the lock was stopped 3 times before we reached the bottom. We found out later that it was not stuck but rather the lockmaster was stopping it to grease some gears. Now we were about to enter the dreaded Canal Lake. When we were at Hastings Marina a diver there told us we would have a very difficult time going through there and particularly the arched tunnel bridge as we have a 5-foot draft. It is true that this lake is very shallow and there is a very narrow channel through it with at times a reported depth of 5 feet and if ever a boat will bump bottom it will be here. We managed to cross without bumping anything although a couple of times our depth sounder would not register any depth which meant either we were going along the bottom or it was very weedy and the sounder could not get a good reading. When it was reading the depth, the lowest we saw was about 5 feet 6 inches. Once out of Canal Lake we were on the Trent Canal portion linking Canal Lake to Lake Simcoe. The first part is known as the Talbot River and we did see skinny water at its beginning (5 feet 4 inches) and had to go very carefully. We saw immaculate homes with manicured gardens along the Talbot River section of the Trent. This gave way to farm country, which was beautiful. We locked down through locks 37, 38, and 39 and tied to the wall above lock 40 for the night. All of the lockmasters on the Trent Severn Waterway have been wonderful and always right there to help. On the locks taking us down it is very difficult, if not impossible, to reach down and loop your boat line around the cable, so the lock personnel come over to your boat and take your bow and stern lines and loop it for you. The locking down process has been much easier than going up. Weather permitting, we plan to cross Lake Simcoe and stay at Orillia for 3 nights.
Friday, July 16, 2010
We travelled on the Trent Canal, which was a narrow channel with water depths ranging from 5'8" to 6'3", and then across 12 miles of the eastern end of Lake Simcoe. The lake was choppy with waves of 1 meter or less. We met up with Watauga at Orillia so once again the we have our Tennessee flotilla consisting of Tellico Lady, Watauga, and Mas Bueno. Bill & Nancie and Ken & Brenda ate dinner at Studabakers.
Saturday, July 17, 2010
In the morning, Nancie, Brenda, and Cheryl visited the local farmers' market which was excellent.
Today there was a Scottish festival in town. At 12:30 was a wonderful parade featuring approximately 20 pipe and drum bands from various nearby cities as well as a couple of brass bands. This was followed by an afternoon of band and dance competitions. Downtown Orillia is delightful with a very busy downtown section with many stores and restaurants and a nearby Metro grocery store. Our friend, Pat Sheridan, who last visited us in Fort Myers, came by today and spent the night with us.
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Since the marina is located on the waterfront right downtown, we have made several trips into the town to visit its many shops. We have also walked along the wonderful waterway trails. All along the downtown streets, there are a total of 50 giant guitar sculptures that have been painted by local artists. They really add to the street scape. It is called "The Guitars on Parade" and is a project to help celebrate the Mariposa Folk Festival that is held in Orillia. Today loopers, Tortuga and Emery 'El , arrived at the marina.
Monday, July 19, 2010
Today we charted our travel course for the next few days and then did boat housekeeping activities in preparation for our departure tomorrow. We had lunch with Bill & Nancie at the Mariposa Market.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Tellico Lady, Watauga, and Iron Jenny left early so that we would arrive at the first lock when it opened at 8:30. However, there was a swing bridge right before the lock which did not open until 8:30 either and we arrived there about 8:15. When 8:30 rolled around the bridge master informed us that a train was coming and that we would have to wait. It was 45 minutes later when we finally got through - so much for our early start to the day. The shoreline along the Trent Canal between Lake Couchiching and Sparrow Lake is lined with many homes and cottages with many of them right at the water's edge. After crossing Sparrow Lake we again entered another canal portion of the waterway. It was very narrow with many rocky outcrops at the edge of the channel. We had to pay close attention and make sure we stayed in the center of the narrow channel, especially in the sections known as Sparrow Lake Chute and McDonald's Cut, which thankfully were relatively short in distance. At lock 43, Tellico Lady had to wait for the second lock through as all 3 boats could not fit in at the same time. Finally we arrived at the Big Chute at Lock 44 where we tied up at the public docks. We immediately walked over to the lock to see how the Big Chute Railway worked. This is not really lock. It is a huge platform which moves on railroad tracks. The platform is lowered into the water on one side and you drive your boat onto the platform where it is held in place with slings (like on a travel lift for boats). Then the platform is raised up into the air and moved over the land and then lowered into the water on the other side. We watched several boats go through, including Iron Jenny, so we would know what to expect tomorrow. We ate dinner at the Big Chute Restaurant. Upon returning to our boats, Watauga and Tellico Lady relocated to the blue line so we would be ready to enter the Big Chute at 8:30 in the morning. On the Trent Severn Waterway you did do not contact the lockmasters by radio to ask for a lock through. Instead you tie your boat to the portion of the lock wall that has a painted blue line. This signifies that you wish to lock through.
When we pass through this marine railway lock, we will continue on out into Georgian Bay, and as such this will be the last posting in this Trent Severn section. There is in fact one more small lock to go through at Port Severn, but tomorrows trip will be well out into Georgian Bay, and will be posted in that section.
Copyright(c) 2008 Ken Bloomfield, All rights reserved.