Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Adios, Trent Severn

We are at the end of our trip through the Trent Severn and it has taken seven days!  We've been through 43 locks (one more to go).

We have locked through 37 conventional locks, meaning they have watertight gates made of timber or steel at both ends, and they are filled and emptied through sluices in the gates, walls or floor of the lock chamber. Some of the sluices are still operated manually while others are now operated by electrically controlled hydraulic systems.

                                    Opening the doors by hand, a little more than half were manually operated.

              This was in 25 mph winds throwing the water (and seaweed) right over the top of the gates

 This is the cold front that changed the weather up here.  It was in the mid 90's and more humid than Florida everyone was suffering.  Since this it's been on the chilly side for us thin blooded Floridians but better than heat and sweat!!  It totally went around us not even much rain, but it put a lot of people in Ontario without power for a few days although they kept the locks running.  That's where manual locks come in handy!

There were two flight locks, which are two locks joined together to handle large changes in water levels. We went up up 48 feet in one and 54 in another.

The third type of lock is the Hydraulic Lift Lock.  Canada's hydraulic lift locks are 2 of only 9 in the world and the only 2 in North America.  Lift locks are made up of 2 water filled chambers counterbalanced on huge hydraulic pistons.  As one descends, the other is forced upwards.  Our depth sounder read about 6 1/2 feet deep in the chamber.  It was a very quick ride, like being on an elevator.

We were following these boats into the left chamber.  A Gate on a lever comes up and makes the chamber then up you go.

                                                             That's a long way up!

                                                  View from the top  Peterborough Lift Lock  65 feet up


                                     View from the top Kirkfield Lift Lock where we went down 49 feet.  
                                                         From here on we went down.

 Then there was the coolest part (although it was also the quickest) "Big Chute"...the marine railway which    takes you 600 feet over land. It was built in 1977 for $2.9 million.  It's like being on a terribly slow roller coaster. You go slightly up then a few hundred yards down.  Quite a marvel of engineering.  We got lucky, or not, we were the only two boats there so it was over before we could even take it all in!

You've heard me mention My Therapy...well we ended up locking through together again yesterday so the two of us got to do the Chute together.  We are now both in Starport Landing in Port Severn.  It's windy to go into Georgian Bay and no place to anchor.  This is the nicest small marina we've been in EVER.....they will deliver breakfast to your boat (not free of course) pick up your garbage (free) deliver a paper in the morning (free) and the biggie  FREE LAUNDRY... although we both balked at the $2. a foot price you get what you pay for.  We even comped a free pumpout which they charge $30 for.  OUTRAGEOUS in the states the MOST you'll pay is $10.
We went to the small General Store near here to get supplies but it was so pricey all we got is milk for $6.00 for a 5 quart bag, a loaf of bread and some Pemeal Bacon, which I haven't had in YIKES 50 Dad used to bring it home from Canada when I was a kid.  Gary bought a 15 pack of beer for $21.00 double YIKES although they assured him the cans were larger than the case of bottles for $30.00 and he wasn't paying that much more.  Yeah, right.   Then the kicker calculations were made that we had enough fuel to get us back to the states, but conditions have altered those calculations and we may have to buy fuel here!!!!!!!!!!
Oh well, as I say, "when in Rome" (get out as quick as you can)!!!!

BUT, the scenery is to die for, and the Canadian people have been nothing but welcoming, I don't know how they can afford to live, but I'm also glad I don't have to find out!

My 3 F's  Farms, flowers and flags....the flowers are beautiful and flags line the waterways....

Another favorite pastime ICE CREAM....I kid you not they have ice cream everywhere!!  You never have to look kind of place.

This entire waterway is Canada's "Cottage Country".... from tiny little things to glass fish bowls.  Some on the shore and many built on stone islands in the middle of the water accessible only by boat.  An idyllic summer lifestyle.
Stony Lake was a gorgeous area....with tiny cottages on the small rock islands...

     ......... even and 'Island' church

                         Also a huge area for rented houseboats which is always interesting.
                Most have no clue about which end is up! They were quite a challenge on the weekend.

So that's it for now....time to move to the lock for the "cheap" dockage for the night and tomorrow into Georgian Bay.  It  may take another 6 days or so depending on weather to make Drummond Island. Whatever happened to flat water and blue skies....mother natures nasty sister "Windy" is on a roll this year.

Tie a Knot ....Out

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Quick Update

We are now at Fraser Park Marina in Trenton, Ontario, the first stop on the Trent Severn Waterway. We left the St. Lawrence on Tuesday and headed into Lake Ontario.  Perfect crossing, winds head on and very light.  It took ten and a half hours, which means we both got a good nap out of it!!   The only thing we had to watch for was a six foot male dressed in tan shorts and a t shirt, gone missing Monday near Buffalo. Not a good outcome I'm sure. 
Reminds me of the experience we had at Cedar Island in the 1000 Islands.  Lots of late Saturday traffic at this anchorage.  All of a sudden a jet ski comes behind us and does what I guess he thought was a cool pass. Anyway, not so cool for him.  He lost control, fell off the jet ski which started circling and it took him about 10 tense (for us) minutes to swim to the jet ski and laboriously climb back on.  He was obviously majorly intoxicated.  When he got back on, I said "bet you won't be trying that maneuver again", since he was majorly intoxicated that advice didn't sink in....he sped off toward shore the same we he sped past our boat....IDIOT!
Back to the quick update.
We plan to leave tomorrow morning to start the Trent Severn Waterway.  

the trent severn waterway regions map

This will take us on a winding waterway from Trenton to Port Severn on Georgian Bay, Lake Huron.  387 Kilometers, or 240 miles, encompassing 41 locks, a marine railway and 2 hydraulic lift locks. Another experience of a lifetime for us mariners.  Especially since we are now old enough to be impressed!
After that we will enter Georgian Bay and then head through the 30,000 Islands instead of the North Channel, into Lake Huron, the Straits of Mackinaw and finally Lake Michigan to Petoskey.  Anyway that's the plan.
This will take 10 days to two weeks at our best estimation.  Hopefully we will find more Wi-Fi on the way.  
Today we got grocery's and washed the boat.  After anchoring the last two nights we got bugged big time. We hosed them off the best we could but a major spit and shine was called for.  It was hotter n' hell her today way up in the 90's and like a blast furnace so we did a mid day siesta in our tepid air conditioning and then attacked the bug mobile around 4:00.  Finished at 6:30, a major job.
Anyway, now we are clean tucked in and ready to face tomorrow.
Here are a few pics of the last couple of days.

 Not only bugs we've had a major weed on the anchor issue the past two nights.  This morning it took a half hour to get the anchors up.  They were embedded together with weeds.  By the time I got the camera the boat had moved from the patch but it was BAD....two of us could hardly lift the auxiliary anchor...won't be using that anymore in these waters.  With the weeds we're glued to the bottom with one.  Old habits die hard.
 First drawbridge on the Murray Canal which leads from Presqui'lle Bay to Bay of Quinte...the bridge tender held a pole with a small bucket to collect the $4.95 fee....quite medieval...anyway we had a pass for the waterway so there was no small drop in the bucket for Tie A Knot....just a major one to Parks Canada for our Season Canal Pass...nothing is free in Canada.

An interesting way to get a gallon of milk...It only comes in a plastic bag with three 'bladders' inside, which you then have to transfer to a usable vehicle for pouring.  Thankfully we had a nearly empty gallon container already so we just added it to that.  As far as recyclables they may have one up on the US in this.

                                       The bridge we'll go under tomorrow morning.
 Downtown Trenton where we had good luck at the Dollar Tree...
in the US everything is a dollar, here it's 
 Gary in his cute beat the sun hat...which he's worn was brutal today, carrying our $$$ Store cache.
Last night in Presque'ille Bay there were hundreds of swans.  They were in the marsh and gliding around in masses in the water.  None came close to the boat.

We anchored at the tip of Wolfe Island, Ontario, just before entering Lake Ontario.....Lots of wind generators turning serenely in the wind.  We've heard people say they don't want them, they make noise...we didn't hear a peep.  We need to get on this wagon train in the US, especially Florida where wind plays a big roll in the weather.  Someone told us the land owners are paid $800 a month for having one on their property plus free electric....I'm IN!!!

Sunset Wolfe Island 

 If you look hard you can see a freighter just past middle, port side, this woke me up but it took a while to make me get up and look.  So glad I did.  Is this not an awesome pre-sunrise photo!! turned into this beautiful what if it was only 5:30 am...
the perfect start to our crossing of Lake Ontario

So we continue our journey....

Saturday, July 13, 2013


I hope you'll forgive me if I skip ahead.  I have a LOT of pictures of the last 5 days but to post them I have to figure out a way to do a slide show....that is going to take time and right now we are bobbing in and out of US waters which means bobbing in and out of data coverage and not a whole lot of time.
We plan on being in Michigan for several weeks so I promise I will belatedly post a slide show of the pictures of Lake Champlain, the St. Lawrence Locks and the Seaway.  Gary thinks continuity is better but if that is going to happen you won't be getting anything for weeks.  Right now I am able to pick up where we are and keep going!  So, are you all with me?  I thought so!
We have had great weather, none of the storms you have been seeing on the news.  We had one night that started pretty windy and we were anchored in an exposed area but it died down as it usually does after dark.
We anchored 4 nights in the St. Lawrence River or the canals after the locks.  The only night we had to try twice was the first night just South of Sorel which is at the tip of the St. Oar canal coming up from Champlain.  It was rock bottom on the first try but we went another half mile and found good holding.
All the pictures of this leg will come later...
On to the present...
Yesterday morning we did a video check in at US Customs in Waddington N.Y.  It took us a while to figure out where we were going as the customs office said it was in front of the True Value Hardware and the Waddington Marina.
First I looked up the marina (we were finally in the US so I could use the computer) and found the number was no longer in service...great, then I decided to call the True Value Hardware and was pleased to get the help of Karen, the owner.  She told us exactly where the dock was and where the video phone was (by the public bathrooms of course)  what's the first thing you need to use after an extended journey!
After checking in we decided we'd better use the $5. pump out.  This did not go so well.  I won't go into graphic detail but this pump had some mighty suction, only when it was done Gary did his usual routine of turning the lever off and back on for one last suck.  Don't know if you are with me but have you ever seen the movie RV with Robin was that kind of moment, one minute the you know what is going down the hose and the next it is flying over the deck and....yup, you know who (I was well away from the action).  It was in a word  YUCK!!!! And all I could think of was the movie RV, I am one sick person!!
Obviously he survived.
Karen at the True Value was wonderful.  The town didn't have a laundromat but she owned an apartment building that had a laundry and she drove us there so we could wash clothes. Waddington was a nice small town, showing pride in the community everywhere.  We decided to stay the night at the dock for the ridiculously low $10 fee, had a nice lunch at a little cafe and the entertainment of a steel drum band, the weekly concert right off of the dock.  



I didn't take a lot of Waddington..I am taking way too many to put on the blog so I just enjoyed myself.  Suffice it to say it was a very nice small town, like the one I grew up in.  Everybody knows everyone and calls them by name.  As Karen said "we take care of each other here"....

We then traveled west again headed for the 1000 Islands  

                                               Canadian Coast Guard, Prescott, Ontario


This old  beauty was on the mainland near Brockville

The 1000 Islands began around Brockville.  You are on this big open river and then all of a sudden Islands start popping up.  The islands are small and many of them have only one summer cottage on them.  Some maybe 2 or 3.  Nothing fancy, most look like they've been there for years.  Some islands are too small for anything and others are not inhabited but used as gathering places for boats or in the instance of Brockville, town owned as parks. 
The Canadian /US border is a zig zag pattern all the way through this portion of the St. Lawrence.  You are in Canada in one part of the shipping channel and then it shifts over to the US.  You have to be very careful not to use your phones or computers it could end up costing a fortune if you slip over into Canadian water.

I was very taken with this island.  Is it not just perfect!!  It looked to be abandoned but in pretty good shape.  I just wanted to move in and fix it up.  My romantic side coming out.  I'm sure I would be rethinking things in a month or two when it starts to get chilly.

I just love freighters!!!  Guess it's because I grew upwatching and  listening to them go buy our house in Algonac, Michigan.

        Our Anchorage view tonight Cedar Island State Park in Chippewa Bay
..this beats a marina anyday!

  On the other side of us is a state park where these two couples were enjoying the end of the day.