Aug 102012
 

Still here.  Gale force winds on Lake Huron doesn’t make for a good travel day.  White caps in the Harbour makes for a good laundry, fixing things day.

Aiden got started on making his RC car that has to be built from scratch.  I did the overdue laundry detail.  Scott took some time looking for the port electrical problem only to find the problem is under the stairs.  The walls and stairs will have to be taken out to fix the wire.  So that job will wait.  Scott did come up with  a bypass so that we have power to the necessities on that side of the boat, like the Xbox (which has only been turned on twice in one month).

We hear the Chi Cheemaun Ferry coming in every 3 – 4 hours.  The cars are lining up for the next ferry before she has even left port. Even the site seeing tours to FlowerPot Island and diving to the  ship wrecks has been cancelled due to the storm.

 Posted by at 4:16 PM
Aug 092012
 

An expected storm front is moving in for about 3 days.  Since we are in the New York City of the north we decided to stay here until the front passes.  I’ll let you know what treasures we find here in the Bruce Peninsula.  Note that cell service is nonexistent for us.  Email and Internet communication only.

We went to the Parks Canada visitation Centre and saw an interactive show on bats.  The centre is small but we managed to spend over an hour there.  Following the Bruce Trail for a bit we embarked on an observation tower overlooking the entrance of Georgian Bay and Lake Huron.  Sorry no pics .  It has been threatening rain all day so no pics because of it.  I left the boys at the observation tower to do a 5 km hike and headed back on the bike to the boat.  They say that Burnt Point on the water was beautiful. They were splashed by the 6 ft waves crashing on the shore.  The hike was supposed to be a  1 hour hike but in reality it is more of a 3 hour hike and not easy.  Boys were tired but elated by the sites.  I went back to the boat and biked to the grocery store and liquor store for some wine and groceries.  I had to batten down the hatches as I could see the storm rolling in.  Of course the boys made it back before dinner was started and both were asking for dinner.  BBQ was done just as the rain started.  Good quiet day overall but no travel time to log.  Now we are down at least one day.

More recently Scott has found an electrical problem on the port side.  Scott, I know what you’re going to do tomorrow.  So far it is not the easy fix.

 

 Posted by at 2:10 PM
Aug 082012
 

We knew that there would be waves today with a storm coming in.  I love Gravol.  Two metre waves for almost 2 1/2 hours was just about all I could take.  However before we headed out on open waters we headed on up the small craft channel north that is taken to go to the North Channel.  We are not visiting the North Channel this time but the small craft channel is gorgeous too.  We had more traffic here than in most places.  Small channel at times and Scott had to keep his spatial ability at top notch to manoever around the islands. All 30,000 of them.

We stopped at Henry’s for lunch.  Henry’s is a restaurant on an island that caters to boats and planes only.  They serve fresh water fish meals with a bit of land lovers too.  Lots of dockage and helping hands to help you get docked.  Worth the stop.  A bit pricey but, hey, it’s a novelty right and not everyone can say they have been there.  In fact Henry’s is on Frying Pan Island and is classified as an airport.  We saw three planes land and take off in the couple hours we were there.  There is also overnight dockage with some power.

Then it  was all open waters across Georgian Bay to Tobermory.  The wave heights were not too bad until we had to stop.  That’s when we realized they were about 2+ meters in height.  Water was coming in the open window so we had to get the covers on while driving and rocking.  Once that was done it wasn’t too bad once up to speed again.  The payoff was the edge of the escarpment, with its towering heights, beautiful rock formations and turquoise waters like you see in the Caribbean.  Just east of the Harbour of Tobermory is stunning beauty only viewable from the water.  I would say that it is quite spectacular.

After getting topped up on diesel we were informed that the only spot left was on the pier.  It has hydro and we can watch all the boats pass by and everyone getting ready for the various cruises and the ferry, Chichimon.  We went for a walk into town to check things out.  Delicious coffee and hot chocolate can be found at the local bakery.

We checked weather and it isn’t looking good.  Deciding to check on the progress of a weather front in the morning, before making some decisions on travel, we head off to bed.

 Posted by at 2:11 PM
Aug 072012
 

No more locks!  We have completed the Trent Severn Waterway. As we passed through Big Chute today on the marine railway it was a cathartic moment.  One more lock on this journey that both of us have thought about over the years.  We wondered why we never did it before even in the 20ftr’s.  It would have been so much easier back then or would it?  With expectations of what Georgian Bay would bring and reminiscing about the last 10 days we made it through the last few km to Port Severn.  Every lock has a personality all to its own.  This one is small in size but not depth.   Once again as we passed other boats going downbound  and entering their first lock, us our last, it was still such a thrill.  Can’t wait to do this waterway again.

Entering Georgian Bay was through a narrow channel through open waters.  Weaving and winding all over  the place through those never forgiving red and green markers or buoys that have been our road map from the very start.  Scott never missing a beat and going between them km after km.  It is still beautiful here no matter which way you look on these open waters.

Our journey from here on is mainly marinas and open water on the lakes.  Today we will be holding up in a childhood vacation spot for my family and I.  We saw the old spot with memories of dad building the added room.  The shed is still there.  Hearing the names of islands and places that I visited and passing along those memories to Aiden.  I’m pretty sure he was bored.  Honey Harbour isn’t the same but neither am I.  The water is at least 4 ft lower, the old docks replace by larger, newer ones, the boats seem larger but on the good side the grocery and ice cream store is still the same.  No where else can you find ice cream, fishing worms, a deli counter, gravol and crazy glue in one spot.

Tomorrow we are headed out on the open waters to Tobermory.  Weather is not looking good for at least 2 days after that when we are headed down Lake Huron.  We may be held up for a couple days.  

 Posted by at 12:58 AM
Aug 062012
 

For those that love ingenuity and engineering this is the coolest endeavor yet on the Trent.   The marine railway lifts boats out of the water on a rail like car and takes them over the embankment to the other side.  There is a visitor center here, lots of blue line space and lots of history to look at.  We arrived before noon and the boats just kept on coming.  It may be due to the locals and cottagers and this being a long weekend but we watched boat after boat loads of  loads on that railway.  Great to sit in the afternoon and people watch or should I say boat watch.

It was a short cruise here from Swift Rapids.  Scott did get his video and is planning on one through Big Chute as well. The beauty of this place is overwhelming.  I love, love the little town of Severn Falls.  I want to rent a cottage there next year.  Maybe we can bring the boat again, LoL.

Aiden met a little girl here and they swam almost all afternoon.  I have her dad sold on Norwex cloths too.  I use mine on the boat windows all the time.  Gotta get some more of them and bring them on board and sell from here.

I was quickly reminded just now that I forgot to mention something yesterday.  Aiden and Scott found an albino grasshopper while on their walk.  That is big news.  Have you ever seen one?

This being our last day on the Trent is  the end of a journey.  Tomorrow we lock through on the railway and go down one more small lock to Georgian Bay.

 Posted by at 11:51 PM
Aug 052012
 

Rain, wind and waves is the sum of today.  The rain started and stopped and started again just as things dried out. Twice!  We stopped at the gov’t dock in downtown Orillia to pick up much needed groceries.  Really great place for a port. Then we passed through Lake Couchiching in the rain and then entered what we think is the most beautiful part of this journey.  Rock cliffs of granite, evergreen trees and black clear waters.  What more could you want?

The winds at the Couchiching lock weren’t too bad  and the rain had just stopped so it was  quite uneventful.  It is a beautiful lock that will have to be discovered further on another journey.  Our goal was to make it to Swift Rapids where a 47′ lock awaits us.  The newest of the locks that replaced a marine railway in 1965.  We sit in the wind at the top of the lock waiting for better weather tomorrow.  Scott wants to do a video going down this lock.

The pictures that are on this site do not do this portion of the Trent justice.  It brings me back to those cottage weeks with my parents those many years ago.  Yes, they made an impression on me even at those young ages.

The boys went exploring looking for Massassauga rattle snakes.  Boys will be boys.  I reminded them that we are in the middle of no where but that didn’t seem to deter them from the find. We have our morning swim location scoped out already.  On the other side of the dam is a beautiful rocky cliff area that is calling for attention. Until then salmon needs to be cooked and a bottle of Quebec wine is airing.

 Posted by at 2:08 AM
Aug 042012
 

At Kirkfield Lift Lock and heading up or north on the Trent you actually come to the edge of the waterway.  You have to pull into the pan with nothing in front of you.  Scott decided to take a video of us going into the lock, through the process, and then out again.  That video will be time lapsed for viewing but it won’t be on the site any time soon.  A lot of work to get it edited and we are on vacation, remember?  You’ll just have to watch for it.  Once in and you start to go down it is even more exhilerating than Peterborough because there is nothing in front of you until you reach the bottom.  We had beautiful skies and hot, hot, hot temps.  Then after that there is a succession of locks to go through as you lock down from now on until Georgian Bay.

The highlight of the day was swimming and jumping off the boat in Lake Simcoe.  We spent about an hour there enjoying the “work” it was getting through those locks in this hot weather.  

  We are dropping of C today when his parents meet us at the marina in Orillia.  I’m sure after this adventure he will appreciate so many more things easily available at home.  Thanks for picking up our oil Kevin and Dana.  Much appreciated!!

Sitting in the marina I have to get laundry done, yet again, pick up groceries and clean this boat thoroughly.  You never know when you will have shore power again so out comes the vacuum.  Scott was going to do the oil change tomorrow but the weather is calling for 10 mm of rain here and opening the engine hatch is a messy job when it rains.  

As we are drawing near the end of our Trent Severn adventure I find myself wanting to do it all again some day.  So different than the Rideau where I was happy to leave, but this time on the Trent will be done again, I’m sure.  We have 4 locks left to do.

 

 Posted by at 2:42 AM
Aug 032012
 

We should have known how today was going to go when just as we woke up the dead battery alarm went off.  Scott started the gen on the auxillary batteries and we were good to go……….or so we thought.   After a quick shower at the back of the boat and a general clean up we headed off into Sturgeon Lake.

We were about half way across when the starboard engine quit and would not start.  We knew that the marina that we were getting diesel from was not far so we puttered on one engine to their marina.  Of course our cell service was non existent and our internet flaky and the marina was not monitoring its VHF radio. I proceeded to wave down a fellow mariner who was washing his boat and he got on the radio.  Scott let him know we were down an engine and we were coming in.  He got some help at the dock and we were in pretty easily.  We were thankful that we made it there and asked for diesel.  The owner said that they have never had diesel and that the next place would be about 10 miles further down our  route.  Scott was now down in the engine room in 30 degree heat beside two engines giving off more heat.  He was drenched by the time he fixed the problem which was air in the fuel rails.  It is supposed to self prime itself and Scott did the filters correctly but was a bit short on adding diesel to the filter.  Note to self that diesel engines are picky when it comes to filling the oil filters.

Off we go again to find that diesel at the next stop.  The fella at Birch Point Marina was kind enough to sell us his stock of about 40 l  to get us down to the next stop.   We pull up to the diesel pump only to find out that the pump is down and that the only place after them is Orillia.  We don’t have enough fuel to get to Orillia.  Please remember that we have this trip planned very thoroughly and that fuel stops have been planned out but we didn’t plan for wrong written information and pumps that stopped working.  After discussing our options we came to the conclusion that the best plan of action was to make it to Kirkfield lift lock, call my mom right now and have her buy 6 – 20 L containers and drive to meet us.   Then Scott can run to the gas station with her car, fill up the 6 containers and do that 3 times.  So that is what happened.  We sat down to have dinner at about 8:00 or so and sent mom on her merry way back home, us happy with half full tanks of gas to get us to Orillia. Thanks again Mom!  We owe you a dinner at least!

I must add that the highlight of the day was a swim in Balsam Lake.  Beautiful open lake with clear blue waters and warm.  Balsam Lake feeds the entire Trent Severn Waterway going in both directions.  It is also the highest point navigatable by sea in the world.

We stayed on top of the lock only because there was road access and it would be easier to lug over those Geri  cans.  It is very industrial there.  The buoys are stored there and work barges are there too.  No park like setting but we did have a picnic table.

Tomorrow we lock through the Kirkfield lift lock going down instead of up like at the Peterborough lift lock!

 Posted by at 2:15 AM
Aug 022012
 

This beautiful country up here in The Kawarthas.  The only problem is everyone knows it.  Cottages are literally everywhere almost on top of each other.  The water is crystal clear and so far not many boats are on the water.  Leaving Buckhorn behind (much to my pleasure) we head on off to a marina in Bobcaygeon for those well waited for toilet parts. 

Upon arriving to the marina it is quickly noted that that the marina is really not equipped to handle this size boat.  After getting us set up at the end of the gas dock , the attendant says he has an alternate spot for us.  It turns out it is a bit shallow and the width will fit the boat but just barely.  He says we can stay at the front of the gas dock but is concerned for any house boat rental drivers that may be in for gas.  No kidding!!!  They are not only the worst drivers on the water but it is our guess that many have never really been around boating.  That goes for their crew as well.  After a 20 minute instructional video they are handed the keys to head out into the waters and those close quarters on dock walls and locks with the regular boats.  I can tell you it is quite the painful experience watching them try to manoever them. 

The boys made friends with two other boys around the ages of 14 and 16 docked behind us here on the wall.  They spent the day making forts, fishing and just being boys.  My mom made it down for the evening and we had some catch up time too.  Scott did the maintenance on the toilet, rebuilt the pump and changed oil filters.  They only real job left is changing the oil. 

Bobcaygeon on the upper side of the lock is a really good stop.  You can get all your supplies here, do some shopping, watch those boathouse drivers for entertainment, and the lock is a busy one but far enough away that you can still enjoy the beautifully kept park area.  New this year is a two hour stop until 5:00 and then you can overnight.  However, the lockmasters seem to turn a blind eye to that rule.  They are just too busy doing the locking.

 Posted by at 12:49 PM