Our boating vacation is over- back at work in Winnipeg

On Thursday morning, Wayne and Roxanne came to Buckhorn lock.  We had decided to stay at the lock for one more day, plugged into power as it was extremely hot out.  So we travelled to Bobcaygeon by car, so that Roxanne and Wayne could see some of the boats being used by loopers.  In Bobcaygeon we saw the  Blessing, the looper boat from Winnipeg, which I had seen lock through Buckhorn the day before.  We also saw Late harvest-  James and Mary Jane-loopers from Orillia, that we had originally met at the looper meet in Trenton in June of 2018, they are very close to becoming Gold- only another 50 miles.  Roxanne and I went through some of the Bigley stores looking at shoes and clothes.  Our next stop was our favourite place in Bobcaygeon—Kawartha Dairies ice cream plant.  We all enjoyed dishes of ice cream of our favourite flavours.

We were then off to Fenlon Falls to check out the boats that were there. Here we saw a custom order- grey and white boat called Vision- ( we had previously seen it on the lock wall at Bobcaygeon )

I think it was 50 plus feet, and had everything- including a laundry room in the lower level and a head in the pilot house.  Roxanne and I checked out several of the stores, and we met the AGLCA harbour host in the water street store.  On our way back to Buckhorn we stopped at the Kawartha country wines and picked up a couple bottles of fruit wine- they also had gift items, jellies, preserves and ciders-and free tasting.

We spent part of the afternoon resting in the boat.  For dinner we went to Cody Inn for Chinese food with Wayne and Roxanne

On Friday, we had to leave Buckhorn lock, as there is a 2 day limit.  At 7 that morning we drove over to BYH (Buckhorn Yacht Harbour) to confirm with Peter, that we would be bringing the boat back there later in the day to be pulled out and put up on the hard. Andy and Peter also called the electronics technician to find out his plans for addressing some of our deficiencies. He said he would schedule the work later in the summer. We returned to the lock, and once Wayne and Roxanne arrived we locked through.  We had decided we would go through a couple of locks to let them see how locking on the TSW worked.  With a little direction from the captain, Wayne graduated to seaman first class, and was put in charge of ropes on the stern.   Roxanne observed and critiqued as any Admiral in training should.

After locking through we crossed the lower Buckhorn Lake, then proceeded through Lovesick- Lock 30

and then on to Burleigh falls.

We ended up anchoring in Clear Lake for lunch, this consisted of a mixed grill—as I wanted to bbq all the meat that was left in our freezer.  At 1:15, we pulled anchor and reversed our course.   We saw this police boat that had pulled over a runabout—it looked like they gave the boy on the boat a t-shirt, as he was caught wearing a life jacket.  A rare sight!

We have seen many boats, overloaded with adults and children and not a single life jacket in sight.  Once we got to Buckhorn and had locked up- Roxanne and I jumped off the boat.  Both our cars were at the lock and we drove to BYH, to meet On Business at the gas dock.  By this time the winds had picked up and it was a little rough on the lake.  We tied up and had the 2 heads pumped out, before moving the boat to a transient slip, where it would stay while we packed. Friday night I listened to the AGLCA pod cast, where our friend Dave Fuller was talking about the Agawa Canyon train trip that they had taken from Sault St. Marie.  He gave a shout-out about Andy and my recent adventures in Lake Superior.  Thanks Dave!

By about noon on Saturday, everything that needed to go back to Winnipeg was in the car, and items in the boat had been stowed away.  We went to Mainstreet Landing for lunch as we were meeting Jim Coyle there.  We had first met him on our loop trip in Delaware City, and had stayed on his dock on Stoney Lake when we passed through in July of 2016.  He will be  completing another portion of the loop starting this fall in a new boat.  After lunch we drove to Bancroft, on the way we stopped for our last taste of Kawartha Ice cream for this season. We visited with Brian and stayed the night.  We got up early Sunday morning and started the drive westward.  Andy drove passing through many towns that we had been through by boat, on Georgian bay, the north channel and east side of Lake Superior.

We arrived at Wawa and checked into a hotel for the night.  Monday morning we got back into the car and continued, there wasn’t a lot of traffic, but we were stopped numerous times for bridge or road construction.

We stopped in Marathon and went to the Napa store to redeem our $500 gift certificate plus, on filters for the boat. We passed by the continental watershed divide and I took this picture.

Later we entered the Central time zone

and there was also a sign board depicting the original route of the Trans Canada highway.

  We reached he Manitoba border at 6 pm,

and encountered more road construction,  we arrived home shortly after 8 pm.  After unpacking the car it was almost 10-Another long day! In the morning I called in to work to say that I was back in the city- but wouldn’t be in until Wednesday.  I spent Tuesday doing cleaning, laundry and weeding my garden.   Back at work on Wednesday, I found that Cheri had everything under control regarding the harvest.   There are lots of changes at work with many new people, including a new Director for the Grain Research Lab.  It will take a few more days to catch up on all the emails- but I have no other plans for being away from work over the next few months.  On Friday morning, Andy received the news that his next hernia surgery is scheduled for September 30th-I truly hope they get it right this time!

Advertisements

Back on the Trent- headed for Lock 31

We left Queens Cove shortly after 9:00, Andy had made pancakes for breakfast.  Teresa said goodbye and left by car.  It was relatively calm going across Hog’s Bay towards Port Severn, Andy was happily explaining the duties and how the headsets work for our new deck hand, and somehow missed a turning point marker- we went by several markers  before he realized, so we turned around and backtracked.

  We got to Port Severn around 10:30 and waited for an opening—because this is the smallest lock on the TSW- they seemed to be taking only one big boat through at a time.  While we waited the skies opening and we got drenched.  Iain caught a Bass in the channel, but it didn’t make it into the boat.  When it was our turn to lock through it was still pouring—Iain and I looked like drowned rats.  Andy suggested that we tie up once through the lock and wait for the rain to stop.  I said no – that we should continue, as I couldn’t see out of my glasses because they were wet and steamed up- so I likely couldn’t find the cleat to tie up to.  I think in all our years boating that this was the first lock we had done in the pouring rain.  I guess the new first mate needed to be christened, and what better way than getting the toughest lock, because of the current and it’s size out of the way first in the pouring rain.  Iain started singing songs with sunny days in them and the weather seemed to improve.

We got to the Big Chute marine railway lock, just before noon, and the weather had cleared up considerably.

We locked through quickly with 2 run-abouts and 2 PWC- we were put on the back with our props hanging out.   Iain seemed to be impressed by how this lock operated- and he and I were relieved of rope duties- we only had to pull up the fenders, so they didn’t get caught in the slings.

We were through this lock at 12:20.  Then it was on to Swift Rapids, which is the biggest lock with a rise of about 43 feet.  Andy was telling Iain to grab hold of the bollard to tie up to- however Iain didn’t know what the bollard was or how it worked. Andy finally went to the back and showed him what to do.   Once through we tied up on the grey line by 1:45, as we had decided this was likely far enough for Iain’s first day.

We also weren’t sure if there would be space at Couchiching- so better to have a spot than not.  Andy had a conversation with the lockmaster about fishing, and was told it was frowned up while staff was around.  In the afternoon, we had seen a boat near the locks fishing and the lockmaster came over the loud speakers telling them that no fishing was allowed within 30 meters of the lock. We met Rick and Larry – Loopers from Sioux Falls SD and invited them for docktails at 5:30.  We had a good visit with them and Andy shared some of his knowledge of what they should expect in Georgian Bay.  At 7:00, a group of people showed up with fishing rods, coming in off the road near our boat—Andy told them that he had been told that fishing wasn’t allowed at the locks, so after some discussion amongst themselves- they decided to leave. Later in the evening, Andy did drop in a fishing line to see if his luck had changed and caught this little one—that fit into the palm of his hand.

We left Swift Rapids at 8:50 the next morning and continued down the Trent,   saw this cottage with a CN caboose as one of the outbuildings.

Passing through the Couchiching lock, there was only one other boat going eastward, but there was more than a dozen waiting to lock through to the west.

Once through we had the railway bridge to wait for- and we ended up waiting less than 10 minutes—the quickest we’ve ever gone through this one.  Iain claims he called the president of CN to ensure that it would be ready for us.

We continued on across Lake Couchiching, and Andy let Iain drive for awhile,

but after his time at the wheel he felt he needed to rest.

We continued on and reached the Port of Orillia by 1:00.  They tied us up on the farthest dock from the main office—so we got a little bit of walking in that day.

Andy and Iain went to the Metro store to pick up a few things, and I did some laundry.  That evening we went to the Golden Wok for dinner, and then walked up to Wilks bakery to find out what time they were open on Monday morning— 9:00 too late for us as we wanted an early start in order to cross Lake Simcoe- so no Chelsea buns for us. Near the marina office they had this replica of a fish weir

, as well as sailboats  ornaments with different painted masts.

We left Port of Orillia at 7:45 and were across the very cooperative- flat lake and at the breakwall by 9:50.

Iain and I then had our hands full as we went through the 5 locks of Gamebridge, Thorah, Portage, Talbot and Bolsover.  There was still some work being done on shoring up the canal system and a new dam.

I also saw a canola field and some hay bales along the shore.

We were out of the last lock by 12:35.  We didn’t wait very long for any of the locks, as Iain claimed he had call  his connections to ensure they would be open for us. Iain had scoobie snacks (typically pretzels, pepperoni, fresh peas or chips) and 0% alcohol beer while he manned his station at the back of the boat.

We arrived at the bottom of Kirkfield at 1:45 and tied up.   We played a few games of Shanghai in the afternoon-  Iain seems to have the game figured out and has bushwacked Andy and I a number of times.   We saw this canoe  go through the lift lock.

Our friends Glen and Julie from Balsam Lake came for dinner.

While we were having appetizers on the back deck, I noticed this bird in a tree- we’re thinking it might be some type of crane.

We had a great visit with them, telling about our travels since we had seen them the previous month.

We went through the lift lock at Kirkfield at 9:30 in the morning and then proceeded through Rosedale and Fenlon Falls. One of Iain’s favourite sayings – was telling the captain- steady as she goes, and reporting that all was well on the starboard side of the boat.   It was a little breezy on Balsam, Cameron and Sturgeon Lakes, and the wave built as the day progressed.  We arrived in Bobcaygeon at 2:45 and locked through and tied up.  We are in houseboat rental territory, so were surrounded by them.

Around 5, Iain and I went in search of Kawartha ice cream- Bigley’s have opened an ice cream shop with a logo that says Happiness is ice cream and new shoes.  I had ice cream, and Iain had a milkshake. We checked out a couple other stores before going back to the boat. In the evening we played more cards—I believe we finally let the captain win a game.  We discussed the training that Iain had undertaken over the last 5 days and I believe the captain sees potential and that Iain should  become a first mate.

We left Bobcaygeon at 7:15 and headed across  a very flat Pigeon Lake

and Buckhorn lake.   We saw some bridge construction going on at this road.

Andy had called Buckhorn Yacht harbour and they had no room on the gas dock- so we proceeded on to the Buckhorn lock—Andy called ahead and was told there was one spot near the lock, which had power- so we speeded up in order to get it before someone locked through.  We were tied up to the lock wall by 9:30.  Once again we ran into Tom and Julie Van Hall from Sum Escape—we had last seen them in Little Current on our way down to Lake Superior about a month ago.  After an early lunch- Andy and Iain left

– Andy was driving Iain as far as Orangeville where Teresa was meeting them.   I did some cleaning in the boat, and then started packing up stuff that could be stored until next year.  When I took the recycling out- I noticed this boat coming  into the lock

— another looper couple from Winnipeg,-  what are the odds of that happening?   We had met Jay & Barbara a  few years ago- when they came to look at our Carver that was for sale in Winnipeg Beach.  They will complete their Loop once they get back to Tennessee.

Our vacation is almost over- we will be leaving for Winnipeg on Monday after speaking  with the electronics technician and boat mechanics.

It was a hot day and very muggy, a rain shower at 1:00 was a bit of a reprieve from the heat. At about 2:00- Roxanne and Wayne arrived, friends that we had met last summer in Brockville.  They are staying at a B&B  near Buckhorn and will be spending a couple of days with us touring around the Kawarthas and looking at looper boats.

We visited until Andy got back at about 5:00, and later had supper.  The sky got black again around 9:00 and we had another longer shower, which cooled things down slightly.  Roxanne and Wayne  left around 10:00, after much red wine was consumed.

One fish, two fish… 3 fresh fish fillets@ Henry’s

We got up and pulled out of Britt at 7:35.  Andy maneuvered us through the markers for the Norgate rocks

and we entered the Alexander passage.    Just before reaching Snug Harbour, I  saw another cell tower disguised as a tree—they really stick our because they are so tall.

When we got back out into bay  – the next challenge was the zig-zaging through the hang-dog reefs. With the higher water on Georgian Bay, ( up 1.6 meters above chart datum)– there wasn’t as many rocks on the surface – but they are still there.

My repeated requests for fresh fish has not gone unnoticed- Andy suggested that we go to Gilly’s for lunch.  As we passed by Snug Harbour- we took a look at the public dock and it was full- so we continued on.

There were a number of work boats on the water today, and I’ve included pictures of a few of them.

I never get tired of taking pictures of lights and lighthouses so I have included them in the order that I saw them. Byng Inlet,Port au Baril,

Snug Harbour, Jones island– all red and white but no two exactly the same.  Near the channel going up to Parry Sound we saw the  Island Queen tour boat.

We followed the small craft channel and checked out an anchorage in Echo Bay, where  2 boats were anchored.

  Since we were so close to Henry’s fish restaurant- Andy suggested we stop there for the night, as a thunderstorm and rain was in the forecast. 

For dinner we had deep-fried Georgian bay shrimp (smelts) and then pan fried pickerel, which was absolutely amazing and well over-due.  We had been to Henry’s in 2016, and the food was so-so—the restaurant was closed in 2017, when we were up this way.  It now has new owners- the food and service was great.  We were happy we were tied up for the night, the winds picked up after midnight, and we had a thunderstorm around 3:00 a.m.  I  had just fallen back to sleep when I heard an alarm going off—it was an Amber alert on Andy’s phone.   

We left Henry’s at 9:30 and continued down the small craft channel, we went out towards Georgian Bay in order to traverse the O’Donnel rocks.

We checked out anchorages in King’s Bay

and in Indian harbour.

We then took the Monument channel to get out of the wind and waves, and went by an anchorage that we had stayed at in 2016.    We moved up the Musquash channel and found Bone Island.  A portion of the island belongs to Parks Canada- we tied up to the large T-dock on the south side of the island at 12:50.

The dock did not extend to land- so there was no shore access, but we had the dock to ourselves.  The weather had been cool all day with 15 knot winds, so we were happy to be tied up and sheltered.

The wind remained brisk all afternoon and it changed from sunny to overcast, and then back to sunny.  I saw this pair of turtles on the rocks.

Andy pulled out both fishing rods and tried to catch dinner with no luck.

 

On Friday, we got up lazed around and then I did a little cleaning, Andy tried fishing again.

A sail boat had  anchored out near us.

 

We left the docks around 10:00, followed the small craft channel, and went across the top of Beausoleil island, through Honey harbour and then across the bay to Victoria harbour.  The wind was still quite brisk in the Bay, but not as bad as the previous day.  We arrived at Queen’s cove at 12:30 and tied up. Iain and Teresa arrived around 5 and we visited and then went to Queen’s Quay Pub for dinner.  Afterwards we played Shanghai until almost 11pm- way past our normal bedtime.

On Saturday morning , Andy, Iain and I will start moving up the Trent towards Buckhorn.

Heading back into familiar territory in the North Channel and Georgian Bay

We left Blind River at 8:00, it was a little blustery with larger waves than I like for the first hour as we traversed  open water.  Once Andy headed between islands, we had some relief from the waves.  We passed by John Island, through the Detroit cut, and the Croker islands.  We saw several sailboats on the water, some  with their sails up.

We arrived in Little Current and docked on the wall at 2:10, having gone over 50 miles.  After we had tied up a couple came by and the woman asked if I was Twylla.  It was Jim and Marti Hart, from Cedarville MI, who Andy had met in 2015, and we had both met in 2017 here in Little Current.  Later in the afternoon we walked up to the grocery store for a few things, and then met Jim and Marti for docktails.  Later while making supper, I ran out of propane for the stove.  Andy changed to the  partially full reserve tank. I checked with the marina staff, and was told that Shell had a re-filling station.

On Sunday Andy called Shell, and was told they did re-fill tanks, so we pulled out the cart and dragged the tank up the hill to Shell.  Once there we were told that they don’t fill, but rather exchange tanks- which was fine with us.  However they didn’t have any full tanks on hand- so off we trucked with our empty tank, back down the hill to the boat.  What a waste- she could have told us that when we had called!!  We lazed around, and then went to marine supply store to see if they had a life-ring bracket that we wanted to use for our 150 feet of anchor rope from our spare anchor.  We then got ready to leave the wall, as we wanted to make the 12:00 opening of the bridge.  It was clear and calm and about 20C.    We met this tour boat,

out in the Bay and a little while later we saw this boat, pulling a flotilla of canoes.

We had been told by  Marti, that on  Saturday there had been  a canoe event between Little Current and Killarney, and these must be the canoes coming back to Little Current.  We went about 15 miles and then pulled into Snug harbour which was already occupied by two sailboats- there was plenty of room and we dropped the anchor around 2:00.    By nightfall a third sailboat had come into the harbour.

On Monday we got up at our usual 5:30, and after coffee weighed anchor at 6:50. As we were leaving, we heard on the coast guard channel, that there was a sailboat near the Killarney channel requesting assistance.  Shortly after 7:30 we came upon Escape Pod who had fouled their prop and were using their dinghy and motor to propel them forward.

We asked if we could assist and they said they were under control—we did follow them until they were tied up at  Rogues Marina.   We proceeded through Killarney

and headed out into Georgian Bay, we met 5 powerboats and 4 sailboats that were headed to the North channel and beyond.

Since the weather was  NOT favourable for the next 4 days we had cancelled our excursion to  the south shore of Georgian Bay—we would have had good weather for Monday and Tuesday, but the winds were suppose to pick up Wednesday night and Thursday, and we would have been stuck somewhere while we waited for a better forecast.   So we had decided to stick with the north side of the Bay, and explore some anchorages that we had not been to previously.

Once past the Bustards, we took the Northeast passage and headed north into the French River system.  It was a very windy route, going around Maggie, Flat, Dorion, Obstacle, Dock and the outer Fox islands. Both Andy and I kept a sharp lookout for the markers, as sometimes they were in the water or perched on rocks. We zig-zagged through the Parting Channel which was very narrow and had markers close together, and a rock in the middle.

At one point the water depth showed 4 feet.  We checked out a number of anchorages, but one already had 3 boats in it, and another had a boat, and couldn’t fit any more.

We went up by Fox island and checked out a bay or 2, but didn’t like where the rocks under the water were situated.

  Saw that someone was having a fish meal- but it wasn’t me.

We dropped our hook at 12:50, west of Vixen Island.

I did a little cleaning of the back deck- the shad flies had been hatching recently- so there were a few of them to get rid of.  Andy did some maintenance on the battery bank, and checked the oil in the engines.  After our tasks were done we relaxed in the afternoon.  A loon was swimming around the boat in the evening- hope he was having better luck fishing than us.

On Tuesday, we left Vixen Island at 6:40, we had planned for a later start, but we had cozied up to the rocks during the nights and were in 8 feet of water with rocks so close to the boat we could touch them.

 

To ensure that we didn’t swing any closer to shore, as I pulled up the anchor- Andy had put down the dinghy and was pushing off the rocks with one of our boat hooks- which swung us into the channel.

We went a couple of miles and then joined up with the small craft channel east of the Bustards.  We stopped behind Dead Island  at 7:45 to check out this anchorage.

Andy tried to catch a fish for breakfast, but again no luck.  I may never get a fresh caught fish this summer from any of the great lakes.  Saw this lighthouse in the distance- I believe it to be Key Harbour.

We saw a number of kayakers and canoeists camping on a couple of the islands.

We stopped by Roger’s island to check out another potential anchorage for a future trip- here there where white poles drilled into the rock that you could tie up to.  This island was currently being used by kayakers.

  We met several boats going westward and we  made our way through the channels

– because we didn’t want to get to Britt before noon, we took our time and travelled at < 5 mph.  We saw this  rubber alligator on the rocks

and the familiar skelton which moves around a fair bit at Cunningham’s cut.

We arrived at Wright’s marina shortly after noon, topped up our diesel, pumped out, exchanged a propane tank and bought 5 gallons of oil for diesel engines.  We had gone more than 100 hours, and Andy figured it was time to replace the oil.  So in the afternoon, after I had put some laundry in, Andy with a little assistance from me, pumped out the filthy black oil and replaced it.  When we leave Britt in the morning we hope to anchor out a couple more nights before going to Victoria harbour on Friday to pick up Andy’s cousin Iain who is going to   spend a few days with us and assist  with the locks on  the Trent Severn Waterway.

Saying goodbye to Lake Superior

As we leave Lake Superior, here are ten  facts that I found:

  • It is the largest freshwater lake in the world, and holds 10% of the earth’s surface freshwater.
  • It was formed when glacial melt water filled a billion year old volcanic basin 10,000 years ago
  • A drop of water takes 2 centuries to circulate before exiting the natural outflow- the St. Mary’s River.
  • Lake Superior contains 3 quadrillion gallons of freshwater- enough to cover both the north and south American continent in one foot of water.
  • the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum approximates 6,000 ships and 30,000 lives lost on Lake Superior
  • It’s average depth is 147 meters (483 feet) with a maximum depth of of 406 meters (1,333 feet).
  • The average elevation of Lake Superior is about 183 meters (600 feet) above sea level.
  • The average underwater visibility of Lake Superior is 2 meters (27 feet), making it easily the cleanest and clearest of the Great Lakes. Underwater visibility in places reaches 30 meters 100 feet.
  • The average annual water temperature of Lake Superior is 4.4ºC (40ºF). It only very rarely freezes over completely, and then usually just for hours. The last complete freezing of Lake Superior occurred in 1979, although the lake was almost completely frozen over in 2014
  • Climate change is affecting Lake Superior, the coldest of the great lakes. Since 1980 it has warmed 1 degree each decade.  (This might be the case but I didn’t notice– it was damn cold sleeping on our boat during this trip, as our master berth is located below the water line- so we were sleeping on a bed in <5C water)

July 1st turned in to a dismal day, overcast and intermittent fog.  We went with the marina owner, Brad Buck to Kinniwabi Pines restaurant for lunch.  Food was great.  In the afternoon, we did some reading and a little cleaning.   I learned that   Michipicoten was known for it’s fur trade back in the 1600’s.

The fireworks scheduled for the evening in Wawa was cancelled as the town was fogged in.  On Tuesday Andy went up to the marina office to find out when we might be getting our diesel delivery- unfortunately the fuel truck was out of town, so Brad called up a friend that had a 45 gallon tank to fill it up at the local gas station.  This took a couple of hours to arrange, so I went for a walk to silver falls and took some pictures.

On crossing this bridge towards the fall, I saw this memorial for a fallen soldier.

On returning to the marina, we moved the boat to the gas dock and transferred the diesel to it.  There was a bit of a fog bank, but since we had our track coming up the Michipicoten river, we just followed it back out to the lake.

We had fog for about the next 2 hours, but ran with our radar on- didn’t encounter anyone- but did see this boat in the distance going into another bay.

It amazes me that trees can grow on rock islands, even if there is no soil.

We did notice so far this summer that there is lots of yellow spruce pollen on surface of the water that we have travelled in.   We went about 50 miles and made it to Sinclair Cove and were anchored by 5:30.  We both tried fishing- but still no luck.

On Wednesday morning we got up and paddled the dinghy to shore just after 7:30- we were going in search of the ojibwe pictographs.  Our guide book had said they were about ¼ mile down one of the hiking trails—I would hardly call it a hiking trail, it was more like a river bed, full of rocks, bog and thousands of mosquitoes in the bush.

We walked for about 20 minutes, and still were in the bush- no pictographs to be found, but I did find clumps of lady slippers.

I’ve lifted this pictograph picture and description from a blog- another walk in the park – in order to see what we missed. The Agawa Rocks Pictographs were created by the Ojibwe people over the course of two thousand years though the ones that remain visible are believed to date from four hundred years ago.

We reversed out steps, and took another trail which was suppose to take us up to a lookout point over the bay.  At one point we had to climb up the rocks—please remember neither Andy or I are rock climbers- so this was a challenge, once I got up the rocks, I was already agonizing on how I would be getting down without hurting myself..

 

Up on the cliff there were massive amounts of wild blueberries,

unfortunately the berries were still small and green.  I got a number of shots of the boat and bay from this vantage point.

The climb down wasn’t as bad as I anticipated, I let the former Queen Scout, lead the way and show me where to place my feet and what to grab onto.

We paddled back to the boat, and left Sinclair cove shortly after 9:30, headed for Whitefish Bay.  Enroute to our next anchorage we encountered depths of 675 feet- amazing!

The wind was light and the water was calm.

We went about 50 miles and anchored behind Batchawana Island in about 10 feet of water.  A South east wind was predicted overnight, and we should be well protected here.  Later in the evening we were joined by another trawler and a sailboat, finally some other pleasure craft.

At 4 am we were awakened by waves hitting our boat from the north, and we had swung around so that we were now sitting in 3 feet of water according to our electronics—a little unnerving!  As soon as it was daylight, Andy took one of our boat hooks to the back swim platform and estimated we were in almost 5 feet of water on this sandy beach.

We decided to have coffee, and then pull up anchor and get out of the shallow water.  We left our anchorage at 6:30 headed for the Sault. We passed several light house on our way back into the St. Mary’s river.

We also met a laker- the Michipicoten in the St. Mary’s channel.

We crossed under the international bridge and called the Canadian Soo lock requesting a lock down.

 

We had to wait about 20 minutes for another pleasure craft to come out and then were locked through with a tour boat-

We were out of the lock by 12:50, and headed for Bellevue Marina, as Bondar marine still did not have their transient docks in. Saw this boat all decorated up on the Soo side of the river.

Upon arrival we filled up with diesel, water and pumped out.

Shortly after 4:00, Pat and Marcia came and took us shopping, to a laundromat and then we went out for supper to the Whiskey barrel.  The guys had beer and I tried a Thornbury raspberry apple cider which was quite good,  3 of us ordered the fish and chips, whereas Andy ordered the haggis plate.  When we got back to the boat, we had a couple more drinks, and shortly after 10 the fireworks started in Soo Michigan, as it was the 4th of July.  The fireworks was set off over the St. Mary’s channel,

 

and the international bridge lit up in red, white and blue.

The fireworks went on for quite some time and lots of people came down to their boats in the marina to watch.

On Friday morning we got up and left the marina at 7:30 headed up the shipping channel towards St. Joseph.  We saw this ferry going to Sugar Island.

We met two lakers coming up the channel,

and saw a couple of fishing boats. Of course I took pictures of lighthouses and lights.

 

It was a relatively calm day, ( Just the way I like it!!)

  we reached Blind River marina at 3:15 and were tied up by 3:30.

We went to the office to sign in and pay- they had some giftware for sale, including postcards.  The marina washroom and shower facilities are new.  There are 7 bathroom and  shower stalls in each of the men and women’s bathroom, it also has 4 washer’s and dryers.  There is also an art gallery and museum on-site.  A very nice place and they only charged $1.9 per foot, but we got a 25% discount as they accept our docklinks card.  We move on tomorrow either to an anchorage or LIttle Current depending on the  wind and weather.

 

Marathon’s motto: built on paper laced with gold- now 75 years old

We got up and went to the Pancake breakfast at the Seniors hall,

 

Andy and Elaine got some more visiting in with present and former residents of Marathon.

We then went  to the mall to pick up a few things, and I went in search of a postcard to send Mom. The next item on our itinerary was to drive out to the McKendry’s old “camp” on Little Cedar Lake. 

 

The trip was a 40 Km drive down highway 17/Trans Canada and then about a 10 minute trip down a windy gravel road and through this gate.

I was told by Andy that the property was acquired in the mid 1950’s, it was cleared one summer, and then in subsequent years the main building and boy’s camp was built, along with a number of out buildings.

In those years, it was a 2 hour plus trip to get to the camp. Since the Trans Canada highway didn’t exist until 1961, the McKendry’s ( 2 adults and 3 kids) crammed into the cab of their truck  and drove the 40 Km over several logging roads to the dam on Cedar creek.  They then had to unpack everything into their boat,which was kept there.  The boat had to be paddled out about 100 yards into the creek before they could put the motor down.  It was then a 2 mile trek down the creek, passing under 2 railway bridges, until they got out into little cedar lake.   They had to go a ways down the lake before crossing it to their camp.  All material for the building of the camp had to be brought in by boat as well- not an easy task.  In the early building years, McKendry’s campe was of 13 on Little Cedar Lake and there was no power or phone- so truly a place for escape and relaxation!

Anne and Mitch Donaldson, who now own the camp,

have down a number of upgrades and extensions to the main building.

Mitch has a collection of old motors, props and other equipment spread out over the property.

They also have some wildlife that hangs out on the deck; the chipmunks were very entertaining as they came for their peanut treats.

Mitch took us out in the boat for a tour of the lake to see all the current camps that exist.  There are now approximately 30 camps, all with power and phone, however the camps on the south east shore are still required to cross the lake by boat, as there is no road.

 

 

 

The creek and one of the bridges at the  entry to Little Cedar Lake.

After lunch and our tour we headed back to Marathon, and passed by the hemlo gold mine.

The plan for the evening was to go to the Legion for drinks and wings, and of course more visiting.  We were some of the first arrivals at the Legion, but it soon filled up.

The kitchen ran out of some of menu items by 6:30.  We stayed until about 9:30 before heading up to the boat.  It’s been great having Elaine here, as we have been borrowing her vehicle each night to go back to the boat- so we don’t have to do the ½  mile trek down the gravel road to the boat launch and marina.

On Friday, Mitch and Anne came to see our boat.  Mitch, Andy and I then went for a tour of the Peninsula given by Leigh, who is a volunteer doing some painting and scrapping.

 

The boat is a 111 foot tugboat, weighing 261 tons that was originally built for the Royal Canadian Navy in a Montreal shipyard during World War II and called Norton W-31. It  was launched on November 29th 1943, with a mission was to rescue damaged ships in the North Atlantic ocean, as many German submarines were active along the east coast. In 1946, it was sold to Marathon Paper mills.  For over 20 years, the Peninsula towed huge rafts of 8 foot pulp wood from the mouth of the Pic river to the pulp mill in Marathon.  In 1967, with the decline of the forest industry, the boat was sold to several companies in Thunder Bay.  In 2015, the boat was destined for the scrap yard.  The Marathon historical society, headed up by Stan Johnson, raised 200K to buy it and sail it to Marathon in July of 2018.  It now sits on Cummings Beach, but there are plans to move it to an alternate location in town.

 

Following the tour, Mitch helped Andy to hook up a new float on our shower sump pump.  We then went downtown for a charity BBQ.

Mitch and Anne had come to the BBQ driving Mitch’s  1946  truck.

In the afternoon we spent several hours at the Marathon museum when we looked at displays and old pictures that had been saved under family names.

  We took Ann and Mitch out for supper, in appreciation for helping with the pump in the morning.  Following supper we went to Gerry Ferguson’s for a few drinks and more visiting.

Jocelyn and Roberta Hanson were some of the new arrivals for the weekend.  Finally- someone I knew- as Jocelyn had been our investment advisor for a number of years.  We returned to the boat, and there was a couple looking at it, so we gave them a tour.

On Saturday morning we did some grocery shopping and then drove over to the Donaldson’s.

At Noon we returned to the boat, as Jocelyn, Roberta and Mitch wanted to have a tour.  At about 1:30, Andy got a phone call saying he had won 3rd prize in a lottery- so had received a $500 gift certificate from Napa ( we can always use more  oil and oil filter or fishing gear) .  After receiving the certificate at the Museum,

we went to Napa but they were closed until Tuesday.  In the afternoon we went to Penn Lake Park, which was where the opening and closing ceremonies for the anniversary  took place.

 

We  visited with Bonnie and Arnie who travel  on a 40 ft  Land Yacht.  We also drove over to  to Pebble Beach, and brought home a few souvenirs.

For dinner we were invited to the Mitch2– Mitch Johnson and Mitch Donaldson’s who are next door neighbours.  Many  stories were told as well as a discussion on  how to microwave corn, how not to stop your skidoo on the railway tracks, and there was also some reference to the out-house mouse song, but no one could remember all the words or tune.

We had a great time  eating, visiting and reminiscing.  At about 8:30 we returned to the boat to put on some warmer clothes, as we were going to the street dance.  We have leaned this week that as the sun goes down, it get colder and the bugs come out.  Andy met up with some other people who  had only come to town for the weekend activities.

 

One of his friends lives in Owen Sound, so if the weather cooperates when we get to the North Channel we may jump to that shore.  We left the dance shortly after 10:00 and went to the  boat.

On Sunday morning we cast off at 5:45 destined for Wawa.  We  went by Pebble beach

 

and Heron Bay, places that I hadn’t seen from the water because of the fog.  It was fairly cool and calm,

but the wind increased a little at about 10:30.  We went by Otter Island, and  saw this lighthouse, which we missed , as we had gone behind the island on our trip up to Marathon.

 

The waves subsided once we got inside of Michipicoten island, however the wind was still quite cool.  At about 2:00, Andy made the suggestion that he drives from the lower helm.   Andy contacted Buck’s Marine at some point, and asked for a slip for a couple nights as well as an escort into their marina once we arrived.

We arrived at Buck’s marina at 5:00, and were in our slip by 6:20. It was a long day- 11 ½ hours and 109.2 miles but we will be happy to be tied up as  the winds are predicted to increase  as well as rain on Canada Day.  We hope to get some fuel on Tuesday and then continue our trek to Sault St Marie.

Hope everyone enjoys Canada Day!!

 

The lake is calling we must go

Saw this t-shirt advertised on-line-it will be my quest to find one…

 

On Friday morning, Pat joined us at the marina around 8:15, he was going to help us get through the lock.  He had also brought back the laundry which Marcia had graciously done for me.    Andy called the Canadian lock, to request a lock through.  The Canadian lock typically takes the pleasure craft as freighters are too long for this lock, lock hours are 9-9.

We passed by Roberta Bondar marina, and there were several boats tied up at the gas dock,

becbeause of high water their other docks have not been put in as yet. We reached the lock

and waited a few minutes, before getting the green light, and the lock doors opened.

Pat and I tied off while Andy shut down the engines, the lift was about 20 feet,

we were out of the lock by 9:40.  Once through, we pulled over to the port side, the lockmaster had told us that Pat couldn’t get off while we were in lock, as there was no proof where he had go on our boat.  As we were moving to the port wall, he called us over the radio to scold us but it was too late Pat was already on land.

We continued up the St. Mary’s river to Whitefish Bay. 

There was no freighter traffic and it was an hour or more before we saw a freighter coming towards us- American integrity- an oxymoron?

We continued for several hours and the wind increased and the waves became more than a ½ meter,

we also almost lost our gold burgee, as one of the tie-wraps broke.    We decided to stop in Pancake bay, and were anchored there by about 3:00 on a Sandy beach in about 15 feet of water.

We could see people walking on the beach, and even saw a couple people go in for a very short swim.  The wind subsided and it was a peaceful night there was a cell phone tower near the boat, so we had good reception.  There was also some traffic noise as we were close to the highway.

We left Pancake Bay at 6:00,

there were some swells initially, but it settled down as the day progressed.  At about 6:20,  Andy noticed a flag at one end of a fish net—we weren’t expecting nets in Lake Superior, but had previous experience with nets in Lake Winnipeg.  By the time we realized where the other end flag was- we had already crossed the net.  It must have been weighed down, as it hadn’t moved, and thankfully hadn’t attached itself to our prop.

After this we kept an eye out for nets- but didn’t see another one in our path.  We continued along the shore where it was quite calm.   We checked out a number of anchorages; Sinclair Cove- it was suppose to have pictographs- but I didn’t know what I was looking for

so just took some pictures of the rocks.

 

Beauty cove, as potential stops for our return trip.

Near the Lizzard Islands, I took a picture of the Trans Canada highway that was near the shore, on a hill.

That evening Andy’s brother had texted us that he thought he had seen a  boat on the lake at some point during the day—I would suspect it was us, as we hadn’t seen anyone else on the lake- except for a couple of small fishing boats.

At noon we passed by Indian Harbour, near Cape Gargantua, which could be another potential anchorage.  By 1:30 we had passed Old woman’s bay and were headed for Brule Harbour.  We were anchored using both a bow and stern anchor by 2:00.    We had covered about 74 miles, but had great weather.  In the afternoon we sanded and stained parts of the hand rail surrounding the boat.

On Sunday morning at 5:30, we left the anchorage and proceeded west- north of Michipicoten island.   The water was relatively calm near the shore, as the island was protecting us from the waves.

Once past the island   the waves started building, but we going in our direction of travel, so actually increasing our speed to 10.7 mph. The marine weather network, was forecasting an easterly wind and rain showers later in the day and continuing on Monday.  We decided to   stop in the well protected anchorage called Otter head cove.   We arrived at Otter head Island and followed the channel about a mile back into a secluded cove with 20 plus feet of water.  We were anchored there by 11:30.

One down-fall from this location is that because we are surrounded by hills- our VHF radio has no reception, likewise no cell towers- so we couldn’t get updated weather information.  This is one of the reasons we bought the in-reach- so that we could communicate via satellite where we are.   We relaxed in the afternoon, and both tried some fishing- but not even a bite.   We were entertained in the evening by a moose and calf that had come down to the water to eat, drink and play.   We watched them for almost 2 hours.

The last weather broadcast that we heard forecast winds on Monday at 20 knots ~40 km/hr, so we had decided that we were going to stay in Otter cove until Tuesday morning.   As the winds starting gusting in mid-morning, we moved the boat farther into the cove for more protection.   Andy made scones for breakfast, and I began the task of figuring out how to hang the salon curtains which I had made over the winter.  It took several attempts and 4 hours before I was satisfied with the way they looked.

We had several short rain showers in the morning, but after lunch, the rain fell continually.  The wind settled down a little but continued to blow, causing us to swing.

Tuesday morning we got up at our usual 5:00 a.m., it was drizzling and there was a heavy fog.  The fog had lifted a little by 8:30 and we started the engines to warm them up. I saw another moose feeding at the end of the bay in the rain

as I was lifting the anchor, he just watched.  We left Otter cove and went by Otter Island, once we were outside of the island, waves and swells began hitting the boat. We went down the shoreline for a couple of hours and then pulled into the east bay in Simon harbour.   We were anchored by 10:35, and had gone approximately 15 miles.

The  boat and it’s occupants were being banged around too much.   We kept watching down the bay but saw waves crashing against the rocks all afternoon and evening.  We set a second anchor later in the afternoon as we were swinging around a fair bit.  Later in the evening Andy saw a beaver near the boat.

Wednesday morning, we got up at 5:30 and had the engines on by 5:40.  We started out of the harbour and once again were being hit by swells on our beam.  Not pleasant.

It was about  40 miles to Marathon,  the captain took it slow and tacked  out into the lake and then rode the waves.  Although this produced a somewhat smoother ride, the admiral’s stomach did a few flips and her coffee came up.  I was then not very useful, as I could only sit still—very few pictures were taken during this time.   As we proceeded up the shore, we ran into several fog banks, which completely obscured the shore.  Everything was grey- the water, the shore, the sky—typical Ontario weather in 2019.  There is a tie up pylon – out there in the fog and Marathon marina is found behind it- can you see it?

This is what it looks like from shore without the fog.

We arrived at the Marathon docks at 9:53, Jerry Ferguson was there to help us tie up.  A lovely facility- brand new dock, with the Peninsula,  a great lakes tug, which in it’s heyday hauled pulp logs into Marathon.

Someone doing restoration on the Peninsula, stopped by our boat and will give us a tour later in the week.  In the afternoon, Elaine came and picked us up and  went to Ann and Mitch’s place so I could do laundry, and ordered pizza. In the evening, as part of the Marathon 75th anniversary, we went to the moose hall, for “open mike”, the entertainers- a bunch of locals, sang a lot of older songs that were well know. Andy and Elaine, visited with many of the people that they knew growing up- between the bands sets.

One of the songs they sang was:

The wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald

The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down
Of the big lake they called ‘gitche gumee’
The lake, it is said, never gives up her dead
When the skies of November turn gloomy…..

Lake Huron rolls, Superior sings
In the rooms of her ice-water mansion
Old Michigan steams like a young man’s dreams
The islands and bays are for sportsmen
And farther below, Lake Ontario
Takes in what Lake Erie can send her
And the iron boats go as the mariners all know
With the gales of November remembered

Everyone in the hall knew the words and sang along to this one.

It was great to be on solid ground, and the rolling seas from the last few days forgotten.There was a thunderstorm and rain when we returned to the boat, and the sun was just going down.

 

Hope we don’t get the gale force winds as we exit ‘gitche gumee’, after the weekend is over.