We’ve Reached the Summit of the Great Loop – 7/28/16

First of All -

  • First time ever in a Canadian Tire Store

Namely Speaking-

  • Rottenstone Island
  • Fothergill Island
  • Fulton Bog
  • Pigeon Lake
  • Dead Horse Shoal
  • Bobcaygeon
  • Fenellon Falls
  • Balsam Lake
  • Rosedale Lock

Loop Log:

  • Miles Cruised today: Power: 36; Sail: NA
  • Total Miles Cruised to date: 5,998
  • Hours Underway: 6
  • Fuel: NA
  • Morning House Battery Reading: 12.47
  • Wind Speed: light ; Wind Direction: variable
  • Daily High Temperature: 80
  • Water Temperature: 77

DSCF5839Here just above Rosedale Lock I’m having a bit of difficulty breathing. I suspect this is due to the thinness of the air, considering that today we reached the highest elevation on the entire Great Loop. We’re currently 841 feet above sea level, having reached this lofty elevation by ascending a total of 89 locks since leaving the Hudson River. From here on it will all be downhill, or downstream, until we reach the level of Lakes Huron and Michigan.

Our day’s run begins early, shortly after 6am, with a lot of open water to cross on the way to Bobcaygeon Lock. We pass through SturgeonDSCF5848 Lake on smooth waters, beneath overcast skies. We time our arrival at the lock perfectly, entering the lock chamber on the first opening of the day, just past 9am. With minimal delay we’re soon on our way, heading for the next lock, at the busy tourist town of Fenellon Falls. We reach the lock by noon, lock up, and then tie up to the north wall. We picnic at a shady table next to the lock, and then go for a short walk into town. I end up hiking down the road to the Canadian Tire Store. I’ve heard a lot about these stores, which are located all across Canada. What Tim Hortons is for donuts, Canadian Tire is to just about everything else. They carry tires, auto accessories, hardware, housewares, camping gear, lawn and yard stuff – well, you get the picture. I’m in search of a couple of sockets for the socket tool I use to rig the boat. Last time I put the mast up I dropped a 7/16 socket into the drink, and I want to buy a replacement. Canadian Tire comes through just fine. Sandy has stopped off at a grocery to pick up a few food items, which are just about the only things Canadian Tire doesn’t carry. We walk back to the boat, grab some ice cream, get ice for the cooler, and then we’re off. It’s a short run across Cameron Lake to Rosedale Lock, which lifts us the final 4 feet to the top of the Loop. We’re now floating at 841 feet above sea level and all the remaining locks will be dropping us down. Tomorrow we’ll reach the Kirkfield Lift Lock, similar in design to the Peterborough Lift Lock, only with a somewhat smaller lift. We’ll then enter into a long, narrow, straight and, from what I’ve heard, rather boring canal stretch, with frequent locks which will steadily lower us down to Lake Simcoe. I’m hoping we can get as far as Simcoe tomorrow, but the locks may prevent that, if we encounter substantial delays. I plan on an early start tomorrow, so we’ll have the best chance possible of reaching Simcoe. It will feel good to get back down to a lower elevation where the air is a bit denser.











Kawartha Lakes, Houseboat Heaven – 7/27/16

First of All -

  • First day cruising in the region of the Canadian Shield
  • First day cruising through the Kawartha Lakes
  • First time encountering a lock wall virtually filled with boats

Namely Speaking-

  • Youngs Point
  • Kawartha Lakes
  • Hells Gate
  • Stony Lake
  • Burleigh Falls
  • Lovesick Lock
  • Buckhorn Lock

Loop Log:

  • Miles Cruised today: Power: 23; Sail: NA
  • Total Miles Cruised to date: 5,962
  • Hours Underway: 7
  • Fuel: NA
  • Morning House Battery Reading: 12.55
  • Wind Speed: 12 ; Wind Direction: W
  • Daily High Temperature: 86
  • Water Temperature: 77

DSCF5808Heavy dew in the cockpit this morning, and clear, sunny skies to start the day. We follow a narrow channel lined with dense trees and shrubs, but soon cruise out onto the Kawartha Lakes. This is a lovely region of substantial lakes, connected by channels and occasional locks. We’re now crossing into the vast Canadian Shield, a geologic province characterized by massive granite formations which were scoured by the ice age glaciers. Pink granite dominates the landscape, outcropping as bare rock in many places, covered by thin soils inDSCF5818 others. The lakes are dotted with small rocky islands, beautiful but hazardous to passing boats. One does well to heed the channel markers, and you stray beyond the red and green buoys at your peril, since massive slabs of hard granite lurk in many places, just inches below the surface. We take our time today, stopping just above Youngs Point Lock to visit the country store located there. This place is quite well known, and has an attractive array of furniture, furnishings, clothing, souveniers, and miscellaneous items. Even though it’s barely 10am, I can’t resist ordering up a milkshake. Sandy comes away with a comfortable top. A little past Youngs Point we weave our way through Hells Gate, an intricate passage between scattered granite islands and outcrops. We’re grateful that the route is well marked. Our next stop is at Burleigh Falls Lock, where we tie up above the lock for lunch. It’s turning into another very warm day, and we’re thankful for the little bit of shade we find on the starboard side, above the lock. While there a large rental houseboat approaches the lock wall just behind us. I get up to help them with their lines. It’s a little scary watching novices attempt to drive these boats. They catch a lot of wind, and are seriously underpowered. The lack of operator skill is often apparent. In this case, the driver jams the bow corner, port side, into the lock wall while I’m trying to get their bow line secured. Then, the stern line gets tossed to me but falls several feet short and DSCF5822drops into the water. On second try it smacks me in the face, while the big houseboat slams into the wall. Not a single fender is out. The aluminum gunnels of this vessel testify to numerous rough landings. The crew seem to be enjoying themselves, though. I can just hope that we never find ourselves in their way when they’re struggling for control.

We lock through at Lovesick, a pretty place which is supposedly named for an Indian boy whose affection was spurned by a red haired Irish girl. While out on Lovesick Lake I’m motoring along, in a stiff breeze when the boat does an abrupt Crazy Ivan (if you’ve seen the movie Hunt for Red October you know what I mean). The boat immediately turns to starboard and refuses to answer the wheel. We’reDSCF5824 out of control. I cut the throttle and confirm that the outboard and rudders are no longer linked to the steering. A quick glance around confirms that we’re out in the middle of big water, with no obvious obstacles nearby. I lift the steering seat and spot the offending pin and ring lying in the motor well. This pin connects the steering rod with the rudder and motor linkage arms. After a bit of gymnastics and effort I’m able to reinsert the pin and stuff the ring back into the hole at the end of the pin. The ring has become bent so that it no longer reliably keeps the pin in place. I’m counting on a temporary fix for the last 4 miles, until we get through the Buckhorn Lock and tie up at the mooring wall. Once there I’ll get a new longer pin out, along with a good ring ding, and fix it properly.

I round the corner just below the lock and see the lock doors opening. Several boats begin to exit while I circle in the approach bay, hoping my steering will hold together long enough to get through the lock. I’m beginning to line up with the lock entrance as the final boat, a very large trawler, begins to pull out. Just before I get to the lock channel entrance this trawler starts to turn right across my path. I can’t believe it. I pull back on the throttle to avoid a collision as he completes a U turn right in front of me and heads for an open mooring wall spot on the port side. While this is going on the lock doors start to close. I give the lock attendants a blast with my air horn. Meanwhile the trawler driver tells me that the lock wall is full of moored boats above the lock. It now dawns on me that he feared I was heading to the spot where he plans to moor, and he wanted to cut me off so he could get there first. Nice guy. The lock attendants reopen the gates and let me in. I ask them if I can tie up on the blue line after the lock closes, and they say fine, after 5:30. I figure I’ll need to anchor out until then. After leaving the lock, though, I spot a short little stretch of wall on the port side which looks just big enough for us. I turn around and approach. The owner of the boat at the back of this space comes down to the wall and helps us with lines. We get in just fine, and are nicely tied up there, with just a foot or two to spare in front and behind the boat. We’re pleased to be here. I pull out my spare parts kit and find a good pin and ring, and soon have the steering linkage properly repaired. We get acquainted with the people in the boat behind us. Nice retired folks, former long haul truckers (both husband and wife teamed up to drive). We talk politics and find ourselves agreeing on many things. I take a quick cooling dip in the water before dinner. We’ll go for an evening walk in search of ice cream before settling in for the evening.


Locking up in the Amazing Peterborough Lift Lock,- 7/26/16

First of All -

  • First time riding in a hydraulic lift lock
  • First time under way for 7 hours and only traveling 11 miles

Namely Speaking-

  • Peterborough Lift Lock
  • Nassau Mills
  • Lakefield

Loop Log:

  • Miles Cruised today: Power: 11; Sail: NA
  • Total Miles Cruised to date: 5,939
  • Hours Underway: 7
  • Fuel: NA
  • Morning House Battery Reading: 13.0 (plugged in)
  • Wind Speed: light; Wind Direction: variable
  • Daily High Temperature: 85
  • Water Temperature: 76

DSCF5765Today’s the big day for our long awaited ride up the famous Peterborough Lift Lock. We depart the marina shortly after 8am, with the intent of gaining a spot on the blue line below lock 20. That will enable us to be in the first group of boats to lock up to the approach to the lift lock. We’re the third boat in line, and at 9am we enter the lock chamber and begin the familiar process of locking up. That procedure changes considerably for our next lock, however. We round a bend and there she stands, giant vertical concrete monoliths blocking ourDSCF5766 path. High above us, on the port side, a graceful basin is supported between two of the monoliths. The other side appears to be a conventional lock chamber, albeit an extremely large and tall one. The light is green, so we enter the chamber on the port side. Instead of securing lines to vertical cables, we tie off to railings on the side of the chamber. Behind us a gate rises up out of the water, enclosing us in a large basin of water. Once we’re secure a voice booms out on a loudspeaker from high above, announcing to all that the famous Peterborough Lift Lock is about to lift boats to the upper canal level. And then an amazing thing happens. We begin to smoothly and quite speedily climb in the air, along with the 1300 tons of water we’re floating in. In just 90 seconds we’re lifted 65 feet on our hydraulic elevator. The mechanism is really amazing. Two identical basins of water sit side by side. Boats enter one of the basins, then the operator adds an additional foot of water, weighing 130 tons, into the upper basin. The two basins are supported by immense hydraulic pistons and are interconnected. Once the extra water is in place, a valve on the connecting pipe is opened, enabling the pressure of the added water to push the lower basin up. As it does, the upper basin descends, with the whole thing acting rather like an immense see-saw. This remarkable lift lock took 8 years to construct, and was completed in 1904. At the time it was the largest lift lock in the world, and it still is today. The concrete poured to make the towers is completely unreinforced, with no steel in it. It’s never been rebuilt, and is in excellent condition, much better, in fact, than some more recent concrete lock structures we’ve seen along the way.

DSCF5771After we exit the lock we tie up on the port side wall, so we can watch some other boats ride the lock, in both directions. We then walk a short distance down to the lower side of the lock, where a very interesting visitor center is located. We watch a pair of films on the lift lock and its construction, and view models of the 7 other lift locks in existence around the world. This is truly a unique engineering marvel.

We return to the boat and have lunch at the lock wall. Then it’s time to proceed up the waterway. Our progress, however, isDSCF5777 excruciatingly slow. We must pass 5 conventional locks, and they seem to take forever. Sometimes we have to wait for downstream boats to arrive and get locked down, before we can go up. Sometimes the lock attendants just seem to be going at a slower than usual pace. It also seems that these lock chambers fill more slowly than those we’ve previously experienced. In any case, the sun is high overhead and it’s once again quite warm out, and there is almost no breeze in the lock chambers. It’s nearly 5pm by the time we tie up at the Lakefield mooring wall. Once secured I change into a swim suit and walk down to below the lock for a quick, cooling swim. Then it’s time to grill hamburgers. We visit with other cruisers tied up here (this is a popular place to stop), and then walk into town for ice cream. We pick up some muffins for tomorrow’s breakfast, and grab some groceries at a nearby food store. Back at the boat, we’re enjoying a comfortable evening in the cockpit, with the air at just the right temperature, and no bugs pestering us.















Layover in Peterborough – 7/25/16

First of All -

  • First time visiting a museum devoted exclusively to canoes

Loop Log:

  • Miles Cruised today: NA – Layover Day
  • Total Miles Cruised to date: 5,928
  • Hours Underway: NA
  • Fuel: NA
  • Morning House Battery Reading: 14.3 (plugged in)
  • Wind Speed: light; Wind Direction: Variable
  • Daily High Temperature: 92
  • Water Temperature: 77

DSCF5726We finally got some rain overnight. It’s more than welcomed in these parts, which have been unseasonably dry this summer. Still overcast in the morning, with a threat of more rain. First thing, I run a few errands on the bicycle, including getting my eyeglass frames repaired at a local optomatrist. Nice place, and they installed a new nose pad at no charge. Sandy has decided to stay at the boat and do some computer research, while I bicycle over to the Canadian Canoe Museum. It’s located about a mile away, just the right range for a bikeDSCF5727 ride. This museum is devoted exclusively to canoes and kayaks, and more specificually, to the relationship of the canoe to Canada’s history, exploration, and development. The canoe is intimately linked to Canada, having been developed and perfected by Canada’s aboriginal people. I am particularly intrigued by canoes, since long before we bought our sailboat, we were canoeists. In fact, we have owned a canoe for more than 40 years, and associate it with countless hours of enjoyment and adventure on the water. The museum collection includes more than 600 canoes of every description and kind, from the very old to the very latest. The early examples interest me most. Log dugouts date back several centuries. Bark covered canoes perhaps represent the highest form of the canoe building art, and the museum exhibits representative samples of many different designs. Birch bark was the preferred covering, but other materials were sometimes used, including elm bark and even balsam bark. As the numbers of large birch trees declined, other construction styles and techniques evolved, including the canvas over wood frame type, as well as the wood strip canoe. The museum also features craft from the Far North, kayaks and umiaks, which were generally covered with seal skins. A good deal of attention is paid DSCF5730to the fur trade, since the canoe was the key vehicle of transportation throughout the vast fur producing regions of interior Canada. Most impressive are the 36 foot long freighter canoes which could haul up to 8 tons of goods. One sign board makes the interesting point that canoes being used during the height of the fur trading days were primarily fueled by buffalo, meaning that pemmican, made from cured and prepared buffalo meat was the principal food of the Voyageurs. Up to half of the cargo capacity of the fur trader’s canoe consisted of food provisions, since little time could be spent hunting or fishing while on a fur trading or trapping expedition. The museum is housed in a rather uninspired brick and block building along a busy 4 lane road, just around the corner from Staples and Home Depot. The future sounds bright, however. Funding is being assembled for construction of a brand new $45 million museum, to be located adjacent to the Peterborough Lift Lock. The new museum is projected to open in 4 or 5 years, and if the project is successfully completed, it is certain to become an even greater attraction than it already is.

This afternoon the sky has cleared, and it’s getting hot and humid. We’re taking it easy, getting ready to take off in the morning. Going through the lift lock promises to be a real treat.






Early Start for Petersborough – 7/24/16

First of All -

  • First time this spring or summer getting underway before sunrise
  • First time seeing 7 boats emerge from a lock
  • First bird: black duck

Namely Speaking-

  • Ouse River
  • Serpent Mounds
  • Rice Lake
  • Hiawatha Shoal
  • Otonabee River
  • Lepers Creek
  • Yankee Bonnet
  • Peterborough

Loop Log:

  • Miles Cruised today: Power: 38; Sail: NA
  • Total Miles Cruised to date: 5,928
  • Hours Underway: 6
  • Fuel: 12 gallons; $56; 7mpg
  • Morning House Battery Reading: 12.25
  • Wind Speed: 8 ; Wind Direction: NE
  • Daily High Temperature: 82
  • Water Temperature: 77

DSCF5705This is the perfect day for an early start: fairly long run ahead of us, big water to cross, and no locks at the start to hold us up. I’m off the dock just before sunrise, with thin, colorful bands of clouds overhead. The water is smooth, with just a slight breeze ruffling the water surface as I run up the channel and out onto the open waters of Rice Lake. I pass lots of early morning fishermen, out trying their luck. About halfway across Rice Lake I see a bunch of speeding boats heading our way. Bass boats, and from their numbers and concentration,DSCF5707 I’m thinking they’ve got a tournament going today. Tritons, Nitros, and Skeeters blast on by, some of them probably doing 40 mph, kicking up rooster tails of spray 6 feet high, but since less than half of their hulls touch the water, their wakes are less than a foot. Clearly, the bass of Rice Lake are in for a rough day.

About 3/4 of the way down the lake our course takes an abrupt 90 degree turn to the north, where the Otonabee River enters the lake. The Trent Severn Waterway runs up this river all the way to Peterborough, where 3 locks, culminating in the dramatic Peterborough Lift Lock will raise our boat up 100 feet or so in elevation. We’ll not be making that big jump today, however, since we plan to stop at the Peterborough Marina and lay over until Tuesday. We pass a single lock, Lock 19, just before reaching town. We circle around while waiting for the gates to open, and when the do we see one boat after another emerge. A total of 7 boats, most are small runabouts, leave the lock. I talk with one of the boaters and he says they’re all part of a group traveling together. When it’s our turn to go up, we’re the only DSCF5713boat in the chamber. The marina is just around the corner. I called them on the way up river, and was pleased to hear that they have room for us. We stop at the fuel dock first, and then idle over to our slip. This looks like a nice place, with friendly staff and good facilities. An interesting water fountain plays out in the bay in front of the marina. If it gets too hot while we’re here, I figure we’ll just motor out and cool off in the spray.

After tying up and checking in, we walk across the street for lunch, where we have a very forgettable lunch in a Greek place which is completely empty except for us, and for good reason. We walk down the main drag toward the downtown area, poking into a few shops along the way. We find a theater complex in the heart of downtown, and see a movie, Tarzan, that interests us. It doesn’t start for a couple of hours, though, so we visit the public library, which is in the same downtown mall, and read magazines until showtime. The movie is great, and it’s quite comfortable outside as we walk back toward the marina. We grab dinner at a fish and chips place right across from the marina. We’re thankful for the cooler weather, and are looking forward to our visit to the Canoe Museum, which we plan to see tomorrow.


Grapevine on the Great Loop – 7/23/16

First of All -

  • First time having greetings from friends passed along to us by another boat

Namely Speaking-

  • Slaughter Island
  • Skunk Point
  • Steam Mill Island
  • Hastings

Loop Log:

  • Miles Cruised today: Power: 31; Sail: NA
  • Total Miles Cruised to date: 5,890
  • Hours Underway: 5
  • Fuel: NA
  • Morning House Battery Reading: 12.42
  • Wind Speed: 10 ; Wind Direction: NW
  • Daily High Temperature: 90
  • Water Temperature: 77

DSCF5682Peterborough is too far to go in one day, so our destination is Hastings, about halfway to Peterborough. With a modest goal, we’re in no hurry to get going. We breakfast on great muffins purchased at the local bakery yesterday. We pull out around 9:30 and run a short distance to our first lock. We pass several more locks in the first few miles, including a double flight lock at Healey Falls. While waiting to enter one of the locks a large power boat named Emily Marie exits the lock, heading downstream. As we pass they hail us and ask ifDSCF5684 we know Richard and Jill. Surprised at the question we quickly say yes, we do. They say that Richard and Jill told them to watch for us and pass along their greetings. The Great Loop grapevine is alive and well.

Above Healey Falls we enter a long stretch without locks. It’s a broad river stretch, backed up by the high dam at Healey Falls. Lots of boating activity and summer waterfront cottages on this stretch. We are passed by a neat parade of classic wooden runabouts, and mixed in with them is a cool looking wooden race boat, sleek and streamlined, and powered by a very throaty engine. Around 2:30 we reach our destination at Hastings. First priority, once the boat is tied to the wall, is to walk across the street and order up some ice cream at a local restaurant, where we can sit down in air conditioning. They have a baseball game on, and our very own Seattle Mariners are putting a whooping on the Toronto Blue Jays. The owner of the place is a good sport about it, and we pass an enjoyable little while watching the game. It’s still too hot when dinner time rolls around, so we get dinner in a new restaurant which overlooks the lock.

We have the open waters of Rice Lake ahead of us in the morning, and no lock to wait for, so I plan on getting a nice, early start for the run up to Peterborough. We plan on laying over for a day there, so we can watch the lift lock operate, and also take in the Canoe Museum which is located there.


Hot Day in Campbellford – 7/22/16

First of All -

  • First temperature this year over 90 degrees (92); hottest recorded here since 1955
  • First bird: scarlet tanager

Namely Speaking-

  • Haig’s Reach
  • Ferris
  • Campbellford

Loop Log:

  • Miles Cruised today: Power: 6; Sail: NA
  • Total Miles Cruised to date: 5,869
  • Hours Underway: 2 1/2
  • Fuel: NA
  • Morning House Battery Reading: 12.65
  • Wind Speed: light ; Wind Direction: SW
  • Daily High Temperature: 92
  • Water Temperature: 78

DSCF5676We’re going just a short distance today, to the town of Campbellford. We run a mile up the Trent before stopping below Lock 9. We’re here half an hour before their 9am opening, so we wander the grounds, looking for birds. I get a quick look at a scarlet tanager, a very showy bird. Once the staff arrives we float 16 feet up in Lock 9, then run another mile upriver to Lock 10 for a 24 foot lift. Beyond Lock 10 we have a 2 mile run before entering the lower chamber of the 2 flight locks, No’s 11 and 12. These two chambers lift us a total of 48 feet. We’re climbing fast at this rate. It’s getting quite warm by the time we exit Lock 12, and the day promises to simply get hotter. Not far past the flight locks we round a bend and approach the town dock at Campbellford. We tie up along the wall and check in at the Chamber information office. Unlike the Parks Canada lock wall tie ups, our permit doesn’t work here at the town dock and we must pay, although the rate is quite reasonable at $1.25/foot. That includes restroom and shower access and wifi.

After lunch we go for a walk through town, stopping at an antique store, a bookstore, and the bakery. We exit each place with parcels in tow. Its then time to search out a milk shake, before heading back to the boat. We meet up with friends we locked through with yesterday morning, and chat in the shade. This evening we’ll go out to dinner at a nice air conditioned restaurant and then kill a couple hours in the local air conditioned theater. Did I mention it’s hot today? More of the same forecast for tomorrow. Maybe Sunday will bring some relief.



Starting Up the Trent Severn Waterway – 7/21/16

First of All -

  • First lock passed on the Trent Severn Waterway (only 41 to go)
  • First bat seen on the trip
  • First time recording 80 degree water temperature

Namely Speaking-

  • Glen Miller Lock
  • Frankford
  • Danger Narrows
  • Blind Channel
  • Percy Boom

Loop Log:

  • Miles Cruised today: Power: 26; Sail: NA
  • Total Miles Cruised to date: 5,863
  • Hours Underway: 7 hours
  • Fuel: NA
  • Morning House Battery Reading: 14.3 (plugged in)
  • Wind Speed: 12 ; Wind Direction: SW
  • Daily High Temperature: 84
  • Water Temperature: 80

DSCF5648It’s time to begin our passage on the famed Trent Severn Waterway. We pull out of Trent Port Marina a little after 8am so we’ll be at the blue line of Lock 1 around 8:30, well ahead of their 9am opening. Shortly after we tie I see a trawler heading in the same direction. I recognize them from the marina and help them with their lines. We see the lock attendant begin draining the lock right on time, and we prepare to enter. We’re directed to tie up on our starboard side, so we make ready with lines and fenders on that side. The locks on the Trent are similar to those on the Rideau, with fixed cables on both sides of the chamber which we slip our dock lines around. The gateDSCF5652 mechanisms are different though. On locks with 20 foot or so lift, the large lower doors are hydraulically operated. The smaller upper gates are still manually operated but, instead of the older chain winch mechanism seen on the Rideau locks, these operate with a gear and cog design, and the lock operators walk in a circle, pushing on two angled handles. We climb our hill of water quickly, with locks of 15 to 20 feet of lift every mile or so for the first 5 miles. After Lock 6 we have a nice 8 mile long run before reaching Lock 7. Our Skipper Bob cruising guide recommends a stop there to sample the great ice cream at a nearby little store. Since it’s lunch time, and since there is a lovely park with inviting shade just below the lock, we do as Skipper Bob suggests, and have our lunch there. Afterward, we walk up and order two refreshing double scoop cups of ice cream. The perfect finish to lunch on a very warm day.

After lunch we lock up and proceed on toward Lock 8, which is described as a very quiet and peaceful place, a popular overnight tie up spot. A wind kicks up in the afternoon and raises a light chop on the small bays we’re crossing. We’re thankful to not be out on a big lake. Around 4pm we approach Lock 8 and find it as nice as advertised. We opt to lock up and tie to the wall on the upstream side of the lock. The lock attendant gives us a key to the restrooms, so we can use them after their 6pm closing. This is a pleasant place, with nice shade trees and just enough breeze to discourage the bugs. We grill a steak and eat our dinner at the picnic table which sits beneath two maple trees, just 10 yards away from the boat. After dinner we go for a walk on the mile long canal side trail, which leads up to Lock 9. We plan to get going in time to lock up at the 9am opening there. We should be able to get to the town of Campbellford by noon, if not before. We’ll stop there for the day, since it’s described as an interesting place to visit, with world famous chocolate, great cheese, and excellent donuts, all perfectly healthy and non fattening, of course.













Layover at Trenton – 7/20/16

First of All -

  • First free lunch courtesy of a marina
  • First public transit trip to WalMart

Namely Speaking-

  • Thermacell

Loop Log:

  • Miles Cruised today: 0 – Layover Day
  • Total Miles Cruised to date: 5,837
  • Hours Underway: NA
  • Fuel: NA
  • Morning House Battery Reading: 14.3 (plugged in)
  • Wind Speed: calm ; Wind Direction: NA
  • Daily High Temperature: 78
  • Water Temperature: 76

DSCF5646Today is a light chore day. I run a load of laundry in the morning and, after finishing, walk over to the marina snack bar for my complimentary hot dog, coke and dish of ice cream. In the afternoon Sandy and I go for a walk into the downtown area, looking for a couple of items. One is a thermacell mosquito repellant device, which uses a small butane heat source and small pads of repellant. Our friends Rich and Jill say the bugs can get really nasty up on the Georgian Bay, where they’re presently cruising, and they’ve had good luck with this thing. I can’t locate one within walking distance, however, the friendly folks at the marina office tell me that the local bus runs out to WalMart, which I’m told carries them. I walk over to the nearby City Hall building and buy a pair of bus tickets, then go over to the bus stop. It’s only a 10 minute ride out to WalMart, where I find just what I’m looking for. If it will help to keep the mosquitoes at bay it will be worth it. It’s only a short wait before the bus returning to the marina pulls up, making this a very easy trip. After dinner we take showers in the lovely facilities. I review charts for the start of our run up the Trent Severn Waterway while Sandy walks across the street for a couple of last minute grocery items. We’re well prepared for the next leg of our cruise, and one we’ve been looking forward to. The Trent’s locks will lift us up to an elevation of 840 feet above sea level, the highest point we will reach while cruising the Great Loop. The waterway runs through 42 locks and one marine railway for a total distance of 240 miles. Many cruisers describe it, along with the Georgian Bay which follows it, as the scenic highlights of their trip. We hope this proves to be the case for us.

Note: After uploading yesterday’s post, a beautiful full moon came up. I snapped a few pictures from the marina, and am posting one here.












Going Chartless (paper that is) from Kingston to Trenton – 7/19/16

First of All -

  • First time cruising on open Lake Ontario waters
  • First time cruising without the benefit of paper charts

Namely Speaking-

  • Amherst Island
  • Rush Bar
  • Snake Island
  • Bay of Quinte
  • Makatewis Island
  • Trenton

Loop Log:

  • Miles Cruised today: Power: 68; Sail: NA
  • Total Miles Cruised to date: 5,837
  • Hours Underway: 9 1/2
  • Fuel: 13.5 gallons; $65; 5 mpg
  • Morning House Battery Reading: 12.35
  • Wind Speed: light ; Wind Direction: NW
  • Daily High Temperature: 77
  • Water Temperature: 76

DSCF5616More than a year before setting out on this cruise I began accumulating the necessary paper charts. Despite having an excellent Garmin GPS chartplotter, with electronic charts built in for the entire route, I make it a rule to also have paper charts along, and placed on the cockpit seat while we’re underway. I find them indispensible in route planning, and they allow me to see ahead at a glance, without needing to scroll around on the electronic screen. Also, they’re a great reassurance in the event of electronic problems, which are all too common on board a cruising boat. I have three large storage tubs which are stuffed with charts and cruising guides. All together they mustDSCF5617 weigh at least 70 lbs, and they cover virtually all of our 6500+mile route. Not quite the entire route however, as I discovered when getting ready to head for Trenton. Somehow I failed to pick up charts covering today’s leg of the trip. I look the route over on the Garmin and decide to do without. The route is straight forward, with wide channels and few navigational complications. Me and you, Garmin.

Since we stopped early yesterday due to high wind and seas, we have almost 70 miles between Kingston and Trenton. I don’t see much of interest to tempt a stop along the way, so with favorable weather in the forecast I make the decision to go all the way to Trenton today. I get an early start, leaving the dock by 6am and, once clear of Kingston Harbour I run the speed up to 7 mph. The morning is clear and sunny, and the water glassy smooth. We pass a gap which opens up to Lake Ontario. It must have been a wild mess yesterday but is innocent and tame this morning. We slide in behind Amherst Island and run up the channel, which must be 2 miles in width. The country here is low lying and we’re too far from shore to see interesting details. We do pass a pair of small islands which support a stand of dead trees, their trunks gleaming bleached white in the sun. Perched on their branches and on the adjacent land are literally thousands of cormorants who are undoubtedly responsible for the tree mortality. Too much fish fertilizer.

DSCF5629The afternoon turns cloudy and although rain threatens, we get no rain and very little wind. The country here could actually use some rain. People are talking drought and the cured out grass bears witness to a prolonged dry spell. Around 3pm we arrive at Trenton, stopping first at the fuel dock before proceeding into the brand new Port Trent Marina. It’s impossible to not comment about this place. It’s only a year old, and it’s easily the finest marina we’ve visited in the entire trip. To start with, the courteous dock staff, easily recognizable in their lime green shirts, are well trained and know exactly what to do with dock lines, unlike many places we’ve stopped at. The transient docks are easy to find and located close to the restrooms, showers, and laundry. Speaking of laundry, the machines are brand new (3 washersDSCF5631 and 3 driers) and they’re available free of charge. The marina even provided soap packets and drier sheets. The restrooms and showers are what you might expect in a 4 star hotel. Bright, clean, tiled, soap and shampoo dispensers provided, and featuring comfortable rain shower heads. While I’m checking in I overhear the manager asking one of her employees to refill the soap dispenser in one of the bathrooms. They give us a nice guest packet with map, information, and discount coupons for local restaurants and businesses. Employees are willing to give us a lift into town with their golf carts. The guest packet includes a coupon for free hotdog, drink and ice cream cone at the marina’s very own refreshment stand. The grounds are beautifully landscaped and everything is carefully maintained. Wifi of course. On top of everything, their rates are just $1.65/foot with electricity included, an incredible value. And finally, on most weekends special events and entertainment has been organized. I’m certain word of this place will spread fast, and they’re sure to attract many returning cruisers.

In the late afternoon we go for a walk into town and then drop in at a waterfront Italian restaurant which had been recommended to us. The view, food and service were oustanding. With supermarket just across the street and the hardware store just a block further, this is an excellent place to prepare for our cruise up the Trent Severn Waterway