Saturday, July 26, 2008


These photos are not from our current position. These are from the Trent Severn between Campbellford and Bobcaygen, we were not able to get them in before. The first is Ithaka running ahead of us when the weather was rainy.
The second photo is typical of the lakes in this area, every rock which is large enough has a cottage on it.
The next photo is a church we were told to watch for. It occupies the entire island and people arrive by boat and tie up behind the church.
The fourth photo is a typical scene with rocks sticking up out of the water all around.
The last photo is another cottage on a small rocky island. We took many, many photos of similar cottages.

On Wednesday we left Port Severn through the last lock of the Trent Severn, Lock 45. Below the lock is some of the most swirling current we have encountered to date, followed by a third current entering our course from the starboard. We all survived this and entered the Georgian Bay and crossed the end of the bay and went to Penetanguishene. This was to be the location for the AGLCA rendevouzs which was cancelled due to lack of attendance. There are enough loopers here that the Marina sponsored a wine and cheese social for loopers on our first night here followed by an informative session presented by the marina staff on cruising the Georgian Bay. They pointed out courses to follow and some not to follow and good anchorages and points of intrest such as water falls and lakes within hiking distance but not a part of the Bay. The next day many of us met again with the marina manager and reviewed and marked our charts. Since then our traveling group has met again to review our charts and lay out a tenative agenda for our cruise of the Bay. On Thursday evening we went to a local theater to see a play called "Sorry ...I Am Canadian." It was very entertaining and funny. It amounted to a trip across Canada with jokes and songs from each province. The main character was a Mounty who told of his travel experiences while a male quartet sang songs about the area. A family tap dance trio, a 17 year old borther and his two younger sisters, danced. The play was a great geography lesson about Canada and left all, Canadians and Americans feeling good about Canada. All the players were great.

On Friday we were treated to free transportation to Midland, a nearby town with more shopping than Penetang. In the evening all the loopers gathered at the gazebo on the marina grounds for munchies and drinks and exchangingraded lies. I got frustrated with our outboard on our dingy and traded it for a new 9.9 Hp Mercury. We decided we were not going to cruise the Bay with a motor we can not depend on to run. I am sure the problem is with the fuel system but I am through messing with it.

Today is Saturday, we got up and went to the laundry in the rain and then got the motor on the dingy. It is rainy and quite windy so we have not run it much yet.

Bella Luna and Phantom of the Aqua just arrived! We have not seen them since New Jersey. We are off to visit the people we began this trip with. ..... Bad news, their dog, Buddy, a black lab who is one of the sweetest dogs ever is not doing well. He is quite old and they think his heart is giving out. They left with him to go to the vet as soon as they stepped off the boat.

The wind is howling her right now.

All the loopers are having a cookout this evening. Muriel is making potato salad right now.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Orillia to Big Chute and on to Port Severn

The first photo shows Ithaka and Southern Comfort leading us into a very narrow passage which is typical in this area.
The photo above shows Southern Comfort in the deepest lock in the Trent Severn.

This is where Carlie spends most of the travel time. The next photo shows the railcar at the Big Chute Railway coming out of the water at the top of the railway with two run abouts and a 50 foot Ocean Alexander hanging out the back. The larger inboard boats hang out this way to keep the props off the floor. The last photo shows the Big Chute where the Severn River used to flow down the gorge now by passed by the railway.

Orillia was a real treat. We arrived Thursday afternoon and got settled at the Port of Orillia marina, Chip went fishing and Chip caught two very nice small mouth bass. Shelly caught nothing. This was the first time Chip beat Shelly. Chip cleaned the fish for a future fish fry. Afterward most of us went in for a quick swim and felt very refreshed. Friday was a day of relaxation and wandering around town. Of course Muriel and the ladies found a very nice bakery, great food and many free samples. Friday evening we all shared Ceasar drinks, a Canadian Bloody Mary made by Chip, our official Canadian by birth, on Ithaka, aeh!!! This is a Canadian Bloody Mary, with a touch of celery salt and clamato juice instead of tomato juice, it is quite refreshing. On Saturday morning we started with a trip to the local farmer's market. Muriel bought many veggies. At noon the Scottish Festival started with a parade right past the Port of Orillia and ending in the park adjacent to the marina. There were 25 drum and bagpipe bands from all around Ontario in the parade along with the Shriners on their little cars. After the parade we walked over to the park and got hot dogs for lunch and watched the bands perform in mass and some highland dancing. By evening we were glad to get back to the boats and rest a little. The marina filled with looper boats on Saturday so we decided to leave so that the waterway was not too conjested with loopers.

We left Orillia Sunday morning in fairly heavy rain which let up shortly after we got away and visibility improved to a reasonable amount. (We do not have this area on our GPS so we either follow the other boats or we navigate by following the paper charts.) Traveling through more unbelievable scenery we arrived at the deepest lock on the Trent Severn, a 47 foot lift in one lock. This was impressive. Shortly we arrived at the Big Chute Railway. This is called lock 44, however, it is not a lock. It is a railway which runs down into the water on one side of the hill and the boats drive onto the car, which is huge, it can hold two run about boats and a 5o foot trawler at the same time, or several run abouts. We tied up to the public dock and watched and took pictures on Sunday afternoon. Sunday evening Shelly hooked the largest fish yet. It was a northern pike about two feet long. It got off as she attemped to lift it onto the boat. Fortunately several people saw it to verify her fish story.

On Monday morning at 8:00 am we all moved over to the blue line to be ready to transit the railway when it opened at 8:30. Ithaka was first to load, next went Blue Max. Just as Blue Max got to the rail car a squal hit with lightning and high winds making it very difficult for Bill to manuver onto the car. He got side ways to the entrance of the car just as lightning hit the system and knocked out all the power so the crew on the car were unable to assist with the lift straps. Bill managed to back away without mishap and return to the blue line to tie back up. This all happened about 8:45. We waited until about 4:00pm before power was restored so that the rest of us could transit the lift. All was not bad, we enjoyed the day after the storm passed wandering about the area and taking more pictures. The site includes a display of the original power generation turbines and generator.

The scenery beyond the chute was beautiful in the afternoon sun. We passed through one very narrow channel between shear granite walls where the current can reach 5 knots. It was not quite that swift for our transit but we certainly picked up speed through the channel. We are at Driftwood Cove marina in Port Severn today. This is a beautiful, Muriel complains that I use that adjative too frequently but what else can I say, setting right at the beginning to Gerogain Bay.

This morning I accompanied Blue Max to another marina where he had an appointment to haul out to replace a thru-hull fitting. After he was hauled they discovered they did not have the correct valve so they took off to locate a valve in another town. Ithaka also went over to the same marina to get his oil changed. The mechanic did not understand Ithaka's oil changer system and had a valve set wrong so when he thought he was pumping oil back into the engine he was in fact pumping it into the generator set. This over filled the gen set and forced the oil above the pistons which locked the engine. They say they may have to pull the gen set and it will be a week before they get it back. "If you want it done right do it yourself."

We just received our chart card for our GPS and it is great to see navigational aids again. Ithaka has made arrangements to get their gen set straightned out on the way and 'Blue Max is back in the water so we will all leave tomorrow morning for Pentanguishene.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Forward from Peterborough

The photo below is the view of Bobcageon from our boat on the wall. The next photo is typical of a house taking the entire island. The third photo is typical scene along the waterway. The fourth photo was taken from our boat as we ascended the lift lock at Kirkfield. The fifth photo is the Kirkfield Lift Lock.

We have been unable to blog since we were in Peterborough because we have not been anywhere that had WiFi available.

We left Peterborough on Sunday morning because there were so many looper boats in Peterborough we thought it would spread the boats out in the canal system if we went ahead and moved on. Muriel decided she would get up early and get some laundry done in the marina laundry. Good idea except several others had the same idea. By the time Muriel got her laundry going the boats we travel with were all out on the water and talking to each other on the VHF radio about where we were and that we were waiting for Muriel to finish her laundry. As Muriel finished and walked down the dock with her clean laundry everyone in the marina knew who the boats were waiting for. The second lock for the day was the famous Peterborough Lift Lock. This is the highest hydraulic lift lock in the world. The boats drive into a huge tank and the doors are closed. There are two tanks, which oppose each other, when one is up the other is down. The top tank is always filled one foot deeper than the lower tank so that it is heavier. The weight of the top tank brings it down on a large hydraulic cylinder and the pressure is piped to the cylinder under the other tank and causes it to rise. It is quite an experience to ride on your boat 69 feet up into the air. The photos do not do it justice.

We made a short day on Sunday and stopped on the wall at the Lakefield lock. This was just a concrete wall at the lock out in the country. We stopped early because Blue Max was having cooling problems during the run and we all stopped at one of the lock walls to resoilllve the problem. Bill went in the water and under his boat in the middle of the canal, expecting to find grass and weed stopping his water intake. He could not find anything so Guy, from Southern Comfort, got out his SCUBA gear and went under the boat and still could not find anything. The next step was to start disassembling the raw water system, Bill had been having some problems and had already checked the normal problem areas. We finally found mussell shells and grass had plugged the unlet line to the raw water strainer. After digging this out of the inlet elbow, we continued on the the Lakefield Lock for the night.

The next day we ran on to the town of Bobcageon where three of the boats got into the marina and we tied up on the wall. This was the prettiest run yet. The area around Hell's Gate was very rocky and rugged. Bobcageon is a beautiful little town and we enjoyed walking around. There is a shoe store which stocks 40,000 pairs of shoes. Muriel did not buy any! The Bakery was great too. Our refrigerator had quit working on 12 VDC so I spent time figuring out the problem and bought some new wire at the hardware store to rewire it. As usual the local people were delightful. We were on the wall two boats in front of a Canadian couple we had met in Picton so we got to visit with them some more. The boat right behind us was a local couple who spend their summers here boating and the winters in Florida in their motorhome. The said they have aquired maps of Lake Norman and want to trailer a boat to the lake to explore the lake. They were asking about transient dockage. We told them there is very little available on the lake so we would be happy for them to tie up at our dock in 2009 when they plan to be on the lake.

From Bobcageon we ran to the Kirkfield Lift Lock, another hydraulic lift lock. We tied up to the wall just below the lift and walked up the a small resturant for dinner to celebrate Guy and Peggy's 24th anniversery.

The next day's run took us across Lake Simcoe which is the largest lake on the Trent Severn Waterway and has a reputation for becoming very rough with a west wind. We had allowed for an extra day to wait for good weather if necessary but the weather could not have been better for our crossing. We arrived at Orillia, Ontario about 4:00 yesterday. We plan to stay here until Sunday. When we leave we will probably have two more days before we arrive at Port Severn which is the end of the Trent Severn. From there we will enter the Georgian Bay on Lake Huron. This us said to be the most beautiful cruising area of the Loop.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Continuing from Campbellford to Hastings

The first photo is the suspension bridge Muriel and I rode bikes to below Campbellford. The second photo is the looper group tied to the wall in Campbellford. From right to left is Sunshine, Ithaka, Southern Comfort, a couple of local boats and then Blue Max. The Old Mill Park is in the background. I took the last photo from the bridge right behind Sunshine, Muriel and Shelly are on the sundeck at the rear of the boat.

On Wednesday we ran from Campbellford to Hastings which is only 27 nautical miles with six locks. We arrived about 3:00 pm. The marina is only three years old and is very nice and as usual, the people are unbelievably nice. We ran through some very heavy rain which reduced visibility to a few hundred yards in a narrow, winding section. We slowed up and followed Southern Comfort. They have the area on their chart plotter. We are using paper charts and dead reconing for the Trent Severn. All went well. We arrived at the last lock of the day as the weather cleared. While we were in the lock it began to pour rain again so the lock tender had all of us tie into position and wait out the heavy rain. We all still got wet. We did not take any pictures today before arriving in Hastings. It is beautifully sunny but quite windy right now. It is forecast to be 50 degrees tonight. Good sleeping!
Hastings was so comfortable we spent a second day there and just enjoyed the area. Shelly and Chip from Ithaka spent most of the day fishing from the dam and spillway near the lock. Shelly caught two small fish. In the evening all the people from the transient boats got together for some drinks in the park at the marina. The people are so much fun, they make the day.
On Friday we moved on to Peterborough, ON. We had only one lock to transit and it was at the end of the day. We crossed Rice Lake, which is one of the largest lakes on the Trent Severn, shortly after leaving Hastings. The Lake has many islands and beautiful homes and lodges line the shores. We left the lake and continued up the Otonabee River to Peterborough. Much of the river bank is unsettled and lined with marsh, trees, and ferns. The rest of the river bank is scattered with small fishing cottages. There are large homes scattered in with the cottages.
Peterborough is the largest city in this area with much to see and do. Everyone says not to travel during the weekends because there is so much local boat traffic that the locks become quite crowded so we will stay here until Monday. There is a canoe and kayak museum here which Muriel and I will probably visit today. There is an open air concert in the park adjacent to the marina tonight followed by a fireworks display and today there is a farmers market here. This is also the site of the very unusual hydraulic lift lock. It is like two large tanks into which the boats are driven then as one goes up the other goes down. The weight of the upper tank forces the lower tank up. We will include photos.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The first photo is the patio at Frazier's Trenton Marina where we all gathered to socialize. The next photo is the flower garden in the park at Frazier's. The third photo is the bridge just up stream from the marina. The fourth photo is one on the locks on the Trent Severn Waterway. The fifth photo is Blue Max, Southern Comfort and Sunshine in a lock together. We have run together the past couple of days. We just fit into the locks.
On Sunday, July 6, we left Picton, ON and ran to Trenton which is where we begin the Trent Severn Waterway. This is said to be one of the prettiest parts of the Loop. We stayed at Frazier's Marina right at the mouth of the Trent River. The couple who run the marina, Craig and Sandy, are very pleasant and fun to visit with. They loaned me a bike so I could ride out to a WalMart to get fishing tackle for Shelly. Then Sandy drove us to a store so Shelly could get a liscense. Their ice cream at the marina is good too! We were glad to find Our Way at the marina. We have not seen them since back in NJ. We and several other loopers visited with Craig and Sandy on the patio at the marina until after dark and Muriel still had to fix dinner.

Yesterday, Monday, we left Trenton, ON about mid-morning and started our cruise up the Trent Severn Waterway to the Georgian Bay of Lake Huron. It was one of the hottest days of travel so far and we ran 12 locks and made only 29 nautical miles. We did not arrive in Campbellford until after 6:00pm. There were six looper boats running along somewhat together. The locks will only hold 3 of us at a time without rafting together so three of the boats were about 30 minutes ahead of us. All except Our Way decided to stop at Campbellford and spend a day resting and visiting the town.
Today, Tuesday, was another beautiful day in paradise. Muriel and I borrowed Southern Comfort's bikes and rode back to the last lock we passed on the way here so we could walk across a foot traffic suspension bridge. The view of the falls and the river below was well worth the ride. Shelly and Peggy went shopping while Guy worked on his computer. The Bakery here is the best! We have been there twice and Muriel and some other loopers went to the local chocolate factory. The chocolate is delicious and too cheap.
We are not calling very much because cell phone time costs us $.99 per minute while we are in Canada.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Oswego, NY to Picton, ON

The first photo shows Carlie as she spent most of the time we were out of sight of land crossing Lake Ontario. The second photo is our July 4 picnic with Guy and Peggy from Southern Comfort on the waterfront in Picton.
Thursday was just a prdicted, rain, sometimes heavy, and windy. Lake Ontario was no place for us that day. We were able to walk into town in the afternoon and eat lunch and look around. We even re-visited the post office where Muriel fell the day before. We were up at 4:45 am on Friday and departed Oswego a little before 6:00 am. The lake still had a roll from the previous day's blow but as the morning progressed the roll laid down and the lake was very smooth. We made the crossing with two other boats, Southern Comfort and Ithaka. Guy on Southern Comfort suggested we get out the water skis because the lake was so smooth. Carlie was really funny during our crossing of the lake. We were out of sight of land for about two hours and during that time she insisted on being held in someone's lap. As soon as we were well in sight of land again she was fine nd rested on her bed on the flybridge. We entered Canadian waters at False Duck Island and ran down Adolphus Reach to Picton, a quaint little town, where we cleared Canadian Customs by telephone.

We quickly met other boaters, both loopers and local people. The local couple gave Muriel and Peggy a ride to the grocery store so they were able to get hot dogs, watermelon, and strawberries for a July 4 party. We are tied to a wall with Southern Comfort right behind us so Guy grilled the dogs on their boat and we moved a picnic table into the shade of their boat and shared our dinner. Afterward the local couple joined in and came to our boat and we all had strawberry shortcake and whipped cream for dessert and enjoyed the conversation on boating and local lore.

This morning we walked a very short distance to a restaurant they had recommended and enjoyed breakfast. Afterward Muriel and Shelly and I walked the main street of Picton and bought steaks for dinner tonight. We left Shelly in town to get here nails done. She is also dying to get some fishing tackle and a liscense. The fishing in the local waters is supposed to be great for Walleye, Northern Pike and Salmon. The weather is beautiful, lows 50's in the morning and afternoon highs in the low 70's. We decided to stay here tonight and leave tomorrow for Trenton where we will enter the Trent Severn Canal for a 240 mile passage to the Gerogian Bay.

We received a call from Jeff this morning. He and Anne are cruising the Abacos and having a good time. They are starting to watch a tropical depression which has formed in the eastern Atlantic.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Awaiting a weather window in Oswego


The first photo is the water fall over the dam at a lock we had just come down through on the Oswego River. The next photo shows the two boats we are traveling with right now entering the last lock at Oswego. The lead boat is Ithaka from Florida and the second boat is Southern Comfort, also from Florida. The third photo is typical of the beautiful condition of the New York Canal System. We are very impressed with the way New York maintains the canals and the people who operate them. The next photo is out of order but it is the sign at the intersection of the Erie and the Oswego canals. The last photo is the light house at the entrance of the Oswego River from Lake Ontario. This is where we will exit tomorrow to make the 40 mile crossing of the lake.
Our transmission repairs were completed on Tuesday afternoon so we prepared to leave Wednesday morning for the run to Oswego, NY which is the jumping off point for crossing Lake Ontario for Canada. We had a beautifully sunny day for the trip up the Oswego River through eight locks and arrived in Oswego by mid afternoon. Since we had mail send to general delivery at the Oswego post office, Muriel and I took off to get our mail. As we walked through town following a map to the post office Muriel became convinced the map and I were wrong and the post office was going to be in a building with a flag on it in the opposite direction from which we were headed. She was looking backwards. Suddenly I heard this sound of grunts and groans and turned to find Muriel crumpled on the ground. She had walked through some detour signs which had been placed on the side walk. She had stepped into a steel cross brace which ran horozontal about 9 inches above the ground. This was a perfect trip wire which busted her shin wide open. We were in front of a convenience store and a man who was pumping gas came running up and it took he and I to get Muriel back on her feet. She already had a golf ball size knot on her shin with blood running down into her shoe. There were several other bruises on her right shin and the left had a smaller bloody spot on it. We got her to the store and got a wet napkin and some ice. I left her sitting on a drink display outside the store and went two blocks to the post office. When I got back I told Muriel we would get a cab back to the marina. She refused and said she would find someone to take her back. A woman in the parking lot said she would be glad to take us to the marina.
As soon as we got back we got Guy and Peggy from Southern Comfort to help bandage her. They were both in the medical corps in the Army.
The right leg became so painful about an hour afterward that Muriel could not stand on it. After resting for a couple hours she managed to get up and walk a little and get to the bed. This morning she has aches and pains in numerous places but she is a trooper. She is in the galley fixing breakfast, and looking forward to a day of rest, since the weather is keeping us from traveling.