Friday, July 2, 2010

Unusual arch on Trent Severn from a canal to a lake.

Peterborough Lift Lock

A couple more photos from July 1st trip.
Big lock

Lock dog greets everyone. What a great face!

Perfect house

Hydraulic lift lock - when I am at the top

Hydraulic lift lock - when I am at the bottom

Happy Canada Day! Yesterday was a national holiday, similar to our 4th of July. I've finally made my way towards the end of the Trent Severn Canal through central Ontario as of Thursday July 1. Over 230 miles from Trenton, Ontario to Georgian Bay with 36 conventional locks, two flight locks, two hydraulic lift locks and a marine railway. After 4 days of below average temps (60s during the day and windchills in the 40s) and high winds directly into my face most days, I am taking a day off in Orillia Friday. Still one more day on the Severn River to reach Georgian Bay and I will experience the only marine railway lock in the world, the Big Chute with a 57 ft. drop.

It is worth your time to look up YouTube videos of both the Petersborough Lift Lock and the Big Chute Marine Railway lock. They are spectacular and such a testament to ingenuity. The locks don't open until 8:30 on the TS each morning so it is hard to get an early start and waits for the lock to fill or empty from the other direction are common. Wednesday I got to the first lock of the day at 8:30 and by 2:00 in the afternoon had traveled a grand total of 36 miles. You cannot predict where you will end up at the end of the day and this makes planning for accommodations difficult. I may be sleeping on the boat after today for awhile as this weekend is like our 4th of July and most things are booked. Will be glad to leave the locks behind, as interesting as this waterway has been.

This is a beautiful country, and so far the Canadians, have been consistently gracious hosts. I have yet to experience one case of poor service or attitude. On at least two occasions, including yesterday afternoon at the Bridge Port Marina, staff have volunteered to drive me to my hotel. At one lock yesterday the lockmaster called to locate lodging for me. One of the hallmarks of great customer service is consistency. I did not experience that in the U.S. - one day the interface with service people was good to great and the next it could be dismal. Employees are poorly trained at many small businesses - it is just dependent on how sharp the management is.

Another challenging experience on big water on inland lakes yesterday crossing Lake Simco to Orillia. I knew it would be rough due to the windy weather and had read the cautionary notes about the lake. I could/should have turned back to the canal but after an hour of 12 mph and 20 more miles to go, a 40 ft. cruiser passed along my route so I managed to get into his wake water which calmed things considerably and I was able to make it to Orillia by 4:00 P.M. making 20 mph.

Today is a laundry and route-planning day. While I will not have any more locks after tomorrow the navigation becomes very important due to many rocks just below the surface in much of the route from here to Lake Michigan. Red buoys will be on my right and green to my left as I head west on Georgian Bay and then thru the North Channel. If you lose sight of your next marker, STOP, determine where you are and proceed. The water can vary from 20-feet deep to 1-foot deep in a matter of several yards. I should explain that the navigation aids in the water or along the shore are not like following the white lines on a highway - they may not even be within eyesight so you have use your chart and the GPS in addition to the navigation aids in the water to stay within safe, navigable waters.

On the days when I do not post blogs the reason for that is due to no wi fi access, and that may be the case for awhile. My SPOT locator will work anywhere so you can still track my daily whereabouts.

Monday, June 28, 2010

This is Jake Stachovak from Wausau, WI. He is kayaking practically the entire Great Loop. I came up beside him after we went through a lock and asked where he was going. Felt fortunate to have met him. We took each other's pic. He does about 30 miles a day and started last year, will finish in Aug. Taking lower route back to Michigan

Trent Severn Waterway sign

This lock raised me about 40 feet; looking back down the waterway.

Great motel right on the water in Campbellford, Ontario

Ok Lyn, lets get it together. I was coming up the Trent Severn Waterway in Ontario behind some other boats going to the next lock. There was a zone of "no wake speed" which is about 5 mph. There were red channel markers to the right and green to the left. Most boats don't steer in a straight line at low speeds. I was checking on a phone number for a motel and when I looked up I was about to strike the green buoy; decided going around it to the left was best at that point. Bang!! ##**&&#. Hit what probably was a rock obstruction. I immediately killed the engine and raised the motor **##%&%. Checked out the motor and looked at prop and it seemed to have same nicks as before. Throttled up to 8-10 mph and engine would rev but I could only do 8 mph until the prop began to slip. Had to have mechanic look at it this AM (Monday) and I had sheared the bushing in the prop - thank God that’s what it was. This prevents more serious damage to the motor transmission. Technician had to travel an hour round trip to pick up a new prop. To be honest, we weren't sure this was the problem. It was, and I'm back in the saddle after a day off here in Campbellford, Ontario. The town was founded by two brothers in the early 1800s. Rural and very scenic - I'm at a motel on the Trent Severn Canal - what a great place. Road trip someday??

Went across Lake Ontario yesterday morning from Oswego at 6:00 AM in calm waters. Used a GPS bearing for 1.5 hours to Duck Island as there was no land in sight anywhere. Duck is just a small uninhabited island and was my first waypoint - then waypoint #2 got me into the Adoulphus Reach between Kingston and Picton, Ontario. Then on to Trenton before noon - then into the Trent Severn to Campbellford. Hit the obstruction several locks before town but due to no wake zones between the locks I made it ok with the injured motor. So far the Canadians have been quite friendly and helpful - complain a lot about their taxes. Listen up Washington!!

So many things to mention and so little space - certainly there are down days when things don't go as planned but have not wished for this adventure to be over, yet. I miss Joanne a lot and our Avon home - and all of you. Thanks for checking in.