2020 “On Business” boating season is over

We’ve been keeping busy….. I continued doing yard work, whereas Andy painted one of our bathrooms, walls and the cabinets. We also decided to clear out more of the back bush in the yard in preparation for extending the fence either later this fall or in the spring. Graham and Jack came a couple times to help clear the underbrush and weeds.
After the 14 days of semi-self isolation was up, I drove the 500 Km up to Swan River in order to visit family. I had been given a 9:30 outdoor appointment with my Mom on Saturday August 22nd at her long-term care facility. That morning it was raining, so I was switched to an indoor visit.

Had a good visit, I hadn’t seen her since the previous September. I also got a visit in with my two sisters, brother-in-law, one nephew and 3 great nieces. After the visit with Mom, I drove back to Winnipeg, as we were headed back to Ontario the next day.
Andy had received an appointment with the specialist for a medical procedure on September 15th, so if we were going to go back to the boat to empty it further and prepare it for winter, we needed to be back in Winnipeg before September 2nd, so the plan was to leave on August 23rd. We were up an on the road by 5:00 a.m. Of course it was dark as well as foggy, but very light traffic. About an hour an out of the city, Andy slammed on the brakes in order to miss hitting a deer. That shook us both up! You don’t have deer as a hazard when you’re on the water- only other boats and rocks. We travelled as far as Sault Ste. Marie and checked into the hotel at 8:45. We had only made stops at Dryden and Pass Lake for gas, and a few bathroom breaks. A very long day! At midnight the cell phone rang, it was one of my friend -Teresa, telling me that another friend, Colleen, had been diagnosed with a brain tumour and she was having surgery in a couple of days- upsetting news. In the morning we got up and headed further east, We had decided to drive up to Elliot Lake, as we had seen numerous ads for retirement living in this community. It is only 30 Km off of Hwy 17.

We drove around town and stopped at the information centre, to pick up some information and ask questions about living there. Elliot Lake is about 2 hours from either Sault Ste. Marie or Sudbury. We stopped at a realtor office and picked up a package of houses that were on the market. One single level house on a 55 X100 foot lot, with 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, garage as well as a sauna was only $ 155,000. Seems too cheap, and apartment rent is very reasonable as well-according to:    the https://retireelliotlake.com/for-rent/apartments 2 bedroom apartments start at $635/month. Something to consider down the road.

When we left Elliot Lake, we called our electronics technician to see if he was available to meet. Since he was; we headed for Penetanguishene, we arrived there at about 3:45, and discussed what we would need done in June of 2021 to complete the electronics upgrade. We will likely need to bring the boat to Penatang in early June, for about 3-5 days. It’s not like we don’t know the way– we were there twice in 2020. Once we left there we proceeded thru Orillia, and took the roads suggested by Brian and Helen, in order to get to Bancroft. Since they were headed home after visiting with Jen and Edward in Collingwood, we ended up meeting in Kinmount, and then just followed them. On Tuesday morning, Andy and Brian went golfing, Helen and I did some grocery shopping and then later in the afternoon we again checked out some stores and I bought some silver leaf earrings.
On Wednesday, we went to Buckhorn to remove items from the cupboards  that we had left  when we went home earlier in August. I also wanted to do some measuring for the final touches to the dingy collar

, as well as measuring the fenders, so that I could sew the fender covers. I had gotten a deal on polyester “sweat” material the previous week at Fabric land, buying 4 meters for $12. So I easily have enough material to make fender covers for the next 10 years.

I also wanted to measure the interior of our shower, as I had noticed the last time I used it the paint seemed to be flaking off and clogging the drain, so we have to come up with a method to eliminate this issue. I also wanted to check the measurements of our folding bikes, so that I could sew some type of bags to cover them as they are exposed to the elements on the bow of the boat. Andy had tools and some of his boat projects to bring home as well, which included making a teak cupboard, as well as bringing our folding table that was starting to rust. Maybe I need to sew it a cover too? Good thing I will be retired with all these projects to do 🙂 By about noon we had filled up the trunk and backseat of the car with our stuff. At 12:30, Glenn arrived on his Kawasaki and we went to the Old Ice House for fish and chips and a visit. Andy met with Peter from the marina, and they came up with a list of items/upgrades we felt needed to be done on the boat. Peter will get back to us with a couple of quotes. We left around 2:30 and headed back to Bancroft for the night. Notice I haven’t mentioned ice cream yet? Well we stopped at the Kawartha store coming into Bancroft and bought 1.5 L of Salty Carmel truffle- a trip to Ontario, is not complete without ice cream!
For our return trip home, we had considered doing an alternate route, by going to Tobermory, and then taking the MS Chi-Cheemaun  ferry across to Manitoulin Island, however when we tried to make the ferry reservation, we found that it was already booked up. When Andy talked to Mike , we learned that the ferry was only operating at 50% capacity- thus the lack of space. We had hoped to visit with the Edneys in Owen Sound prior to going to the ferry, but once again we had to change our plans. This is at least the 3rd time that we had planned to go to Owen Sound – twice by boat and now by car, will have to try again in 2021. I don’t think it’s too far from Penatang- so maybe the stars will finally align to make this possible.

On Thursday we left shortly after 7 heading westward, we had rain and some fog as we travelled through the Haliburton highlands. We frequented our regular gas stop in Parry Sound, but when we went to go back onto the highway, we found out the on -ramp was closed, so had to find another way out of the city. We stopped in the Sault for more gas and picked up KFC.  I caught a few glimpses of Lake Superior from the passenger seat of the car.

We arrived in Wawa at the White Fang motel before 6:00. Are we becoming creatures of habit?- we get gas at the same gas stations, and only stay at hotels that we’ve been to in the past. I think we believe in returning to places that we know are safe and have good Covid protocols.
On Friday we got up and then proceeded westward, We stopped at the Winnie the Pooh museum in White River,

where we once again had fog.

We stopped in Pass Lake for gas around noon, and continued on through Thunder Bay. When we got to Sasquatch corner– I mean Shabaqua corner instead of taking Hwy 17, we turned onto Hwy 11. We were going to spend the weekend at Elaine & Dave’s camp, on Huronian Lake.

I had never been there, and Andy claims he likely hadn’t been there in 20 or more years. Once we got to the Arctic-Atlantic watershed sign, we contacted Elaine by phone, as we needed additional directions to find the camp. She met us out on Savela road on the Kubota, and showed us the way. A very nice camp, with a new deck, which was their summer project.

They don’t have power or running water, but rely on battery power. Mike was there, and he agreed to take Andy out on the lake fishing. I didn’t have a fishing license so declined. They were out for a few hours and came back with a bunch of Bass. Mike is a fishing wizard, and knows everything about the lake and what attracts the fish to the hook. We had a feast that night– much tastier fish than any of the halibut we had been eating at restaurants over the summer. In the evening we played cards. On Saturday, Mike returned to Winnipeg, and  Andy helped Dave with a couple of projects around the camp, and later in the afternoon, the two of them went fishing. Elaine and I stayed back and worked on a puzzle that had been started earlier in the summer. When we completed it we realized that one of the pieces was missing.  Elaine thought that maybe Caitlin’s cat had hidden it.  Andy and Dave returned with a few more Bass. We had bbq’d steak for supper and again played cards.
In the morning, I went out to the bush, and dug up some small pine trees and blueberry bushes, that I wanted to take home to transplant in the back yard. Here’s a shot of the lake from the dock.

Andy and Dave filleted the fish from the previous day, so that we could have them for breakfast.

Pan-fried in butter- Yummy! We left shortly after 9, headed west to Fort Frances, we then had to go north up to Kenora. We stopped in Sioux Narrows to check out a possible site for the 2022 McMorland family reunion. They have 6 or 7 cabins, the largest of which sleeps 11 people. We brought back some rate information, and I took a few pictures.

As it was Sunday, the traffic headed back towards Winnipeg was starting to build. Once again we almost collided with a couple of deer running across the highway. On the Kenora by-pass there were two bridges under construction, so we had lengthy waits to get through both of these points. Just before we reached the Manitoba border we ran into rain, which followed us almost all the way to Winnipeg. We arrived home around 5:00, with minimal gas left in the car- we hadn’t filled us since the other side of Thunder Bay. The driver had passed several gas stations, but didn’t stop. Once again it was good to be home. Within an hour the car was unpacked.
On Monday, I did laundry, scouted where I should plant my trees and blueberries, I also did some weeding in the garden. I now have almost a dozen spaghetti squash, one of which is hanging about 7 feet up in my crab apple tree. I went out to Home Depot and bought a couple of cubes of peat moss. Until I loaded the cubes into the trunk, I didn’t realize they weighed almost 60 lbs. Now I know why I have a sore back- two days later. I also finally decided to place my order with Wayfair for a new rug for the front door- I hadn’t wanted to order it previously knowing that we wouldn’t be home. So I finally ordered it at 1:45 with an expected delivery of September 3rd.
On Tuesday, I planted the 6 trees and blueberries, for the blueberries I planted some under the blue spruce and others in a flower bed where I had previously had lilacs. I acidified the soil and peat with a good bed of pine needles and aluminum sulphate hopefully I will have success in one of the two sites. Andy’s brother, Duncan and his wife Doreen were passing through enroute to Thunder Bay, so they came over for supper and a visit.
Today we had Edward, Jen and wee Brian for brunch.   Edward is Brian and Helen’s son who is in the military, along with his wife Jen, and they have just been re-posted to Yellowknife, so are driving there. They had started in Kenora this morning, and hope to get to Yorkton tonight. We had a good visit- it was the first time that we had seen Brian, who is about 1 1/2 years old.


At about 12:30, the phone rang, it was our neighbor saying that Fedex had just left a delivery at our front door- it was my rug, and had arrived one day early. We thought it was odd, that the Fedex guy hadn’t even bothered to ring the door bell- as we were in the kitchen eating. Regardless I think it looks great!

We will now being staying at home until Andy’s hospital visit- self-isolating, but I have enough sewing projects to keep me busy for a while,  I know it’s the busy season at work, and I may volunteer to help out there a little as well, once my 2 weeks of self-isolating is up.. I likely won’t blog again unless something exciting happens.

The summer of 2020 definitely didn’t unfold the way we had planned.

 

Vacation plans suspended.. 2020 has not proved to be a good year for boating

The rain and storming continued for most of the day Sunday, at one point Andy went out and added another rope .  We were happy to be tied up in Campbellford, and spent the day reading and playing cards.   A tornado was reported near Kingston, which isn’t that far away.  On Monday morning we walked over to No Frills when it opened at 8 am, to reprovision.  We  then pulled out of Campbellford and headed for the locks.  We were through the Ranney falls flight by 9:35, Hagues Reach by 10:05, Meyers at 10:40, Percy’s reach at 11:00, and Glen Ross by 12:45.  We arrived at Frankford by 1:30, tied up and connected to power.
On Tuesday, rain was predicted for most of the day so we made the decision to remain in Frankfort for the day, rather than locking through in the rain.  We were only 6 locks and 7.3 miles from Lake Ontario.

But everything was about to change– Andy spoke to his Dr. in Winnipeg, and it was suggested that we come home, so that he could  undergo some additional tests and see  a specialist, for some on-going issues that he had  been experiencing.  So we decided to suspend our vacation in the Thousand Islands and  return to our car in Buckhorn.  Luckily the rain had not materialized as yet, so we started the engines at 11:30, and reversed course, going through the same locks we had done the  previous day.  Here’s a shot from  our first lock- Glen Ross.

I saw a pair of Swans out in the marsh land.

Here’s a view of the suspension bridge and Campbellford water tower in the background.

We had made it back to Campbellford by 4:25, but decided to continue.  We made it through Crowe Bay, as well as the 3 locks at Healy Falls.  We were fortunate that the lock people knew we were on the move and had the locks ready for us.  The staff at Healey falls, stayed on a few minutes extra so that we could make it to the top of Lock 17.  We were tied up by 6:00.   We had gone 29.2 miles and 11 locks, on a day when we didn’t start until 11:30.

 

On Wednesday we woke up at 5:30, with the boat hitting against the dock, it was very windy.  Since we were at the top of Lock  17, we had a 15 mile trek to Hastings, which was our next lock. 

I saw this gull contently  sitting on the bollard, just before we untied.

We were mainly on the Trent River, as somewhat sheltered from the wind.  We arrived at Hastings before 9:00, and were through by 9:15, but had a small delay leaving, as the lock staff could not open the swing bridge, because a fire alarm had gone off in town, and the bridge was the only means to get the fire fighters and trucks to the fire.  Once  the swing bridge opened, we had the 37 mile crossing of Rice Lake and the Otonobee  River before the next lock.   The wind had decreased from  earlier in the morning, and the crossing went well.

Before we arrived at the Scotts Mills, I saw these Parks Canada employees adjusting the markers in the water.

We were at Scotts Mills lock at 1:40, and went through immediately, followed by Ashburnham, where we locked through with 3 other boats.  We  then proceeded to the lift lock and arrived  at 3:00,  We had to wait for the lock down of  boats from the top, including the tour boat, which we had seen the previous Wednesday.  Only one basin, continues to be used at this lock as the cylinder on the starboard tub, has been broken since the summer of 2019, and not yet repaired.   The 3 boats finally were able to enter the tub and tie off , but we were kept waiting as another boat was coming.  When this boat entered, it was caught by the wind, and came within inches of smashing into our port side.  I braced for impact where I was on the starboard swim platform, and thankfully I didn’t hear a crunch.  We were out of the lock by 4:00, and upon exiting were told that there likely wasn’t enough time to make Lakefield, so we would need to tie up at Nassau Mills.  We proceeded the 6.7 miles to this lock and were through and tied up by 5:00.  We had hoped to go farther, but the next 3 locks had dam construction underway, and mooring for the night was not allowed.  We had never stayed at Nassau Mills, so I took some pictures of the signage,

this Asiatic lily

and this squirrel, pulling food out of the garbage can.

 

In the morning, it was cool and there was a little fog near the surface of the water.

 

We proceeded the short distance to Lock 23- Otonabee.  Since we were the first in line, we proceeded into the front of the lock starboard side, with a houseboat behind us and a 30 foot cruiser on the port side. It was a very rough lock up,  both Andy and I struggled to keep the boat against the wall.  The water surging in continually was  pull us off the wall.  Somehow during  this ordeal, I scrapped  the skin off my right elbow on the slimy lock wall  as  the boat moved forwards, so I had blood running down my arm and rope.  Not a pretty sight!  As we left the lock, we asked the lockmaster if the boat order could somehow changed for the remaining set of locks.  In Lock 24 Duoro, the cruiser and house boat, both went on the port side, making locking easier for us, as we could now tie up farther back in the lock.  This same alignment continued in Lock 25 Sawer Creek and in Lock 26 Lakefield.   At this point the cruiser tied up, so just the houseboat and us continued on.  It was not yet noon, so we speculated  that we might be able to make Buckhorn before the end of the day.  Andy kept the speed to 10 mph, when we were not in a speed zone, and we were through, Youngs Point, Burleigh Falls, Lovesick  by 3:00.  Andy called the lock at Buckhorn to find out if there was any room on the lock wall for mooring, and was told that it was currently pretty full, but that there may be some movement with day tripper boats.  We arrived and went through  lock  by 3:45, Peter from BYH had texted Andy and said that he likely had a slip for us, which we assumed was on the gas dock.  But when we arrived, both the spaces there were already occupied.  While at the gas dock, we decided to have both waste tanks pumped out, just in case  we needed to have the boat pulled out of the water.   Peter came down and said that we were likely too tall for the slip that was available, so we should move the boat to the boat ramp space.  We were tied up there by 5:00.  A long day    another 8 locks, and we had gone almost 30 miles.  We decided to drive to Bobcaygeon, so that I could do laundry, so  items to could be just left on the boat, rather than taken to Winnipeg and returned.  We were back at  Buckhorn by 6:45, had supper, and then started sorting through stuff and packing.
In the morning, Andy brought the car near the dock, and started  filling the trunk and back seat.  We filled up the plug in  cooler with the items  from the deep freezer, and the smaller cooler with fruit and veggies for the trip, some of the perishable items, along with my tomato and pepper plants were given to Luke, one of the marina staff, as they wouldn’t survive the 22 hour ride back to Winnipeg. By 8:30, the car was almost packed, and the fridge had  been cleaned and defrosted.  Since there was no slip space, the decision was made to pull the boat and the large red trailer arrived  at 8:45.  At this point I was sad, not knowing if we would be back to continue boating this summer.  We will  make another trip back in the fall, even if it was to just  pack up the remaining stuff.    I had brought a few little sewing projects back with me- the chair cover, which needs a second strap , as well as  the dimensions so that I make some fender covers, and the old lifejackets that I want to use to make a collar for the dinghy. Hopefully I will have these items ready for our return trip.
We started our drive back to Winnipeg at 9:00, we  were stopped for almost 30 minutes at one point on the highway in the Muskoka’s as there was road work going on.  We continued on filling up with gas in Parry Sound and  Sault Ste. Marie, we made it to Wawa by 7:45 and stopped for the night.  In the morning, we were back on the road at 5:30, it was still dark for the first hour.  We stopped in Nipigon and Dryden for gas.  There were several stops because of road  and bridge construction,  and  there was lots of traffic.  We arrived home  Saturday night just before 5:00.  Another long day!  While we were away, Graham (Andy’s son) and Mike (Andy’s nephew) had re-done the floor in our kitchen  and front entrance.  The floor looks amazing!

On Sunday, I did some weeding in the garden, even though it has been very hot, and the grass hasn’t grown much, the garden has been consistently watered, so the weeds are thriving.
I continued with the weeding on Monday, working on the front flower beds, more of the garden as well as the back flower bed.  I’ve filled 4 compost bags, and pulled at least a hundred dill plants.  I dehydrated some of the dill and sent some fresh dill home with Graham.  Today I enjoyed fresh garden beans, courtesy of Erin, as well as home grown tomatoes and cucumbers.  You can’t beat fresh.  A good portion of my row of beets seem to be missing, likely eaten by the bunnies, so a planted a  few more seeds.

 

Andy put my pantry cupboard back together, so that I could put everything back,  it was emptied and taken apart in order to put the new flooring in.
Andy called his doctor this morning, to find out when he will be seeing the specialist– no appointment has been set as yet.  So maybe we didn’t have to rush back as quickly as we did. But then I wouldn’t have had the fresh produce from the garden nor been able to use my own computer instead of sharing.  Our house phone is going to remain suspended, as we are still hoping to return to Ontario in September.  Will blog again once I know more.

Vacation finally starting, as we move along the Trent towards Lake Ontario

On Monday morning, Andy took the pump up to Peter to try and fix or order parts, we also requested that he order 2 complete Jabasco toilet repair kits, which we will need for our loop trip next year.   We then went to the hardware store for some vinyl tubing so that Andy could replace the line on our shower sump pump.  We also went to Foodland and did some reprovisioning.  In the evening we drove over to Lakefield to meet Wendy and Jim Coyle, they are the harbour hosts on Clear Lake- we had first met them in Delaware City in May of 2016, and had subsequently stayed at their dock for a few days in July of 2016.  We had loaned them some of our charts for the rivers, as they had not done that portion of the loop until last fall.  We had a lovely dinner on the patio of the Canoe & Paddle- I had a coconut chicken curry which was very tasty, and cracked canoe beer.

On Tuesday, we learned that our pump and toilet parts were on back order, with no timeline as to when they would be shipped.  We decided that we had already spent almost a month of our vacation with our electrical issues and didn’t want to wait for these parts, so we made the decision to start vacation, with only the one working head.  We spent part of the day washing the outside of the boat, removing more of the dirt and black streaks.   On Wednesday morning, we filled up with water, diesel and pumped out.

We moved on to the Buckhorn lock and were through by 9:53, we proceeded  to Lovesick, followed by Burleigh falls, Young’s Point and arrived at Lakefield- Lock 26 at 1:15.

We had gone through 4 locks and traveled a total of 22 miles.  We tied up on the long grey line above the lock, where there was only one other house boat.    We walked into town to the Foodland for a couple of items.  Around 5:00 we moved our boat to the blue line, as a group of 7 cruisers were coming in, and they wanted to be located together.

We later learned that these boaters were from Mitchell Bay, near Lake St. Clair—they had trucked their boats to Beaverton, on Lake Simcoe and were travelling as far as the Peterborough lift lock.    In the evening, some of the group came by, with questions about the Loop, as they had seen our gold looper flag.   We answered their questions, and many of them came aboard for a tour of our living space.    Andy also gave them a demo of the Moor Fast aka Happy Hooker boat hook.

In the morning, our boat, a boat going to Rice Lake, and three of the Mitchell Bay boats went into the lock.  We were told that the five of us would continue in this grouping until we reached Peterborough.

We were through Lock 26 by 9:35, followed by Sawer Creek at 10:00, Douro, at 10:27 and Otonabee at 10:55.  These three locks had dam construction going on, so had no places to tie up.   There were lots of wildflowers along the canal, especially these black-eyed Susans.

Our next lock was Nassau Mills and we were through it by 11:15.  All five of these locks were ready and waiting for us, so our transition had gone rather quickly.  We arrived at the lift lock at 11:55, but needed to wait for the  lift  coming up.

Here’s our view from the lock:

here’s a picture of the captain tied off,

We were through this lock by 12:45,

 

 

And then were on to Lock 20 at Ashburnham.  We had to tie up and wait again as a tour boat and some other vessels were scheduled to lock through shortly after 1:00 so the lock was set up and waiting for their arrival.

We were finally through by 1:55.  At this point our group of 5 had to break up, as this was the end of the line for 3 of the Mitchell Bay boats, and the Rice Lake boat was going to stop at the marina for fuel.   We continued on to Scotts Mills lock and were through by 2:15.   It had taken us 5 ¼ hours to go through 8 locks and travel 10 miles- a good workout!

We had originally thought that we would stay at Scotts mill  for the night, but this lock also had major construction happening on the dam portion of the lock, so we decided to continue on.  It was 37 miles to the next lock in Hastings;   we followed the Otonabee River, and then had to cross Rice Lake.  Our lock mates, that had gone to fill up on fuel, passed us before we reached the end of the river system.  Around 4:30, we called ahead to the Hastings  lock to let them know that we had planned to tie up on the grey wall, but wouldn’t be there before they closed for the day.  They agreed to leave a washroom key for us between a set of doors, so we would have access to the lock washroom.    It has been a sunny day, but black clouds were starting to build in the direction that we were headed. About 3 Km from Hastings, while we were in a relatively narrow marked channel, the wind started gusting.  Andy was having issues keeping the boat within the markers.  We arrived at Hastings at 6:00, with the winds still blowing quite hard.

A fellow boater assisted us with tying up.  About 15 minutes later the weather system had passed and we were able to bbq for supper.  I watched a fellow at a house near where we were parked, move his plants around into the sun, but as soon as it was dark, he moved them very near his house.

I also watched these black birds eat the berries on this tree, by morning very few of the berries were left.

On Friday, we moved over to  the blue line to lock through by 9:00,

the bridge was opened, and they let us into the lock, but we had to wait for another boat, so didn’t get through until 9:35.    We then had about a 14 mile run along the Trent River to get to the next lock, saw some more wildflowers  along the route.

At Healy there are 3 locks, the first two are in a flight, meaning you get out of the first one and go directly into the second, with a total drop of over 50 feet. Lock 15 is about 500 meters farther along the channel.  We were out of these three locks by 11:50.  We proceeded on to Crowe Bay locks, and were out by 12:25, following this we reached Lock 13- Campbellford and were through shortly after 1:00.

We had traveled about 20 miles and gone through 6 locks, another good day of locking, our only issue was in the Crowe Bay lock, where the wind was pushing us towards the port side of the lock, but Andy was able to back up and we were able to tie off on the second try.  We continued on to Old Mill Park, where we had booked a space on the wall for the weekend.

On other occasions when we had tied up here, both lock walls had been full—when we tied up there was only one other boat.  We tied up near the Trent Hills office, so that we would have strong internet, and be close to the washrooms, water and electricity.

After lunch we walked to the Stedman’s store and picked up a few things, we also walked over to the bakery, however they had just closed as it was after 3:00.  I mailed a card to my mother at the post office and we returned to the boat.  I had a nap, as  at one of the locks I had overstretched and  my lower back was acting up , this along  with all the sun from the morning   had tired me out.  We had a late supper and went to bed after 10:00, but I wasn’t able to sleep because of back pain.

Where did July go?  It’s hard to believe that it is now August 1st.  Andy made scones this morning, and I enjoyed them with peanut butter and the strawberry jam, that Helen had given me a few weeks ago. Around 11:00, Brian and Helen arrived from Bancroft for a visit; they had brought some small tomatoes and corn.  We walked over to the patio of the 52 North pub and grill, the patio overlooks the Trent Severn waterway.  I enjoyed a reuben sandwich and salad.  We visited a little at one of the picnic tables in the park.  Since it was a hot day the park was bustling with lots of groups playing games- something resembling cricket, flying drones, getting their pictures taken with the huge Toonie   or in front of our boat and having picnics.  It seemed that as one group vacated a picnic table or area, another group arrived.  It was busy in the park until 9:00.    Once again I had trouble sleeping in the bed, and spent the night in the salon, with my head and knees propped up with pillows.  I finally moved into the bedroom at about 4:30 and slept there until about 7:30.  I woke up to rain, and it has continued for most of the day.  There have been very few people in the park today, I saw one group come and start setting up their picnic, but it began pouring, so they packed up and left.

We plan to continue down the Trent starting tomorrow morning, and hope to make it to the Thousands islands and Brockville by next weekend.

4 weeks in Ontario, but haven’t begun our planned vacation route yet

On Tuesday, the technician came down to the boat, and started changing out the inverter, it took until the end of day Wednesday for him to complete this task.  On Wednesday, I spent part of the day washing the boat and cleaning off some of the black streaks. I heard noises behind me, when I was on the swim platform and had this family of ducks watching me.

Washing the boat was slow going, at one point I came into the boat with my wet shoes to get something and slipped falling into the open engine room.  I didn’t break anything, but scared myself and Andy.    I was left with this bruise on my left leg.

  On Thursday the technician began doing some of the work needed for our other electrical issues, he returned Friday morning for another hour for some of  the setup on the instrumentation.  We left Penatang at 10:30 and arrived at Victoria Harbour just before 1:00.  We wanted to do some re-provisioning and knew that the Foodland and LCBO were within walking distance of the marina.  Since we were Dock Link members we were able to dock for less than $40 for the night. It was a hot day, so we also wanted to be plugged in to shore power so we could run the AC.  We visited with the other members on A dock, some of which we already knew, as we have been to Victoria Harbour almost every year that we’ve been boating in Ontario.  We ordered take-out from the nearby restaurant as it was too hot to cook.  On Saturday morning, instead of going back to the waterway, we decided to stay another night in Victoria Harbour, we bagged up our laundry and went to the nearby laundry mat (about a mile walk), we again spent the evening talking to the dock A members.  On Sunday morning, we pulled out at 8:00 headed for Port Severn, we were through the lock by 9:30, we arrived at the Big Chute at 10:30.  There was about 12 boats waiting to lock through at the bottom and many on top as well, and there wasn’t much dock space- we ended up tying up to a floating dock, with no  shore access.  We soon learned that the Chute had been inoperable since late Saturday afternoon, and there would be no boats moving on Sunday.

 There was a storm system blowing though and the sky became dark accompanied by thunder and lightning.  A tornado warning was announced for places in Muskoka’s north of us.  The rain caused some people to leave the lock, so we were able to move the boat to another stationery dock.   Our dock mates, were a couple from Penatang, which were docked behind us when we were there earlier in the week.  In the afternoon, we walked up to the Big Chute marina store for  some junk food, and ice cream- it was Chapman’s which is not quite as good as Kawartha.  We hadn’t eaten chips or pretzels for almost a month, and both of us didn’t really enjoy them- so they may become banned on the boat.

Later that afternoon while trying to run the AC , we got a fault error, and the inverter did not seem to be working.  Andy contacted the technician, and it was decided that we needed to return to Penatang, because something wasn’t right. On Monday morning, we left the Big Chute and headed for Port Severn.  There was a strong wind warning on Georgian Bay of 50 km gusting to 70.  The lockmaster told us that we should tie up rather than going through the lock.  So we spent the day playing cards and reading. We also watched the recovery of this boat across the canal that had sunk during the Sunday storm.

Our aft head stopped working, so Andy tried taking the switch and toilet apart to see if he could figure out what wasn’t working- he thinks it’s the motor- so we will be looking for a new one.

We woke up on Tuesday, the water was very calm, very different from the previous day.

  There was a lineup on the blue line, and we got through on the third lock, so were out of the lock by 10:10.    We arrived in Penatang at 11:35, coming into the harbour, our electronics were shutting down and low voltage errors were coming up on the screens.  Around 3:00, the technician came and checked out our latest electronic issues, by 5:00, he had added a battery switch, that should correct our Port battery issues.  Andy talked to the marine repair shop to see if they had an electric marine toilet pump, but they didn’t.  He called Buckhorn YH, and they have the pump that we need, so our aft head will not be repaired until we get back to Buckhorn.

On Wednesday morning, we left Penatang at 9:20 and headed to Victoria Harbour, we wanted to fill up with diesel and get our forward head pumped out.  Our Dock links membership gave us a 5 cent discount on gas.  With our 2 stops at Queen’s cove, our savings have paid for our Dock lInks membership.  We left Queen’s Cove by 11:15 and arrived at Port Severn by 12:10, and were through the lock by 12:25.  We went on to the Big Chute, where it started to rain.  We were through the Chute by 1:45, the rain continued to fall and it was still raining as we went through Swift Rapids at 3:30.  We decided to tie up at the top of Swift Rapids, and stay there for the night.   We had gone 33.5 miles for the day.  Thirty minutes after we had tied up the sun came out and we sat on the aft deck.

On Thursday we left Swift Rapids at 8:25, and were through Couchiching lock by 10:35.  We arrived at the CN railway bridge by 10:45, and a train was traveling across the bridge. 

Ten minutes after it had passed the bridge tender came out and opened the bridge. 

We were through the bridge by 10:59, and entered Lake Couchiching at 11:10. We were under the narrows bridge by 12:15, and had crossed Lake Simcoe by 13:47.  Going into the canal system before the Gamebridge lock, we had to share the narrow channel with a work boat.

 

We then began the set of 5 locks that are within a span of 4 miles, and were lifted us up a total of 73 feet.  We were through the 5th lock by 4:10.  We continued on crossing Canal Lake and arrived at Kirkfield by 5:15,  we decided to go up to the top – another 49 foot rise,  We tied up by 5:30.  After a game of cards, we BBQ’d supper.  A long day—we had travelled 55.2 miles, crossed several lakes, and passed through 7 locks.  Here’s the sunset at the lock.

On  Friday we got up and changed one of the  bulbs on the front running light, not an easy endeavor as it took almost an hour to complete this task.  We then fired up the engines and started our trek to Balsam Lake.  We went through a couple narrow channels, passed  through Mitchell  Lake  which is full of tree stumps.  We arrived outside of Glen and Julie’s house around 10:15  and put the anchor down with a float and  bridle.  We are anchored about  150 yards from shore.

 

We packed up our laundry, along with a few other essentials, and waited for our taxi ride to shore (Glen with his Sea Ray).  We visited for a few hours and then enjoyed a delicious bean soup.    In the afternoon, Julie and I drove in to Coboconk  to do some grocery shopping.  We then stopped into the hardware shop and picked up a few additional items.  While we were shopping Andy and Glen went back to the boat to see if they could program the electronics on the boat, but had no luck, Glen thinks  that the it has to be re-programmed from the beginning.    We spent Friday night anchored out in Balsam Lake, but slept in the house.  We had and enjoyable supper and visited,

as well as playing dominions, where Glen was the winner.  I attempted to get a picture of the humming birds that were continually going to the bird feeder….

On Saturday morning, I went for a walk with Julie and Opal ( her son’s dog) in Balsam Lake provincial park,

Once we returned, I put on my bathing suit and swam out to the boat, and back. Glen brought out his 1950 British  AJS  (Albert John Stevenson) antique motorcycle and started it up- amazing! A bunch of people from his antique motorcycle club were riding up to from southern Ontario for a ride to the Kirkfield lock later in the day, and he was going to join them.

 

After breakfast, we packed up our stuff and groceries into Glen’s boat and he returned us to “On Business”. Andy tried fishing, but had no luck. Around noon, we pulled up the anchor and moved on. On Saturday we traveled to the Rosedale lock, as we were waiting to lock through a large boat hailed us and wanted to go ahead of us into the lock, we agreed, and instead of following, took his spot on the wall, that came with a picnic table and a nice large shade tree.  We met three couples from Coboconk, and spent the afternoon and evening talking to them.  Lorraine and Glenn had experience in the Bahamas, so we had many questions for them.   Everywhere that we’ve been in the last month, Andy has been demonstating his “happy hooker”  boat hook, which he has found to be especially useful, because of the no-touch locking protocols.  To bad he wasn’t getting paid a commission – I’m sure he has increased the sales for this product.   On Sunday morning, we locked through on the first lock, and continued on to Fenlon Falls, and then Bobcaygeon, after we were though we tied up for a break and lunch, very hot and windy day.  At about 1:00 we continued on across Pigeon and Buckhorn Lakes, and were tied up  by the gas dock at 3:00.  We plugged in to shore power and turned on the AC, as with the humidex it feels like 39, we’ll be ordering Pizza tonight, as it’s too hot to cook.

We’ve had some news from home; some good, some bad.  A couple of family members  have health issues and are recovering or seeking treatment.  On the bright side- my 14 year old great niece won the U-19 Manitoba junior girls golf championship earlier this month- great job Crystal!

Vacation, not going as planned………

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We  left Winnipeg at 5:30 a.m. on  June 27th and drove for as far as Wawa the first day,  we stopped for Coffee and  gas in Dryden and  Nipigon- where  I was able to have a visit with my friends Teresa and Maureen  in the Tim Horton’s  parking lot.  The second day we started out early again and drove through to Buckhorn arriving just before 4:00. We spent the night unpacking the car.

Our new electronics tech called early on Monday to say he was going to be delayed and wouldn’t arrive until Tuesday, so we spent most of Monday putting stuff away, and discovering what had been left on the boat from the previous summer.  We also drove up to Kingston to visit with Marg and Mike and to pick up our new CQR anchor- we had a nice visit on their front porch, and let with a Bok Choy cabbage from Marg’s garden.    That evening we switched out our Fortress Anchor for the shiny new CQR. On Tuesday, once the techs arrived, we vacated the boat (a 35 foot boat was not large enough for 4 of us to socially distance.)   We drove up to Bancroft to visit Brian and Helen, and stayed the night.   While in Bancroft we were also able to visit with Brian and Muriel, who dropped by. It was great to get together with friends.  We had our first taste of Kawartha ice-cream, as we had stopped at the Kawartha store to pick up a 1.5 Liter of Salty Carmel Truffle for dessert.  We did some provisioning in Bancroft as they have more of a selection of stores than in Buckhorn.  We returned to the boat on the morning of July 1st, to get the deficiencies list from the electronics techs, before they returned home.  We learned that the Garmin electronics had not been installed correctly and several pieces were missing and needed to be ordered.

On the morning of July 2nd, it was time to tackle some of the dirt on the outside of the boat; I started with the upper deck and worked my way around the gunwales. In the early afternoon, we filled up with water and some gas, as we were headed to Balsam Lake for the weekend. We travelled 28 Km as far as Bobcaygeon and docked on the lock wall.  We went up to the lock to observe how locking worked, as we had read that it would be touch less locking, meaning that the Parks Canada locking attendants would not be able to touch our ropes.  Andy talked to the lockmaster there and got some additional pointers as well as a recommendation for take-out food.  We opted for Fish and chips from just the halibut.   On our way back to the boat, we ran into a couple with their daughter.  They stopped us and asked if we were from On Business.  As the conversation progressed, I learned that Martin follows my blog, and likely knew more about my last post than Andy.  Martin and Kim are from Warkworth, but have recently bought property in Bobcaygeon.  I was absolutely thrilled that someone besides family and friends in Winnipeg actually reads my ramblings, and that he was able to pick us out walking along the lock wall.  After we were done eating we visited a little with the people on the houseboat docked beside us.  We received a phone call from my sister Maxine, informing us that my 90 year old mother had fallen and had broken her leg, because of her underlying health issues she was not a candidate for having surgery to have a pin inserted, so will be confined to a brace and not allowed to put any weight on it for the next 3 months.  This was really upsetting news- I haven’t seen Mom since last fall, and even now, visiting is very limited in the long term care home where she resides. Our next issue of the evening was that our inverter would now provide power to Andy’s CPAP machine, which was odd, because he had tested it earlier in the week- hence a sleepless night for both of us.  In the morning we decided to call Buckhorn Yacht Harbour to see if we could return, so we travelled the 28Km back to Buckhorn.  We then packed up the car and drove to Glen and Julie’s on Balsam Lake.  Friday was our 10th Wedding Anniversary; we had many adventures in the past decade and hope to have many in the future as well. Saturday afternoon was hot- so Julie and I went into the water and just puttered around to stay cool.

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Julie bbq’d for supper and we had steak, Portobello mushrooms, asparagus and baby potatoes, with Kawartha for dessert.  My friend Anja had given me a 3L flask of wine as a retirement gift, and this was the perfect occasion to open it- the wine was fantastic!  20200703_143006After dinner we played the domino game that we call chicken leg- a great ending to a day that started out crappy. 20200703_211749

On Sunday morning, Julie showed me the finer points of kayaking and the two of us paddled along the shore of Balsam Lake.  This was my first time, so I was a little apprehensive, but we were in relatively shallow water, so if I was to tip it I’m sure I could have swam or stood up.  We paddled for about an hour, with no mishaps.

20200704_092608On our return to the dock in front of their house,  Julie showed me how to get out, and I did with only getting my feet wet.

20200704_100730_resizedJulie then proceeded to pick up my kayak to take it out of the water, and swung it around clipping me in the head, which caused me to lose my balance and I tumbled into the water, just missing the dock that housed their sailboat.  So I did go for my second swim in Balsam Lake.  We stayed for brunch and visited some more.

20200704_115120_resizedJulie has taken up some very interesting crafts in retirement and the framed pictures are truly amazing, and Glen continues to improve his Harmonigraph outputs.20200704_092235_resized

  Mid afternoon we drove back to Buckhorn to our very hot boat.   I tried to log on to my computer, but it wouldn’t boot up, not sure what is wrong.  On Sunday morning, we took the boat out into Buckhorn Lake, as we wanted to practice with our new anchor and apparatus for a bridle. Just after noon, we moved the boat to the Buckhorn lock,

IMG_2306and got a spot with power, there is a 2 day limit at the lock, so we need to move on Tuesday. On Sunday afternoon, Brian and Helen stopped by as they were going to the nearby strawberry farm.  Helen brought us a pint of fresh strawberries and they were amazingly fresh and sweet, we enjoyed them after the Chinese food that we had ordered from Cody Inn, a nice treat.  I gave my computer to Brian to take back to Bancroft, to see if it could be repaired, I have a new computer waiting for me in Winnipeg, that I had bought myself  earlier in the year-  I hadn’t brought it along, as who needs 2 computers.

On Monday morning we walked over to the Hardware store so that I could buy a get well card to send to my Mom.IMG_2308

The weather here has been consistently over 30 every day with very little air movement.  Thank goodness for power and air conditioning.   We met another member of AGLCA at the locks on Monday, Wayne, the iceman, and Lori from Ingersoll. We had a good visit with them and learned that it wasn’t as difficult as we had previously been told to go from Manitoulin Island to Tobermoray. I called one of my sister’s for an update on Mom, and was given a number at the nurse’s station where I could call to talk to her.   At about 1:30 on Tuesday we left the lock, as our 48 hours was up.  We went out to anchor near the point, to again try the new anchor and bridle system.  All went well, and Andy pulled out the fishing rod to try his luck.  About 15 minutes later, some very dark clouds appeared on the horizon followed by some thunder and lightning. Very soon after that it started to pour and the winds picked up creating whitecaps on the lake that earlier was flat like glass.  We both got soaked.  Andy went to the front of the boat to see if the anchor was holding, as it was raining so hard, we couldn’t tell where we were, and weren’t sure if the anchor was dragging.  On his way back to the lower helm, high gusts of  wind blew his prescription glasses, along with the chain that was there to hold them right off his head  several feet up in the air and then into the water.  Andy said to pull up the anchor, and it came up with about 20 lbs of weeds.   We turned toward Buckhorn Yacht harbour and were directed to tie up in a vacant slip.  By now the storm had passed. On Wednesday morning, we got a text from the Electronics tech that he wasn’t able to come to do the additional repairs, so we continue to wait.  I’ve been tempted to rename our boat- “Electrically cursed”, we have now been here for almost two weeks and have moved a total of about 60 Km- not the way I had envisioned our first 2 weeks of vacation.  With the absence of the electronics techs, that gave the BYH techs the opportunity to do some additional checking of our batteries, as well as changing some belts on the engines.  We drove the 85 Km up to Bancroft to visit with Brian and Helen again.  We wanted to pick up a few items at the drug store and hardware store.  Had a lovely lunch and visit, as well as washing a couple of loads of clothes.  We wanted to be back in Buckhorn by 3:00, just in case we needed to move the boat out of the borrowed slip and back to the loading dock.

We ordered Pizza for supper, as it is too hot to cook. On Thursday morning we heard back from the electronics technician and he won’t be able to come to our boat until Tuesday July 14th.  We talked to Peter at Buckhorn, and decided to go back to the lock wall for the next two days while it is going to be in the high 30’s so that we would have power. We moored next to this picnic table, one of the lock attendants had made it from some of the old lock wall boards that had recently been replaced.  A very solid table!

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We spent most of the day indoors, working on a few little projects and cleaning up.    That evening 4 boatloads of kids came to the lock after it closed and used it as their swimming pool—I heard one of them say that the water was 84F.

IMG_2315At one point Andy had the bright idea that we should try to plug his mask directly into the inverter using an extension cord, and it seemed to work.  We then decided that rather than waiting around for the electronics tech to come to us, that we would go to him in Penetanguishene. Later Friday afternoon, Brian brought me what was left of my laptop—the Hard drive, which was now encased in a laptop hard disk drive enclosure.|He told me that my motherboard was completely fried.  I attached my old Hard drive through a USB cable to Andy’s laptop and after a 20 minute uploading exercise, was able to see my files and picture.  What a relief that everything was still accessible.  Once we’re home in the fall I will transfer the important files and pictures to the new laptop.

 We decided that we would leave on Saturday morning on our journey to Georgian Bay– we were up at 5:30 and left Buckhorn lock by 6:30 headed for Bobcaygeon.  We were there for the first lock up at 9:00, and were through by 9:25.  It was very overcast with some dark clouds.  This was our first lock of the year, with the new “no touch” rules from the Park’s Canada attendants.  Andy drove into the locks from the lower helm, and grabbed a cable near the mid-ship, whereas I stood on the back swim platform and secured the stern.   Once we had locked through I would go up to the upper helm and turn on the keys so that Andy could switch to driving from above.  It seemed to work well.  Our next lock was Fenlon Falls, and again no issues—because the weather wasn’t the greatest, we seemed to be the only ones moving on the water. Since the US-Canada border is closed, there are no Americans or Loopers on the canals yet.  Part way across Cameron Lake enroute to Rosedale Lock, the skies opened and it was raining so hard- you couldn’t see very far ahead.IMG_2317

  Once we got to the lock, we were going to pull to the side and tie up, but the lock attendants had the lock open and were dressed in rain gear, so we felt obliged to go through.  We continued on and were through Kirkfield at 2:00 with more rain, entering Bolsover I had fully extended my boat hook to grab the cable when the wind started to pick up, and I   somehow got the handle stuck in the stairs down to the swim platform, making a huge bend in the handle.  Oops- at least I didn’t lose it overboard, like other years.  We were out of this lock by 3:05, Talbot at 3:45 and were at the top of Portage by 4:00.  Six locks and 59 miles were enough for our first day.    We had a peaceful night as the only residents of Portage lock #39. IMG_2319

Andy was able to make a shorter but useful boathook out of the mangled piece of aluminum that I gave him.

On Sunday, we proceeded through locks 39, 40 and 41,IMG_2320

and reached Lake Simcoe at 10:25, we then had the 15 miles to navigate before reaching the Atherby Narrows and Orillia.  We continued on and crossed Lake Couchiching, and arrived at the CN railway bridge by 1:20.  We honked the horn, and the bridge attendant was out almost immediately, and we were through the bridge within 5 minutes.  This was by far the quickest we have ever been through this bridge.  Must not have been any trains in the area, as we have waited more than an hour on other occasions to get through.    We stopped and tied up for a lunch break at Couchiching lock, and proceeded through the lock by 2:45.  We arrived at Swift Rapids at 4:45, and decided to stay on top for the night. We had gone through 4 locks and travelled 44 miles.   We were visited on numerous occasions by a flock (about 25) Canada geese that came out of the water to eat the grass.  I chased them, Andy chased them as well as a person that was fishing—they are such messy creatures, leaving droppings everywhere. 

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On Monday morning, we were sitting on the Blue line and ready to go at 9:00, when the Parks Canada crew arrived, they come in by boat, as this is a very isolated lock station.  In this lock which is a 47 foot drop, I tied onto the bollard, and Andy tied onto a cable.  All went smoothly and we were out by 9:25.   We arrived at the Big Chute Railway at 10:20, and had to wait for a work barge to go down the chute first, before it was our turn.

IMG_2323While in the lock one of the lock attendants mentioned that it looked like our starboard prop had a ding on it.  We were out of the Chute by 10:55, headed for Port Severn.  There were some dark clouds, and the wind was picking up.  At Port Severn we tied up on the grey wall, so Andy could check with the lockmaster whether a port of starboard tie was preferred.  He said it was up to us.  Andy was unsure because of the direction of the wind, it we would be able to hang on to our preferred starboard tie.  We decided to try it as  our dinghy impedes us doing a Port tie-  it’s not impossible , but I would need to be standing under the dinghy when I’m trying to grab a cable.    Our starboard attempt was successful, as the wind had died down slightly and we were out of Port Severn lock by 12:20 and into Georgian Bay.  Once in the Bay we had 2 to 3 foot waves

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out in the open water, these decreased to less than 2 foot waves once we were south of Beausoleil Island.  We entered Penetang Bay and were tied up at Harbour West Marina by 2:10.    In total we had gone 28 miles today, with 12 miles of it on Georgian Bay.  The plan is for the electronic technician to work inside the boat for the next day of two, and if the weather is nice we will do some cleaning on the outside of the boat, so that we are not in the way.

We’ve been to Penetanguishene in the past, as we bought our first boat, a 37 foot  Carver  from  here in 2009, and had it shipped to Winnipeg.  My garden on the boat is doing well, the tomato has lots of  flowers and a few very small tomatoes, likewise for the hot pepper.  Hope my garden in Winnipeg is doing well too.IMG_2324

I will blog again, once  I know the status of what we are doing and where we are going, our Garmin In-Reach at this link, will indicate where we are, or have been ( provided we remember to turn it on while we are moving.) password T&A2019

https://us0-share.inreach.garmin.com/share/BYK46   

The 2020 boating season is coming soon

It’s been months since I added to the blog, and so much has happened……

At  the end of September, Andy had surgery for his hernia yet again- time# 3.  All seemed to go well, but the wound would not heal.  In late November, he started going to our local walk-in on a daily basis to get it cleaned and bandaged.  After talking to the surgeon and his family doctor, he was referred to the wound clinic on Marion street, and went there daily.  In  mid- January, this was switched to every second day.  In early February, the wound started bleeding, and Andy was hospitalized overnight.  He was released the next day but was re-admitted on the weekend for an additional surgery to remove the infected tissue.

 

  Once released he was back at the wound clinic for his daily bandage changes.  In the beginning I was calling the new hole a crater it was 9 cm across by 4 cm down and 4 cm deep. By early May it had finally closed up, and this chapter is over- or so we hope.

Other excitement:  Brian and Helen Vermeersch from Bancroft came for a visit in August, and Glen and Julie Cavers passed through Winnipeg twice, on their journey to BC and the Yukon in September.

Once again we hosted the McMorland Family Christmas party, and had about 35 people in attendance.

On February 7th , I turned the big 60, and was surprised by my husband with (  two cakes

and  a come and go party) as well as a  1 week trip to Vegas  on February 23rd.   But there was an issue—Andy’s  latest surgery was on February 16th– so he couldn’t come with me, and we couldn’t get the ticket and hotel refunded.  I made many phone calls trying to convince someone to come along, but no luck until the Friday the 21st, when one of my co-workers, Anja Richter said yes.  We had a fabulous time, and walked over 100 km on the strip.  While in Vegas, Andy booked us another trip to Vegas in January of 2021, for the Meridian Cup (Curling). Hopefully we will get to go together this time.

Anja found some deals on tickets, and we were  continuously on the go, also took a trip to the Grand Canyon.

 

I only lost $15 on the slot machines, because that’s all the money I put into them.

Another really exciting event was that once I was 60, I was no longer going to be penalized on my pension, so  I put in my intention to retire, once I used up my vacation credits over the summer- I will be a retired person in early November.

Our summer plan was to take the boat down the St. Lawrence to the Maritimes, down the East coast to NYC and then back up the Hudson and NY canal system.  It was going to take about 3 months.  We had information to friends who had done the “ Down East Loop” last summer, and Andy started studying the routes.

However Covid-19 hit, and the world has become a different place.  Since March 17th, I have been working mostly from home.  I was assigned the job of sample triage for the Grain Research Lab, so was going into work 2 or 3 times a week to deliver samples to the appropriate labs for testing, and scheduling my staff to come to perform analysis on critical samples related to the shipment of export grain cargoes.

Andy turned 70 this year but no party as it was early April-so it was just the two of us.

He embarked on a  couple of Covid projects while I was working at home- the first was to build this lighthouse which sits in front of our house.

 The fence between us and our neighbors needed to be replaced, so Andy hired his nephew Mike, to assist in this project.

Following that to keep with social distancing protocols, he decided to add a 6 foot addition on our back deck , and again had some help from Mike.

 

The addition has been used most Tuesday’s since, as our golf group comes back to our place for supper and drinks  after playing 9 holes.

My original last day of work was slated for June 5th, but this got amended to June 26th. So I am currently trying to finish up a bunch of tasks, clean up my office at the lab, clean up my office at home, as well as the rest of the house, weed the garden, and pack—not  a short list!  It has been raining alot lately so the garden is in good shape, and we should get out of Winnipeg before  the mosquitoes start hatching….

The Plan is to leave  early on June 27th, and start the drive to Buckhorn. Arriving there late on the 28th.  We will have a couple of technicians on the boat on the 29th and 30th, who will try to complete   upgrades that didn’t happen during the 2019 electronics debacle. ( Of course this was scheduled to happen in early June of 2020, but got delayed because of  Covid restrictions).  On the 29th,to ensure social distancing we are driving  to drive to Kingston to pickup our new CQR which Andy ordered early this week as a father’s day present for himself.

We hope to leave Buckhorn  as soon as we get the green light that our electronics and compass are working as they  should.   We will take our time traveling through the 28 locks on the TSW to make it to Lake Ontario.  Some of the locks have restrictions on mooring, as the sites are under construction, but we will have lots of choice.  We have always rushed through this area, as I had a limited amount of vacation- but not this summer- our only restriction will be that the boat has to be back in Buckhorn before Thanksgiving as the locks close then.

So our summer boating plan is to be confined to Ontario canal systems and possibly  parts of Quebec and the St. Lawrence River- we’ll see where the water takes us–  dependent on Covid restrictions.

Here’s a view of what is keeping me sane (Thanks to Glen Cavers)…….

Will blog again, once we’re on the water……….

 

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!

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.